Comments on a bust

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Since I was asked to stop posting in the Target Area forum, and I still want to respond to my critics, I'll post over here.

My posts in the Target Area were not DIRECT attacks on anyone for chasing. I don't care what someone's ego tells them, I was just pointing out a trend of over-sensationalization of chase days and over-reliance on model "data". True I did it in a very sensational way (by under-senationalizing the day and over-relying on another data source)....BUT THAT WAS THE POINT!

I see this trend in people to make everyday an outbreak day. Then when it doesn't verify, it's always because of one thing (the cap, no forcing, etc...because the atmosphere only doesn't do something because of one thing :roll: )...yet credit must be given to those who have gone out just because they went out. I am afraid not..that makes no sense to me. As it was put to me in the other thread, I should put down my books and have some faith and head out on every marginal day. Sorry, METEOROLOGY is not a faith-based initiative (maybe chasing is :roll: ). IT IS A SCIENCE. So put down your silly faith and pick up a science book, maybe you won't bust as much.

So what exactly are my points:
1) If you make a bad forecast, don't try to make it look good by saying "Had anything fired, it woulda been great!" or "this beautiful set up destroyed by the cap." Take the bad forecast and learn from it. I have. I have busted many times...but I learned (and I admit when I am wrong).

2) Don't justify a chase or no chase from what the SPC does. They have plenty of politics going into decisions (I would have to assume). True, they could not issue tornado watches when a PDS SVR makes more sense, but it's their choice.

3) Don't call a crappy day a BEAUTIFUL day. (Really, this can only come from experience, so I will leave it at that).

4) Be a little open minded...not everyone is after your ego. And enjoy criticisms, because no one is RIGHT all the time (even my pompous ass)

5) Models are unnecessary 3 hours out...look at data...too many times do I get on and people consistently talk about the models and don't really post about anything else (I think there was a discussion about this last year...but I maybe remembering one of my silly classes with books where I learn about the weather).

6) Just because you chase doesn't mean you deserve respect. This pompous attitude is something I recently picked up on...and it's wrong.


So enjoy chasing...enjoy busting...and enjoy criticism...it's the only way to grow. :D
 
For me anyway, a day like yesterday is as instructive as a good chase day, and it's all about seeing and learning AFAIC.

My own "uh-ohs" started when it became clear from the obs that there wasn't a real surface cold front -- only a windshift with a mixed-out dryline. The forcing just wasn't there to dig out the considerable boundary layer energy. C'est la vie.

It's pretty impressive how crappy the RUC models have been the last few days.
 
There is a bit of faith involved... on May 10, 18z soundings NE showed a huge cap, one that eventually broke and gave way to a BEAUIFUL supercell... yesterday, a monsterous cap held and many chasers sat under a bust.. it happens, and the what-ifs will come whether you like it or not...

With an attitude like that, why are you on this board? Shane said in his report; its like the lottery, you have no chance of winning if you don't buy a ticket. There hundreds of people out there yesterday; chasers, seasoned veterans, the DOWs... tell each one of them what you said here; you'll get a mix of replies, but most of them are gonna tell you, we're chasers... we're not pompous, we're not egotisitc and think we deserve respect for going out on a "bad" day. Hell, chaser friends of mine who DIDN'T go out gave us sympathy and at the same time, laughed at us. It's part of the game.

You're free to to express your opinion, and for that, I respect it... however, if you're gonna preach to storm chasers why they shouldn't chase, I would STRONGLY advise you do it on a board of people who don't chase, otherwise you're doing nothing productive apparently like the rest of us who go out on "bust days". It takes a million things to make a great, perfect day, and only one thing to ruin in... if we stayed home everytime ONE thing looked bad, we'd never go out... its half the thrill, I guess!
 
I was just pointing out a trend of over-sensationalization of chase days and over-reliance on model "data". True I did it in a very sensational way .... I see this trend in people to make everyday an outbreak day.

Hi Kiel. I have noticed it too and that's why I haven't been posting forecasts here this year. Yesterday was a great example, with many people claiming it would have been "incredible" if the cap had broken. Uhm, sorry, but there were 20-25 degree dewpoint depressions and the observed wind profiles in the area were pretty marginal. There probably would have been a few supercells, maybe a couple of weakish tornadoes. No matter what the "supercell composite" or other model-derived data may be claiming, there is no subsitute for the real data. I was surprised when looking back through yesterday's posts no one even mentioned the cap as a possible problem until late in the afternoon.

...yet credit must be given to those who have gone out just because they went out. I am afraid not..that makes no sense to me. As it was put to me in the other thread, I should put down my books and have some faith and head out on every marginal day. Sorry, METEOROLOGY is not a faith-based initiative (maybe chasing is :roll: ). IT IS A SCIENCE. So put down your silly faith and pick up a science book, maybe you won't bust as much.

When it comes to initiation (yesterday's problem), even the best models AND human forecasters simply cannot give you a yes/no answer with any level of reliability. So, it comes down to a trigger probability for most chasers. If it's the last weekend of my chase vacation, I'm likely to give it a shot even if I judge there is a low probability of initiation. On the other hand, if it's a weekday, I have work and chores, and the same setup exists 3 states away, there is little chance I'll go after it.

