Relax, People!

Chill, man. It's not even May yet. Ya know what we were all saying this time last year? Doom and gloom, no tornadoes, blah blah blah. What happened? 2004 turned out to be the best tornado season anybody'd had.

There are rumblings in the crystal balls of some gravy-esque longwave trough setting up over the don your cloak and prepare to do some serious model skulking.....and chill, man.

I couldn't agree more.

I've been noticing quite a bit of despondency in some posts lately regarding this year and how "lousy" it has been. If you remember, this time last year (also to some extent in 2003) wasn't any better. In 2004, as I gather from reading through the posts here and from the accounts on the 100+ chaser websites I have in my favorites, there was only one really "good" tornadic event in the southern Plains (March 27th) before May 12th rolled around, and between that and May 22nd, 24th, 29th, 30th and June 12th a bunch of people set personal tornado records.

April is a fickle can turn a highly anticipated situation into a disappointing bust or can whip up a big outbreak seemingly out of nowhere.

May can be just as unpredictable...but seems to disappoint less often. That's (among many other things) what I love about spring. :D

There's still plenty of time, everybody. It's not over till it's over. :)
It's important to remember there will be good years and bad years.

I've notice that after a good chase year everyone thinks it will be a repeat year. This is often not the case, but quite the opposite.

We take what we get!

This year does seem a little slow getting started. And, we've been dealing with some funky patterns since last Summer, it seems. So, I think the unpredictable nature of it all is the real issue. I can understand why some would feel a bit uneasy - especially if they scheduled their chase vacation for the first week of May or thereabouts.

I'm not all that worried personally. For one, I hate chasing this early in the season. So, if nothing happens in April, it doesn't bother me one bit. I'd rather have crystal blue skies and beautiful weather in early Spring than day after day of crap setups that tempt you to waste time and money chasing squall lines.

If Memorial Day rolls around and we've been baking under a ridge for a couple weeks, I'll be worried. But a slow April? I've seen plenty.
Exactly. Same thing has been going on between us Illinois chasers. Remember back to 2004...we had NOTHING until April 20th came out of nowhere. And today is only one day past that...and we've already had a couple smaller events. We may not have seen a ton of severe weather for the year 2005...but, if you compare it to last year, we're actually AHEAD of 2004's pace.

I'll have no whining from plains many of you have already bagged beautiful supercells and tornadoes...and are getting way too greedy for mid-late April, while many of us are still just getting our seasons underway.
Oh, I'm sure we'll see what is becoming our regular two weeks of insanity in May! The question is, will it happen in the first half or second half of May this year? Hehe.
Karen is right on when she says to cool it, everybody. Througout the years that I have been in this crazy obsession, I've never had any faith in April. can light up now and again, but quite often it can be somewhat sparse for tornadoes. Besides.....I absolutely loathe chasing when it gets dark so darn early.
As for May....well, we all know it can be the best....but throughout the years I've been skunked pretty good in May...and have even been known to mutter to myself "Ahhh, May Schmaay" after sitting in motel rooms for days and days on end as cold May temps put the lid on any chase hopes.
That's why I now always fly into the alley for the LAST week of May....and stay out thru mid-June. I love the fact that sundown is around 9:30pm....with lingering light until 10 or so. This can really help when you've blown it and gone after the wrong storm..and need to cut and run towards another one. Also....I personally prefer to work Nebraska, Kansas, northeast Colorado and the Dakotas...and June is the peak month for the bulk of those.
Lastly, from what chase accounts I read the last couple of weeks...a lot of chasers admittedly blew their chases and picked wrong storms, etc. etc. Look at these early season blown chases as gutter-balls, that everybody throws until they get "warmed up". "Life is nothing more than a series of adjustments" someone wiser than me once said. With that in mind.....make your mental adjustments....improve your game....and don't forget.......there is the ENTIRE SEASON still ahead for us all. Joel Ewing
I don't understand where everybody gets off in saying that it's been a "slow" year... It's been WAY more active than 2004 was at this time. Yesterday was a pretty active day and it appeared that it was the best setup so far this year... Look at the GFS... It gets intresting by late April thru early May.... :D

Originally posted by nickgrillo
Look at the GFS... It gets intresting by late April thru early May.... :D ..Nick..

Well, forecast discussions I've been reading have a trough east/ridge west pattern (less favorable for severe weather, and COLD in the Midwest/Great Lakes) at least until late next week. Let's hope that reverses after that. :)
Is there any safety in assuming that texas will have a lower tornado count from now on, this season, now that we are approaching May?
Meaning arent we gonna be looking at Kansas / Nebraska again for mid May rather than south?
Originally posted by bill mudd
Is there any safety in assuming that texas will have a lower tornado count from now on, this season, now that we are approaching May? Meaning arent we gonna be looking at Kansas / Nebraska again for mid May rather than south? bill

Not neccissarily. Some of the biggest tornado days in the Texas Panhandle have come later in the season. Early June 1995 and May 15, 2003 being examples.
Yes, relax is good advice and I believe it goes hand in hand with keeping a bright attitude about our hobby. Nature, by her very nature, will not always hand us what we want, when we want it. The greatest virtue of our hobby is that it is so multi-faceted, involving everything from forecasting, photography, trip planning, map-reading skills, to computer technology and story writing. Wrap these pursuits in the awesome beauty of nature along with good comradeship and the occasional adrenaline rush and, well, I don't know what more you could ask for. You can get as deep or as shallow into any of these facets as your interest desires - ultimately challenging your math, physics, language, and motor skills. So, when mother nature doesn't want to cooperate in handing us the perfect storm on a silver platter, there's always something to work on as individuals and sit back and admire the successes of our fellow chasers in the meantime.
Excellent post, Mike.

While March and April thus far could arguably be considered lackluster for the southern plains, I would contend that KS and NE have had a nice run of early season set-ups. Before moving to ND, I was in NE for two years and only bothered to chase once before May because there were very few chances. If I were still there I would have had three or four chases in the last couple weeks. This is no consolation for the folks in Norman or Ft. Worth who would rather chase on home turf. Now I am stuck in ND which is great as this state has an excellent chase season. The problem up here is that it doesn't really start in a typical year until late May with JULY being the peak month. So, I will get my chasing in but will have to be patient as I oogle over the success of others further south. If this is a typical year up here than I'm certain the folks further south will oogle over the success of chasers in the great white north later this summer. Every so often, the bulk of a chase season will pass you by with limited opportunity. This is the nature of the beast (or possibly the beast in nature).

Note: The only "weather hole" in the Plains as defined in an article in the latest BAMS (by my former UNL prof) is Grand Forks, ND.
We can't change the weather, so yes, it's best to stay relaxed. That is, until 240 hours before the start of one's chasecation, after which point there is no relaxation, there is only ZUUL. Stupid GFS. I am weak!

Now, to stay relaxed until May 19...
The long term models don't look all that impressive as of today.
(April 24). If you want to go by NCEP (, for example, the pattern is rather dull for the near future. I did note a few local NWS discussions in the last week noting a more "progressive" pattern in early May. Anyone see this?

Good chance this could all flip-flop.

I still think it's too early to be worrying. Might have to
do some big driving this year. Too bad gas prices suck!!!

2005 storm season

This year has been decent to me so far, I haven't seen any tornados but I have been on 4 chases so far, been in tornado warned storms, seen a couple wall clouds, damaging winds up to 71 mph, flash flooding, hail to the size of golf balls, and some excellent storm structure, so I'm not complaining, plus May isn't even here yet!