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                Thursday, April 17, 2014 - 11:29AM CST    Storm Highway blog RSS/XML feedStorm Highway Twitter FeedStorm Highway Facebook page

Chase forecast update for April 18 - 30

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
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We finally have something on the horizon to watch! Both the GFS and the Euro model agree on at least two upper troughs swinging through the center of the USA beginning late next week. As it's shown, the first potential chase day afforded by the first wave would be in the Wednesday-Friday time frame, followed by a several-day down period before the second wave arrives (pictured below as depicted by the GFS model).

Right now these systems are shown to have the classic synoptic-scale ingredients we need for tornadoes (upper support, instability, dryline, directional shear, breakable cap), but in reality we will not have any real confidence until we get within 3 or 4 days. The models are simply not that trustworthy this far in advance. To complicate matters, both the Euro and GFS want to keep the troughs a little too far to the north for my liking, which could lead to moisture issues - particularly for the first wave. Regardless, I like what's being shown enough to bump up the probabilities for the first 2014 Great Plains expedition happening either late next week or next weekend.

Stay tuned - more updates will follow as new model data is available over the coming days.

The following table charts the probability of a Great Plains chase expedition happening for several indicated date ranges in the near future:

2014 Plains Chase Expeditions - Probabilities as of April 17
April 18-220%
April 23-2740%
April 28-May 340%

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                Tuesday, April 15, 2014 2:48PM CST    Storm Highway blog RSS/XML feedStorm Highway Twitter FeedStorm Highway Facebook page

Lunar eclipse (blood moon) with the Gateway Arch in St. Louis

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
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I went downtown to do a quick shoot of the total lunar eclipse ("blood moon") with the Arch at around 3AM this morning. Here are a few of the results! These have also been added to the main St. Louis photo gallery.

Dan, by far the most wonderful shots I've seen so far. Sure, shots of just the moon are great, but when it's put into context with where it's seen, you share the experience of seeing it, not just what it is. Great work.
- Posted by Sandra Sparks from Georgia
Thank you Sandra!
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL

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                Monday, April 14, 2014 - 7:06AM CST    Storm Highway blog RSS/XML feedStorm Highway Twitter FeedStorm Highway Facebook page

Chase forecast update for April 15 - 24

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
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I really don't have any good news to talk about on the storm chasing prospects front, but figured it was time for another update. Long-range models still show no indication of a expedition-worthy pattern taking shape over the Midwest and Plains for the next 2 weeks. The only feature of note is this compact wave shown traversing the country toward the end of this week:

Normally, something like that would pique my interest. But alas, thanks to the potent cold front that is currently crashing southward across the USA this morning (with snow behind it in places), Gulf of Mexico moisture is going to be cut off well in advance of that nice-looking upper feature. That means no good low-level moisture/instability will be available for the otherwise great wind profiles afforded by the wave.

Looking farther into the future, there are still no signs of that deep western trough that chasers look for. Again, it's still very early in the season, so we all just need to be patient. Some years don't see things getting active until late May. I added a third date range to the table below that is more climatology-influenced than model forecast-based. We can't realistically make a specific forecast that far out, but in general, I start to expect unfavorable patterns like this one to eventually break down after an extended period. I won't go higher than 25% though, not until that date range starts to show up within the 10-day period in which we have some model data to work with.

The following table charts the probability of a Great Plains chase expedition happening for several indicated date ranges in the near future:

2014 Plains Chase Expeditions - Probabilities as of April 14
April 15-190%
April 20-245%
April 25-3025%

It's getting pretty difficult to be patient for the storms. Considering that there's only been one small outbreak in late february and that's it, this lack of tornadoes halfway through april is getting pretty ridiculous. It's probably going to be a month before anything really happens. It snowed a little yesterday too! In 2011 and 2012 there were tornado outbreaks. A tale of 2 types of aprils.
- Posted by Tim

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                Wednesday, April 9, 2014 - 5:06AM CST    Storm Highway blog RSS/XML feedStorm Highway Twitter FeedStorm Highway Facebook page

Chase forecast update for April 10 - 19

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
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Unfortunately, there is just not much to talk about regarding storm chasing potential in the Plains and Midwest over the next 10 days. None of the long-range models have been performing particularly well beyond 3 or 4 days, leaving considerable uncertainty about where things are headed. The indicated patterns are not terrible, but not good either. That is to say, no massive eastern trough, rex block or "death ridge", but no western troughing either. Upper flow is shown as remaining mostly zonal (flattened west to east) with small perturbations moving across the US with less-than stellar moisture to work with. These *could* produce a "sleeper" type chase day here and there, but likely nothing to make a Plains trip worthy of consideration.