Of course, you will get burned that way. To me, it hurts a lot more to predict no initiation and miss a big tornadic supercell than to give it a shot and come up dry. It's just the nature of chasing.

1) If you make a bad forecast, don't try to make it look good by saying "Had anything fired, it woulda been great!" or "this beautiful set up destroyed by the cap." Take the bad forecast and learn from it. I have. I have busted many times...but I learned (and I admit when I am wrong).

I know some folks who busted in the Sioux City area yesterday, and they aren't upset because they knew the cap was a big problem after the 12Z soundings yesterday morning, but they were on chase vacation in the area anyway. They also knew that even if storms developed it wasn't a great setup because of both marginal thermo and shear profiles. I'm sure they were far less upset than those folks who were deluded and thought yesterday was a dream setup.

2) Don't justify a chase or no chase from what the SPC does. They have plenty of politics going into decisions (I would have to assume). True, they could not issue tornado watches when a PDS SVR makes more sense, but it's their choice.

Like I said, the initiation/no initiation decision is a nearly hopeless forecast some days (like yesterday), including for the forecasters at SPC. There is a point where they have to make a decision and issue a watch (or not). It does no one any good to blame them, particularly those who depend upon SPC to make their decisions for them.

3) Don't call a crappy day a BEAUTIFUL day. (Really, this can only come from experience, so I will leave it at that).

Not true. I've taken some nice photos of wildflowers, sunsets, wildlife, etc. on clear-sky bust days. It helps temper the disappointment.

5) Models are unnecessary 3 hours out...look at data...too many times do I get on and people consistently talk about the models and don't really post about anything else (I think there was a discussion about this last year...but I maybe remembering one of my silly classes with books where I learn about the weather).

Yes, yes, yes. Very little talk yesterday about the thermonuclear cap on the soundings and almost no talk about the deteriorating observed wind profiles with time. Lots of talk about model qpf fields and the "supercell composite" (a model-dervied field). Leaves a lot of room for surprise and disappointment, which is what resulted.

6) Just because you chase doesn't mean you deserve respect. This pompous attitude is something I recently picked up on...and it's wrong.

A couple of years ago there was an early season (March) high risk day. Clouds were firmly socked in, forcing was strong and linear, wind profiles were unidirectional, storm motion was going to be very fast, and the target area had lots of trees and hills. After the obvious fast moving squall line developed a chaser who had been very excited about seeing a tornado that day lashed out at me saying "at least I tried". No, he wasted a bunch of gas money in an obviously futile effort because he got excited about a medium range prog days before, and got caught up in the hoopla of the high risk without acknowledging the overwhelming evidence.

50/50 initiation days like yesterday are a little different. Even though it was Saturday and I had the chance to chase from Norman, I decided not to based on the 12Z soundings, the fact the nearest storms would be north of I-80 moving into Iowa, and the relatively marginal looking instability and shear profiles. I certainly do not look down upon those who did decide to go from Norman yesterday morning, nor do I give them default credit for trying. Based on the uncertainty they simply had a different decision threshold. I'll leave it to them to decide whether they correctly evaluated the situation while making their decision.
 
So what exactly are my points:
1) If you make a bad forecast, don't try to make it look good by saying "Had anything fired, it woulda been great!" or "this beautiful set up destroyed by the cap." Take the bad forecast and learn from it. I have. I have busted many times...but I learned (and I admit when I am wrong).

I know Kiel, and I'm glad that he is able to defend himself here, since he is a smart guy. Hoever, I do need to respond to the above-quoted point...

Gabe, myself, Brant, and Dianne made the trip up there from OUN. We, along with many other chasers, KNEW that the cap was going to be an issue. We certainly knew that there was a significant possibility of a cap bust. This was a very well-konwn issue that every single chasers likely thought about. The cap, by no means, snuck in under our noses.

That said, we made the trip up there because of the definite POSSIBILITY of some good supercells and maybe a couple tornadoes. True, there was a chance at a cap bust, but there was also a chance of supercell lovin'. Since I KNEW and readily ADMITTED the distinct possibility of a cap bust (peruse the TALK thread from that day), I was not entirely surprised by the fact that it occurred. And actually, a true 'cap bust' did not really occurr in Kansas, since there was convective initiation. So actually, maybe my forecast did verify -- we had convective initiation. Unfortunately, it was removed from the deep moisture available to the east. I don't base my self-confidence on whether or not my forecast verifies. Instead, I, as you noted as well, take the day and learn from it. I have no problem declaring a busted forecast. But I wouldn't consider yesterday a completely busted forecast, since I readily admitted a cap bust possibility early on. Heck, we know yesterday's setup was a "dream setup" with 4000 CAPE, 200-250 0-1km SRH, 400-500 0-3km SRH, 800m LCLs, 55kt 0-6km deeplayer shear, and a nice boundary to latch on to. Instead, we had marginal moisture resulting in 2000-2500 CAPE, very high LCLs, marginal deep-layer shear, though significant low-level shear.

Does the fact that I didn't see a tornado mean that it was a BAD forecast? Does that meant that every single chase during which I don't see a raging supercell with long-track tornadoes mean that the forecast was bad? I certainly don't think so.

