Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Wednesday, March 31, 2010 - 11:15PM CST

Spring surges in St. Louis; observing updates

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Storm Chasing & Photography season continues to show signs of a big ramp-up in action by the weekend. The first wave of severe storm threats starts April 1 in the Plains, and moves across the midsection of the country by the 4th. A slim tornado threat exists in the Plains on Thursday and Friday, but not enough for me to make the 8 hour drive to chase either one. A large thunderstorm complex should move through central Missouri into the lower Midwest on Friday night, arriving in St. Louis sometime Saturday morning (timing is hard to call, anytime from midnight to mid-morning). This will, at best, be a lightning chase that I'll stay in the STL region to catch. Next Monday also shows signs of starting a second major wave of activity that could last through midweek. One or more of these could be a significant event and/or prompt long-distance chases, and at this point it appears that Tuesday the 6th could be the 'main event'.

The unfortunate problem I have now is a dental checkup appointment I made back in February for the 6th of April, which is Tuesday. The 6th was the earliest the dentist's office could schedule an appointment, and I figured the chances that early April would produce a big storm chase day would be low enough to risk it. It's too late to cancel that now without paying a penalty, and a reschedule would probably mean waiting until July or later (I'd never schedule something from late April through June). So I'm going to keep the Tuesday appointment. I did opt for the earliest slot they had, 8:50AM - knowing that if there was a local event, at least I'd be done in time to make it to a 2 to 4 hour target. At this point it looks like the event could be in Missouri or Iowa, which I might realistically make in time even if I didn't get done at the dentist's until noon. This appointment is only a checkup, but since I'm switching to a new dentist, they have to go through all of the initial stuff like x-rays and the like to get things 'set up' here in IL. Even so, I can't see all of this taking more than a couple hours. At least I hope so!

All of the concern about the dental appointment may be a moot point, since we're talking about an event 5 days out that could easily shift around great distances, or totally fizzle out into a messy low-probability, out-of-phase, cloud-socked squall line event (like climatology would slightly favor this time of year). The GFS (which has been very flaky lately) even has Tuesday's event east of Illinois as of the 00z runs tonight. I'll be out of play only if the threat ends up verifying somewhere that I can't make the drive in an afternoon, like Kansas/Oklahoma or western/northern Iowa.

Spring settles in to STL

The St. Louis area hit 80°F for the first time today, with trees in the region starting to 'green up' and a few already in full bloom. I had some items on the to-do list that took me into South County, so I didn't pass up the opportunity to stop downtown for a few minutes.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Just a glance at long-range models suggests it's pretty safe to say that the 2009-2010 winter is done for most middle and lower latitudes of the US east of the Rockies.

Your dentist is strict. You should have at least a 24 hour window not seventy six. I think you need to start looking else where ;) And is this visit in STL area or back east? I cant chase anyway I am finishing up my last semester of undergrad ever, Whoo hoo! April 30th man
- Posted by kurt from KGRR

I called the dentist today, and it turns out they are cool about the cancellations. No charge if I cancel by Monday evening. The next slot is in July. Cool about your graduation! Freedom starting May 1 should be great.
- Posted by Dan R. from New Baden, IL

Freedom may be but a fleeting glimpse i have to find a job and the one that I have the best potential for will be on the weekends.
- Posted by kurt

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