The only glimmer I see is a large Pacific Ocean trough looming at the farthest reach of the Euro model's range. Even if that comes to pass, there's no way to know if such a trough will make it far enough eastward and/or maintain its depth. Having said all of that, due to the recent poor performance of long-range models, I have to concede that I just have little clue of what is going to happen beyond 5 days. In reality, all scenarios are in play at this point, from the worst to the best. What little inkling we do have for the full 10 day period isn't great, so at this point Plains chase trip probabilities through the 19th will remain low.

This week, we have a positively-tilted trough evolving over the center of the country, bringing a couple of low-end setups to the Plains and Midwest this weekend. There will definitely be some thunderstorms with this system, and at least a low-end severe threat. But nothing worth making a major trip for, in my opinion.

It's still very early in the season, and thankfully we've got a long way to go before mid-June.

The following table charts the probability of a Great Plains chase expedition happening for several indicated date ranges in the near future:

2014 Plains Chase Expeditions - Probabilities as of April 9
April 9-130%
April 14-1910%

2 tornado busts in 5 days (well, there were supposed to be tornado outbreaks when there were only a few). Sunday's outlook looked like February 10th, 2013, and Thursday's ongoing convection kept down instability so yeah. The strongest tornado this year? EF2 and it's a third of the way through april. I'm not quite going to call this chase season a total bust, but at this rate it's getting there. This year is even less active than last year (thanks brutal winter). If only there were tornadoes swirling over open prairie.
- Posted by Tim

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                Monday, April 7, 2014 4:48PM CST    Storm Highway blog RSS/XML feedStorm Highway Twitter FeedStorm Highway Facebook page

The downside to being successful on Youtube: Google, are you listening?

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
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After months of getting nowhere with Youtube/Google regarding the rampant copyright infringement of other users/spammers re-uploading my videos, I figured it's time to go on a big public relations blitz to see if I can finally get their attention. Here is an unedited screen capture of what my Gmail inbox looks like every once in a while - full of DMCA takedowns by me, all discovered and issued manually!

  • My channel has over 5 million views since 2012 and over 5,000 subscribers. I was previously with an agency that had my videos on their channel. Nearly one-quarter of the over 20 million views on that agency's channel were from my videos. Between the agency channel and my channel, my videos have garnered over 10 million total views.
     
  • I have submitted hundreds of DMCA takedowns for videos since October of last year. All of these require manually searching for infringing videos on a daily basis, and manually filling out the DMCA form for each one. I spend at least one hour per day on this task.
     
  • In some cases, I find so many infringing videos at one time that I get a "Submission frequency limit exceeded - Please come back later to submit your next copyright complaint." error. So the thieves have an unlimited reign to upload my videos, but I'm limited in how many I can DMCA at a time.
     
  • I have applied twice for Content ID, a utility that would automate the discovery and takedown of infringing videos. The first application, back in November, was rejected. The second, sent back in February, has yet to receive a response. The agency channel I mentioned above? That channel, that I helped boost to over 20 million views, has been awarded the Content ID program, yet I have been rejected.
     
  • Spammers are rampantly uploading videos that copy the title AND description text from my videos (their actual videos do not match the title and description). Some of these are beginning to compete with my videos in search results. I have reported dozens of these as having misleading text, none have been taken down.
     
  • I have sent emails to Youtube regarding these issues several times since January 1, and have not received a response. Not ONCE.
     
  • The spammers are uploading not only my videos, but hundreds of copies of other videos as well. How does this help the quality of Youtube when there are 1,000 copies of the same video out there uploaded by spammers? I would venture to say that the "x amount of hours of video uploaded to Youtube every day" statistic we see in the news is actually 90% re-uploaded content. This is diluting the value of the entire site and the potential for those of us who create original content.
     
  • Sunday morning, a spammer re-uploaded my entire channel to theirs. I sent both a direct email copyright complaint (with all of the required DMCA legalese) and over 50 individual DMCA takedowns via the form (I could only do 10 at a time due to the aforementioned limits) before the offending channel was removed.
     
The lack of support and communication from Youtube about these critical issues is absolutely unbelievable. I would think it would be in Google's/Youtube's best interest to listen to the concerns of its "legitimate" content creators and not blow us off like this. I want to be successful on Youtube, and the platform has promise. The success of producers like me means the success of Youtube.

Youtube/Google, are you listening? Please contact me! My channel is "stormhighwaycom". Thank you!

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