This was a day with some possibilities, just like almost every single chase day (afterall, why chase if there are no possibilities). Heck, May 11th had possibility, April 25th had possibilities, etc. Are you only going to chase if it's one of those synoptically-evident tornado outbreaks (ala May 4th, 2003)? Maybe so, and that's certainly not bad. Most of the other days, however, things are never entirely certain. I didn't expect to see what I saw on 5-12-04, that's for sure. On that hand, did most people expect the Jarrell F5 to happen on the day it occurred, as there were DEFINATELY many negatives factors that day. There are definite uncertainties on most chase days.

Was my forecast "bad" in my eyes? Not really. I KNEW and UNDERSTOOD the distinct possibility of a cap bust. I went out hoping that convective initiation would happen. Assuming we could get a storm into the better moisture to the east, I gave it a good chance that we'd see at least a well-structured supercell (given the awesome low-level shear).

True, you can't rely on model data. But what did we have to go off of yesterday besides a couple of soundings located hundreds of miles away from and each other and surface observations? Since the cap is a non-surface feature, you don't really much a whole lot of choice to not consider model data to get an understanding of the state (both current and forecast) of the atmosphere aloft. The RUC actually did quite well with initiation in Kansas, for what it's worth. The 18z OAX sounding I deemed not completely representative of the environment 150 miles away in northcentral Kansas, where strong heating had likely eroded that cap significantly. You know as well as anyone how the mesoscale environment can vary signficantly in time and space.

OK, I'll wrap this thing up... LOL. There are days which bust, and there are days which are pleasant surprises (did folks expect the numerous tornadoes on May 12 2005 north of Lubbock? I only thought a "tornado or two" were possible given the weak flow aloft, though would have chased if I could). With the atmosphere, you just don't know. I knew there was a capping issue yesterday, but I deemed the environment supercell-friendly enough make the trip on the possibility that a supercell was able to become established. Was this a bad forecast? Is a "50% chance of storms" a bad forecase if it doesn't really storm?
 
There is a bit of faith involved... on May 10, 18z soundings NE showed a huge cap, one that eventually broke and gave way to a BEAUIFUL supercell... yesterday, a monsterous cap held and many chasers sat under a bust.. it happens, and the what-ifs will come whether you like it or not...

I think one of Kiel's points is the "what ifs" in this case are ridiculous. It was not a dream setup ruined by the cap. There were lots of other problems.

Shane said in his report; its like the lottery, you have no chance of winning if you don't buy a ticket. There hundreds of people out there yesterday; chasers, seasoned veterans, the DOWs... tell each one of them what you said here; you'll get a mix of replies, but most of them are gonna tell you, we're chasers... we're not pompous, we're not egotisitc and think we deserve respect for going out on a "bad" day.

As to the DOWs, veteran chasers, etc., I think many of them did acknowledge beforehand yesterday was a marginal setup. The status message for the DOWs definitely said so. Many veteran chasers are on their vacation right now, so they chose to go to where a supercell was most likely, with the understanding the setup was not very good (I was nowcasting for some of them yesterday from Norman. They knew the story before noon.) There is a big difference between that and deluding yourself into thinking it's a dream setup without looking at the evidence, and then covering it up by saying "well only if the cap had broken..." Please.

As for the "lottery" argument...well, I encourage you to chase for upslope supercells in eastern Colorado on Christmas day later this year. What? If you don't go, you can't possibly win! I'm going to do it this year, and I demand your respect for it. The argument is weak because it can obviously be reduced to such a silly level. With that said, yesterday there was an enhanced threat of supercells over the target area where many people busted, so for those whose lives revolve around chasing, or they were on a vacation for the sole purpose of chasing, or whatever, I certainly can understand why they were there, and I don't fault them for trying.

It takes a million things to make a great, perfect day, and only one thing to ruin in... if we stayed home everytime ONE thing looked bad, we'd never go out... its half the thrill, I guess!

No one is telling anyone how to (or how not to) storm chase. I do think there are a lot of chasers who getting caught up emotionally in the wrong things, such as model composite parameters, or SPC risk catagories, and are delusional after the fact that one thing (e.g., the cap) ruined an otherwise "perfect" day. Yesterday was a great example. It was not going to be a tornado outbreak by any stretch even if the cap had broken, and there is overwhelming evidence then and now a lot of chasers were not even looking at things like soundings and wind profilers (just look at yesterday's threads). So don't blame SPC or anyone else, and don't expect a lot of respect for chasing down model bullseyes.
 
(1) I knew the cap was a likely killer yesterday - and it, not our forecast, was the reason for our bust...I know this because:

(2) I understand 30 degree dewpoint depressions suck for tornadoes

(3) I knew we were sitting at 83/61 in Nebraska City with helicity on the order of 500

(4) I know that given a storm, our area would've been amazing for a supercell -

(5) I don't lament my busts as "cruel acts of Mother Nature onto me" as has been suggested in more than one comment

(6) I don't exoect to be awarded a merit badge because I chanced a 850-mile trip on a cap day

(7) I don't expect to be criticized for it either

(8) Chasing very often has little to do with meteorology, as far as philosophy and practical applications in the field.

