Boring March equals boring season???

Hey! Rocky here coming up for air...been busy as usual, and getting over this bug that nabbed me after the Colorado convention, which was the reason why I was not at Dallas the week after...I'm getting pumped over the upcoming season, trying to hijack the T.V every once in awhile and terrorize the family with a couple of chase videos...

Anyway, I'm a little perplexed that there's been little if any severe weather not just here in Okla. but anywhere on the southern plains...
I talked with a well known and respected chaser yesterday who has already prognosticated that this upcoming year will be only a shadow of '04...mainly being that after exhaustive studies of several analogue years with little if any severe weather in March, that the rest of the season was below to well below normal in tornadic occurrences. He did'nt give me any years in particular, but he sounded a little too confident for my liking.

I am inquisitive over seasons where snowfall was minimal, yet the spring's were active here in Okla. I've not done any research on this, so I'll leave that too you if you want to start a thread on this...

Now, for what little this may be "gut instinct" which was fairly close three years running (since '01) thinks that this year will be nowhere near as spectacular as '04, but will not be totally dead either.

I for one am not a fan of "analogue" years, but admittedly it is fun to get a general idea of what MAY happen. Anywho.....

The end of next weekend MAY hold an opportunity for a chase if we can get the quality moisture and temps up here..a feat not easily accomplished this time of year.

Peace, Love and tight isobars!
I talked with a well known and respected chaser yesterday who has already prognosticated that this upcoming year will be only a shadow of '04...mainly being that after exhaustive studies of several analogue years with little if any severe weather in March, that the rest of the season was below to well below normal in tornadic occurrences. He did'nt give me any years in particular, but he sounded a little too confident for my liking.

Rocky, sorry about the bug. There is a lot going around. Anyway, according to statistics, this season should only be a "shadow of '04". Last year was extremely unusual in numbers of tornadoes and tornado days. Chances are that this season will be closer to average (which will be less than 2004.) Statistics aside, I was also talking to a very experienced chaser who expressed concern about the current pattern that has also brought rainy weather to California. He seemed more optimistic for May. I am lucky to grasp 12 to 24 hours of forecasting. This long range stuff is beyond me.

Either way, my chase vacation is set. I am not going to worry (wasting time) about long range patterns. I'll concentrate on getting prepared for this season and will hope for some decent storms with photogenic tornadoes away from populated areas.

Bill Hark
Harold Brooks has some statistics on this... Essentially, the seasons that start off below average tend to have below average tornadoes through the climatological tornado season (spring). In other words, the entire year doesn't just remain below average, but each monthly count is below average. This didn't really pan out too much in 2004, but remember that there were an incredible number of tornadoes associated with tropical cyclones last year... If it weren't for the TC-related tornadoes we likely would have ended up very close to 2003.

Personally, I can't help but think good things with the lessened drought in the southwest and the fact that the law of averages should help move us from a west coast ridge / east coast trough configuration to a west coast trough / east coast ridge 'favorable tornado' situation, but we'll see.
2003 and 2004 both got off to a very slow start - and remained that way through March and April. In fact I remember last year stayed so slow through the first week of May that people were all but writing off the year as another 1988. I think the final annual total both years make people tend to forget about how they were distributed throughout the year....both 2003 and 2004 really were feast or famine with the bulk of the activity concentrated in a 2-3 week span, and very little activity before or after. I generally don't like trying to compare years either - but the slow start to 2005 does make me wonder if we'll see another burst of 500+ tornadoes crammed in the span of 15-16 days.

