State of the Chase Season 2023

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I really can't contribute technically to a discussion of climatology based on decadal phenomena. A couple of notes to add to @JamesCaruso regarding humans and patterns in chaotic systems:
  1. Humans are not good judges of probability and statistics. If we were, casinos would go out of business.
  2. We tend to find patterns in chaos: why else do people get lost in the woods (apparently) following paths that don't exist?
  3. Finally (and not my favorite, which is #2): if something random happens to you, you implicitly feel like the probability of it happening is 100%. It's not, obviously, but it feels like it.
So without a comprehensive analysis of chasing over the the years, I don't dwell on it...much.

It would be nice for chasers if SPC forecast for chasable storms, instead of severe weather hazards, but then not everyone has the same standard for what constitutes a successful chase. For example, I am not that upset if if a storm is not tornadic, as long as I don't make a bonehead decision that costs me catching one. In a Post-Twister world, some may not even consider me a chaser. :)
I can even see this possibility in the admittedly small sample of my own chase career, with 1996-2006 being similarly inactive as 2015-2023, but a more active period in between.
I'll tell you right now, if we had any stretches recently like 1998-1999 or 2003-2004-2005, this discussion probably wouldn't be happening. At least one of May or June in all of those years had multiple higher end chase days. 2004 was one of the best chase years ever, even rivaling some of the early 90s greats like 1991.
I'll tell you right now, if we had any stretches recently like 1998-1999 or 2003-2004-2005, this discussion probably wouldn't be happening. At least one of May or June in all of those years had multiple higher end chase days. 2004 was one of the best chase years ever, even rivaling some of the early 90s greats like 1991.

You're probably right Andy… I was writing about those years in the context of my lengthy post above (#306) and shouldn’t have assumed anyone would relate the two… And I’m probably mixing them inappropriately 😕 When I wrote about those years above, I did say that 2004 was good, and that I missed chasing in 2003, but I know there was a lot of activity (but mostly in early May IIRC). Personally, only about one-third of my chase trips were successful during the 1996-2006 period, so I was using my own experience as an indicator for the decade. I recognize it’s partly the luck of the draw of when I took my chase trips, but as alluded to above (a) the better the season, the more likely it is to have a good trip, so a bad two weeks taken in peak season still tells you something, and (b) all chasers’, at least those who take chase vacations, have their perceptions colored by those chase trips, so that creates a bias when categorizing *any* season as good or bad… I probably shouldn’t have allowed that second consideration to factor into an objective assessment of decades-long severe weather cycles, although I think there is some validity in the assertion that any of these “good season” vs “bad season” assessments are pretty subjective and tend to feed recency bias…
Has there been a single supercell north of Wichita's latitude in the last four weeks? At this point I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever see another even average northern/central plains season in my lifetime. The frustration is at all-time highs.

Was looking at SPC's data last night, and the difference between the 30-year and 10-year averages in annual tornado counts for my area is 25%(!!!!). That difference is almost incomprehensible given that the 30-year average contains the last 10 years of nothingness.

Looks like it's the Plains' turn for a moderate risk today

The frustration is at all-time highs.

Tell me about it... There are no words to describe the frustration of seeing today's Convective Outlook, occurring on the very day that my available storm chasing window officially closes for 2023. I was out there beginning May 22, could have stayed until having to fly home today, instead came home at merely the halfway point when it looked like a dead week after the last decent chase day on June 2, kept monitoring things for a possible return from June 9 - 14, but it never looked good enough, and here we are, the atmosphere finally decides to cooperate on June 15!!! Remind me again why we do this to ourselves???
Because I'm a masochist, obsessed with wild stats, and wanted to bitch some more, I went back and looked at the SPC outlooks for each day of the last month. North of I-70, there have been only three (!!!) days with Slight Risk or above. Three. During peak climo. Highest tornado prob was 2%. And these were all out west in the high plains. Three. None for 16 days.

I'd be very surprised if that wasn't a modern record low. And it doesn't look like we're going to get any more risk days anytime soon either.
Looks like there was some decent chasing to be had over the last few days after all; although the only semi-photogenic tornado I've seen images of out of the Plains was today's at Perryton, which was also quite destructive and unfortunately deadly.

Fun facts (not): January had more tornadoes than May in 2023 (128 to 125). March remains the most active tornado month this year with 189, but more than half that total is accounted for by the outbreak on the 31st.
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Really crazy to see that ridge set up over Mexico and continue to pump out shear on a daily basis, although it's not a perfect set-up. I've been watching lenticular and cirrus clouds here in Tucson that you never see in mid-June. I suspect this freak pattern is an anomaly between Niña/Niño events and not a big change in the overall climate picture. It will be interesting to see what the current pattern morphs into next week when the MexRidge breaks down. Some models suggest another interesting period in the Plains early next week.
Looking at the early 0z suite tonight and it continues the parade of severe weather in the southern plains. The NAM has an especially juicy setup on Tuesday with CAPE near 5000, 500mb winds of 40-50 kt, and dews in the 70s near the KS/OK border. And the GFS and Canadian keep persistent flow from the W to SW all week long. What month is it again?
After a relatively dormant season through all of May and the first half ofJune, and being unable to capitalize on a personal window of opportunity that was my longest in 27 years and went all the way through June 14, seeing the activity over the past week or so can only be described as an atmospheric kick in the groin.

Why do I torture myself by even continuing to look at this stuff???
I would not torture yourself too much, James. I think there were only a handful of chasers on each of the big tornadoes in the past week or so that you have seen lots of pictures of (Perryton, Matador, Akron). Those were days with lots of possibilities in many areas, and chasers were pretty spread out. Some smart and probably lucky ones are always in the right place, most are somewhere else. I was out a couple days last week and, just as I did in May when you were out, saw photogenic supercells but no tornadoes. On the high plains of CO and NM, the Panhandles, and west Texas, it has actually been a pretty good year for supercells and hail, but tornadoes have been quite limited. Of course there are more chances the next few days.
James, I concur. All the back and forth talk and decision to not go from 10-18, 19,20 June... ended up being Donkey Punch😄🤣 🤢
(it's times like these I am reminded, all the educated/experienced heads in here CAN lead to analysis paralysis lol.)

At the end of the day though, I'm ok with it, it's a learning tool in different weather pattern environments to sometimes Nix the long range for sake of the Mesoscale as that may be what it comes to. This year was the first year I cancelled on indecision lol.

(HOW TO CHASE in a chaotic pattern): Notes to self for next year.
1. Look at GFS only below 216hrs
2. Look for a min of 96hrs of successive 00/12Z runs of good agreement on "general flow" alone.
3. 216 - 96hrs = 120hrs is the make or break fly or not day for your 7-10day window.
4. Travel to your spot.... T minus 48hrs prior to your anticipated window.
5. Watch the CAMS and SPC show! either it rapidly develops? OR, you get busted and eat steak/seafood. 😋
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