(9) I know from his postings Keil Ortega would've ben heading home on June 3, 2001 around 6-7pm

(10) I know I was witnessing a tornado on June 3, 2001 at 9:06pm

(11) From observations 9 & 10, we can state with much confidence that Keil Ortega's philosphy on when-to-stay-home is not a failsafe approach

(12) Question: Why (once again), am I being criticized for chasing a longshot setup?

Bottom line, no one was asking for a pat on the back becuase we chased yesterday. We were simply wondering why instead we got a kick in the behind? You keep your nose in the books long enough and the sky passes you by. And I've provided adequate evidence (above) to support that statement.

I'm going to chase today too, and guess what? It's a crappy setup. If we bust, it might be because we are in the wrong place. Or it could be we nail intiation and the environment kills it for us. In the case of the latter, forecasts aren't to blame. I've heard criticism for thinking every day is an outbreak day, then I hear criticism because we chased a marginal/crappy day and then blamed aformentioned crappy setup for the bust instead of our forecasts. You can't have both, so which is it?
 
It's perfectly reasonable to discuss the failure modes in a setup, but the tone of the two Target Area posts that raised hackles is pretty unprecedented. Lampooning chasers from the comfort of your apartment or the Map Room, for a cap bust of all things, is incredibly bad form, not to mention wildly bad luck. Of course luck has nothing to do with it, right?

Forecasting severe storms is a combination of science and art, and chasing relies even more heavily on the art side of the ledger. This is something like what others are describing by the word "faith." It may be a surprise to some people that any of us can learn the science. Yes, we'll learn it inefficiently. We'll learn it imperfectly. But sooner or later, we'll get it. Plenty more, in fact, than we need to successfully intercept supercells and tornadoes. Sorry, no exclusive domain there, I'm afraid.

The ART of forecasting and of chasing, however, is a little harder to acquire and much harder to quantify. From what I can tell, they include pattern recognition, perfecting the numerical model in your HEAD, a willingness to gamble, and finally (maybe most importantly): karma and character.

Chasers are optimists. The ones who are not don't last. The reason is that supercells and tornadoes, in ANY setup, are inherently unlikely events. So of course the forecast from chasers will focus on the ways supercells and tornadoes may form, because that's the way we have to forecast. That's where character comes in, fortitude, and the ability to bounce back after a cap bust and go right back at it. Listen, all of us know about the failure modes. We know FIRST HAND how many ways sups and tornadoes can fail to form. Sitting in a classroom doesn't give you some additional insight that we miss when baking under a hot sun.

You may think you can look at a sounding for a potential severe weather event and know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the cap will hold, but here's a news flash: you don't. You just think you do because you haven't gone stormchasing very much. Forecasting convective inhibition is the single most difficult task in predicting severe storms and nobody has perfect skill. Not Tim Marshall, not Roger Edwards or Roger Hill or even undergraduates at esteemed meteorology schools. The difference is the that the chasers I mentioned are actually aware of this.

Most chasers I know with tens of thousands of miles under their belt agree that if all other parameters are present and supportive of supercells, and the cap looks remotely breakable, you have to chase. You chase because we're lousy at picking when the cap holds and when it doesn't, as I'm sure the outlook forecaster who issued Tornado Watch 311 would agree. You chase because missing that tornado while sitting at home is infinitely more painful to real chasers than a cap bust afternoon of throwing Frisbees and hanging out with friends. You chase because it's May, and things tend to lean toward their climo norms. Weak setups on model output tend to come out more favorably in May as often as they don't. Not so in March and April when weak setups tend to get worse.

But if somebody has found some new methodology for eliminating the guesswork in forecasting CIN and initiation, then by all means get that paper written and into peer review so the unwashed can benefit from the insight.
 
Ding ding ding... Amos's post hits the nail on the head as well as Shane's. I busted as well as many others. It was not a dream setup, the cap was large, but *models* (cringe did I actually mention that word) did break out precip along the front. Around 5:30pm, towers/agitated CU were going up in NC KS and S NE, and it looked good. West of Beatrice we had a pulse start to precipitate and almost get going, but it evaporated. Such luck. Similiar storms fired in NC KS and didn't fair much better.



Aaron
 
As to the DOWs, veteran chasers, etc., I think many of them did acknowledge beforehand yesterday was a marginal setup. The status message for the DOWs definitely said so. Many veteran chasers are on their vacation right now, so they chose to go to where a supercell was most likely, with the understanding the setup was not very good (I was nowcasting for some of them yesterday from Norman. They knew the story before noon.) There is a big difference between that and deluding yourself into thinking it's a dream setup without looking at the evidence, and then covering it up by saying "well only if the cap had broken..." Please..

Sounds to me like the "difference" you're referring to is the guys you were nowcasting for and the rest of us. Why are you two insistent on saying we all thought yesterday was an outbreak from hell? Because I don't remember talking to either of you at all, and I'm pretty sure I didn't post a forecast.