What I'd really like to see though is more decent chase days spread out through all of April and May - as well as more chase opportunites in the southern Plains than we've seen the previous few years. I'd gladly take that over outbreaks that spit out 50-80 tornadoes on the northern and eastern fringes of the alley every other day for two weeks.
Rocky - man,

You worry too much. I predict that 2005 will be a nice, average year for chasing. I.E. - much less tornadoes than 2004 or 2003. That's not saying it will be a flop - that's saying that it will be nice 'n' average - where you actually have to work for some of your tornadoes!!! :wink:

Anyways I don't care about the chase season right now - I'm more set on tomorrow's (Tues March 15th) winter storm in Amarillo that we will likely be chasing...... :p

Well I for one am getting tired of watching the GFS do the John Carry flip flop. Despite the current GFS run I am still hopping for some March madness to get us started this season, but these trofs in the mid eastern US are not helping us get any moisture return here in the southern plains. Let’s hope that changes real fast.

Some good feedback on this issue...Thanks to Jeff Wear, Jeff Snyder and the encouraging words from Karen Rhoden too! I know this kind of thread is probably old hat and in honesty I would'nt even think of bringing this up in some of the more "priveleged" email lists...but its always fun to try to figure how this will all unfold.

One thing I neglected to mention is we finally have some good ground moisture to work with in the Tx. high plains, some of the best in recent years actually...It's been several years (at least since '00 or '01) since Texas has seen at least an average year for tornadoes, finally this year moisture is up and should be interesting to see how the drylines set up and what that means for here in Okla.

I am curious about how the northern plains will be this year with the intensifying drought across the northwest and Wyoming and Montana, could be a below normal season for the northern plains and what may very well lead to a toasty summer for those folks...something they haven't seen in a few years.

As Karen humoursly conveyed to me...I need to stop worrying so much, as Joe Bastardi from Accu-Weather so eloquently states... "enjoy the weather, its the only weather you got!"

Rocky&family :wink:
Despite the current GFS run I am still hopping for some March madness to get us started this season, Mick


You'll be waiting a looong time. I have a feeling March is hosed in these parts.


Despite the current GFS run I am still hopping for some March madness to get us started this season, Mick


You'll be waiting a looong time. I have a feeling March is hosed in these parts.



Well you very well may be right Keren. Lets just hope your wrong. LOL! :D

I am not I big believer in the GFS but what it shows, as of the latest run, is nothing short of crap for us in the southern plains. The GFS does show some southerly surface winds in the 9 to 10 day range, but the 500mb could pose another developing trof in the northeast again. Considering that is such a wide stretch of time and the way the GFS has flip flopped here in the recent past I am going to take that as a grain of salt. We shall see…

I don't remember where I saw it, but there is a paper somewhere that suggests cooler than normal Gulf of Mexico temps spells a down tornado year - but these look pretty normal at present - so no help there. The blocking pattern in the Atlantic hopefully will break down by spring - it seems to be a dreadful influence on high pressure building into the southeast US and allowing a decent return flow. The + infinity model runs keep showing this happening - and so far have consistently been wrong. It's interesting about the low count for march relating to low count for the year. I was just checking the record from 1950-1999 looking for a similar year to this one:

While March isn't over yet, if the current weather pattern holds this will be one of the lowest counts for March in recent history. And, looking at the years with low March counts - not many had even average counts for the rest of the season. If this pans out - guess we can hope for quality over quantity.

I'm guessing an OK chase year. Further west and south.

After all... only takes a single "good day" to make a chaser's season.

I'm not in the habit of predicting tornado seasons, because no one can. I'm content to just sit back and let it happen, whereever, whenever, however. If we didn't learn last year about what a little patience can do, then we never will. Like Jeff W mentioned, there were people who were writing the entire season off by May 1st. I and a few other even-keeled personalities just sat back and waited, without worry.

I'm not a big fan of doing climo research to try and pinpoint how many tornadoes or how many chases I'll get a chance at in a given year, that stuff's for the bored (or interested). Who cares how the tornadoes get dispersed, as long as they do. I'll take 20 tornadoes between now and June 30, all spread out, or I'll take 20 in a week, over three events. I don't care. Either way there will be chase opportunities throughout the Spring, and chasing is what it's all about.

