Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Sunday, April 22, 2012 - 11:21PM CST

Storm Chasing & Photography forecast update for the week beginning April 23

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Just a quick update to comment on the forecast for the upcoming week. After some fluctuating in the past few days, both the GFS and ECMWF (European) models are indicating the likely return of a southwesterly upper jet to the Great Plains by midweek. This is thanks to a western US upper trough moving in from the Pacific coast. Low level wind profiles and moisture return become classically favorable for tornadoes over the Plains in response to the jet from Thursday-Saturday, and possibly afterward. While these setups don't look quite as 'outbreakish' as the last ones, they still should provide a few good 'Moderate Risk' storm chase days for those able to make it out.

Due to these setups coming right on the heels of my last trip, and again falling across Friday and Saturday (the most difficult work days for me to call off), I will be sitting this system out. Otherwise, it looks like a good system to make a chase for (more than one day of tornado setups in the Plains). If I were able to make the trip, I'd leave Wednesday night and plan to stay out until at least Sunday. However, with non-weather factors tying me down, I'll be relegated to 'armchairing' this one. A bit of a downer, but I really can't complain about my 2012 season after my last trip.

If the system provides Midwestern severe storm opportunities as the trough ejects eastward on Sunday or later, I will most likely be able to get out for a chase or two in Missouri, Illinois and/or Indiana. I'll comment more on the Midwestern angle of this system as models become more clear on what we'll see in MO/IL/IN (if anything).

Also, interestingly enough, it appears a northwest flow supercell event may happen from northern Missouri on this Tuesday evening (the 24th) through Illinois overnight into Wednesday morning. This very well may be an observable event for some nighttime supercells with large hail, and of course, lightning opportunities. I may or may not get around to another blog post before Tuesday, so stay tuned to the Facebook or Twitter feeds for updates as this potential event draws closer.

Beyond the end of the month, the chances of another Plains trip are still too uncertain to state with any confidence, but will increase as we move into the climatological peak of the season.

The following table plots the chance of a Plains storm chase expedition happening in a particular date range (Midwestern storm chase days are not factored into this table):

2012 Plains Storm Expeditions - Probabilities as of April 22
April 23-301%
May 1-1530%
May 15-3135%

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