As for the "lottery" argument...well, I encourage you to chase for upslope supercells in eastern Colorado on Christmas day later this year. What? If you don't go, you can't possibly win! I'm going to do it this year, and I demand your respect for it. The argument is weak because it can obviously be reduced to such a silly level. With that said, yesterday there was an enhanced threat of supercells over the target area where many people busted, so for those whose lives revolve around chasing, or they were on a vacation for the sole purpose of chasing, or whatever, I certainly can understand why they were there, and I don't fault them for trying..

Again - who the hell is asking for a f*cking trophy because we chased? I came home from 17 hours of driving with no complaints, then I sit down to find Keil Ortega slamming me and everyone else because we cap busted and said so. As tired as I was, I really didn't need a kick in the teeth for my chase style/philosohy to go with my road lag. That's the reason I'm even in this stupid debate. Kevin, I know what 95/60 means. I know what a convective temperature is. I chased because I love to chase and I love impossible odds, because they have paid off for me in the past. I don't expect "respect because I went", that's stupid. What I DO expect is to not be criticized for it.


I do think there are a lot of chasers who getting caught up emotionally in the wrong things, such as model composite parameters, or SPC risk catagories, and are delusional after the fact that one thing (e.g., the cap) ruined an otherwise "perfect" day. Yesterday was a great example. It was not going to be a tornado outbreak by any stretch even if the cap had broken, and there is overwhelming evidence then and now a lot of chasers were not even looking at things like soundings and wind profilers (just look at yesterday's threads). So don't blame SPC or anyone else, and don't expect a lot of respect for chasing down model bullseyes.

(Shaking head) Refer to the last few lines of my above reply

Not that it matters to anyone, but there's also the small matter of my friend Eric Collins, who's in town for his ONE WEEK chase vacation. It's a crappy pattern this week in a crappy year, and if it's ok with the "experts" on this forum, we'd prefer to chase certain doom as opposed to just sitting on our asses - for his one week he gets every year, he'd prefer to at least make the effort, and so would I.

I thought I quit WX-CHASE?
 
Good points Amos. But I disagree with the idea that if there's "any" chance, you should go chase. Consider:

Satuday, 5/21/05: Target area eastern Nebraska. Strong cap in place. Thermodynamics and shear look great in the models fields, but careful look of the 12Z data suggest both might be inflated. Decide probability of initiation = 50%. Probability of bagging a good tornado before dark given initiation = 20%. Net probability = 10%. Is 10% a high enough probability for me to drive all the way from Norman? I decided not to chase, because of any number of factors including gas prices, a long list of things to do at home, and the fact I have a chase vacation coming up in June. If I had a lot of money and time to burn I might have played it differently.

I get the very distinct impression many people here had inflated their probabilities based simply on model bullseyes and not real data (in fact, many people are still convinced they were in a dream setup. Indeed, it was just that: a dream). Yesterday, I said to myself: "So what if the RUC's 'supercell composite' is 36?? Has anyone actually taken a look at the messy Fairbury wind profiler data? Isn't the 25 degree dewpoint depression bothering anyone?" Not a slam against them, it's easy to get caught up in the emotion and miss the details. I'll simply point out that SPC did not mention "strong tornadoes" or "outbreak", nor did they have a tornado hatched probability area, nor a MDT-HIGH risk out, even though they obviously expected initiation. I know a cap bust hurts, trust me, I've been there many times before! It never helped me to blame others or pretend the setup was better than it really was.

Sunday, 5/22/05: I will post something in the forecast thread shortly. But, I'd put probability of initiation in northern OK area = 50%. Probability of seeing a good tornado before dark given initiation = 2%. So net probaility = 1%. Decision: Probable chase, final decision by 2pm. Why? I have nothing keeping me in Norman today, I want to get outside. I will be perfectly happy to see a nontornadic storm, and it's not a long drive. If it's a clear sky bust, I won't be railing agianst the heavens, SPC, or anyone else. It's a pointless waste of time.

Hey, this is just my chase philosophy, your mileage may vary, but it had made my life easy-going, even in down years like 2005.
 
Does the fact that I didn't see a tornado mean that it was a BAD forecast? Does that meant that every single chase during which I don't see a raging supercell with long-track tornadoes mean that the forecast was bad? I certainly don't think so.

This part of the point I am trying to make. I am not criticizing anyone for going out...I am criticizing this "it was a great set up, but the cap..." after the fact. It's happened all season and it's getting ridiculous--because everytime something doesn't happen, it's like that's all I hear about...this season it's been the lack of moisture, the lack of focused forcing and the lack of alignment for instability and shear consistently--caps are the last problem to deal with. Hell, if it weren't for the Carlin show in Wichita, I probably would have been up there for S&Gs. But some egos got pushed wrong because people can't read and suddenly I am hating everyone because they chased. NO! If you read my posts in the target area forum I criticized people for over-doing the day as amazing--in fact, the only reason I posted was because there were 4 of us questioning what was so good. IT WASN'T...that's why so many people were cautious about the day. I know people were cautious and rather skeptical of the day...but this after the fact crap has got to stop...it's annoying and confusing to me.
 
Why are you two insistent on saying we all thought yesterday was an outbreak from hell? Because I don't remember talking to either of you at all, and I'm pretty sure I didn't post a forecast.

