State of the Chase Season 2023

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I tend to agree next week is a possibility for those who waited until June. However it may not be a candidate for a double dip chase trip.

That said, one day during the work week might churn out some Enhanced material. Stout 500 mb flow creates a quality LLJ response. If main boundary intersections stay north of the cap, it would be a day. This might come together northeast of the central Plains, anywhere from northern Missouri to Illinois. SPC talks about the Mid-South but it's a little out of climo.

Weekend including the already outlooked Saturday has challenges. Saturday could be MCS east or just in time JIT moisture return far west. JIT should work this time of year, but positioning for Sunday could be a challenge. One could go for Colorado. Otherwise Sunday looks KCMO east.

Yeah I got out of chrono order. Back to next work week, one would expect fewer chase crowds too -especially deeper into June. SPC talks about the Southeast, but again climo glares. IL/IN/OH makes more sense; just hope better terrain north IL/IN and west OH. Late next week the Northern Plains could have northwest flow action. Yeah the targets are all over the place.

My Tennessee location might bias me, but I kind of hope for some midweek IL/IN stuff. That bigger slower wave could put together a pair of days in the same region, vs 3 states apart. I'm not holding my breath though, ha!
 
The cost of a week or more of "so-so" chasing is close to the cost of flying in for a few days... with much better results

That is absolutely true… But I do enjoy the cadence of the “chasing lifestyle” for a week or more, and it is very difficult to manage things at work with the level of unpredictability that quick hits require. Also, coming from the east coast with direct flights only to DFW or DEN, travel alone could add two days to every trip.
 
... consider this trend for DL placement into the Mekong Delta regions of OK, in addition to the possibility of typical June MCS thugs peeing in the pool for day 2+.

This reads as pretty hilarious way to describe this system to me, and accurate. 😄

This 'trough' continues to trend faster and degrade in quality and tilt with almost every run, and seems to be avoiding overspreading deep moisture and veering except over the worst terrain. I'll hope for maybe a shortwave day or two next week or secondary target in Colorado on Tuesday, but I won't be patrolling the Red River. If Northern Plains don't have any opportunities within another week or two, my attention is likely to start to wander to other summer hobbies.
 
I know it's early, but Saturday, June 10 just came into range of the NAM and I would like to know what others think, because I am very interested in what I see: strong moisture convergence and high EHI values. I haven't analyzed capping yet, so that remains to be seen. This plot overlays moisture flux convergence and EHI. Thoughts?

NAM_MFC_EHI_20230607_1800_F78_20230607_2033.jpg
 
I know it's early, but Saturday, June 10 just came into range of the NAM and I would like to know what others think, because I am very interested in what I see: strong moisture convergence and high EHI values. I haven't analyzed capping yet, so that remains to be seen. This plot overlays moisture flux convergence and EHI. Thoughts?

View attachment 23963

I believe the NAM tends to be over-exuberant with moisture, although GFS and Euro also support high dews in eastern OK and eastern TX on Saturday. GFS pulls moisture much less farther west. In any event, I think the moisture depth may be somewhat shallow. Bigger issues to me are weak surface winds, and lack of a sharp dryline / surface convergence or upper- level forcing. Also not in good chase terrain east of I-35 in OK.
 
No question this weekend will mostly be a wash and tricky. Next week, early has some potential, but also chase challenges.

Arrive Saturday morning. position to Wichita, SW passing over the arklatex means I will keep driving south if it looks good, or stop. but odds are right now I wont push south to meet it unless something in the short-term changes things and the CAM's show more than the mesoscale does now.

Sunday: CO/OK pan handle? overall not the best conditions at all.. but might make for some good sunset structure pics!

Monday: 2 choices 1, Red River Cluster which will be a terrain mess if its further east and ("dear god the Hoard"), OR 2, go towards CO/KS border'ish and look for structure and hope for something fun to pan out.

Tuesday: if you stay in the Red River area Monday, find the boundary, and try again (better DL and 85/50 Flow option IMO) but terrain issues just get worse the further east you go. further south of red river IVO Dallas, cap issues? HP was mentioned before and I really dislike HP. AND the hoard again to, although it was brought up that its mid-week, vacation days be gone, hmmmmm.

