Determining target city

Example: Today shows a great possibility for supercell thunderstorms to develop. You look at the morning sounding out of Lubbock and it seems this afternoon everything will be right. What the heck makes you say, "Yep, I need to be in Pigstick,Tx. by 4:00." What helps you make the decision on a particular city?
 
Well... First I take a look at all data (models, surface obs), draw a SFC analysis (located fronts, boundaries, etc - Virtually; on my laptop / computer) and pick out the best area that I believe storms will fire. Then, for instances like on 6/12 this year, the best area appeared to be the southern TX panhandle, so we seddled on Childress - Which also provided us with several other things, like good food, and WI-FI access, which is ALWAYS helpful. Then, of course, throughout the course of the day, the target could shift a bit...

On 6/12, we sat in Childress and saw convection popping to the south. We decided to drive south after it, and after about a half hour, the storms began to take shape, and quickly became Supercells. By the time we intercepted, it dropped it's first tornado (and another half dozen or so followed) ...
 
The #1 reason I pick a town or an area to sit and wait is great road access. I want to be in a region with N/S E/W road options.
 
In addition to what Nick and Jason said, I almost always want to stay E of the DL, and if it's a "classic" set-up, just a little S of the triple-point. I know I'm going to want to be SE, E, or S of any meso, and that ought to put me in position right from initiation.

Rule number 1 for me is: Never, never sit under a stratus deck. Find the dry slot and get there.

Always factor anticipated storm motion, and not just from models or soundings. If they say NNE storm motion, but storms fire near the TP, and there is a significant CF draped E-W to the E of TP, you're most likely going to get storms that ride the E-W WF/CF bdry. If that happens to be, say, near Scottsbluff, you may have a big (no) road-network problem, and you might just want to play a different strategy for the day entirely.

I will also factor in the threat that forecast storms pose to people. Everything else being equal, I will chase storms that threaten, say, AMA, as opposed to storms further up into the PH, so that I can get reports to the NWSFO. Yeah, even though there's gonna be 1000 other chasers on that storm.

There are areas where I will absolutely never chase again, such as anywhere S of I-40 and E of I-35 in OK. Jungle.

Bob
 
I pick certain towns because they're in the geographical center of my target area. I like to have quick access to snacks/water while I'm waiting for storms to fire, which is why I choose towns over open country.
 
After looking at all the data, I usually pick a general "region" as a target area, and I will pick a city or town in that area to start out at. Once there I can eat/get fuel/and watch the weather unfold from there if internet is available. Once cells start to form, you can adjust your position from there and go to nowcasting.
 
Internet access is a big plus for an initial target. Either WIFI or a public library.
 
Rule number 1 for me is: Never, never sit under a stratus deck. Find the dry slot and get there.
Bob

Ditto that. If I get to my target and there is stratus crapus than I keep going.

The other posts covered most of my thoughts but I don't mind deviating a bit from my point on the map if there is nature preserve or park nearby. Maybe one town has something interesting worth checking out before the towers go up. I like to stake out in the county seat where I can photograph and sometimes tour the old and beautiful courthouses. Kind of a hobby within a hobby.

If my target is within an hour drive from home I'll usually wait it out until the towers start to pop. This lesson learned from 5/22/04. Now if initiation is expected to my east then I'll get ahead of it before the big bang.

All this assuming there are storms. The far northern plains season this year is somewhere between fair and mediocre. Plenty of storms but limited supers.
 
Boundaries, moisture/instability axis, clear slots, jet dynamics, internet access, food joints, road options are all of what goes into picking my target...

Alot of fast food joints are getting wifi now. nothing like chillin' at taco bell watching sat/rad loops.
 
Blake pretty much covered it there I think - - -

Simply speaking here ... in targeting I will usually note the axis of instability and keep an eye on where it moves during the day, along with the boundary position. I'll look at where the wind barbs are intersecting in this area and pull up a couple soundings in the vicinity just to see if it was what had been anticipated in the latest model run. There are lots of variables that go into picking your final target city, though. A lot of it will depend on the source of lift you are working with on that particular day (fronts, low level convergence, low level WAA, low level moisture advection, outflow boundaries, upslope, frictional convergence, vorticity, and the jet streak). I'll likely choose one town that I feel is right in the middle of the target area the night before and then revise it one or more times on the day of. This target is usually in the process of shifting while I'm on the road, which is where a nowcaster will come in handy. But seldom - and only in the most certain cases - will you have a situation where the target city on the day of is the same as what had been picked the night before. Occasionally it happens, but not often.

In the most basic terms - you look where the ingredients for tornadic supercells are coming together ... moisture, instability and lift (and also shear) ... and then pick a town smack in the middle of where that is coming together. And if you have several towns to choose from, choose the one with the best WiFi options, road options and pizza options.
 
Traffic is a big one with me. Not all cities are a mess during rushhour or any part of the day for that matter. I almost missed many great storms while sitting in a nasty traffic jam. Access to data is a must, A city with as few trees as possible is good too.
 
Usually what I will do is pick an area that morning/midafternoon based on a combination of things (soundings, obs, etc) that has a radius of say 20-50 miles. Then, I will look on a map and see which towns within that radius have the best road networks and such, and I choose one. I don't pick an exact geographical coordinate or anything like that where I think storms will occur, but I do pick a pretty narrow general area that I'd like to stick to, and the town within that area with the best road options wins.
 
Originally posted by Chris Lott
Example: Today shows a great possibility for supercell thunderstorms to develop. You look at the morning sounding out of Lubbock and it seems this afternoon everything will be right. What the heck makes you say, \"Yep, I need to be in Pigstick,Tx. by 4:00.\" What helps you make the decision on a particular city?

A lot of forecasting and knashing of teeth. My forecast makes the determination for me and I go to the area of greatest likelyhood for chaseable tornadoes. If areas are equal I may pick dryline storms over a warm front for visibility. I may pick specific towns if I know they have better data opportunities or road networks. Distance from my current location, amount of daylight left in the day to chase, and terrain features also help me decide.

The details of what my forecasting techniques are is beyond the space appropriate here.
 
Originally posted by Blake Michaleski
Boundaries, moisture/instability axis, clear slots, jet dynamics, internet access, food joints, road options are all of what goes into picking my target...

Alot of fast food joints are getting wifi now. nothing like chillin' at taco bell watching sat/rad loops.

Amen to that! My main thing is being somewhere where I can keep the signal strong enough on my cell phone so my Internet access will stay up and I can keep the radars and so forth going. One thing I try to avoid is areas where traffic congestion is thick. If I need to hustle towards a storm, slow pokes and stop lights won't help at all.
 
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