As far as I'm concerned, there's nothing to worry about. I think incredible years only add to the the following year's anxiety/impatience that naturally inhabit chasers, maybe even more than really bad years. Maybe I'm too passive, I dunno. But I'm quite content to sit back and wait for Ma Nature to whip up a batch of good ole-fashioned Plains cookin'.

Refer back to this post in the middle of May, we'll see if I'm cool or simply in denial.
What is sort of nice about the central and northern plains is you can sit through all of March and April and not have one event and it really doesn't even register as troubling(that'd be "normal"). 45 more days of zero worries. If I lived in OK or TX I might feel like I was starting to miss my season, but hardly. It is still March. It is snowing in the TX panhandle right now. I think the period to even begin to start to wonder about worries should be at least 3 weeks out yet. Way too early to worry. The season is completely hosed I have to say that as much as possible so someone can complain about it next year how some were saying the season was toast(as if it isn't a funny joke). HOSED with out the tube. DONE. FINI. Nothing but cold air advection over the whole gulf for all of April. Perhaps it is a good thing there are no ops down there yet. Gas ain't cheap and those early systems can drag you out of your place for nothing. Let it snow let it snow let it snow.

And here goes the 456th Unwritten Rule OF Chasing:

Reverse Stormology: The Science Of Using the English Vocabulary to Impact Atmospherice Dynamics and Processes by Positively Enhancing the Storm Season through Negative Thought and Process and Liturgy.

Using Reverse Stormology builds up an invisible meteorological paramater which materialized exactly 22.3 days after being spoken. ;)

In all seriousness, its way to early to tell. Seems every year we have people putting an end to the season well before it begins. Truth be known, we dont have enough climatological data to couple with every possible scenario meteorologically speaking to begin to say what is what. As we all know in weather, things change faster than 4500 CAPE can rise after punching through the CAP.

We'll just have to see. Thanks for using Reverse Stormology, Mike! Its going to be an absolutely HORRIBLE year ;) (using said Reverse Stormology... ;) )
This year actually started off really well. The preliminary numbers suggest that 32 tornadoes occured in the month of the last five more than 5 tornadoes have occured.

Only 4 have been reported for March this year...with the 3 year average being 48.

So...this doesnt tell us a lot, but just something I found to be interesting. March is down at this point, but January was also a very big month. Anyone got any stats on big January's meaning anything?
Overall...Im not too worried about it. Here in Illinois we didnt have a severe weather event until April 20th. March had a couple days were it thundered...but thats it, no severe weather events. Quiet March's have become quite common now, and I just try not to worry about it.
I look at March chasing the same way I look at November chasing. It’s the off-season! Sure I’ll chase if there is a good setup, but I don’t get depressed if there aren’t any.

Does a boring March equal a boring chase season? No, I don’t think a lack of supercells and tornadoes in March has any effect on the number of supercells and tornadoes in May and June. I love it when we have a slow March and April. That means I’ll have more money left for the real chase season, May and June.
2005 chase season

Its been 10 days since I last chased, saw tons of dime sized hail, incredible lightning, heavy rain etc. on March 6th 2005 and even had some severe thunderstorm warnings posted in my area! This March 6th chase is the earliest that I've gone chasing here in Iowa ever! Hasn't been to boring of a March for me! Can't wait until April gets here though!! :D
I'm surprised how many people lump April into the March funk. April is a month that will bring you to your knees if you don't respect it, storm speeds be damned. And this is coming from a chaser who hasn't nailed an April tornado since 1999.
Yeah - if you look at violent tornadoes - April is the peak. They can move fast - but who can resist those early season chases.

Anyone checking the long-range models? Looks like march may get her act together just in time.... In fact, lots of the larger scale patterns that have lead to the abnormal weather of the last few weeks are on the decline (AO, PNA, NAO) - so things coudl start to heat up real fast over th enext few weeks and we'll all forget about the early March slump.

How about that tor watch today? Looks like we are tacking on another tornado for March. Rumor has that you guys in the southern Plains might see some storms in the next week. The month isn't over yet!