Wednesday: a wash basically.. action moves over mid south and TN valley that i'm not chasing since that's where I'm coming from lol (keep an eye on it for shifts in the forecast, or reposition north to NE for Thursday and have steak somewhere good)

Thursday: trough moves in over ND/SD, some Isold possibility to catch possible juvenile MCC.. still really far out in the forecast, so any ripple effects in timing or parameters earlier on may change this completely by next Tues.
 
I was seriously considering leaving tomorrow for a short chase trip to Texas or Oklahoma, returning to Colorado on Sunday. But the more I look at the NAM, the more it looks like it's going to get capped. I'll re-access tomorrow morning once the HRRR forecast comes into focus.

On a side note, I need to get my photos and video from the June 2 Sanderson Tornado up. Looks like people posted the Fort Stockton tornado, but not the Sanderson tornado.
 
In response to gdlewen, another consideration for me in addition to the ones James mentions is that, even if the action Saturday is west of the jungles of eastern OK, which it well could be, it will still be pretty close to Oklahoma City and the crowds of chasers and perhaps locals that come with that, particularly on a weekend. I generally avoid chasing within 50-75 miles of OKC, unless it is a really great setup, which this is not. I will readily admit that the older I get the less I like crowds. This influences not only where I chase but also when and where I engage in other activies I enjoy such as skiing and fishing. Dealing with excessive crowds takes a lot of the fun out of any of it for me, but of course with chasing, you also have the issue of safety when it gets too crowded.

I flirted with SE Colorado tomorrow, but decided to pass on it due to lack of low-level directional shear. It being Colorado, there is always a small chance of a landspout, but not enough to get me out for basically one day of chasing given my reluctance about Oklahoma the next day. Prior commitments keep me from chasing Mon-Wed next week, so I guess I will end up waiting to see what happens during the second half of June. No high hopes right now, but given limited forecast reliability that far out, nobody really knows.
 
Thanks for all of the responses. I was struck by the superposition of strong moisture convergence and CAPE/shear, coupled with a weak perturbation in the 700-500 mb flow over OK/MO that has persisted (more or less) since last night in the NAM and has since been picked up by the RAP.

if I had to summarize the responses I would say, “It’s not enough.” Not enough to get experienced chasers out, which is very useful feedback.

I am hopeful that things come together though. If not, I have yard work to do….
 
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if I had to summarize the responses I would say, “It’s not enough.” Not enough to get experienced chasers out, which is very useful feedback

But make sure you take those responses in the context of the cost/ benefit analyses from which they were written… If I lived within reasonable / driveable range, or was on my chase vacation, I would most certainly go for it. But both John and I would be traveling significant distances (me by air, possibly with connecting flights) and have shorter chasing windows that would be too heavily dependent upon this event and just one or two other days to make the trip worthwhile. While I did intend for my response to be objective as to the negatives, without regard to travel decisions, I should have clarified that it wouldn’t stop me from chasing IF I was already on the Plains. John was more explicit about his personal calculus relative to travel and his limited window to chase. Anyway, my point is that if you can do it without too much hassle, go for it!
 
But make sure you take those responses in the context of the cost/ benefit analyses from which they were written… If I lived within reasonable / driveable range, or was on my chase vacation, I would most certainly go for it
* snip *
John was more explicit about his personal calculus relative to travel and his limited window to chase. Anyway, my point is that if you can do it without too much hassle, go for it!

Oh no--I get it--it's like a "Value Theory of Chasing". Since I live in Tulsa, I can easily chase marginal setups when I am free to go. Of course, unless the setup moves E into AR (where I have no desire to go), I will be out. If for no other reason than to calibrate my expectations with experience.

Notwithstanding the uncertainty re: capping, the state of air mass following morning convection, and the confounding run-to-run variability...it's useful to see the "values arguments" people use to assess a setup.
 