Shane, your emotion is clouding your reading ability (rant: this is an example of why I rarely post on these open chase forums). I never said that you forecast or didn't forecast anything. In fact, I don't remember saying your name anywhere. However, I just went back to the 5/21/05 threads and confirmed some other people lamented the cap holding back a "perfect setup" or a "dream setup" yesterday (direct quotes). Simply nonsense, but perhaps it makes them feel better about busting. You weren't one of those people, so I simply wasn't even talking to you. So please calm the f--- down.

Again - who the hell is asking for a f*cking trophy because we chased? I came home from 17 hours of driving with no complaints, then I sit down to find Keil Ortega slamming me and everyone else because we cap busted and said so. As tired as I was, I really didn't need a kick in the teeth for my chase style/philosohy to go with my road lag. That's the reason I'm even in this stupid debate. Kevin, I know what 95/60 means. I know what a convective temperature is. I chased because I love to chase and I love impossible odds, because they have paid off for me in the past. I don't expect "respect because I went", that's stupid. What I DO expect is to not be criticized for it.

To answer your question, one post on this very thread said "we deserve respect for going out on a 'bad' day." Again, I never claimed you said this, nor did I ever criticize ANYONE for chasing yesterday. All I said is 1) my decision threshold was different, and 2) the situation has been over-hyped by some before and after the event.

Not that it matters to anyone, but there's also the small matter of my friend Eric Collins, who's in town for his ONE WEEK chase vacation. It's a crappy pattern this week in a crappy year, and if it's ok with the "experts" on this forum, we'd prefer to chase certain doom as opposed to just sitting on our asses - for his one week he gets every year, he'd prefer to at least make the effort, and so would I.

Certain doom? Huh?

If I were on my chase vacation right now, I would have almost certainly been up there yesterday. But I also wouldn't be complaining this morning about the "perfect setup" that never existed (again, I'm NOT saying Shane Adams said this, so calm down Shane).
 
I decided not to chase, because of any number of factors including gas prices, a long list of things to do at home, and the fact I have a chase vacation coming up in June. If I had a lot of money and time to burn I might have played it differently.

See there we go.... when June rolls around, I'll be limited to close setups due to commitments. Saturday had a great enough risk that I decided it was good enough to go out.

Has anyone actually taken a look at the messy Fairbury wind profiler
Hmph... wish I knew about that one... I could of visited it ;)

The glory or not so much glory in long haul chasing was in that to reach the target area we left even before 12z stuff came out. As a result, we have limited data abilities on the road. Even when stopping, it is a battle against the clock so analysis is done in a ranshackle way.

Yesterday, I noted earlier discrepencies between the moisture return. RUC seemed more "on", but of the one initialization I saw yesterday, it actually under did the dps a bit in s. KS. ETA was of course over the top, but both had precip breaking in some portion of KS/NE/IA.

As far as checking wind profiles on the go... I basically assume best/worst case scenarios... IE: 500mb speed will be better the farther north you go.

When I am in a hurry, the only data I pretty much check is sfc obs, satellite images, and SPC mesoanalysis stuff (which is dangerously based off model stuff too). After that I'll glance at MDs and fcst discussions from the local FOs.

Why? I have nothing keeping me in Norman today, I want to get outside.
That pretty much summed up yesterday... a chance to get out of OUN. If I am successful 1/5 marginal setups I'm happy. Even if I don't, I try to find something nice to photograph out on the plains.

Side note: we ran into the most monster motorcycle rally in Beatrice. There must of been at least 500 bikers.

Aaron
 
LOL, This is still going on? I see some people didn't get much sleep last night. Amos, shane, and jeff, right on the money. I just woke up and this thing is STILL going on. Stick to your books. And by all means, I want to see you put your forecasts out there, so we have some good "insight" on what the day is like. Screw the SPC and listen to you AWESOME forecasters, that's what i'm gonna do. Where were you yesterday? Damnit, if I had only listened to those few people that "thought to themselves" I could have avoided meeting all those nice people, optimistic people and sat at my computer all day laughing at others who spent time and money on a passion. So what do you guys think for today? [/b]

EDIT: Oh, and KARMA is a beyawwwwwwwwwtch. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
 
LOL, why are we already talking about June? We talked about May with starry eyes for two months and look what that got us. Lesson? Deal with crap as it comes and only wish for better things down the line. Counting on any month seems futile this year.
 
Hey, this is just my chase philosophy, your mileage may vary, but it had made my life easy-going, even in down years like 2005.

To each his own. Yesterday was a 50/50 day and it just happened to not work out in our favor. That's why SPC had a slight risk because they knew that if storms did fire they were going to be discrete and there wasn't going to be a widespread outbreak. Anyone with any forecasting experience could have pointed that out. But it's May and if given the slighest opportunity I will be out. Heck why bother chasing and spending a little money when you can just sit at home and re-live the events when chaser highlights videos come out. Because that seems like a better option for you and your money will be worth it because you are sure to see tornadoes.

There are two pains in life: 1) The pain of hard work 2) The pain of regret. You may think that you're high up on a pedestal right now because you chose not to chase but when the same "50/50" opportunity arises again and a couple of beautiful beautiful discrete storms fire you will be eating your words and experiencing the pain of regret. Because I can assure you that your pain of regret will be worse than the pain people were experiencing while getting a tan at 7:00p.m. in Nebraska yesterday.

