Monday, May 31, 2010

2010 Hurricane Season Update...

Here is a link to my 2010 hurricane season thoughts/ideas from May 5th 2010... Most of everything I outlined there is coming together well... If anything, my biggest complaint with my original forecast is I wasn't aggressive enough, as things are coming together faster than I thought! Looking at sea surface temperature anomalies, I would say/argue we are already starting to enter a La Nina phase which is occurring about a month faster than I forecasted... The 90 day SOI average of + 4.15 shows this as well... I think we will enter a moderate La Nina in the next month or two, which should last into 2011... Nino 3.4 SST anomalies back this up... Also, Nino 1+2 (weaker), 3, and 4 back this up as well... They all show a solid La Nina through 2011...

Now while everyone wants to talk about how La Nina is the key, I'm going to have say it's only a piece of the puzzle (A very important piece though)... Joe Bastardi, who opened my eyes to the Atlantic tripole signature stuff, made some excellent points about La Nina the other day... I'm going to paraphrase, but hopefully I'll get his point across...

Basically he feels that La Nina is not the driving force for this upcoming hurricane season... It's the Atlantic tripole signature, which focuses the upward motion in the MDR... He believes that saying La Nina is the cause of this potentially active hurricane season is only broad-brushing the argument... He backs this up with 2005, not a La Nina year, where we actually had a slight warm signal by the peak of the season... However, it was the most active on record... He also points out 2004/1969 which were very active years yet they were weak El Nino seasons... What's the link to those 3 years, each one of them had a Atlantic tripole signature for a lot of the season... Now again I'm not an expert like Bastardi on this stuff (learning everyday), but it sure the heck makes sense to me personally!

Of course I feel La Nina is an important factor in this years potentially active hurricane season, but at the same time, to just say we have a La Nina year so it will be active is not accurately representing the big picture... There are many other factors involved and it's my goal as a meteorologist to explore/understand as many of these factors as possible.. So I'm going to agree 100% with Bastardi on this! Sometimes I don't always agree with him, but on this point I think he's dead on!

So that's the key to me this year... As long as we keep that tripole signature than look out folks! The CFS is showing this tripole signature continuing throughout the season so not only will the focus of the upward motion be in the MDR, the colder SST anomalies in the west-central Atlantic will "funnel" tropical cyclone after tropical cyclone right at the US... Add in a moderate La Nina and you are looking at some potentially serious problems for the US IMO... Check out my early forecast and my "Lombardi" reference for more information on that...

I always try to stay away from exact numbers, but I will say this has the potential to be a HUGE year... I could see a top-3 season of all time by the numbers! To get into the top three we would have to hit 19 named storms (28 in 2005/21 in 1933[No Satellites!]), which I think is very possible... Be careful with the numbers though, because what's really important is the impact! In 1992 we only had 6 named storms, yet one was named Andrew and we all know how that turned out! It only takes one to make it a bad season, so please keep that in mind... 19 named storms and they all go out to sea, who cares! 6 named storms and one is a Cat-5 at landfall, everyone cares! The Atlantic tripole & the combination of many other factors outlined in my original forecast, tells me this is going to be not only an active year, but a high impact year which is most important! If you live along the Gulf/Atlantic coast, now is the time to get ready as the hurricane season officially starts in about 3 hours!

Me in Hurricane Dennis, 7/10/05, Pensacola, FL...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

4/29-30/04 Outbreak & Hurricane History!

After talking about the 6 year anniversary of the best tornado chase of my life (Hope you enjoyed the videos), I wanted to touch on how massive this two day outbreak really was! 193 reported tornadoes in a two day period according to the SPC... If I remember correctly the official final number was 166 tornadoes over a two day period, which it the second largest tornado outbreak (by the numbers) over a two day period... Amazing!

I'll have an quick update to my 2010 hurricane thoughts/ideas tomorrow, even though not a whole lot has changed... If anything things look a little more scary and seem to be a little more progressive than I first thought!

Before I go I wanted to leave links to two great sites! The first link will take you to Jim Leonard's site... He is the first known person to ever chase a hurricane! To the best of my knowledge, Jim's first "chase" was hurricane Agnes in 1972... However, growing up in South Florida he has experienced many tropical cyclones before Agnes... The second site will take you to Richard Horodner's site... He is the second known person to ever chase a hurricane! Again, to the best of my knowledge, Richard's first "chase" was hurricane Carmen in 1974 with Jim... He also grew up in South Florida, so he saw his fair share of tropical cyclones as well before Carmen... Jim & Richard were the first, which was follow by the second wave of hurricane chasers in the early/mid-80's.... This included people like my friend Michael Laca and others like Steve Wachholder, Andy Dressler, Jack "Thunderhead" Corso, Terry Nixon, and Richard Pasch...

We always hear about the pioneers of tornado chasing (Roger Jensen, David Hoadley, & Neil Ward), but you almost never hear about the pioneers of hurricane chasing... As someone that loves hurricanes (my true passion) and weather history in general, I feel it's very important to talk about these pioneers.... It's essential to understand the past in order to appreciate the present IMO! As a teacher I try to tell this to my students all the time... Without a doubt Jim Leonard & Richard Horodner started this path and paved the way for others like me! All I can really say to them is thank you! Another thank you goes out to Michael Laca for the hurricane chasing history lesson!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Best tornado chase of my life!

Screen capture of video I shot of the Conway Springs tornado as it was becoming a large violent wedge!

Today marks the 6 year anniversary of the greatest tornado chase of my life! It's honestly hard to say how many tornadoes we saw that day... LOTS!!! I'll let you watch the videos and decided for yourself... It really was such as great day!

In Conway Springs, KS - 1, you'll see us leave a strong tornado after getting hammered by the RFD... It was tough to leave that tornado, but you could see a beast of a wall cloud forming! We figured it would eventually cut off the strong tornado and become the main show, which it did thankfully! It formed the nipple, which is something I coined on May 12th 2004 (Attica, KS), and it eventually formed into a nice tornado just as we drove past it... It came down so fast! It quickly became a multiple vortex tornado making some of the most eerie sounds I have ever heard in my life!