As I sit here going on nearly a month of having nothing real substantial to chase anywhere within a 12 hour drive of Omaha(IN FREAKING MAY AND JUNE), I took another look at the extended GFS a bit ago. Great upper level flow, shear, moisture, instability…. and then I see the nuclear cap☹
This applies to next week into the following weekend.
 
Last night‘s (00z) GFS looks worse for Saturday and Sunday IMO. It might be too fast in moving the short wave through OK by Sat evening, but even the slower Euro shows weak 500mb flow. SPC now showing the action in the trees east of I-35 as I noted in my post a couple of days ago. There is no co-location of moisture and flow on Sun; maybe squeak a miracle out of northeast NM / southeast CO, but it looks less intriguing than it did a couple days ago. Looks like height rises on Mon with capping issues, but maybe another shot in CO, with adequate moisture for that region and some flow atop the ridge. Maybe Tue in northwest OK / southcentral KS if you believe GFS, but Euro is flatter with zonal flow. Big differences between Euro and GFS by Wed - Euro shows some chances in OK/KS, but pretty much forget about it with GFS ridging.

As Warren said, reversion to the crappy mean in a crappy season.

Definitely bailing on any second trip… If I didn’t have work and family responsibilitie, I wouldn’t mind being out there, but the bar is high for a return given the time commitment and schedule disruption. As much as I love chasing, having been out there for two weeks already, now that I‘ve been back for a week into the normal rhythm of work and life, it’s hard to overcome the inertia to get back out there from the east coast… It’s actually a bit of a relief to let go of the idea of heading back out… It’s hard enough to transition back to “real life” after a chase vacation, and it has been even harder while staying in limbo this past week, analyzing models every day with the thought that I might be chasing again. I’ll still keep an eye out for a potential quick hit in the latter half of June, but that will become increasingly difficult personally, and less likely overall, as the month progresses…
 
Concur with all of the above. While the long-anticipated increase in 500mb flow across the central US is indeed coming to fruition, it has unfortunately evolved in a manner decidedly unfavorable to chasers; at least those hoping for some action along/north of I-70 in keeping with the fact that it is FRIGGIN' MID-JUNE.

Considering just cancelling my vacation for next week, but I may take it anyway (I just need some time away from work) and do something else.
 
Man, it's been a long time since I last posted in here (looks like my last post was 10 years ago, sheesh!) but I figured I'd dip in to contribute to the conversation about this season. Whatever the hell this cluster can be described as.

2023 has been, bar none, the strangest season I've chased in my now 17 years(!) of chasing. Nothing has made sense, or been particularly predictable more than 72 hours out, which has made planning a real PITA and basically a complete crapshoot. As a great example, I wasn't planning on chasing the last week of May in NM/west TX, but I ended up buying a new to me chase vehicle outside Fort Worth on the 23rd after doing a week long work gig in the Metroplex, and then decided 'screw it, I'm chasing' and ended up getting the jaw dropping Hawley, TX mothership and two tornadoes almost completely to myself later that night, and the following days ended up being some of the best chasing under 'marginal ridge' conditions I can ever remember.

I've been relatively fortunate to have seen 18 tornadoes this season, a lot of them early on in the season (I was living in Ohio for nine months and working in the expedite logistics industry, which I used to my advantage to pick work shipments that were going to or in the same general area as some of the early Dixie chase targets which allowed me to be on Rolling Fork and Searcy) but very few of them have been photogenic (at least from where I was viewing them from) and I've had my typical luck of seeing tornadoes on big days but not the tornadoes of the day, but the structure this year has been phenomenal, probably the best structure year since 2013, IMHO and actual photogenic CG activity has made a big comeback. Forecasting has been insanely tricky from the outset. There's been very few days that have been obvious and that actually panned out without some major fly in the ointment. I passed on 4/19 because of the forecast capping concerns (and I was getting ready to move to Kansas City) and regret that choice deeply, as my target was southern Kansas where a spectacular supercell dropped three photogenic tornadoes and only had about a dozen chasers on it as most everyone else was down in Oklahoma on the Cole/Etowah/Shawnee beast).

