Death Ridge

Anyone have any idea how long this ridge setting up will last? I'm in Terre Haute, Indiana tonight. I'm on schedule to be in Enid on Sunday. I'm praying this ridge breaks down after this week. I'll be able to chase a little more than a week after this week :(
 
This is really starting to have me worried. NCEP seems quite confident in the long range ensembles for the period I had planned to be out, and if they verify, it'll be a big sack of nothing. As busy as I am at work and as much as I'm trying to save up cash, I can't really afford to spend that kind of cash to putter around the plains for nothing for 10 days.
 
Well, I'm still hopeful...it is May 14th, and more than half of May remains. Hopefully, the long-range GFS is wrong...the progs are wholly unclimatological, as this season has been.

Except for a smattering of good chase events (which you really had to be in the right place at the right time to view), this season has been lackluster. I won't be able to chase after June 5th or so (more than likely), so I hope this season gets its act together quickly.

Gabe
 
I really don't like what I'm seeing for the last couple weeks in May. I am locked into the time I can take off work to chase (May 20-30) and each run that this dreaded ridge shows up on GFS feels like a knife sticking further in my back. Ok, maybe that sounds a bit dramatic but those of you who are in my boat and only have a limited time to roam the plains freely know exactly what I mean. It would be just my luck that the only time these blasted long range models are on the mark is for the last two weeks of May. :?

Somebody please just tell me anything that sounds promising. If any of you forecasting guru's and/or mets out there read this then please take a second to respond and tell me not to worry so much. Thanks.

Keeping The Faith as Long as I Can,
Fabian
 
There's nothing to do but wait, and make some potentially tough decisions. Kinda like chasing before actually chasing. My chase partner & I are locked in to our week as well, & I have a plane ticket involved, so I totally understand this situation.

"Good" or even "very good" agreement re: long range model trends is nothing to get stressed about this far out. Think of it this way: what would you do with that time if you *knew* there weren't going to be storms? Take the worst-case scenario, come up with an alternate plan, and you'll feel better than being anxious about the uncontrollable.
 
I have the week of may 21-28 scheduled along with a plane ticket and planning to meet other chasers out there during that time. I do have the option of rescheduling my vacation, but at this point, I am still very much set on going that week. Im not too worried about what the models say this far out.
 
I rarely put much faith in model trends that go out more than 7 days. There are just too many variables. Even a "less than ideal" setup like the may 12 harper ks event can be very productive..
 
Fabian,

Last year everyone (and I mean everyone) on here was giving up on the season May 1st...all because there was a ridge in place. I guess for a lot of people, a ridge (whenever during the season it appears) signals the end of the entire convective year. I say rubbish. I remember when the consensus was May 8-15 or so was supposed to be "dead". Well I got up one of those mornings and saw a string of about 4-5 chases in a row, that nobody had foreseen the previous week.

The thing to remember is, the atmosphere is fluid. Liquid. Juice. And liquids can be very unpredictable. I don't take a model forecast to heart 12 hours out, let alone 12 days. And with as bad as they've been this year (both with prediction and flip-flopping), I'd say any "doomsday" forecast will disappear from the charts within a few days. Even the consistent anomolis appearing this year have consistently appeared in the same time frame (meaning the models have been automatically sticking a ridge or trough in there at a certain point, regardless.)

So Fab, my friend, never fear. I have two friends from Ohio coming out May 20-27 as well, and I'm confident we'll have a few decent chase days. Mays just don't no-show. We've yet to have anything substancial (barring May 12) and May always goes nuts sometime during its window of time in each calendar year. Some have said "look at 2003, the last two weeks were dead." Yes they were, but look at what happened the first two weeks that year.

Never fear...
 
Originally posted by Shane Adams
Fabian,

Last year everyone (and I mean everyone) on here was giving up on the season May 1st...all because there was a ridge in place. I guess for a lot of people, a ridge (whenever during the season it appears) signals the end of the entire convective year. I say rubbish. I remember when the consensus was May 8-15 or so was supposed to be \"dead\". Well I got up one of those mornings and saw a string of about 4-5 chases in a row, that nobody had foreseen the previous week.

The thing to remember is, the atmosphere is fluid. Liquid. Juice. And liquids can be very unpredictable. I don't take a model forecast to heart 12 hours out, let alone 12 days. And with as bad as they've been this year (both with prediction and flip-flopping), I'd say any \"doomsday\" forecast will disappear from the charts within a few days. Even the consistent anomolis appearing this year have consistently appeared in the same time frame (meaning the models have been automatically sticking a ridge or trough in there at a certain point, regardless.)