In Conway Springs, KS -2, you'll see a side-winding tornado (two at one point) basically stall as it explodes into a violent monster wedge tornado! We watched it for a good bit before we had to make a run for it! There were people just standing outside their homes watching this monster without any tornado sirens going off! So I jumped out of the car to scream at them to go inside their house/basement! The tornado thankfully turned hard right at the last minute and just missed Conway Springs, but I'm still very glad we warned everyone the best we could... You will also see the setup for this day! Strongest surface winds I have ever felt before a tornado outbreak!

In Argonia, KS - 1, you'll see multiple tornadoes on the ground, including 3 on the ground at once... We also saw tornado genesis right in front of our eyes as a tornado, that eventually became a huge wedge, moved across the road right in front of us!

This is by far the best tornado video I have ever shot and without a doubt the best tornado chase of my life! Words really can't describe how amazing this day was! I hope/pray one day I'll have a better tornado chase! I'm sure if I keeping chasing as much as I do I will, but honestly this day is going to be really hard to beat! ENJOY!!!

Warning! There are some cuss words...

© Greg Nordstrom 2004

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hurricane Chasing Thought & TROPMET!

Picture I shot of the famous RaceTrac gas station just after Hurricane Charley passed during the late afternoon of 8/13/04...

Of course as a hurricane chaser I want to position myself as close as possible without putting myself in immediate danger! I always try to edge on the side of caution with this, because storm surge is NOT something you want to mess with! Personally, I'm always looking for a strong/sturdy parking garage to ride it out in... There is potentially a big problem though! Say you pick a great spot and you are safe, but the bottom of the garage is damaged enough that you can't get out... That hasn't happened to me yet, thank God, but I can see this being a problem in the future...

I have thought about this a lot over the years, and I think I'm finally going to try to be as smart as possible about it... My plan is to drive about 5 miles from the beach, hide my car well, and then bike/walk in the rest of the way... This way I can get out after the hurricane! Now if I'm on a barrier island like Galveston, then this doesn't matter... However, if I'm chasing in lets say Gulfport, MS, then I think I'm going to give this a try... It will allow me to be a little more aggressive, and yet at the same time make it easier for me to get out... Anyways, it's just a something I have been thinking about... We'll see what happens?

Since we are approaching the official beginning of the 2010 hurricane season (June 1st), I'm going to continue to hit on great tropical websites... Today I want to talk about This is one of my absolute favorite tropical sites! It is run by Michael Laca, who I consider a friend... He has always been nothing but nice and also very encouraging to me! Michael is one of the pioneers of hurricane chasing and has been in some of the biggest and baddest hurricanes of all time... He has a great site and I highly recommend everyone checking it out! I'll leave a link below and I'll also leave a link to his youtube page which is filled with some of the most amazing hurricane footage I have ever seen in my life! He also has plenty of great severe weather/tornado footage as well... All the videos are great, but my personal favorites are the hurricane Elena and Hugo footage!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

NOAA & HurricaneTrack!

This going to be a quick post... The Lakers almost just gave me a heart attack! J/M...

NOAA came out with their 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook... They are calling for 14-23 named storms, 8-14 hurricanes, and 3-7 major hurricanes! I was a little surprised by the large range of named storms, but it was fairly close to what I thought (mid to upper teens)... My good friend Ryan Aylward posted NOAA's hurricane season stats for the last 5 years on his facebook page today... I'll leave that below for perceptive on how hard this forecast can be! Here are two links to NOAA's forecast... Enjoy!

I also wanted to point everyone towards an excellent tropics website... It's called I'll leave a link below, but again this is a great site if you are a fan of the tropics... Lots of cool/fun things and it's also very interactive! I recommend everyone to check it out!

2009: 9-14 named storms...... Total storms 9
2008: 12-16 named storms.... Total storms 16
2007: 13-17 named storms.... Total storms 15
2006: 14-16 named storms.... Total storms 9

2005: 12-15 named storms.... Total storms 28

2009: 4-7 Canes........ Total 3
2008: 6-9 Canes........ Total 8
2007: 7-10 Canes...... Total 6
2006: 8-10 Canes...... Total 5

2005: 7-9 Canes........ Total 15

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

NOAA & Stormpulse!

The 2010 NOAA hurricane outlook comes out tomorrow, so of course I'm very interested in what they have to say... They put off the release date by a week, so I'm guessing they are struggling a little with how aggressive of a forecast they should put out! With the rapid reversal of the pattern, now heading towards La Nina, I'm betting they are upping their overall numbers... I would "guess" in the mid to upper teens for named storms... We'll know for sure tomorrow though!

Also, I wanted to leave a link to a cool/fun website... I have noticed some small errors here and there, but stormpulse is a great site to look at historical hurricane tracks... It gives you the track with the individual advisory points, which includes the position, wind speed, pressure, and movement... It also includes a description of the hurricane and some other cool things like pictures... All you need to do is type in the hurricane name you are looking for and hit go... Now remember it's not perfect, but I still personally enjoy it! Plus there is plenty of other cool things this site has to offer...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Two great reads on the 2010 hurricane season!

Myself in the eye of Hurricane Charley, Friday the 13th, August 2004...

I wanted to leave links to two great reads on the upcoming 2010 hurricane season! The first link comes from Rob Mann and Jason Moreland have done a great job in their analysis/forecast for the upcoming 2010 season! It's a MUST read for anyone interested in the tropics! The second link comes from a blog post by Stu Ostro... He does an excellent job talking about whether or not you should take these forecasts literally or with a grain of salt... Interesting to read another perspective on this, even though I think Stu is coming around to the tropical seasonal forecasts as long as you use logic/sound science...

I personally try to stay away from exact numbers, but I'm mostly in the camp with My gut/instincts say this will go down as a top 3-5 season of all time by the numbers... As far as impact, I do see lots of landfalls this year which I talked about in my 2010 hurricane season thoughts/ideas! I'll have an update to my 2010 hurricane season thoughts/ideas this Sunday... If anything, all the factors are coming together even faster than I thought, which is honestly just SCARY! If you live along the Gulf/Atlantic coasts get prepared now... It's the smart thing to do!

