"Chaseable areas" map?

Hey guys & gals,

I was curious if anyone could share a US map (or a URL) that displays areas were horizon visibility is good (or bad). I tried a few googles on this but couldn't put together a good search argument to avoid pages upon pages of useless links.

It often comes up in the TALK threads of the TARGET AREA when discussing chasing a specific area, whether or not an area is hilly or flat, forested or bare, etc... does anyone have such a map?

Thanks much
Scott
 
Scott,

I'm making note of all areas that I chase through and 'grading' the chase territory. I think some folks pass on hear-say in terms of good/bad chase territory, thus the reason I decided to start to subjectively grade each area through which I've chased. For example, it seemed that many folks have talked about how horrible the ne TX area is, or the jungles of eastern Oklahoma. From my experience, however, the area west of Paris, TX, is just fine chase territory (have been there 3-21, 4-5, 4-25), and the area in far northeastern OK, southeastern KS, and southwestern MO is far from being horrible as well (was there 4-21). Other parts of east-central OK are just fine as well (per 10-29 chase). Not sure how I'm going to do this 'grading system', but I might try to do a map grid, then color each grid green, yellow, orange, and red based upon chaseability in terms of trees, flatness, etc.
 
Cool Jeff, I'd love to see that whenever you get it completed.

Glen, those sites look pretty good, I'm gonna do some browsing now. I definitely could've used the tree map when I did some 'chasing' (just driving actually) in Alabama a few days ago.

Charles, thanks for that map... looks pretty good. I'd love to see a US version of the same.

Thanks for the feedback
Scott
 
I have to disagree with Jeff about the area west of Paris, Texas. I was raised in Fannin County, Texas, the primary product of which is timber. There are two large, forested state parks, one in the northeastern corner of the county and another in the southeastern corner, and in the southwestern quad of the county there are extensive winding hills where every few years or so another Fannin County teenager is killed in an accident. The northern border of the county is the Red River Valley, and between Bonham and the Oklahoma state line is the Lake Bonham Recreational area, with trees, hills, and of course, a lake.

We didn't see many supercells coming when I was growing up because Fannin County offers poor visibility except for areas around the main east/west artery of State Road 82.

As far as Grayson County, while I did not spend a large percentage of my life there as I did in Fannin County, I've been there more times than I can count. Grayson County also has some open areas along State Road 82, but includes extensive areas of terrible visibility near Lake Ray Roberts in the southwest corner and the massive Lake Texoma which extends along the entire northern border of the county. From Interstate 35 eastward to Paris and on to the Texas/Arkansas border, crossings for the Red River are characterized by geography typical of those features. The road between Sherman and Bonham is often winding and hilly, and dozens of people are killed along this route annually because of its complicated negotiation.

I know two chasers who were born and raised in Grayson County and they do not consider this favorable chase territory. None of us will chase there unless we're already on a supercell either producing a tornado or with a history of doing so.

For those who have chased the caprock, the front range, western Oklahoma or other traditional areas, these specific parts of northeast Texas will not impress unless you stay on a few main roads.
 
You may also want to consider www.topozone.com if you want to get more detailed info about elevation and shape of the terrain. It takes some learning to zoom in and out, and to navigate across an area.[/url]
 
Originally posted by Amos Magliocco
I have to disagree with Jeff about the area west of Paris, Texas.

OK, this DOES go to show everyone that "chaseability" is highly relative! I haven't minded chasing west of Paris the three times I've been down there this year. It's by no means perfect chase territory (not like northwestern OK and many other areas of the Plains), but I wouldn't reconsider chasing an event in this part of the state because of the chaseability factor. Of course, I've chased western Wisconsin, southeastern MN, east-central Minnesota, and I'm sure others have chased in some difficult terrain as well, but I guess the ne TX area just wasn't as bad as I had thought it would be. It would fall into the "not bad" (yellow) category in my arbitrary assessment.
 
Originally posted by Jeff Snyder+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Jeff Snyder)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Amos Magliocco
I have to disagree with Jeff about the area west of Paris, Texas.

OK, this DOES go to show everyone that "chaseability" is highly relative! [/b]

I agree totally. And I admit being very spoiled by the caprock and the front range and other parts of western OK and Texas. I respect the chasers who learn to handle terrain challenges outside the traditional areas.

Speaking of the mighty Llano Estacado, perhaps the sleeping giant is about to awaken. 8)
 
I use several topographic and forest density maps. Couple things, first most of SW Minnesota is chaseable. You'll find most of Iowa is chaseable but has a high forest density (30-40%). You'll find that anything east of the Missouri river is chaseable here in South Dakota. Would be nice if someone made a national map on how chaseable areas are.

-Scott.
 
Originally posted by Scott Olson
Would be nice if someone made a national map on how chaseable areas are.

-Scott.

That's what I was fishing for here. :D I was hoping maybe somebody was sitting on one, or was doing something sort of like Jeff is doing. I'm geographically challenged myself (well, I goofed off too much in school during that grade!).... and my travels over the past few years have been limited due to parenting, so I haven't much to go on to do something myself.

Thanks again for all the input.

Scott
 
I just downloaded the original GeoTIFF file that was used to create the forest cover map in the link Glen provided as well as threw on couple of shapefiles and came up with this:

[Broken External Image]:http://deasonfamily.net/images/samplemap.jpg

I can export the final product in several graphics formats, so if anyone is interested in me creating a series of such maps, let me know.

Regards,

Mike
 
Wow! This is such an amazing coincidence! I just came in here to post this same exact topic, as I have just started work on putting a map like this together.

