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What is your favorite boundary to chase?

What is your favorite boundary to chase?

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What is your boundary to chase?

I prefer drylines... Since growing up and my first few years of chasing were in the great lakes - I never had the pleasure to enjoy dryline chasing. Instead, most of the time you have to deal with cold fronts... In turn, they often produce strongly forced, lines of thunderstorms in the late spring and summer. Some give you a pretty darn good wind event, but most of the time, nothing more. I really love drylines because they typically have JUST enough convergance to setoff discrete supercells... In addition, I also like OFBs, since they often allow a storm to "root" or "anchor" along them and can often work magic in terms of tornadogenisis.
 
I like drylines because of how they give evidence of their position. Drive through a nice sharp one, and you can tell without doing anything besides opening a window. On a well-capped day, you can spot the CU bubbling on the dryline from many miles away.

It wasn't on the list, but down in Florida, there's at least some fun to be had playing with the seabreezes. If they can make it to the center of the state intact (no early convection to steal instability or muck up the setup with strong outflows going every which way), the results when they cross each other can make for some pretty sweet storms. Occastionally, the speed and orientation of the seabreezes as they merge create a setup very similar to a traditional tripple point (a surface low off the west coast definitely helps). Any rotation is usually very short-lived, but the structure is always great.
 
I think a majority of chaser will choose a dryline chase over any other. I am no exception. I absolutely love a good dryline setup in the TX Panhandle / W OK.

Mick
 
My favorite is the dryline. For the type of storms I want to see the dryline is by far the most productive.
 
Interesting poll.....

Of course if I was being normal and was imagining things were idyllic - sure I'd cow-tow and choose dryline too. But - then I got thinking.....

How many times have I actually seen a classic, much-sought-after string-of-pearls along an actual dryline? Over my 4 years of chasing.....I can count rare occasions when the typical dryline has produced as us chasers would like it to. We would always set up our day of chasing a big event with the hope of starting on the warm front, and then dropping south onto the string-of-pearls when the WF went gangbusters and all messy. But - for some reasons or another - it seems to have been incredibly hard for me to get on a good dryline tornadic storm.

So - I opted for OFBs. Why? Well - it's about 60% nostalgia and 40% experience. The nostalgia comes from my induction into the chasing world - June 23rd, 2002. Nothing will ever top that storm for me - for many reasons. The remanining experiences I have had with OFBs have made for some very sweet memories........when they're there.

I like being different. :wink:

KR
 
Very good topic Nick.....

I gotta go with Karen on this one although each kind of boundary has its day. I love outflow boundaries when they work their magic. Warm fronts are good too but usually end up being shorter chases as everything turns into a mess quicker than you always want it to. Although, if you want a good strong tornado the warm front is the other place besides an OFB that I would be. Drylines are for structure people and your reasoning for usually not finding a good tornadic storm associated with them is well served. There are some instances when that could be proven wrong though. Isolated storms make the dryline what it is. If you like to chase cold fronts you might as well be shot ;)

May 22, 2004 was an example of OFB heaven with the Hallam storm. Everything else was a congealed mess and for those patient (not me) it payed off very well.
 
Here in NC we rarely get a true dryline, only cold front+dryline together type systems with a trough ~100-200 miles out in front. Right on the warm front is also normally a non chaseable area with the systems by the time they reach NC - normally there is garbage convection going on in the counties north and south of those. So I'd have to say somewhere along the prefrontal trough, especially an intersection between it and an outflow boundary. Once in a blue moon though, when developing surface lows come up from GA or SC, we'll get a triple point setup, and in those rare cases just barely southeast of the TP is my favorite target spot.
That happened on 4/15/1999, and gave birth the the infamous NC 'tornadocane' (quoting the SPC's "Cool Images" site) supercell, which first matured in western Robeson county almost right on top of the triple point and anchored on it throughout its path to the Atlantic 3 hours later.
Of course when this cell developed I was 70 miles south of it in SC watching a dying tail-end charlie, and could not get close to catching it.
 
Definitely drylines. The vast majority of tornadoes I have seen in the southern plains have come from dryline storms. IMO there are too many things that can go wrong when chasing fronts. Relatively speaking, it is much easier to forecast accurately on a dryline setup. It is also a lot easier to see which storm is looking the best coming off a dryline since the visibility is so much better than it is along fronts.
 
I love to chase drylines, and sometimes, perhaps an OFB. I usually go for drylines, since that is where the majority of severe weather can occur, especially tornadoes. OFB's are tricky, because they can dissipate fairly quickly. Cold fronts are fun too, but not as near, to drylines.
 