Monday, May 24, 2010

South Dakota wedge fest part two!

Well crap! I somehow knew this would happen... The small/average tornadoes don't bother me much... Been there done that many times, but the wedges tear a small hole in my heart... I have been lucky enough to be about 1/8 of a mile from two monster wedge tornadoes that actually occurred during the same day (Argonia & Conway Springs, KS on 5/29/04)... Then the same thing happened again this year on 5/10/10 in Cromwell, OK... So I have been very lucky/blessed and I probably shouldn't cry about it! But still, the last 2 mini-outbreaks in South Dakota have been painful... The video coming out from TVN is unbelievable! The video they shot Saturday is some of the best tornado video I have seen in years... Again, I can live with missing the small/average tornadoes, but missing those wedges is again painful... I'll leave links to TVN's videos! It's absolutely INCREDIBLE!!!

I'll say it again, if anyone wants to chase with me next year please contact me! If you are hardcore, love the weather, and want to chase 24/7, then we'll get along great! I'm just looking for a couple people with some passion, that can chase at a moments notice and doesn't mind long (1,000 mile) drives!

Before I leave I want to say two more things... First, another shout out to MSU on its hundredth tornado intercepted this last week... haha... Well, it's not a 100, but I'm sure it's at least around 5 or 6.... I've seen 5 this year so far, but that's over a month period.... To get 5 or 6 in a week is pretty darn good... Great job guys! I've gone years without seeing any, but I have also gone one year (2004) seeing 20 +... Second, while the wedges pain me, I am very happy for all the chasers that did score tornadoes... I have never been in competition with anyone but myself when it comes to chasing, and I'm truly happy for EVERYONE that nailed tornadoes over the last 3 days... My passion is without a doubt with hurricanes! I would trade every tornado I have ever seen in my life just to get into one more Charley like hurricane... I'm serious too, I would retire from tornado chasing today if you told me I could experience Hurricane Charley and its AMAZING eye one more time! By far the best day of my life!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Need Some Help!

This is of course my opinion, but there are 3 types of chasers...

1) Light chaser: This is someone that chases when things are close to home or they have some spare time to chase... There is nothing wrong with this at all...

2) Normal Chaser: This is someone that chases for a couple weeks a year... They usually set a vacation around it and chase one single weather type like severe weather... A lot of chasers fall in this category!

3) Hardcore Chaser: This is someone that chases year round... Also, it's someone that chases all weather anytime and anywhere... Very few people fall in this category!

If you rank them 1 to 3 I fall at about a 2.50 (bad year) to 2.75 (good year)... I try to chase as much as I can, but I'm not a full "Hardcore Chaser"... I do try to chase it all from tornadoes to Nor Easters to Hurricanes, but I still fall short at times.. Today is a great example of that... I had a feeling South Dakota was the place to be even though I didn't think it would be like this... Absolutely AMAZING!!!

What it came down to was I didn't have anyone to go with... Not trying to make excuses, but it's hard driving stick shift, looking at the weather, looking at maps, talking on the phone to get weather information (didn't have an internet card), trying to make sure I'm making the right decisions, driving thousands and thousands of miles, all by myself.... There is only so much one person can do... I say all this because I'm looking for one and hopefully two people that would like to chase with me during the May/June severe weather season... I need one or two people that are hardcore and will drop anything anytime to drive all night to chase... No matter how long the drive or how hardcore it is, I really need someone that will go all out all the time!

Also, I need someone that will chase slight risks just as hardcore as high risks! There is no such thing in my eyes as only chasing the quote "good events" when it come to weather... Today was a slight risk, REMEMBER THAT!!! I guess I'm just saying that I need help! I have no problem admitting that I can't do it all by myself and having someone that can help me out would be great! Plus it would really help cut costs which is great as well... I know I would have gone to South Dakota today if I had someone to go with me...

I'm sure many will say you should have just sucked it up and gone anyways, but I honestly don't think I could have made it... Plus there is always the money aspect! Every man has his limits and I know my body can only take so much... I want to chase as much as possible, but at the same time I don't want to kill myself... I used to joke and say, "if I die I die", but of course I don't mean that... Anyways, sorry if this comes off as a soap box or whatever, but I'm honestly just looking for some help and someone hardcore that wants to chase it all... If this is you please contact me! I'm very serious about finding one or two people that want to do this... I just can't pick 1-2 weeks to chase in the Plains every year... That's just not me! And I understand that most people's jobs only allow for that, but if you can chase on a moments notice in May/June please contact me...

Before I leave I want to give a HUGE shout out to MSU... I'm very proud of them for chasing in South Dakota and they were rewarded big time today! I couldn't be happier for them... They deserve it! Also, they have been on a roll this year.... Big props to them and most importantly I'm just so glad the students are getting to see all this! I hope they realize that this is not the norm and they are very blessed.... Congrats again!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

CAP wins today, but what an amazing chase season!

Today was somewhat of a bust... We got on an average storm north and west of Amarillo, TX around 6pm... As it approached and crossed the boundary this thing exploded into a nice supercell in about 10-15 minutes... We were starting to get pumped when it left the boundary and began its quick death... At least we saw a supercell, but it didn't last as long as I would like... It was just too warm aloft as the CAP won this battle... I'm really worried that the CAP is going to win again tomorrow... I need to make a decision on whether I should head back to Starkville or not... I probably should have left from Dallas yesterday, but I at least wanted to give it a try... I'm not the type of person who quits easily... I'll make up my mind by tomorrow.... It may be time to start getting ready for hurricane season!

Speaking of hurricanes... Invest 90L is out near the Bahamas... This is only the very beginning as I can't emphasize how bad this hurricane season may be! I need to start saving money now for the amount of hurricane chases I may go on... The name I use for the national forecast contest is LDCT11... The 11 stands for the number of hurricanes I have been in and I fully expect my name to be LDCT14, 15, and maybe even 16 by next year... That's how worried I am about this year... Here again is some of my thoughts/ideas on the 2010 hurricane season....