2023 is a VERY different season from what we've seen in the last three years, but it's also got the same pattern of behavior that has been plaguing seemingly every season since roughly 2016; we just cannot seem to get consolidated upper flow and systems to be strengthening, rather than weakening, as they eject from the Rockies, and on the odd occasion we do get a strengthening system, it has a thermonuclear capping inversion which squashes the excellent environment, or has such extreme forcing associated with it that it triggers an instasquall. Which has made the vast majority of the more notable events this year, as in prior years, highly dependent on mesoscale accidents. With the exception of 3/31 high risk where you saw widespread significant tornadic activity over a multi state region, we've seen the same pattern emerge of there being one, maybe two storms that truly go nuts and are cyclic monsters, and every other storm just fails to take advantage of what seems to be a synoptically favorable environment. If you don't join the hoards and aren't elbowing to get the same general shot everyone else is, chances are you're going to miss the show of the day.

My overarching theory is that with global warming, the upper atmospheric contrast and height falls/sufficiently cold mid level temps at the 500 mb level to break these increasingly stout 700 mb caps created by an ever warming and increasingly moist atmosphere simply aren't there 90% of the time, and I suspect that unless we get something like a Pinatubo/Krakatoa style volcanic eruption that cools the atmosphere significantly, at least for a half decade or so, I don't think we're going to see widespread regional tornado outbreaks going forward except for with highly anomalous systems, and those systems seem to be happening during the winter/early spring months and largely confined to well east of I-35, with the attendant rocketship speeds. It's gutting to watch traditional chase season become a hollow shadow of its former self and the glory days of relatively slow moving, photogenic tornadoes/classic sups in moderately optimal to superb chase terrain become something largely viewed in the rear view mirror, but the persistence and consistency of the failure modes really can't be ignored at this point.

As to the coming pattern, it's hard to motivate myself to go out for another extended period. Yes, we're finally getting a major pattern change, and for a while it looked like we were potentially gonna get June 2014 Round 2... and now that we're here, it looks like a garbage barge. I'm doing some WFH stuff to bring in some money while I work towards transitioning into a new career, but I specifically busted my ass back east all winter/early spring to be able to take time off to chase with the idea that transitioning out of the shit Never Ending La Nina pattern would be more fruitful, as many prior transition years have been bumper crops for great setups... and now I'm almost on the verge of throwing in the towel and starting to apply seriously for new jobs in the field I want to work in, because this pattern is simply flabbergasting, and I don't want to totally drain my hard earned nest egg waiting for *something* favorable to come along.

Knowing my luck, as soon as I settle into a new full time job and tie myself up with a commitment, the Central/Northern Plains and Upper Midwest will probably go nuts later in July/August, but after all these years of chasing (and frankly, not all that much to show for the time/money I've invested, at least from my personal-professional goals) I'm starting to accept the reality of that missing most of the great storms is just part of life if I want to have a stable life going forward - all these years of working IC gigs to keep the flexibility to chase are starting to really catch up to me and watching all my friends talking about their S/O's, houses and nice 401k's and benefits has me realizing that chasing the wind as fervently as I have, has been largely a fool's errand; particularly in a climate changed world. Reed Timmer and a handful of others are the lucky ones who can 'chase everything', but they also forgo a lot of consistency and companionship to live the lives they do. A sacrifice I find myself increasingly unwilling to keep making.

I was utterly spoiled by coming into chasing during the incredible 'Golden Years' of 2007-2014, as I think all of us long time chasers were, and I'm now realizing it's been NINE years since we've had a truly consistently good chase season and it's time to take off the rose colored nostalgia glasses and accept that chasing in the present is simply a lot higher risk/questionable reward proposition than it was a decade ago. Planning your 'chasecation', if you want to see photogenic/significant tornadoes, in May/June is just as likely, if not more likely, to be a 'Scenic Tours of the Great Plains!' and after spending the last 5.5 years traversing them for work purposes, I'm getting bored of it.

