So What's Next?

Mar 2, 2004
Northern Colorado
90 degrees in Denver usually means one thing... summer's here and chasing becomes less and less frequent... in fact, I'm starting to settle into that summer mode where I may chase a couple Colorado days, but I'm already looking less and less ahead for chasing days.

While I haven't glanced at anything long term, I am seeing the pattern shifting well to the north with a couple chances for some Central and Southern Plains possibly in the future, but other than that, I'm fearing the end of the better chasing in the Plains.

While I'm not calling the season done yet as August likes to surprise us here in Denver, I'm hardly in the "high alert" mode I've been over the passed couple months.

Anyone else in the "winding down" mode? And keep in mind that I will chase good setups if they can happen on my free days, but I'm not looking 5 to 10 days out to find them now.

Anyone think we have a couple sneaky setups left, or is everyone packing it in for the summer heat and hoping for some stuff come the start of fall?
Winding down and spooled out I put more time into chasing this season than ever before (or than I'll probably have for it ever again until I retire), and other things in my life got neglected badly. So now I'm racing back to Indiana to get on with the business of being an adult. I'll have to drop chasing like a hot rock. If I'm lucky, I'll chase again in October during the Fall "window" that didn't materialize in 2004.

I'm behind the 8 ball in many ways, but June was worth it.
I am still expecting some action in South Dakota, North Dakota, and possibly Nebraska. I have my dad's birthday on Sunday that I need to be at, but after that I plan on heading North. It even looks like they will have a few tornadoes up there tomorrow. I have settled down a little bit, but I am far from throwing in the towel on the season. I think there is a good chance that there will be a couple good tornado days before the end of the month. As far as Kansas goes, I think we are done.

edit- after looking at the models for the first time today, I would expect tornadoes in Scentral South Dakota on Monday if the NAM verifies. I will be heading up there Sunday night if it holds together.
I think you know better than to say that Kansas is done :wink:

At any rate, I can tell you that I'm checking the river and lake levels to go kayaking more than I've been checking the weather lately. My mind has taken to other things while still keeping the weather on the list.

I do like the late season storms though. It's kind of like having my birthday three weeks after Christmas, you still get a few small gifts after bringing in the big haul :)

It's likely I'll see you out in the eastern plains of Colorado Tony as harvest is looming on the in-laws farm. Wheat harvest is like washing your car, it WILL storm.

Like Amos, I'm returning home to nearly one month of accumulated work, bills and other responsibilities that require immediate attention. I have to relearn all of my friends' names, spend several days uncovering my yard from vegetation, etc. When you get to be in your late 20s and older, the life you leave behind on a chase trip doesn't stop like it used to when you were younger.

So, my chase season has come to a definite close, though I still am wondering how I'm going to stop checking data every day (models, convective outlooks). I still did my SPC routine this morning. Don't know why, because I couldn't chase a 15% hatched tornado risk in my backyard now if I wanted to.
Fortunately, I was able to make a couple quick returns to Denver to ensure me staying up-to-date with various "normal life" items. My biggest adjustment was returning to a normal paycheck schedule, but that seems to be leveling off now...

Yes, normal life is something to miss... but it was nice to come back to the friends I had here and be welcomed as if I had returned from war. Most of my current Colorado friends met me late enough to accept this time consuming hobby of mine right off the bat... all my other friends live out of state and love it when I'm out cause it usually means better chances of seeing them since I'm on the road! :lol:

I figure my season is pretty well done when I return my passenger seat back to the car and catch up with the general maintance. I agree there are a few good days left, but they'll be few and far between... it is definately winding down...
Don't know if I'm totally ready for it to end. I haven't been chasing all the good days and places. For instance I held back on Hill City day. Plus I've been getting spoiled with the local Texas chases the last week or so. Looked at the 180 hour GFS a bit ago and it looks like the mid to upper level ridge will be in place over the majority of the plains during the week. Perhaps SD and ND will still get something during that time, but even there didn't look too intense. Anyone looked out 2 weeks yet? Maybe the good flow will be back briefly before it all ends?

That said I have a ton of stuff to do too, and that is one reason I haven't chased all the good stuff this year. Even so it's been one of my best years.
I'm definitely in "winding down" mode, which is always a big disappointment as a lot of my fellow chase bros are just now hitting their stride, as they are able to freely embrace the wonderful, mobile, Summer upper Plains storm season, which will no doubt give them chase opportunities well into August.

I've hoped for years to be able to stretch my seasons into Summer and enjoy the fruits of that time, but right now things still force me to shut it down by the end of June. I did manage to reach the 20-chase mark, which is something I hadn't done since 2002 prior to this season. Another plus is, despite the fact we messed up almost all of the good days towards the end of the season, we managed to nail most of the good ones in the crappy, first half of the year. And good days in April/May were hard to come by this season.