Before I leave I wanted to post a video shot by Sophie C. of the second tornado near Cromwell, OK... I knew we were close, easily 100-200 feet, but I think that was VERY conservative... Her video CLEARLY shows how close we got... She was in the car behind us (about 100 yards) and you can see us in front of them pulled over to the side of the road... Go to about 4:25 in to see how close the tornado was to us... Before I get email/comments saying how could you get that close, please remember that the first tornado passed 100 yards in front of us, and I had NO IDEA that a second tornado was developing rapidly to our west until it was very close to us... We had no phone service/internet and we were driving through a lot of trees in bad terrain... A couple of the vortices were almost side swiping our car... What we first thought was hail was really debris pelting our car! We were so close our video doesn't do it the same justice Sophie's does... It's actually some AMAZING video as the tornado passes right in front on us... What a crazy day!

I you think about it, it has been a crazy month! Actually less than a month, but I have now chased 5 high risk, 1 moderate, and 4 slight risk days from 4/23/10 to 5/21/10 without a complete bust... I've seen 5 tornadoes! A huge wedge, a huge multiple-vortex wedge that almost hit us, a smaller multiple-vortex tornado, a small cone tornado, and a large tornado at night... Also, I missed the Yazoo City, MS monster EF-4 1.75 wide tornado by about a 1 min... Sorry, but I can't count that one... We saw the black mass, but I didn't see the actual tornado... This doesn't even include the many beautiful supercells (LP, Classic, and a lot of HP) I have seen over the last month! I only mention this because if I do leave to head back tomorrow it has been an incredible run/season... I may come back out if there was something big to chase, but I honestly doubt it... It's time to get ready for hurricanes! Which is my true passion anyways!

Double click video to see in full screen on youtube...

Friday, May 21, 2010

Texas Panhandle...

I'm sitting in Amarillo, TX right now and I'm liking my position! 15z RUC show convection going up both to our north and south around 22z... It's also forecasting (at 0z) CAPE values 3,000 J/kg + , 0-1 km shear around 150 m2 / s2, 50 knots of deep layer shear, good shear vectors, dewpoints at a minimum of 65 degrees, and a few more factors I like... Of course there are negative factors as well, but I do think we will get a few tornadoes today with the positives listed above... The better forcing is north, but there should be enough to get things up today... The few storms that do go up should be very discrete, so I'm excited about that... Either way I'm looking forward to a great chase today!

On a side note, I'm sure many in the chaser community have heard all the craziness surrounding V2, chaser convergence, and bad driving... I'm not going to take sides, but I do recommend reading a great essay Dr. Chuck Doswell wrote... I'll leave a link below... In my opinion he is one of the few that can truly shed light on this topic since he started chasing in 1972... That's almost 30 years before I started, so I think his essay speaks for itself...

I will say that in my personal opinion, it is what it is... Wednesday things got a little difficult/dangerous for about 15 minutes or so, but again it is what it is... I choose to go out and chase knowing exactly what I'm up against! The way I look at it is this, if you don't like it, don't chase... I don't see it changing, and if anything I only see it getting worse with time! Of course I hate to see the bad driving, but lets be honest here, I think almost every chaser has been guilty of that from time to time... Of course there are different degrees of it, but again it is what it is... If you feel uncomfortable, scared, or just pissed off about it, then don't chase... That seems like the simplest solution to the problem!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Awesome Chase!

Sorry for the delay, but I got back late last night and I was beyond exhausted... I'll have a much more detailed chase recap another day, but we saw 3 tornadoes yesterday... Honestly, we probably saw 4, but I'm not going to count a tornado unless I'm 100% sure... I mean I guess I could slow down the video or photoshop it, but I just can't count that personally... The first tornado we saw was pretty far away (~3/4 miles), along 177 south, with Wynnewood, OK to our east... It was a small cone shaped tornado that was on the ground for a couple minutes... The second tornado was about mile more down the road... It was a multiple vortex tornado (On the ground for a couple minutes) that was still pretty far away (~2/3 miles), still along 177 south... It was pretty cool as you could see dust swirling around it at times... Unfortunately, these two tornadoes occurred just before dark so it wasn't the ideal viewing... We could still see it well, even though I do wish it would have been about 30 minutes earlier... Besides the tornadoes, it was such a BEAUTIFUL supercell... Beehive look/stacked plates.... AWESOME!!! The last tornado we saw was about 8/9 miles north of Sulphur, OK... You could see it as the lightning stuck behind the supercell... It was pretty big/close (less than a mile) and we decided it was time to leave as we were about to get rolled... Good thing too, because this tornado ripped a roof of a barn...

Overall, it was a VERY successful chase... I stuck to the A-S-S (Always Stay South) principle that has always worked well for me... It was tough not to jump on the GREAT supercells on the warm front, but it worked well for both group of chasers... The chaser convergence was some of the worst I have ever seen... We got in a dangerous/difficult situation as we followed the supercell in-between Norman, OK and Purcell, Ok... We were basically trapped as near a hundred if not more chasers clogged the road... The main problem was getting blasted by golf ball to racquetball size hail as we were trying to get south and east of the supercell... NOT COOL... Well, it was actually pretty cool, but you don't want to get in those situations... Not good for your car! Good news though, no damage to both mine and Matt's car, and we eventually did get south and east so we could stay on the supercell (chased it from it's birth south and east of Chickasha, OK until we dropped south on 177 south near Asher, OK)... So beautiful! I'll post the video when I get back to Starkville, MS...

I was thinking about heading home tomorrow, but I'm now leaning on staying out through Sunday... I think there will be some decent supercells along the dryline in the Panhandle of Texas tomorrow... I do think there could be a few tornadoes as well... Saturday and especially Sunday still have a LOT of potential IMO... Unfortunately, the CAP is very stout! If something does break through, look out! As Justyn Jackson just told me, it could be one of those surprise days... I'm leaning on heading towards Amarillo, TX tonight... I figure at least one of the three days should be good... Knock on wood of course!

