Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Saturday, April 19, 2014 - 12:13AM CST

Storm Chasing & Photography forecast update for April 20 - May 3

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The models are beginning to back off of next week's systems having "storm chase expedition" potential. The first wave on Wednesday and Thursday is shown being positively tilted, moisture-deficient and with veering low-levels. The wild card is that there is still some tornado potential, and it may end up being in eastern Kansas - close enough for a one-day run out and back from St. Louis. I'm definitely not as excited about it at this point, and I'm retreating some from a chase-chase-imminent stance. The second and much more favorable wave that we saw for next weekend, for all intents and purposes, is on 'life support' in the models. The GFS eliminated it altogether in last night's runs - replacing it with a smaller less-impressive shortwave:

This is then shown being followed by an "omega block", one of the worst types of Plains spring patterns. An omega block is a large trough in the eastern US that blocks another western trough from moving into the Plains, and is typically a pattern that lasts for a while (a week or sometimes more).

Before we get too disappointed, note that the models have been all over the place in the medium-to-long ranges this month. That last image above is way out in model "fantasy land" and isn't supported by much consistency. While this means that anything could be in play by the end of the month, it also means I can't really speculate on what to expect beyond next Thursday. At this point I simply have to retreat into "I don't know" mode for a while until a more consistent pattern emerges. Hopefully that will happen in a few days - until then, it's back to 'chase standby mode'.

The following table charts the probability of a Great Plains storm chase expedition happening for several indicated date ranges in the near future:

2014 Plains Storm Expeditions - Probabilities as of April 19
April 20-220%
April 23-2730%
April 28-May 325%

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