My goal is to do a state by state breakdown....showing "good" counties, "marginal" counties and "non-chaseable" counties. I would like to do these for as many states as possible in the SRN Plains, CENTRAL Plains, NRN Plains, Mississippi Valley and Midwest.

I will take as much data as I can from this thread. But if you guys can add some of your own thoughts and opinions about areas you have chased, I would greatly appreciate it.

The scale I am planning to use will be based on the following criteria:

1. Excellent - Flat terrain, few trees and good road networks

2. Good - relatively flat, decent road networks, some trees

3. Poor - Some hills, trees, and less than great roads, yet still somewhat chaseable

4. Terrible - all other areas that aren't even worth attempting. Hills, dense forests, terrible road options, etc.

Any input, suggestions, or opinions will be appreciated. I will definately need lots of people to share their opinions about various areas to make this work. But I'd love to get something put together and put it online.

-George
 
While related, George's question is not the same asked by the original post in this thread, so might be better in its own thread.

In answer to the original question (good horizon views) I can tell you that ALL of Nebraska is excellent for horizon visibility (unless you are in the middle of the 20,000 acres of man-made National Forest -Ponderosa Pines- near Halsey. I'd guess that is probably true for most/all of Kansas also.

Road network is a different question. Most of Nebraska is divided into nice square-mile sections, but once you get to the Sandhills & far west all bets are off.

Darren Addy
Kearney, NE
 
Does anyone use Delorme TopoUSA for finding good chasing terrain areas? I was looking at getting that, but I wanted to hear first hand chaser accounts of the software. Thanks!

Stan
 
Originally posted by Darren Addy
While related, George's question is not the same asked by the original post in this thread, so might be better in its own thread.

In answer to the original question (good horizon views) I can tell you that ALL of Nebraska is excellent for horizon visibility (unless you are in the middle of the 20,000 acres of man-made National Forest -Ponderosa Pines- near Halsey. I'd guess that is probably true for most/all of Kansas also.

Road network is a different question. Most of Nebraska is divided into nice square-mile sections, but once you get to the Sandhills & far west all bets are off.

Darren Addy
Kearney, NE

Well, IMO, good horizon views = 'chaseable areas'. (I'm not saying areas that have less than optimum horizontal viewing aren't chaseable... but you get the idea of the post.) Same thing to me, so I'm very much interested in George's efforts. I think it's a worthwhile venture to put something like this together... we could all contribute AND benefit.

I agree with your assessment of Nebraska. However, the states in tornado alley are pretty much a no-brainer, as far as offering uninhibited storm viewing while chasing (for the most part). I was more interested in a "U.S." map of this sort of thing, catered to chasers/made by chasers, so the terrain/horizontal visibility of less traversed areas outside of tornado alley could be factored into chase planning.

Scott
 
Started working on some combined shaded relief and forest cover maps tonight and got quite a few posted that should cover today's moderate risk area. The maps are located at the following URL:

http://www.deasonfamily.net/maps/

My goal is to have coverage of all of the Plains and Midwest before Monday and to have an index image map made sometime later in the week.

The naming convention for the image files is as follows:

LaLaLoLoLo.jpg, where LaLa is the approximate latitude of the upper left hand corner and LoLoLo is the approximate longitude of the upper left hand corner. So, for instance, 38097.jpg would indicate that the approximate location of the upper left hand corner of the panel is approximately 38oN, 97oW. Each panel covers about 4 degrees longitude and 2.5 degrees latitude. The projection used is Equirectangular, datum is WGS84.

For those of you who are GIS savvy and would like to import these into a GIS app, the .prj and .jgw files are included as well. For everyone else, you'll only need the .jpg files.

Hope some of you might find these useful. I'm putting these in the public domain. The only thing I ask is if you use them, do something good for somebody else today. :)

Regards,

Mike
 
Originally posted by Stan Olson
Does anyone use Delorme TopoUSA for finding good chasing terrain areas? I was looking at getting that, but I wanted to hear first hand chaser accounts of the software. Thanks!

Stan

I am putting that into use this year to see how it works out. I only got to do a preliminary run of it when I went to Denver, but I like what I see so far.
 
Originally posted by David Drummond
I am putting that into use this year to see how it works out. I only got to do a preliminary run of it when I went to Denver, but I like what I see so far.

Keep us posted! I wonder if anyone chasing today will be using it? Thanks!

Stan
 
I like what I see with DeLorme Topo and will probably be putting it to use soon as well ... has a lot of very helpful features.

This is pretty subjective ... Charles' map probably represents the best areas in most chasers' minds. Though I would probably include some of Iowa in there myself. Being raised on the river in NW Missouri, I will chase here where most chasers will swear it off. Prefer west of the river, but won't be picky if a storm produces east of the river. Some of it comes down to what a person knows, is familiar with and feels comfortable chasing.
 
Originally posted by Mike Peregrine
I like what I see with DeLorme Topo and will probably be putting it to use soon as well ... has a lot of very helpful features.

This is pretty subjective ... Charles' map probably represents the best areas in most chasers' minds. Though I would probably include some of Iowa in there myself. Being raised on the river in NW Missouri, I will chase here where most chasers will swear it off. Prefer west of the river, but won't be picky if a storm produces east of the river. Some of it comes down to what a person knows, is familiar with and feels comfortable chasing.

We got into some of Iowa last year Mike and (at least in the places we went) I considered it very chasable, much like north central TX.
 
One of the criteria used to come up with that map is tornado frequency... Obviously, given a favorable setup, the "chaseable area" extends much beyond what is inferred by the map. For example, I think much of southern Minnesota is very good chase territory, and I'll agree that most of IA is very good as well.
 
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