Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
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                   Thursday, May 7, 2009 - 4:03PM

Wavering models making forecasting difficult

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Still holding tight here, watching for signs of something worth making a second run out to the Plains. Long-range forecast models have not been performing well this season, making any long-term storm chase expedition planning nearly impossible. Several times during the past few days, both the GFS and the Euro models have been flip-flopping dramatically between a great western trough and a less-favorable, higher-latitude zonal flow pattern. The latter has actually been showing up more - leading to a lower probability of any trip happening in the next week. The latest two runs (at 00z yesterday and 12z today) do not look good for tornadoes in the Plains for as far out as the models go. Due to the models' poor performance, I have a very low confidence level in speculating out beyond a week. So, I have no choice but to give equal departure date probabilities for the remainder of the month - with the exception of the upcoming week, which gets a lower percentage.

As a matter of fact, the upper air forecast actually favors some storm chase days in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia next week.

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

2009 Storm Chasing & Photography Expedition #2 - Departure Date Probability as of May 7
May 7-1212%
May 13-2022%
May 21-3122%
June 1-1522%
No trip #222%

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