Special thanks to Justyn Jackson and Derek Beasley for radar help! Also, I really enjoyed meeting up with Matt McCrary and chasing yesterday! It was a lot of fun! Also, before I leave I wanted to share something funny/crazy... On the way to lunch today we saw the dissipating rope stage of the tornado near Midlothian, TX... I'll admit at first I was doubting it big time, but after watching the TV coverage we did see the dying tornado... I'll give Ashley props, she called it! Just saw the ropped out funnel... Did not see the tornado, but it was still crazy!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

In Dallas!

I'm at my good friend Jeff Perry's house, which is located just outside Dallas, TX... I'm going to get a quick nap in, but I did want to write a very quick post.. I thought the SPC keeping the moderate risk was the right call... Again, you can always go High risk if warranted later... Personally, I would stay at moderate unless the 850mb winds increase and veer more SW... They are too weak/too south for a high risk IMO... I just think High Risk days should only be used when things look unbelievable... 850mb winds of 30-35 knots out of the south is not unbelievable to me... If they increase and veer SW, then ok, look out.. I'm not saying tomorrow doesn't look good, but again it's not 5/10/10 like some have been saying... There will be tornadoes tomorrow, but I personally think Moderate 15% hatched hits the point home enough unless something changes... I'll try to update later, but honestly this will probably be my last blog post until late tonight/tomorrow! Best to luck to everyone chasing today... BE SAFE!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heading West!

I've decided that I'm going to make a run at Wednesday's severe weather event... I'm still not on the hype bandwagon, but I do think it has enough potential to chase! The last few model runs are veering the 850mb winds more SW, so I'm liking the low level shear a lot more than I was last night... I still have some concerns and it's not the big outbreak day we saw last Monday (5/10/10)... I'm sorry, but this Wednesday and last Monday are not even close to the same! It still looks good, but it's not a high risk day IMO... We'll see what happens though?

I'm looking at it more as maximizing my chasing days by going... I'm still eyeing Saturday/Sunday as potential big days if the CAP can break... With the amount of forcing coming I do think it will break, but it's still a big concern no doubt! I figure I should go hardcore and get on Wednesday so I'm sitting pretty for Saturday/Sunday... Plus it will be good to hang out with Justyn/Todd again... I'll post all the updates I can from the road... I'm going to watch deadliest catch tonight and then leave right after... haha...

Quick Post...

This is going to be a quick post! I've been swamped with work today trying to get everything ready for tomorrow... For those of you that don't know, I teach Intro to Meteorology and Applied Climatology during the summer through distance learning, so I had to get everything ready to go... I really enjoy teaching, but sometimes all the behind the scene stuff can be a pain! Looking forward to a great semester though!

I'm continuing to target Saturday/Sunday as two possible big chase days! Still pretty worried about the CAP! We'll see as we get a little closer... Wednesday is starting to get hyped, but personally I'm not liking it as much as some... It does have potential, but there are too many negative factors right now for me to head out just yet! I'm worried about clouds/early convection, and I also don't like the way the 850mb winds are orientated from the south... I would much rather see this more SW to optimize your low level shear and tornado potential... Again, we'll see what happens, but I'm not on the hype bandwagon yet...

Before I leave, here is a link to my good friend/chase parter Michael Carter's blog... He wrote a good recap on the first part of our Great Plains chase... The second half will be released tomorrow... I'll have recaps from the Cromwell, OK double wedge storm chase and the Sharon, OK low precipitation supercell chase by the end of the week...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Sharon, OK - LP Supercell...

© Greg Nordstrom 2010

Here is a 5 minute clip of a beautiful LP Supercell we saw on 5/11/10 near Sharon, OK... Sharon is about 10 miles south of Woodward, OK... I really enjoyed chasing this storm a lot! I haven't seen too many LP Supercells over the years, so it was really cool experience... No tornado, but I was happy we got on the only game in town that day!

Things are looking more and more likely that I'm going to head back out to the Great Plains later this week... Saturday has a ton of potential and even Sunday has a lot of potential if the ECMWF (European) is correct... I'll just stick to Saturday... Almost everything is coming together for a huge day! It looks to have a great combination of thermodynamics/dynamics... I will say that I'm worried about the forecasted CAP strength some... However, it's still way too far out to get into details/parameters, but I've always been big on pattern recognition... And this pattern screams severe weather outbreak to me! We'll see...

Really quick I wanted to point something out that my good friend Justyn Jackson called a week ago... The GWO (Global Wind Oscillation) went into octave 1 May 3rd-May 5th... Now I'm NOT very strong overall on the GWO, but basically when you enter Octave 8 and especially 1, you almost always get a trough in the west about 2 to 3 weeks later... Justyn saw this and noted how the GFS wouldn't pick up on this in the long range... It just can't handle or model heat/heat transfer, which is VERY evident during hurricane season in the Atlantic! Justyn is one the very best when it comes to severe weather/long range forecasting, and NWS in Amarillo, TX is very lucky to have him!

It's always great to have someone with Justyn's knowledge who will talk to me about these long range forecasting tools! It's a great way to pick each others brains on complex topics... Even though you would be surprised how fast you soak this stuff up once you dive into it! I'll go into more detail about the GWO another day, but again it's excellent long range forecasting tool that I find very fascinating! As you can tell, I really love learning about long range forecasting, even though some people laugh at these techniques... Honestly, I just think they are scared of something unfamiliar... Meteorology is ever changing profession that no one will ever master! The only thing I can do is try to learn as much as I can... The more you immerse yourself in the extremely wide range this field offers, the better the meteorologist you will be!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Look at what the GFS is showing?

The GFS is showing the possibility of a tropical cyclone in the Caribbean, about 10 days or so out, for the last couple of runs... Obviously, I put little to no stock in this, but I will say there will be enhanced rising motions associated with the MJO pulse coming around by this time, so it does at least match up/make sense... I pointed this out with my 2010 hurricane season thoughts/ideas, and again the MJO pulse is forecasted by the operational GFS to be in average/ok octave 7 and eventually very favorable octaves 8 and 1 by late May! Just thought I would bring peoples attention to this... We'll see what happens? Either way this is going to be a big year in my opinion!