As of right now, I'm doing some needed maintenance on the chase rig this weekend, and I'll re-evaluate come Monday, but as of right now, unless things change significantly, I'm going to focus on other things this coming week, and maybe wait for Ma Nature to sneak in a 'morning of' curveball that I can bounce out the door and catch; I didn't move to KC without some level of malice and forethought for being within a 6-8 hour drive of most targets in the Plains and Midwest, after all :p

Will there be a photogenic tornado or two, and maybe even a significant tornado, somewhere in this pattern? I wouldn't bet against it, though I suspect its going to end up being a high CAPE and mesoscale interaction driven scenario, as has become par for the course in recent years. But my optimism for a larger scale pattern of multiple days with good classic discrete sup and tor probabilities is, needless to say, greatly diminished.
 
Man, it's been a long time since I last posted in here (looks like my last post was 10 years ago, sheesh!) but I figured I'd dip in to contribute to the conversation about this season. Whatever the hell this cluster can be described as.

Knowing my luck, as soon as I settle into a new full time job and tie myself up with a commitment, the Central/Northern Plains and Upper Midwest will probably go nuts later in July/August, but after all these years of chasing (and frankly, not all that much to show for the time/money I've invested, at least from my personal-professional goals) I'm starting to accept the reality of that missing most of the great storms is just part of life if I want to have a stable life going forward - all these years of working IC gigs to keep the flexibility to chase are starting to really catch up to me and watching all my friends talking about their S/O's, houses and nice 401k's and benefits has me realizing that chasing the wind as fervently as I have, has been largely a fool's errand; particularly in a climate changed world. Reed Timmer and a handful of others are the lucky ones who can 'chase everything', but they also forgo a lot of consistency and companionship to live the lives they do. A sacrifice I find myself increasingly unwilling to keep making.

I was utterly spoiled by coming into chasing during the incredible 'Golden Years' of 2007-2014, as I think all of us long time chasers were, and I'm now realizing it's been NINE years since we've had a truly consistently good chase season and it's time to take off the rose colored nostalgia glasses and accept that chasing in the present is simply a lot higher risk/questionable reward proposition than it was a decade ago. Planning your 'chasecation', if you want to see photogenic/significant tornadoes, in May/June is just as likely, if not more likely, to be a 'Scenic Tours of the Great Plains!' and after spending the last 5.5 years traversing them for work purposes, I'm getting bored of it.

Extremely well said, and one of the best posts I've ever seen regarding the evolution of chasing over the last 10+ years.
 
Hate to say it, but I agree...
Tony, I've learned a lot, and grown a lot, as a person and a chaser, over the last decade. The person I used to be, like the fabled epic setups of yore, is but a fading memory. I wish that I'd been more mature and less abrasive during that period, and taken out just a little bit more student loan debt to facilitate chasing those exceptional setups, a lot of which I sat out because of limited funds. Coming out of that period of chasing, one would have never thought it might be the waning days of the types of consistently highly productive setups we all documented on a regular basis during that period (and one could, rightfully, also throw 2003-2005 into the mix and call the entire 2003-13 decade an exceptional one for tornadoes, 2006 and 2012 were the only crappy years out of that decade and even they had their redeeming moments).

We're in a different era now, in terms of the atmosphere and where we all collectively are in our affair with extreme weather.

I've learned that there will always be more storms; less predictable, more frustrating and the chances to make exceptional images and video become more elusive in this changed climate; but the reward when it all comes together, just means that much more.
 
Extremely well said, and one of the best posts I've ever seen regarding the evolution of chasing over the last 10+ years.
Warren, coming from the man that wrote the book that I obsessed over as a child in the late 90's to early 2000's and literally wore the binding of my copy out from reading it so much, and has long been an inspiration for my photographic/writing/atmospheric/ pursuits... thank you, sir.

I've learned from a lot of great minds on this forum since Tim Samaras personally invited me here way back in 2005 as a literal child (I had just turned 15 when I got invited, back when getting an ST invitation was kind of a big deal!) and though I took a long sabbatical from participation here for a variety of reasons, it's been a steadfast companion and muse in developing my knowledge and passion. It's good to be back in the saddle, as it were.

These seasons get more bizarre and less predictable in even the medium range as the wheel of time turns...

But still we turn out to stand on a dark Plains highway, warm RFD in our hair, and roll the dice on the atmosphere.

