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Plains weather expedition 2011: No-go this time
Update 7:32AM Saturday: Scrubbing the Nebraska trip after poring over data this morning. Disappointing upper winds and weak low-level flow will likely keep storms rather uninteresting, and overnight weak MCS activity will present the threat for instability-limiting cloud cover. A highly conditional supercell/tornado threat is present far to the north along the NE/SD border, but that is too far away for me to make before sunset. Trying to get there would take away the 'leisurely drive' aspect of the trip, and this setup's just not worth that kind of a marathon. Furthermore, non-severe storms are shown close to the St. Louis area on Sunday night, providing some potential photo opportunities close to home. I'm eager to get a Plains trip in, but despite my standards for setups being low this time of year, this one is just too weak and problematic to pull the trigger. I'm sure there will be a better setup sometime later this summer (if not, the fall season is still upcoming), so I'll hold out for another opportunity.
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Posted 8:00PM Friday: With the weekend off and at least a marginal pair of setups in Nebraska/Iowa, I've decided to head out on a "mini" chase vacation and thereby not break my since-2001 streak of annual Plains trips. Lord willing, in the morning after work, I should be on the road westbound for Kansas, with an eventual arrival planned in southeastern or south-central Nebraska by the evening - hopefully in time for some daytime storms. The setup for severe storms, again, is marginal (with some slight potential for a diamond in the rough), but this is more a leisurely 'road trip escape' to the Plains than a trip with high storm expectations. It's the first I've been to the Plains in July. As usual, I'll post updates when time and internet access allows.