I'll have my 5/11/10 LP supercell video up tomorrow night! Also, I'll have my chase recaps up by the end of the week... My summer classes (Intro to Meteorology/Applied Climatology) start Tuesday, so I still have things to get done for that! Oh, and I'm eyeing a nice trough in the Great Plains in about a week... Lots of potential for sure, as the Asian trough/ridge pattern tele-connection is matching up well... I may be heading out again fairly soon? Well, in about a week!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Cromwell, OK Double Wedge...

I'm going to analyze the radar data hardcore tomorrow, but after talking to Michael Carter today it's becoming more and more obvious that the two wedge tornadoes we saw came from the same supercell... Michael looked at it fairly closely and it looks like precipitation out in front of the supercell got sucked into the first meso/tornado, which was occluding and turning slightly left... On radar you can see this occur, slowing down the storm... On the flanking line a new circulation/updraft reformed incredible fast and dropped the second wedge... The reason why we think the NWS only has one large tornado listed, is because they crossed the same damage path because the second tornado turned right fast, and basically followed the same path as the first tornado... When you have a .75 mile wide EF-3 tornado it's not hard to see how this happened... I'm going to send this all to the NWS in Norman after I finish looking over grlevel2 data myself tomorrow...

Ironically, we almost got rolled by the first tornado twice! It was an EF-3 as it passed near Seminole, OK... We were on highway 9 and could see it... I have video of me repeatedly saying that it's a huge tornado... While I really thought it was a big tornado, I couldn't say for 100% sure! We got fairly close to it and decided correctly to turn around and stay out in front of it... While I ended up being correct with my spotting, I don't count this because I couldn't say for 100% sure... Our view was blocked and it was just really tough... It's wasn't like when it passed about 100 yards from us! That was hard to miss!!! I just re-edited my video taking out all the cuss words and adding a few things I didn't have in the first video... This will be the video I send to the NWS in Norman, OK later this week!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Back in Starkville....

We made it back tonight after a very successful storm chase! We saw two large wedge shaped tornadoes, a beautiful LP supercell, a tiny bit of hail, and two cool outflow dominate supercells which both had a nice whale's mouth! We drove 3,625 miles across 6 states in just over a week... Today ended with a nice breakfast/lunch at Cracker Barrel, Rendezvous in Memphis for dinner, and Krispy Kreme for desert! What a way to end the trip! And by the way, Rendezvous IMO has the best ribs on the face of the earth!

The pattern doesn't look so good over the next 10 days +, but I do think things will change big time in late May/early June! Things should explode then, and I'm planning on heading back out again when things do pick up! I'm going to post a lot of chase recaps this week and re-edit my Cromwell, OK double wedge video... Also, I'm going to add the beautiful LP supercell video I shot Tuesday a little south of Woodward, OK... This summer I'm going to re-edit all of my storm chase videos and add others I haven't gone through in years! It will be one of my many summer projects I have planned...

*Special thanks to Tim Wallace and Michael Carter for a great chase! Also, a big thank you to Justyn Jackson for being nice enough to let us stay at his place in Amarillo!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Whale's Mouth...

I'm sitting at a hotel in Fort Smith after a semi disappointing day of chasing... We woke after about 4-5 hours of sleep and drove from Amarillo, TX to Arkansas City, KS... After looking over a few more things we made our way just east of Wichita, KS to a town called Augusta... While eating at Pizza Hut we noticed supercells along a line that were starting to become fairly discrete, and pretty soon after that tornadic... The problem we faced was the city of Wichita! I'll admit that I thought it would be much worse east of I-35, so I figured the play east was the smarter call (better dynamics)... Let the storms cross I-35 so we can chase them east... I just didn't want to get stuck in rush hour Wichita traffic, but honestly it really didn't matter much today! Unless you were on the storm very near initiation, you had little to no shot at seeing a tornado today...

I'm thinking that the 850/700/500/300mb winds all being nearly lined up out of the SW most likely made the supercells line up and go linear fast... They tried to break up some, but outflow from multiple supercells caused precip to develop and filled in the gaps, while merging the storms... Oh well, these days happen! We did see two beautiful "whale mouths"... The first one was near Walton, KS on highway 50 and the second one was on I-35 south in-between Newton and Wichita... On the second storm we ran into some very small hail as well... It was a bust for us, but again these days happen all the time as a storm chaser... Again, you win some, and lose most! Overall, we did very well on this trip so I consider it a big success all around...

On a quick side note I'm going to send my Cromwell, OK tornado video to the NWS in Norman, OK... They have the Cromwell tornado listed as one large (.75 miles wide) EF-3 tornado... If you watch my video, we clearly saw two large tornadoes... I have been thinking about it all day and I'll have to review some radar data to verify... I'm thinking there are two possibilities... One being two updrafts in the same storm or two separate storms merging... I know that supercell repeatedly merged with cell after cell so I'm thinking that is a strong possibility... Honestly, I'm just curious because without a doubt there were two tornadoes... The EF-3 was so large (3/4 of a mile wide) that I'm thinking the two damage paths pretty much overlapped... Especially if you have one tornado producing EF-3 damage and the other is producing EF-0 damage...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Beautiful LP Supercell...

We (Tim Wallace, Michael Carter, Justyn Jackson, and myself) headed to Elk City, OK yesterday in hopes of some nice dryline supercells... What we got was a STRONG CAP that didn't want to break... I'll be honest, I had my doubts when we got near 7pm without anything going up... Storms would try to go up and then immediately get smashed down by the dreaded CAP... Finally a storm started to bust through near Ellis/Dewey County, OK... We finally intercepted the storm around 8:30pm in Sharon, OK... Sharon is about 10 miles south of Woodward, OK, which is where in 1947 a horrible F-5 tornado nearly wiped out the town! It was a long track monster tornado that ranks 6th all time on the deadliest US tornadoes list....

Once we got to this storm, I was amazed at the pure beauty of this near perfect LP supercell... It had the barber pole look with nice striations and nice mid-level rotation! It was kind of elevated so there wasn't much of a tornado threat with it (it was tornado warned though), but honestly I didn't care, it was AWESOME! I'll post some cool video later when I have some free time! We did continue to follow this storm past Woodward, but there was almost no lightning associated with it, so we couldn't see anything in the dark... We decided to quickly pack up shop and make our way back to Amarillo to drop off Justyn... We got back around 2am...

