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Storm Chasing & Photography forecast update for May 10-20
Unfortunately, long-range models continue to show no sign of good observing patterns over the Plains/Midwest for as far out as they can reasonably be useful (10 days in the case of the ECMWF). A western trough showing up at the far end of the range appears to be too far north to do much for the Plains in terms of upper flow, except for possibly Montana and North Dakota. At the same time, a weak upper low/trough shown in the east blocks deep moisture return from the Gulf of Mexico, which would keep moisture from flowing that *long* distance north it would need to interact with that upper support (if it materializes).
Worse, the pattern shows no sign of breaking down for what could end up being the bulk of the month of May. Which is to say, there are no signs of progressiveness, but rather a indefinite period of ridging and stagnation of the upper pattern. As a result of this, deep moisture should remain too meager across the entire continental US for even weak-shear thunderstorm days.
All told, storm chasing prospects in the Plains and Midwest look grim for at least the next 2 weeks. The good news is, that rarely lasts, and we should start seeing some improvement in the pattern (or at least some hope on model forecasts) by the last week of the month. In the meantime, we're looking at some downtime for a while.
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 May 9