I love to chase drylines, and sometimes, perhaps an OFB. I usually go for drylines, since that is where the majority of severe weather can occur, especially tornadoes. OFB's are tricky, because they can dissipate fairly quickly. Cold fronts are fun too, but not as near, to drylines.

Wait a second, Andrew.......you have chased before? Or is this what you want to chase? Sorry if I recall incorrectly......

Cold fronts are the last resort for me (But i'll take them over nothing!). I'd choose a dryline if it was near, but I like OFB's. Warm fronts can be tricky and lead to a big mess (Not always!). If I can get a storm to root itself on an OFB, then i'll follow it. (Terrain-wise: NEVER chase NE KS, flint hills of KS!, or cent, nc, NW Missouri!)

One example of a dryline this year (associated with triple point) would be May 11th, where the retreating warm front (I think) in NW KS/SW NE lost, in a sense, to the dryline bulge to the south, which paid off to the patient chasers in SW KS . Of course this is just one example, as different situations offer different circumstances and results. I treat each setup differently, so it's hard to say what my favorite is for the day. :)

On certain days in multiple areas of focus, it would all depend on the circumstances (work, school, other chasers, distance, finances, location LOL). One thing I've learned with chasing is stick with your initial target :) and have those reliable nowcasters (Thank you) ready for new data coming in. (I know some dislike, but I love SPC's mesoanalysis when I have time to look.)

Good topic Nick.

2005 was a work-your-butt off year for most chasers IMWO. I'm hoping that 2006 will show more promise. (at least for myself and everyone else, cheers!)
From here to March, I'll take anything. Just my worthless .02.
 
I love drylines and OFBs as they mix together. Causes more convergence and can create a very dynamic set up. Its nice when you can see on SAT the dryline with a bulge and a OFB coming together.

Another area i dont mind is the tripple point along the warm front just east of the LOW. BUt i think i would take a dryline over a tripple point deppending on the parameters
 
There is no comparison to a nice dryline in the Tx panhandle/west Oklahoma. I have chased fronts,OFB's, etc but non compare to a sharp DL. Isolation is the biggest reason. You can 1 or 2 good supercells along a 100 mile DL unlike CF's where you get 10 storms in an area 50 miles wide. plus its pretty easy to figure out where the dryline is.

20 yrs of chasing and counting but nothing beats a DL and a small impulse coming through :)
 
I voted Warm Fronts. This is because around Illinois, thats usually how we get our small tornado outbreaks. Drylines don't usually come this far east.
 
Sounds like cold fronts kind of have a bad name (maybe for scouring out the atmosphere in their wake and delaying the next setup?), but in reality cold fronts are a factor in many spring setups, especially in places like central and eastern KS. A pre-frontal trough, especially one that is negatively tilted, and/or wind shift line ahead of these central plains cold fronts usually holds good promise in the early and mid spring. W/ good insolation at the surface, and a tongue of cold air advancing on the western horizon - well, it's exciting to just think about!
 
A few of my better days during the past year or two:

6/13/04: Central/Northern MI... This day had a cold front situated across eastern WI, with a warm front stetching back to the east across central/northern MI. An isolated supercell exploded to the north of Grand Rapids, and quickly became a prolific tornadic supercell that persisted for about 5 hours. Obviously, I have a warm front to thank for that day.

6/9/05: Northwest KS... This was probably one of my coolest days ever chasing. This day had dryline situated from extreme southwest NE then southward into the TX panhandle. In northwest KS, a outflow boundary intersected the dryline near Hill City. Deep moist convection initiated along the extreme northern end of the dryline across southwest NE and into northwest KS, and quickly moved away from the boundary and died. To the south, a supercell exploded right on the OFB/DL intersection... And this would become one of the most famous supercells of the year. Supercells also formed south on the dryline, as well, from southwest KS into the TX panhandle -- also producing some tornadoes. This was a dryline/OFB day.

6/12/05: Northwest TX... This was probably the best chasing day of the year, and probably my chasing so far. This was another dryline/OFB day... Cells continued to pop along the boundaries all afternoon, one becoming a SVR-warned supercell and then quickly dying. Then, by mid-afternoon... More convection initiated... In the form of a cluster - but the storms quickly organized into two incredible supercells. The northern one was the first to go TOR-warned, but didn't look worth my time... So I headed south towards the southern (well, middle one) supercell and by the time we all got there (chased with Kurt H, JR Hehnly and Dan Robinson that day) it produced the first tornado - and another half dozen or so followed.