So Fab, my friend, never fear. I have two friends from Ohio coming out May 20-27 as well, and I'm confident we'll have a few decent chase days. Mays just don't no-show. We've yet to have anything substancial (barring May 12) and May always goes nuts sometime during its window of time in each calendar year. Some have said \"look at 2003, the last two weeks were dead.\" Yes they were, but look at what happened the first two weeks that year.

Never fear...

That was very well put. I think we put way to much into the long term models. I've seen many good set ups show up on the long term, only to have them crap out in the next few days. This can happen in the exact opposite ways. As Shane said...things can appear to be dead, but things can, and will always change.

EDIT: As far as those long term progs....Last year I too, had one of my best chase years...and my area was a total of 3 inches below normal for rainfall during April and May.
 
Thanks Shane and the rest of you. I needed to hear that. I'm not gonna stress any more this year about what the models say...I'm done, I'm letting go and going with the flow.

So, here's raising a glass to May!

Fabian
 
I agree with Shane...May will have something, at least somewhere. The "death ridge" has *never* set up this early in the season. Even 2003, which basically stopped after May 16th (for the Southern Plains), there were several events in June.

And really, what is the death ridge? The northern plains (if you can chase them), often go crazy (here and there) clear through August. I understand not too many people can chase up there, but if you pick the right days, you can actually see quite a bit after May.

For those still hoping for May, the GFS progs are *always* wrong/very wrong after 10 days. And even out to 7 days, I would be very doubtful.

Gabe
 
Thanks.. I appreciate the opinions also... I was seriously starting to stress as well.

When the plane tix have been purchased, the rental car reserved, the wife given her blessing, the boss and all at work ok with the vacation time, it ads a little to the anticipation... and stress level somewhat! :wink:
 
Well, strong ridging in May doesn't automatically fly in the face of climatology - that is, it can happen, has happened, and will continue to happen from time to time. I can think of several years in the past decade or so in which a good chunk of May was lost to a strong ridge - even otherwise "active" years.

Anyone who expects May to be thirty-one days of wall-to-wall chasing would probably be best off finding a new hobby. Ridging happens. Obviously, anyone unlucky enough to take their vacation during one of these periods of ridging are up the creek, but that's the harsh reality of storm chasing.

With the recent advancements in technology that have, essentially, made storm chasing easier, I worry we're seeing more chasers now who, 1) Treat tornadoes as a given, 2) See bust days as highly unusual, and 3) Expect every season to be one for the record books. Of course, it don't work that way.

So far, something clearly seems "off" with the 2005 season. Too much continental air, poor moisture, blocky pattern...beats me. But, even with the good setups of the past week, there haven't been many chaser-friendly storms. Clearly, we could use a pattern change.

Well, it looks as if a pattern change is on the way...just not the sort we'd like. But, eventually, the ridge will break down, and we'll be out chasing once again. It might be in the Northern Plains by then, but what's new?

And, looking on the bright side, we'll probably be better off should the atmosphere "reset" itself with a ridge at this point than continue the pattern of cold air intrusions that's plagued us the past few weeks. Sometimes, you have to take your medicine if you expect to get any better.
 
Have hope! Depending on the configuration and strength of any early summer ridge.... there should still be chasing somewhere. It might be in eastern NM or eastern Colorado, but storms can still form on the edges of, or even under a "strong" ridge. There are many examples of great storms forming while chasers were freaking out about the so-called "death ridge." A vetern chaser once advised me that a true (storm ending) death ridge is a large upper high centered over the Plains with a strength of at least 594dkm, 700 mb temps of at least 14C, and 500 mb temps of warmer than -5C. I don't see that yet?

Mike
 
Folks.....in my years of chasing, I've come up with a little saying (just to myself)...and it's..."May-Schmay". I have learned that May can be a darn fickle month.....and generally all of it but the last week or so. That's why I ALWAYS book my chase vacations for the last week of May thru mid June. In my opinion...May is too often too cool........or without instabilities. It took me a lot of May bust years to finally change my thinking...and change my chase dates.
Sure, I'm aware that many of you are tethered in Norman for various reasons...but in my experience...if a chaser is willing to WORK at this endeavor..meaning drive long distances to get him / her in the best position to experience supercells, and chase even on "marginal" days....you'll not come up empty handed. So what if the south plains get ridged out...why not drive up to Nebraska or thereabouts? I mean...Nebraska has only had 3 tornadic days within the last 6 days.
My chase partner and cousin Doren and I work our butts off driving where need be. We generally stay within the area west of the Missouri river (except to Iowa) and from the Dakotas down to the Midland area. We go where we have to. Yes...it can be work. And let me tell you....we've had tornadoes on days that were extremely marginal.
C'mon guys.......never forget that there are folks out there paralyzed from the neck down that see us chasers on television, and would give ANYTHING to be out with us for even an hour. Quit whining!! And I say that with all respect, you know. But "courage in the face of adversity"!!