I keep thinking I'm done, and I keep finding myself chasing. I had no clue on the 16th I'd be taking off right after work and chasing northern OK. I had no idea I'd be chasing the weekend of June 10-12. I've been fortunate to get the days I've gotten, despite that once again, a very small window (June 6-9) that I simply could not afford to take off became one of the most spectacular periods of the entire season. Oh well, se la ve (sp?)

But to answer the question, yes. We are in wind down mode. Jo is ready to get her house back to normal again, and so am I to be honest. I'm ready to get back into a 6-7 hour slep pattern, and be able to got to bed and wake up with only work to occupy me, not worrying about whether or not I need to ask off for a chase, or where to target. I love chasing, I love tornadoes, and I still want more. But I'm well-acquainted with reality, and I know my Spring is, barring a miracle, over. So I'm going to embrace it.

I'll be shifting into full-blown video sales/promotion/concepts mode, as I will now go back to giving my DVD sales full-time attention, as well as continue to create possible concepts and ideas for future DVDs. The rest of the year will be a busy one for me, as I'll be releasing not one but two new DVDs by year's end. This Summer I'm doing my 1996-1999 video, and of course towards the end of the year, I'll be doing my 2005 video. With any luck, I'll add a bit more to the 2005 video before it's released :wink:
I am in the real life mode. I have just got done getting my business back up to par for the month and am spending this weekend with my dad and grandmother for father's day. Next weekend I will get my yard and pool back looking good before the neighbors throw a fit. I paid all my bills, filed my hail damage claim, cleaned my truck and even started listing stuff on ebay to start some upgrades for next year. So after next weekend I will start watching the tropics and get all my hurricane gear together. Between work and the tropics I should be able to keep plenty busy until November when the severe weather gets really active for a few weeks here in the south. Then I get to worry about Christmas and then in January I might get to this "winding down stage". Oh yeah and I can't wait for the NFL season to start. Watch out for the Saints (go ahead and laugh) but they are going to be really tough this year.

For those of you that live up north I'm sure you will have plenty of chase days in the coming month or two, but for me I'm done with tornado chasing until the fall. So please get the rest of us some good video.

I'm ready to get back into a 6-7 hour slep pattern, and be able to got to bed and wake up with only work to occupy me, not worrying about whether or not I need to ask off for a chase, or where to target.

I couldn't agree more! I have felt like I'm starring in "The Night of the Living Dead" for a few months.
gonna crawl back to my second home in the southwest Utah mountains for the monsoon season - and catch some thunderheads/microbursts - and perhaps talk my wife into a trip to MT Rushmore (with the main hope of a northern plains breakout) who knows? long shots will all be to the north now...JMHO
good luck to all you guys
ps my only chase was to Hill City this year and I feel real good about that decision - even though it put my personal life into a slight tail spin......
I'm still in Norman right now, but will be leaving tomorrow back for Detroit and will probably get back sometime on MON. I don't think I'll be chasing anymore on the Plains this year, but if there is a decent setup sometime in July, I am totally ready for a IL/IN chase. The next "window" will be in Fall, like Amos said, if it materializes, which hopefully it will, and of course, I will be up for it...
Well, as a few of you may have guessed, I am spending my off time between now and the fall season studying historic events, trying to learn from them. I am also going to be getting much deeper into my photography, and getting ready for the birth of my son in Sept.

I also may be buying a new truck in the next week or so, so pulling everything out of the old one and wiring the new one will definately take up tons of time.
I'm pretty much done for the summer, I'm more than satisifed with my chase trip from June 2-12 and really need to focus on making money again. I will keep an eye out for local chase opportunities after work. I had two decent chases last year on July 2 and 5 within a couple hours drive of the OKC area.
Well this is really the time of year where chases become more numerous for me. Once we get this ridge taken care of we should start getting some decent Dakota setups. Nothing like the setups you guys get down South. It's almost always MCS with a couple supercell days. But I get the bulk of the lightning photography with a LLJ cranking up with late June moisture fetch make for some great nocturnal storms. While a good part of the season still remains, I am winding down from the quick response mode. Where Im constantly watching the models and ready to drive 600 miles anytime.

-Scott Olson
Well, the upper air pattern doesn't look very promising over the next week or so. I'll probably keep an eye on Nebraska and Iowa for the next few weeks, as climatology still pretty decent and close enough for day chases. Avg. dewpoints and # of thunderstorm days typically increase over Iowa this time of year. During this time, I'll keep doing my little noon hour forecast in the FCST or TALK thread if it is at least a slight risk area over any portion of the plains, even if too far for me to chase. Later this summer, I'll likely be moving back to Charleston, South Carolina and live with my wife. Her house is about 5 miles from an island beach. Last year, we had 3 tropical systems come through down there. Then, hopefully next spring I will come back and stay w/ my sister here in Kansas City or my other sister in Wichita for another chase season. My work is portable, and I have alot of family back here, so it is very possible I may continue to make the plains my second home in the spring. My only regret at age 45 - wish I would have studied meteorology in college. You young guys, keep chasing your dreams!
Season's over for me. Had so many things taking up my time this year I didn't get to chase as much as I wanted to, but I got a few good chases in. I am already starting to save up money for next spring, when I plan to hit the chase season hard.

