Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message
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                   Wednesday, May 23, 2007 - 3:03AM EDT

Three more weeks

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After a few days' break from storm chasing, it's time again to check in with the outlook for the season. The good news today is that we have three more weeks left in our observing standby period, which ends on June 13. The bad news is that the models have not been painting a nice picture for storm chasers the first two of those three weeks, and tonight's new 00z GFS run is no exception. As we've said time and time again, the extended GFS model is very flaky past 7 days - however its consistency in not portraying a major western trough from days 8-14 is enough to at least base a general forecast on. The 10-day ECMWF model also is not showing anything of interest through the first of June.

With the quietness of the outlook ahead, it turns out this week may have been the time to make our trip after all, with an easy tornado day in the Plains on Tuesday and another one likely today. But, hindsight's 20/20, and I'm not upset about it. We made our decision to wait based on the best information we had at the time. Besides, the early catches this year have already made for a successful season, and anything more will be icing on the cake.

And the season is not over yet! The period from June 6 through June 13 is beyond the reach of long-range models and any realistic forecasting capabilities, so it's still entirely possible for something big to develop during that time frame. There's no way to tell right now if it will be bad or good. And still even so for June 1 through June 5, the current period on the long-range GFS most prone to unreliability. There is still plenty of time left for a better outlook to take shape, so we can't close out the 2007 storm season just yet.

In a nutshell, all this means essentally that our storm chase expedition hinges on the forecast for June 6-13 (and to a lesser extent June 1-5). Our updated probability table reflects this.

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 May 23
May 23-301%
May 31-June 519%
June 6-1240%
No trip40%

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