Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Friday, April 2, 2010 - 11:18PM CDT

April 2 chase outing #1; Monday update

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A very narrow corridor of weak instability developed through eastern Missouri on Friday evening. A line of showers started to intensify as it encountered this zone, so I drove to Wentzville (northwest edge of the STL metro) for the slim possibility of lightning and a shelf cloud. While a few cells pulsed here and there (mainly to the north of I-70), it wasn't doing as much as I'd hoped (which wasn't much to begin with). A large area of outflow slowly pushed east into the St. Louis area, with a sharp temperature drop behind it (so cold that I had to roll the window up and turn on the heat after I crossed it westbound near Lake Saint Louis). No new activity was developing along the outflow as it shoved through the warmer air to the east, so I turned around and arrived back home at 7:30.

This developing shower just behind the outflow boundary produced these southwest-pointing 'fingers'. This was near Moscow Mills (north of Wentzville) at around 6:00PM. I'd never seen this type of cloud feature before, another unique image to add to the collection. It's little things like this that make some of the 'bust' chases seem worthwhile.

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A shot of the outflow edge, looking northeast from Chesterfield along I-64 on the way home. I finally crossed the outflow boundary eastbound at I-270, with a very noticable spike in temperature that required rolling the window back down to stay comfortable.

click to enlarge

Some sporadic lightning is still slowly moving this way from the AR/MO border, but it's doubtful that any will make it this far north tonight like I expected earlier.

Monday chase update

Not much more to say with this forecast, other than the 00z WRF/NAM has stayed consistent with Monday's best play very likely being the warm front in northern Missouri. Even if it wasn't the better target, I already had a strong 'local bias' in picking the warm front (for the uninitiated, 'local bias' means a storm chaser favoring an area due to its geographic convenience rather than its meteorological merits). A shorter, cheaper drive and less observer crowds for an early-season setup like this seems much more appealing. I tend to have less 'local bias' in May and June, so I won't feel too bad about giving in to it a few times in April.

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