Also, 2005 hasn't been a down year. It's been an average year SO FAR and it's starting to hit people hard that not every year is not going to be like 2003 and 2004. That's why there's an overall depressed mood in the chase community that I can feel right now.
 
Yesterday

Anyone remember May 11th 2000, Iowa? Extreme instability and decent wind shear were present this day but so was a VERY strong cap. SPC had my area only on the edge of a slight risk and it really looked like nothing was going to happen and then at around 6pm WHAMMMM! The cap broke and we had a number of tornados roll through my county, including a strong F3 tornado. My philosophy is -hit happens. I met alot of awsome people yesterday, saw a beautiful sunset, and got back home by around 11:30pm last night intime for McDonalds and videos so all in all yesterday could have been better but it could have been worse. What bothered me the most yesterday was when I got home and sank my starving teeth into that unhealthy but AWSOME tasting McDonalds food that in my hurry I had a french frie stab me in the roof of my mouth causing much pain and profanity :!: . :oops: :lol: :eek: :D
 
Re: Yesterday

Anyone remember May 11th 2000, Iowa? Extreme instability and decent wind shear were present this day but so was a VERY strong cap.

True, but yesterday the instability and shear were both pretty marginal, so it's not a very good example. Which leads us to...

To each his own. Yesterday was a 50/50 day and it just happened to not work out in our favor. That's why SPC had a slight risk because they knew that if storms did fire they were going to be discrete and there wasn't going to be a widespread outbreak. Anyone with any forecasting experience could have pointed that out. But it's May and if given the slighest opportunity I will be out. Heck why bother chasing and spending a little money when you can just sit at home and re-live the events when chaser highlights videos come out. Because that seems like a better option for you and your money will be worth it because you are sure to see tornadoes.

There are two pains in life: 1) The pain of hard work 2) The pain of regret. You may think that you're high up on a pedestal right now because you chose not to chase but when the same "50/50" opportunity arises again and a couple of beautiful beautiful discrete storms fire you will be eating your words and experiencing the pain of regret. Because I can assure you that your pain of regret will be worse than the pain people were experiencing while getting a tan at 7:00p.m. in Nebraska yesterday.

Your first sentences about the forecast mirror what I've been saying all along. If "anyone with forecast experience" could have pointed things out early yesterday, they certainly did NOT do so on this board, in fact as you can see many are still under the delusion that yesterday was a perfect/dream setup only ruined by the cap. And, as I've also stated over and over again, I have chased some pretty marginal setups in the last decade when the opportunity arose, and a few times I've been rewarded but busted far more often, so please save your lecturing for someone else. For the umpteenth time, my argument is with the people who were blowing yesterday's risk out of proportion before the fact and after the fact, not with those who chose to give it a try.

Also, 2005 hasn't been a down year. It's been an average year SO FAR and it's starting to hit people hard that not every year is not going to be like 2003 and 2004. That's why there's an overall depressed mood in the chase community that I can feel right now.

Well, this is my tenth season chasing and I'd say that, so far at least, it's somewhere around #8 when considering the overall opportunities. That doesn't mean it can't be #1 in a few weeks. I think you do have a good point, though. A few people who spent time/money on chase vacations are becoming increasingly agitated and are clearly on an emotional roller coaster with each new model bullseye. Such drama is not for me.

Since I'm effectively saying the same thing over and over again, and emotional people are putting words in my mouth, I'll spell it out one more time before taking my leave:

1) I'm not criticizing, second-guessing, or making fun of anyone who chose to chase yesterday. I don't think Kiel was either. Like I've said about 20 times, if I was on my chase vacation I probably would have been there too.

2) It's difficult to make a forecast when the capping inversion is the biggest question of the day, particularly when you have to make a decision early because you are a long distance from the target. Since I live in Norman my decision point was ~8:30am, and it wasn't obvious I made the right call.

3) Everyone has a different threshold of deciding when to chase on questionable days. Some people may decide to drive 1000 miles for the slightest of chances, while others may only wait for the obvious "big" days. I'll try not to make fun of the desperate guy who drives to Colorado on Christmas Day for the .000000001% chance of seeing a tornado (after all, if you don't play...).

4) I've honed in on this chase philosophy over my 10 years chasing, and my success rate is now ~1/5. Yes I'll miss a few good tornadoes this way (like the one near South Plains, TX a week ago) but it's not a big deal to me because chasing is not all there is to my life. It's just a personal decision and it's doing well enough for me to be happy and enjoy the hobby.

5) There were signs of trouble with yesterday's setup prior to 12Z, and especially after 18Z, and IT WAS NOT JUST THE CAP, but also high dewpoint depressions and messy shear profiles. Pretending the day was a perfect/dream setup for big tornadoes ruined by only the cap apparently makes a few people who busted feel better, but it's dishonest and kinda sad and pathetic IMO. That's the core of my argument.

And with that summary I'm out of this thread.
 
All I can ad to this discussion is

I pick a week to chase (months in advance) in the seasons that I can get into the Plains. If there is a risk area, I go to it no matter what, since any risk is better than none, and it is my vacation money.