Because once you check into the Hotel Chase-ifornia, you can check out, but you never really leave...
 
After reading this series of posts, I feel like the old man and the sea, and before I even hook the fish, I am already asking myself, "what does it all mean", and as my flight leaves tomorrow morning.... I am now considering canceling 🤣. I've chased off and on since 1998, I to have seen this change as well and I think just now as Marks post described very well, the possible reasons behind the disarray in the patterns.

I suspect for many, this is soul filling stuff. I can definitely say that's my main reason to go, to break away from the daily stresses, while at the same time searching for the White Whale where I have felt like Ahab in that quest at times. I have also learned the larger picture behind my reasons for doing it. Like Jeff House AndyWerhle , JamesC or others that opine and occasionally pontificate go/no go rationales, and all with good points from intelligent people that I think most of us feel in our own way. it's good to see such a wide spectrum of likeminded chasers speaking about this in such varied ways.

like so many of you who all have lives and jobs, I am affected by the same decisions as costs go up, returns go down, is it all still worth it?. Maybe Mark said it best, if our focus is on past years successes and paralyzed in the present because it's so unpredictable, how does that change our calculus for the future. My one way of thinking about it is, "it's all a calculated gamble, but worth it if you love it... so long as I have the time and money lol", that's probably 90% of us in here I bet.

Regardless, this was my self-convincing speech to not change my mind and cancel tomorrow lol. I landed in the middle. When you love a thing this much, it's hard to turn away. -- "and miles to go before I sleep".
 
Post is mainly for travel members. I am still firmly planted at home in East Tenn. Saturday looks near chaser population centers and with MCS risk. Saturday is worth a try local, but not for me to travel.

Sunday remains conditional in the Mid South. Low levels will be veered off. However, any quality outflow boundary from Saturday night could locally enhance SRH. It is a long shot, as Sunday looks like mainly segments and the like.

Thanks for the mention Jason N. Two days ago I was thinking, if Jason is going from SC I should go from Tenn. Guess we both waited. One strategy would be to try the Mid-South on Sunday if it looks worth it. Otherwise power through for Monday farther west. Sun/Mon is an either or choice due to distance.

Monday could be an MCS mess in North Texas, and possibly too close to the even larger DFW metroplex. Trouble with Sun/Mon is both days are quite conditional, and frankly low odds. Risk is picking the wrong one, through more likely neither do anything photogenic. So punt for later in the week?

Tuesday through Friday are a total mess on models. The only thing consistent is good upper level flow for June and LLJ responses. Placement and days keep changing. The South is not favored this time of year, unless one likes MCSs, but the models sure like the South. Models have fewer solutions IL/IN/OH now. That does not even address the Plains down-trend.

Given the upper level flow forecast next work week, a synoptic boundary sloshing around, and all kinds of outflow boundaries likely, one has to just keep an eye on it. Bigger decisions are required for the Plains. One can procrastinate for the Mid-South. Hope it's more Midwest than South. Still be ready if the Plains wakes up.

Looking way ahead (the actual seasonal nature of this section, ha) one could wait for and hope for Northern Plains in late June. First get this southern stream junk done. If current MJO action continues (reset due to TCs) perhaps a northern stream establishes toward the Canadian border on or after June 18th.
 
@Jeff House I've had a few of these years that turn into this, where vacillating thoughts based on my personal go no/go chase matrix have kept me from making the pilgrimage. I may need to get away from traditional chase timing as has been mentioned by others and I have seen this myself. in 19 and 20' I went early may and late may and found some chaseable stuff, but not exactly what I was looking for. I may need to look for the July timeframes instead if the Dakotas open up.

So Jeff, its looking like the 13/14th like you said, locals chase for sure, either its possibly capped or IVO old boundaries develop into HP/MCS with some potential for embedded circulations or maybe some isold discreet flanking/outflow convection, and that "really" isn't what I am after. I am after more LP stuff. CO has some of that potential but its super risk/reward. I am not against that idea, but the setup is basically going to be day to day , playing doctor and trying to pull out bones without hitting the sides.