Currently we are on I-40 east heading towards Oklahoma City... We are about 50 miles away, where I think we are going to turn north on I-35 toward Wichita, KS... The SPC issued a Slight Risk 10% tornado.. The 10% tornado is located just south of Wichita to just north-east of Kansas City, MO... There is a LOT of potential today but I am worried how the 500mb/300mb winds are SW... I would much rather see them more west to produce tornadoes... When they are aligned like that they tend to help supercells go linear fairly quick... I'm also worried about the CAP a little!

I do think we will have a small 3-4 hour window to get on some tornadic supercells... The 15z RUC did show more westerly 500mb winds and also stronger 0-1 shear then was forecasted last night! The best tornado threat IMO is more towards Kansas City... You have more westerly 500mb/300mb winds and you are a little closer to the warm front and better 0-1 shear... I think we are going to try to get on these storms as they initiate near Wichita and move north and east... We'll try to stay on them as they head towards Kansas City! Right now I would like to get a little east and north of Wichita... If I had to pick a city right now, I would say near Emporia, KS... Maybe actually a little south and east of there... I guess that would be near Yates Center? Anyways, somewhere in that general area look pretty good to me!

In other news, today is the 6th anniversary of the Attica, KS F-2 tornado... It was featured on storm stories and it was my first official tornado... I have probably seen many before, but I never counted them because either they were at night/too far away/or just too tough to say for sure... If I have to review video to say I saw a tornado, then in my personal opinion that doesn't count! I always try to edge on the side of caution with tornadoes... Attica, KS was my first no doubter! It was a beautiful tornado that unfortunately destroyed one house... Thankfully no one was hurt or killed... If you haven't seen the video, you should check out youtube... Scott McPartland was all over this tornado and he shot some of the best tornado video I have ever seen in my life! That day I was chasing with Justyn Jackson and Derek Cody... We were also chasing with Jon Davies and Jim Reed... It was truly an honor to get to chase with those two as they are two of the best storm chaser alive! It was an amazing experience as we ended up seeing 4 tornadoes that day...

More updates to come later! Also, I just updated my tornado video from Monday on youtube... Give it a couple of hours to process and I'll release it!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dryline Chasing, AGAIN...

I'm about to hit the road so this is going to be very quick! We are targeting western Oklahoma for our chase area today! The warm front is on the move and I'm liking just east of the triple point... The current RUC seems to support this idea as well... Dewpoints are already in the upper 60's and lower 70's in southern Oklahoma and things are primed as long as the CAP breaks... The thermodynamics are insane but the low level jet is a concern in my opinion... If the CAP breaks, which I think it will, today could be one of those surprise days! Either way I'm just hoping for some beautiful supercells today in near perfect chase country!

I'll have a full recap of yesterday's insane events as soon as I can... We saw 2 large (wedge shape) tornadoes less than 100 yards in front of us! They weren't very strong but still it was such a crazy experience! I think one of the vorticies in the middle of this large tornado produced high end EF-1/low end EF-2 damage... Closer to us I would say the couple vorticies that passed right in front of us was in the high EF-0 range... Still strong enough to rock the car nicely... At the time we thought we were getting hit with hail when it was actually small pieces of debris pelting our car! Again, I'll have a full recap with chase video as soon as I have some time... Right now it's chase time!!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Quick Update...

We are about 30 miles from OKC where we will stop and reevaluate everything... The sun is starting to come out and it's finally starting to feel like a big day! We were in dense fog on I-40 east from about Amarillo, TX to about Erick, Ok... My worries about the CAP/clouds are starting to go away quickly! Things are primed now for a big day and it look like the SPC's High Risk 30% tornado was the correct thinking... I still personally would have started at Moderate and then bumped up to High, but oh well it honestly doesn't matter... Either way today is starting to look HUGE! As I look at the sun coming through the clouds, all I can say is LOOK OUT! I wish everyone the best of luck chasing today and please be careful... If you live in this region, stay aware to all warnings and take them very seriously!

Day-1 High Risk! (4th of the year)

The SPC went High Risk 30% tornado for tomorrow... I don't disagree, but I personally would have played it a little more safe with the negative factors outlined below... We are heading for OKC tomorrow morning, so we'll see what happens... I still think it will be a big day but I'm not on the high risk bandwagon yet... By the time I wake up tomorrow I'll know if it will be a huge, big, or an average day... I want to get a look at the progression of the trough, whether the precip is getting out, and most importantly whether the sun is shining... If the sun is out tomorrow for a lot of the day, then LOOK OUT!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Having doubts about Monday's chase!

I still think Monday has a LOT of potential but three things are starting to really worry me!

1) I don't care what any model says, water vapor shows this trough moving quicker than anyone or any model thought... If it's too progressive than we won't have much sunshine! Even if it's only 3 or 4 hours faster that will hurt a lot!

2) Morning convection is still a major concern! Especially with a more progressive trough... If it hangs around and this system is progressive (looks likely at this point) then how are we going to get enough sun/instability tomorrow? Yes there will be instability, but not enough to live up to the hype around this event!

3) Right now there isn't much convection, but honestly that scares me a little... The CAP must be pretty darn strong! Tim Wallace just pointed out to me how badly the 18z GFS is analyzing the CAP compared to the 0z balloon Justyn Jackson launched today at KAMA... The trend is quicker and more south where the CAP is forecasted to be much stronger! Without much sunshine I'm not seeing how the CAP is going to break without the forcing... If that happens everything will go up all at once! Justyn just pulled up a 0z NAM Bufkit file for Ponca City, OK and the high is forecasted to be 70 with a stratus deck all day... Not much different in OKC with stratus there most of the day until it tries to mix out around 6-7pm... However, you have warmer temps and much more instability... The CAP would worry me though with cloud cover... The trend is south/fast without a doubt in my mind right now!