Last year I tried to make the northern season as well during the summer, but this year I won't do that.

I will be getting a new chase vehicle for next year, hopefully with a few cool gadgets. I'm trying to decide between a Crown Vic and an Impala. Really looking forward to next year.
With the southern plains going quiet and my rib injury it is the end for me and Kanani. It is always sad to go into "wind down" mode but we do have normal lives and responsibilities we need to catch up on and start getting ready for our second season in September. The truck has already been in the shop for new brakes and will be going back in for a tune-up (guess I am hard on it durning the season). Also time to start saving $$ for next years season. I think we spend more and more time off work and roaming the plains every year which takes $$.

As for sleep. No doubt I have been catching up all this week since I was stuck on "bed rest".

This season seemed to get started late but once it got going it flew by so fast some of the dates get mixed up. Just hope next season doesnt wait until the end of april to get going.
When I ended my chasecation, I was grateful to sleep in my own bed and chill out at home. But, 2 days later, I was frantically looking for some sign in the models for a weekend chase somewhere. LOL!! Unfortunately, a monster summer ridge looks to take over the country and shove everything into North Dakota and Canada. Hmmmm....I wonder what kind of road networks they have north of the border? ;-)

I do suggest having SDS parties in August though to help bridge the summer doldrums into fall. Munchies, all-day videos, weather weeniness, war stories, much humor, etc. can really soothe the least for one day. ;-)

The only thing that gets me by in the summer is tropical activity, but to me personally falls short of a raging tornadic supercell unless of course you want to go chase a hurricane. That might be fun to try once.
Im a new college student, with no summer plans and money to blow. (oooh to be young without a million bills, eh? ) My season aint over til the snow hits the ground. Illinois has no defined season, though there is a sure peak in May and June. But, even in 2003, we had a record July severe weather season...July usually brings more mcs activity, however...see the July 13 2004 violent tornado for a recent exception. August usually brings back a few good tornadic sup set, there's really no point at which I 'pack it up'.
Just thinking about some ways to prevent end-of-season onset of SDS - how about a few of these things to do during the off season:

*Get a chart and track all the hurricanes this summer

*Edit chase video

*Make a DVD

*Journal and organize your chase accounts (while they're still fresh in your mind)

*Attend a Skywarn class

*Study equipment setups for radio, data and communications and troubleshoot problems you may have had in the Plains while they are still fresh in your mind

*Back up & archive your digital images

*Plan for next year's chase conventions such as Denver and TESSA

*Get involved with a weather organization or club in your town

*Follow Severe Weather Central on

*Enhance your Web development and coding skills

*Memorize all the cloud types with a field guide

*Shoot other aspects of weather such as tropical systems, Nor'easters, coastal weather, snow, wind, atmospheric optical effects, clouds and aurora.

*Take a photo/video class at your community college

*Give a weather lecture to schoolchildren

*Attend your local science museum

*Make a weather photo collection and hang it at a local coffeehouse

*Learn everything you can about lightning safety and tornado preparedness and post links on your Web site

*Hone your forecasting skills

*Chase severe weather in another location

Stay busy 8)
Winding down .... sad to hear it but it is true.

Chased the plains in May for the "great storm drought of May 2005" and then ran out to Iowa for an "empty red box" well it was not really empty just tors after dark.. and that is worse. Also chased the thumb of Michigan.

My work allows for me to watch the skys for a Moderate risk and drive anywhere within 14 hours so from OH I could hit most of the plains once again. I live in Ohio and we are due for a tornado or two so although it is not over it has winded down.

What I learned this season:

Upslope rules !!
Colorado, Western Kansas and Nebraska are filled with excellent chase terrain. I love the shortgrass praries and the sand hills. Seems like a High pressure over the main plains pulls moisture up there and action is nice. The whole "denver cyclone" thing .. I need to look that one up.

I may park myself in Goodland or North Platte next year for a month. Added bonus...Tony and the Colorado crowd are a friendly and knowledgeable bunch .

Seems like good chase terrain decent roads and the weather is prone to supercells when it happens.

As another bonus the park in North Platte has peacocks and elk to watch when you need to kill time. Caged elk are sad but the peacocks do not seem to mind.

The thumb of michigan is chaseable
I had no idea. When Bad Axe is getting tornadoes like it did in 2004 I will get up there and check it out.

Hurricane spawned tors...
I know they can be messy but last year had so many of them and within 600 miles that I can hardly resist. I reckon I will head South once or twice.

Strange year without a doubt. Who knows what happens next.

Tom Hanlon