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Originally posted by joel ewing
if a chaser is willing to WORK at this endeavor..meaning drive long distances to get him / her in the best position to experience supercells, and chase even on \"marginal\" days....you'll not come up empty handed. So what if the south plains get ridged out...why not drive up to Nebraska or thereabouts?

If you're handing me the cash to do that - HELL YEAH BUDDY. I don't like your comment about chasers being "willing to WORK for it." As opposed to what? Many of us simply can't afford to go galavanting off to whatever state the action will be in on a given day. Trust me, I fear no distance; I'll drive to any place to have a chance at a tornado, but all the willingness in the world is moot if your wallet isn't thick. I think a lot of chasers who don't have to worry about money tend to forget a lot more of us do have to worry about it.



Originally posted by joel ewing+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(joel ewing)</div>
My chase partner and cousin Doren and I work our butts off driving where need be. [/b]

What does that mean? You guys push the car yourselves???


<!--QuoteBegin-joel ewing

C'mon guys.......never forget that there are folks out there paralyzed from the neck down that see us chasers on television, and would give ANYTHING to be out with us for even an hour. Quit whining!!

Using your own words with my analogy, the chasers who have limited funds are the paralyzed ones. You don't think it kills us to sit and listen to all the stories of South Dakota madness well into June and July, while we are back at our jobs working our butts off towards the next season? Don't tell me to stop whining, I eat plenty of crow every year from missing major events up north. Not because I'm not willing to "work" for it either.
 
Originally posted by Jeff Lawson
Ridging happens.

Nothing to add here... but that would make a great bumpersticker.

Plus that made my sig line....


EDIT: Dang it... Late. I didn't see Darren's post that said the same thing... :lol:
 
I agree with Shane. When I talk about cancellation, it is merely because I am trying to save up to potentially purchase a house in the next six to twelve months, combined with the possibility that I may need to move to a new city in the next year, and I have to deal with the reality of my fiscal situation. There are certain luxuries that those of us well outside the plains just do not have.
 
Originally posted by Shane Adams+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Shane Adams)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-joel ewing
My chase partner and cousin Doren and I work our butts off driving where need be.

What does that mean? You guys push the car yourselves???

[/b]

It means we're not easily discouraged. And suggest that others not be discouraged either.

It means that when you make plans to fly in from either coast (or another continent), it's an expensive commitment. Death Ridge or no, you take what you get and make the most of it. Year over year persistence usually pays off.

Flying into a "Death Ridge" is an expensive disappointment. Especially when your dates are locked. But I'd rather spend a week working the fringes than spending a week back home at the office.

The models don't look good. But models change. The folks here who are expressing concern – like me – have made expensive commitments and are locked in. The game isn't over yet. For me it hasn't happened yet. And I'm looking forward to making the most of what I get this year. Even if it's a bust.


db
 
Whoa...Shane....easy buddy. I can hear your frustration. Yeah, I took it for granted that most everybody who chases can afford to go where need be. My bad.
And no.....we don't push the car. When I say we work at it, I mean that we'll blaze from the Tex. panhandle to southeast Montana straight if we feel conditions warrent it. Not everybody is willing to do that....even they have the bucks to afford it. Also...we will go out on days that are very marginal. Even do the long distance thing for a marginal target. From the time my plane lands until it flys me back home again..I'm out here to chase.
Last year I spent five days under blue skies in a motel in Amarillo....racking up motel, restaurant and laundry fees every day. Nothing happening anywhere in the alley...and not a damn thing to do in Amarillo. Believe me.....I understand the frustration.
 
My chaser vacation starts Wednesday through Memorial Day.

After reading the Medium Range Forecast Discussion,

http://twister.sbs.ohio-state.edu/text/nce...cep/FXUS02.KWBC

one can't help but be a little disappointed.... However, I plan to make the most of it. I will chase anything from the Canadian border South to the Rio Grande if I have to. There is bound to be something..and I find even garden variety storms a real treat out in the Plains.

I have had previous Death Ridges to deal with before so I always makes plans on how to stay busy and entertained despite the weather.

This year, will be doing all tent camping and will have a girl friend and beagle in tow to make things interesting! :wink:
 
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