Bottom line, I still think Monday has a LOT of potential but there are some obvious doubts... Ignoring these negative factors is foolish! Tomorrow is NOT a sure thing!!! My guts says it will still be a big day, but further south... Key word there is south! I do think there will be tornadoes tomorrow, but I'm not as sure about an epic outbreak like many are calling for... Could it still happen, of course! However, those three negative factors do worry me about a potential bust! I don't think it will be a complete bust, but at the same time I don't see how the SPC can go High Risk with these negative factors... I would personally go Moderate 15% hatched tornado... That way you can easily go up or down if warranted... We are now going to head towards OKC as of this minute around 8am tomorrow morning... More updates to come!

Cowboys Stadium...

I'll have a detailed chasing update tonight for Monday's probable huge day! Actually massive may be the better word to describe Monday, but I'm still trying to stay calm and not hype things! I'm still a little worried about the morning convection/CAP but that seems to be less and less of a problem with each model run... Now onto yesterdays fun day!

I have been a die hard Oakland Raiders fan since the 1986/1987 season... NFL football is king in my eyes and it always will be, period end of story! I love all my college football friends but nothing can compare to the level of football the NFL produces in my eyes! So as a HUGE fan of the NFL it was such an AWESOME experience to visit Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX...

We left the Hyatt Hotel in Dallas around noon and made our way towards Arlington... Before going into the stadium we stopped and ate lunch at a place called Saltgrass Steak House! Very good food and also excellent service... When we got the check we noticed that our servers name was Tony Montana... We all thought that was pretty darn funny!

The restaurant was very close to Cowboys Stadium, Six Flags, and the Texas Rangers baseball stadium... That seems like the place to be in Dallas IMO.. I would love someday to go back to both Six Flags and Texas Rangers stadium... It's hard to go wrong with baseball games and roller-coasters! As we pulled up to Cowboys Stadium I was in complete awe! I have never seen anything like in my life... It made the huge SEC stadiums you see in the Deep South look fairly average and obsolete! And that's saying a lot, because some of those SEC stadiums are huge and very nice! It really looked like a huge space ship as we started to get closer...

We parked on the wrong side of the stadium, so we drove around to the other side to get inside through the pro shop... We would of walked, but I'm sure that would have been a mile walk, so we decided to drive... haha... Outside the stadium was a statue of Tom Landry... We stopped and took a few pictures before walking in Cowboys Stadium... My jaw almost hit the ground when I walked into this place! Words honestly can't do it justice! I have never seen anything like it in my life! There may be a couple bigger soccer stadium across the globe, but I SERIOUSLY doubt there is any facility across the globe that can touch this place... The HD TV screen was so huge that it made the dogzillatron at MSU (largest HD video board in the SEC) look extremely tiny! Plus it is double sided with two extra massive (very small in comparison) HD screens on the north/south end-zones which is still as big as the dogzillatron! You could fit at least 4 or 5 of the "smaller" HD screens in the each main one, which again are double sided... UNBELIEVABLE!!!

After wiping the drool off my face we made our made to the field... It was in amazing shape and we took our time walking around and taking lots of pictures... It was cool to stand in the star and take several shot with different poses... Tim and I even did the TO pose... Where is George Teague when you need him? We also got to throw around a couple footballs and score a few TD's... After enjoying that for almost an hour we made our way to the locker room... It was really cool to take some pictures where the players get ready to play every Sunday... We also got to go into the cheerleaders locker room... They had life size photos above each locker and all I can say about that is WOW! These are some of the most beautiful girls on the face of the earth!!! My personal favorite was Cassie! haha...

We would have stayed longer but we wanted to get to Amarillo at a decent time so we left around 3:30pm... It was $17.50 to take a self guided tour, and without a doubt it was worth every penny! Best $17.50 I have spent in a long time! I ended up getting a Dallas Cowboys hat at the pro shop and Tim got two cool shirts as well... It was such a great experience and I'm not even a Dallas Cowboys fan! If I was this impressed, just imagine what Tim was thinking... I recommend a stop at Cowboys Stadium to every football fan on earth... Whether you prefer NFL or college, this is the biggest, baddest, most state for the art stadium I have ever seen, and everyone should go at least once!

Morning precip gets out, and Monday is BIG!!!

I'm very tired after a long/fun day, but I still want to touch on Monday... The SPC Day-3 convective outlook had some of the strongest wording I have ever seen for a Day-3... The one thing that could mess up Monday is the morning convection... As long as it gets out of south-central Kansas and north-central Oklahoma, then it will be a big day! If you think about it, the morning convection should put down plenty of boundaries! Again, this is all dependent on the precipitation getting out! Without enough sunshine you won't have the instability available to sustain dangerous tornadic supercells... Also, the CAP will become an issue without enough sunshine!

I personally do think the convection will get out! Combine that with plenty of boundaries, nice dynamics, incredible thermodynamics, and I really think Monday will be a big day! I never really like to get into thermodynamic parameters this far out, but it does look very explosive! I'll get into way more detail tomorrow... Remember though, Monday is not a sure thing, and while I do think the morning convection gets out, it's still something to watch very closely! I think we will have a much better handle on everything by tomorrow!

I'll have a full recap on today's events tomorrow as well... Cowboys Stadium was AMAZING!!! By far the best stadium I have ever been inside or seen from outside... I'll have a lot of pictures to include as well... Best $17.50 I have spent in a long time! Right now it's sleep time though!

*Update (12:55am): The SPC just went moderate 45% hatched on Monday for south-central/south-eastern Kansas and parts of north-central Oklahoma... I have a strong feeling high risk 30% tornado is coming on the first Day-1 convective outlook tomorrow night! They feel confident that the morning convection gets out, and Monday is a big/huge day! I do agree 100%, but again the morning convection is still something to watch closely IMO... I just don't want hype things too much since we are still almost 48 hours out... I promise I'll have a very detailed post tomorrow on Monday's chasing and beyond... Plus I'll have a recap on our trip to Cowboys Stadium...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Read This!!!

This is probably the most strongly worded Day-3 I have ever read in my life! All I can say is WOW!!!



0227 AM CDT SAT MAY 08 2010

VALID 101200Z - 111200Z











..RACY.. 05/08/2010