Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Friday, April 28, 2007 - 11:15AM EDT

Plains Trip #1 summary, April 23 log

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I'm currently in Raleigh for a few days before heading back to Charleston. In the meantime, here are the stats for trip #1:

States: 8
Storm days: 4
Tornadoes: 4 or 5
Miles: 3,100
Fuel cost: $384.96
Motel cost $200.06
Plane ticket: $280.00
Oil Change: $20.00
Total cost: $885.02

The total cost came in much lower than I expected. My original estimates of the fuel costs were way too high, and we were able to find satisfactory hotels for around $50 a night. Not counting the plane ticket for Matt, the whole 6-day trip came in at about $600, not bad for a trip of that length.

Event reports for trip #1
The completed log for the April 23 tornadoes, along with photos and video, can be viewed at the April 23 report page. Reviewing video confirms we had three tornadoes on the ground at the same time! I'm still working on the logs and photos for the rest of the chases.

Forecast update

GFS 500mb forecast for May 5

A nice-looking trough - just as nice as this last one - is showing up on the GFS for the May 3 to 6 period. After that, a large trough appears to set up on the west coast for an extended time. Currently the later trough appears too far west to bring significant severe weather to the Plains, but as we're talking many days in advance, this can easily change.

This is looking like one of those seasons where there will be so many good setups that we will have no choice but to miss a few of them. Ideally, I'd love to just take the month off and stay in Kansas or Oklahoma for the entire month. But, there's no way we can afford that this year. It is going to be difficult for us to regroup and go back out west for another week so soon after getting back from our last trip. We may have to sit this upcoming series of events out unless it looks so huge that it is a 'must-be-there' situation. Although we've still got the entire month of May to go, sometimes the good part of the season happens early, followed by nothing else the rest of the month (like in 2003).

For these reasons, I'm going to remain with equal departure date probabilities for all days in our standby period, until the upcoming system can be looked at in greater detail as the events get closer.

Based on the current outlook, this probability table charts the chance of our trip starting on a particular date:

2007 Storm Chasing & Photography Expedition - Departure Date Probability as of April 28
May 1-1024.5%
May 11-2024.5%
May 21-3124.5%
June 1-1524.5%
No trip2%

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