5/12/05: Northwest TX... Believe it or not, I actually have a cold front to thank! A cold front plowed through the TX panhandle during the afternoon, initiating a long-lived supercell that formed in the Plainview area. By the time we got south towards the now developing supercellular complex, all tornado warnings was withdrawn. Then, we got to the storm near South Plains... And it immediately dropped a beautiful white cone (then barrell) tornado. Then, it followed with a large wedge and a brief trunk. We were lucky to find ourselves with windshields after we chased that storm.

5/13/05: Northwest TX (lol, I am so biased now)... A large group of chasers (including myself, Kurt H, Amos M, Jason M, Tony L and about a dozen others) woke up in the day's target! Talk about a treat... A dryline/cold front/OFB intersection was in place at 18z... And a pronounced mesolow was over northern Floyd county. The OFB became more diffuse and lifted northward into the Childress area. This would be combined with a very moist and unstable boundary layer... With a SFC moist axis containing 60-65 Td's and sbCAPE was a respectable 2500 j/kg. Well formed Tcu persisted across the Childress area, which we had the pleasure to watch from a resteraunt parking lot there in Childress. A storm just to the south of Childress exploded, and about 2 scans later, it was SVR-warned and was showing supercellular traits. This day pretty much was thanks to the OFB and dryline.

In the upper midwest, I am pretty biased towards warm fronts and OFBs. In the plains, I am pretty biased towards drylines and OFBs... Particularly in the TX panhandle.
 
I love to chase drylines, and sometimes, perhaps an OFB. I usually go for drylines, since that is where the majority of severe weather can occur, especially tornadoes. OFB's are tricky, because they can dissipate fairly quickly. Cold fronts are fun too, but not as near, to drylines.

Wait a second, Andrew.......you have chased before? Or is this what you want to chase? Sorry if I recall incorrectly......

I have never chased Drylines before. I have chased a small OFB once, and cold front, here in EAST TN both before. I look forward to chasing a dryline, however. It WOULD be my favorite boundary to chase, though.
 
Hmmm I don't see my pick as an option. I think Kurt has it right. Outflow boundaries intersecting a dryline/sfc trough seem to be the best. Or you could just call it a double point, which is not an option either. Give me a double point or triple point over a dryline alone anyday. May 4 and 8 2003 this did not pay off too well however. Other than that pretty much anything cool I have seen was on a double point or triple point.
 
I voted dryline but I'd much rather try to get on the triple point just to have the dynamics working for me. I've not chased enough warm fronts yet to have an opinion there, but outflow boundaries usually work pretty well.
Back in TN, you didn't really have a choice...99.9% of the time, cold front. Drylines don't make it that far east, warm fronts were almost always way north...like Ohio, and didn't see too many OFBs. When I finally got out here, it was like "wait...too many choices..." :wink:
Angie
 
Yes, Angie! Pretty much all I've seen this past spring are, Cold Front mostly, and one or two OFB's.....not many options, I Know.
 
I prefer outflow boundaries only because it narrows the potential target areas down much better (not to mention the locally enhanced shear and lowered LCL heights). I've been burned too often on the "any storm on the dryline has an equal shot at producing a significant tornado" idea only to come up with nothing. Either that, or the storm to my north or south produces the significant tornadoes of the day! LOL

Gabe
 
Hmmm I don't see my pick as an option. I think Kurt has it right. Outflow boundaries intersecting a dryline/sfc trough seem to be the best. Or you could just call it a double point, which is not an option either. Give me a double point or triple point over a dryline alone anyday. May 4 and 8 2003 this did not pay off too well however. Other than that pretty much anything cool I have seen was on a double point or triple point.

I agree with Mike and generally really like the sfc backing associated with Triple-points.

Beyond that I have to consider each situation based on its own merit - every situation is different - that is why we forecast and not just apply a cookie-cutter paradigm to a chase day. There are so many variables at play and to consider (e.g. Is there sufficient CAPE along/beyond a given W Front? What will the orientation of UA flow do in terms of seeding adjacent cells along the DL? What outflow boudaries remain, and maybe even more importantly what LL horizontal vorticity might remain along old outflow boundaries that have lost their thermal gradient and radar/satellite signature? etc.)

Beyond that I can state that I generally do not like chasing Cold Fronts or situations with unidirectional shear (so common up here).
 
All in all I prefer drylines, simply because they have been the most productive for my career (yeah all 2 but whatever). My least favorite is WF's as the line between boom and bust is too faint for my tastes.
 
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