Most of the time, it's just a long trip - but a few days it hasn't been too bad at all.

Living to chase, and chasing to keep my sanity (is that an oxymoron?)

I don't really care how anyone feels about anyone's forecast - it's my and my chase partner's that I can complain about, no one elses. I'll second guess myself if others hit and i am out of position and do the sacred dance of forbidden chaser merriment if I am right and add an extra sacred forbidden body move or two for those who weren't. :lol:
 
After reading through all the posts, I honestly don't understand why this thread exists - I mean, it's as simple as: If you want to chase, then do it, if you don't want to chase, then don't.

I am not understanding this "perfect" setup conversation either - I mean, any setup that generates, or has the potential to generate, at least a couple severe cells is a perfect setup, at least in my opinion... You guy's are all arguing opinions (i.e. a perfect setup, when to chase, why you shouldn't have chased). Maybe to Shane, Amos, Nick Grillo, or anyone else it was a "perfect setup" IN THEIR OPINION, so what's it matter to you? When I looked at the mesoanalysis, I seen quite a bit of helicity, instability, model output precipitation, decent moisture convergence, and a strong CAP - Basically the ingredients to generate a severe thunderstorm, had convection developed. Simply because a CAP exists shouldn't preclude a chase, in my opinion (again). There was obviously at least SOME chance of something happening, or a watch wouldn't have been posted.

And, to top it off... Who's to say, with 100% certainty, that the CAP wouldn't have busted - PRIOR to the event? It's funny no one speaks up and says anything BEFORE the event... People who say things like "oh, man, I would have never chased that setup" - or things similar - aren't hardcore chaser, at least in my opinion. A hardcore chaser goes out on the weakest of days, hoping for that single cell no one expected... I guess a "weekend warrior" would be a more correct term for those who only go out on the best of days, when they are almost guarenteed to see a tornado. Then again, some people complain of the easy days being too easy, and the hard days being too hard - You can't please everyone I guess...
 
I very much agree with your post. Yesterday had all the ingredients to fuel up supercells/tornadoes, if convection would have developed. The models indicated that the CAP should break shortly after 22Z, and just like you said above, if nothing was expected to happen, then a tornado watch would have NEVER been issued...
 
Kevin Scharfenberg wrote:

If \"anyone with forecast experience\" could have pointed things out early yesterday, they certainly did NOT do so on this board, in fact as you can see many are still under the delusion that yesterday was a perfect/dream setup only ruined by the cap.

A look at the forecast thread for the subject day indicates that the folks who wrote a forecast were anticipating the cap, consistently for three days, and considering this factor in their targeting decisions. By chase day, I think this was a given for all interested parties that I talked to, at least.

Regarding the assertion that observational data should be looked at rather than the forecast models, I guess the general point is well taken. However, it seems to me the case might be a little overstated. It seems like the most practical approach for a chaser would be to consider both forecasts and actual observations. I mean, you have to get yourself within reasonable proximity in space and time to see these storm events, and it's hard to see how one could do this without the benefit of forecast information, including models. I agree (and have learned this year) that putting too much stock in severe index bullseyes alone - especially days in advance - can lead you astray in terms of overconfidence.

As to the post-mortem on what happened Saturday, yes, the cap was there and won the day, but who can really say for certain what would have happened if other variables were just slightly different? What about the cirrus deck that persisted over SE Nebraska during much of the day? What about the vigor and character of the surface lifting mechanism? Would just a little bit of upper air divergence have provided sufficient lift? I guess if anyone can answer these questions with confidence and clear explanation, showing me exactly how lack of (severe) initiation that day was a physical certainty, predictable in advance, then I stand ready to learn.

Regarding the question of to chase or not to chase, to me it's self-evident that one cannot make a blanket statement, unless it is based on rock-solid proof of a physical certainty. It comes down to a risk/reward tradeoff, which is a different analysis for every individual and every setup. The other day my locality had a strong storm approach. Based on radar and hearing a pounding sound against the house, I made a very low-risk/moderate payoff decision to "chase" by walking from the couch to the sliding glass door to observe nickel-sized hail. Another chaser may have planned a vacation to the plains months in advance, and spent two days analyzing the possibility of the convective system that produced the same hail, spent another 5 hours driving to the location, and may or may not have been fortunate enough to get into the exact position to observe the hail. The possibilities are endless. The benefit of this board is to learn from one another in order to make better decisions for ourselves, and a positive attitude always helps.
 
The odd beauty of the atmosphere is that we cannot predict exactly what is going to happen. Throw a couple dozen chasers in the mix and you might get a couple dozen different forecasts/targets. One chasers' hot set-up might be anothers' poor set-up. Different interpretation and perspective. You can even see this when comparing various NWS AFDs and even SPC convective outlooks. The author of the now controversial thread does pose some reasonable thoughts that probably could have been addressed in a more smooth and timely manner. I think it is good to look back on a bust day and analyze what went wrong. Vise-versa on a boom day. Hind-site is 20/20 which is a good thing. I think we all agree that real data trumps the forecast models. I doubt many chasers go out after looking at the 12z NAM and not the surface and upper-air obs. In defense of the chasers out on 5/21, some of my favorite storms where on marginal days.
 
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