(pick your local flow pattern in the mid-west this/next week, with our combined chaser expressions over it all.)
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Sunday night into Monday does have one area over SE CO/ NE NM / OK Pan handle that could be a spot to be that's more in my wheelhouse for structure along that NW/SE oriented convergent bndry and low. Like Warren was talking about a day or so ago with regard to high risk/reward for waiting out the days microscale setups. but again, that may be what its going to be like and I am not sure taking a whole week to wait for basically 2... maybe a 3rd day isn't worth the expense. I can save the money now, pick a possibly better set up further north later on. At least my confidence in the model consistency wasn't wrong targeting the week/days, but the details that really matter just aren't coming together.
 
Tony, I've learned a lot, and grown a lot, as a person and a chaser, over the last decade. The person I used to be, like the fabled epic setups of yore, is but a fading memory. I wish that I'd been more mature and less abrasive during that period, and taken out just a little bit more student loan debt to facilitate chasing those exceptional setups, a lot of which I sat out because of limited funds. Coming out of that period of chasing, one would have never thought it might be the waning days of the types of consistently highly productive setups we all documented on a regular basis during that period (and one could, rightfully, also throw 2003-2005 into the mix and call the entire 2003-13 decade an exceptional one for tornadoes, 2006 and 2012 were the only crappy years out of that decade and even they had their redeeming moments).

We're in a different era now, in terms of the atmosphere and where we all collectively are in our affair with extreme weather.

I've learned that there will always be more storms; less predictable, more frustrating and the chances to make exceptional images and video become more elusive in this changed climate; but the reward when it all comes together, just means that much more.

Your recent posts in this thread have really struck a chord with me. I went on my first chase as a freshman met student at the University of South Alabama back in 2008. I didn't know anything at all that first year and saw basically nothing. 18 year old me did 18 year old things and goofed off, lost my scholarship, and moved back home. I spent the Golden Era you speak of spiraling. Drinking, partying, and barely getting by. I was a totally different person back then. Eventually I got married, my wife and I had a kid (did I mention I was a totally different person? Haha), and I joined the Air Force in 2016. I went on my first chase since 2011ish in 2018 while I was stationed in San Angelo, TX. Went again in 2019. I got stationed in OK in 2020. Work and family obligations took up most of my time, and I only went out once in 2021. Went through a divorce in 2022, and then this year came around. The ONLY good thing that has come out of my divorce is more free time, and I decided that this was my year to FINALLY see a supercellular tornado. My work leadership has been really flexible, and as a result I've been out 8 or 9 times this year. No tornadoes, but I've been infuriatingly close several times. It's become so frustrating and I often times wonder why I waste the time and money anymore. So when you talk of the Golden Era and how nobody knew it was waning, you put into words the regret and yearning I carry over it. I too wish I had devoted more to this passion when I had the time back then, instead of losing sight of it. Despite all of that, chances are I'll still be out there at least one day next week, chasing the White Whale. (Great reference @Jason N )
 
As a relatively new chaser, this thread is bumming me out. I was on the Ottumwa wedge/twins earlier this year, but was a hurculean effort to obtain, and not sure how much of that type of chasing I can do being located in Colorado. It was also my first real tornado outside of a birdfart or 2 in the previous few years, or an obstructed view of the New Boston wedge last Nov. I put more time in this year than I ever have, and it's paid off with a few nice photogenics, but also not sure how much I can do this in future and still be on good side with work.

In some ways I'm lucky only having started chasing in 2020 cause I don't know what an easy chase/forecast is like. It's almost always a frantic night-before rush out the door to the middle of nowhere on a slight hope of something. That is chasing to me, but even still, it's a taxing proposition physically, financially, and mentally that I'm not sure how much I can keep up.

I'll still keep chasing, but if everything moves to dixie, I'm just not going to be there. Hate chasing there for all of the obvious reasons, and just not going to waste my time in future there considering the effort/cost it takes to get there.

Not sure what to do. Maybe we can reverse all the wind farms in Kansas to speed up the lower level shear/jet and push the moisture northwards.
 
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