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                   Saturday, June 6, 2009 - 12:35AM

Non-weather issues hampering more 2009 observing

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Taking a look at the latest model runs tonight reveals a better picture for Saturday and Sunday in Nebraska and Kansas, and possibly even more decent observing into next week. Precip is breaking out in a decent upper flow/surface moisture environments, as the cap is shown still strong but slightly weaker. As happened on Friday in Wyoming, there will probably be at least a tornado or two somewhere within this setup either or both days this weekend. If I lived closer - say, 100 miles west of St. Louis - I'd more than likely be on my way there.

The negatives I have now are ones of financing and motivation. Yet another unexpected city tax bill arriving this week has taken a chunk out of my operating fund, which due to several delayed incoming checks, is currently running too low to cover a Plains trip with a margin of safety (I'm not about to finance a trip on credit). To make matters worse, gas has gone back up significantly since my last expedition in April, heading toward the $3.00/gallon mark in many places.

But to be brutally honest, the biggest factor is that I'm just really not that passionate about going to the Plains right now. Maybe it's a temporary lack of motivation to see tornadoes, but more than likely it's simply feeling like I've moved on into 'summer mode' plus contentment with what I have here for now. The satisfying storm days I've been having here in home territory as of late have really been making me think about why I want to work hard to spend what little travel money I have to try for things 1,500 miles away. After all, I did get a Plains trip in already this year, so part of me is thinking I've fulfilled that aspect of my spring season. The only factor that gives me the impulse to get out and chase is the prospect that if I don't, I may not see a tornado this year - but the more I think about that, the more I realize I don't care that much about it!

As I said before, observing is expensive, and if I had the funds to be out the entire season, I probably would be. Maybe I'll get there in future seasons if the Lord is willing and I can get my businesses built up to that point. For now though, I think that my remaining 2009 chase travel allotment would be better enjoyed in a few extra 'home territory' outings into Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana or North Carolina.

So, I'm once more lowering my confidence level in making a second trip to the Great Plains this year. As with most things in my life, unexpected things do happen - so if some swift sales come in soon and the Plains start going nuts, I'll revisit the situation.

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

2009 Storm Observing Expedition #2 - Departure Date Probability as of June 6
June 6-910%
June 10-1510%
No trip #280%

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