Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Thursday, June 4, 2009 - 6:01PM

No-go for now

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As we get closer to the potential storm photography days ahead, the outlook continues to become less and less attractive to me. The setups are underwhelming - upper flow displaced from better moisture and/or extreme capping preventing development in the areas of best instability and upper flow. Unfortunately, this upcoming pattern is falling short of my threshold for pulling the trigger on trip #2. Models are all over the place for late next week, which I'll still hold on to some hope for. But for now, things are looking like a no-go for a while.

Again, to make a four-figure investment in a Plains trip, I require high-probability tornado setups where I'm confident that all of the ingredients needed will be present. Tornado intercepts are never guaranteed even in the best of conditions, so when one or two of the main ingredients is missing from the environment, it lowers the chances of success that much more. I have always felt like lower-probability setups in the Plains are not much different from lower-probability setups in the Midwest (or even here at home) that I can chase for a third of the cost (or less).

Granted, some of these 'iffy' setups are bound to produce tornadoes from time to time - and I may very well miss out on a big event. But that's something I'm willing to accept. I don't have the means to photograph storms everything all the time, so I have to be very selective when I choose my days to go. Since I have near-unlimited flexibility, my 'season' never really ends - so I feel I'm better off saving my money for a possible midwestern event later this summer or fall.

Based on the current outlook, this probability table charts the chance of the second Plains storm photography expedition starting on a particular date:

2009 Storm Photography Expedition #2 - Departure Date Probability as of June 4
June 5-915%
June 10-1525%
No trip #260%

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