Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Friday, April 25, 2014 - 4:57PM CST

Storm Chasing & Photography forecast update II for April 26 - May 7

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One final update on the weekend system. The models have remained very insistent in storms not firing before sunset (or at all) on Saturday evening in Kansas and Oklahoma. This now even includes the 4KM WRF short-range model. Sunday also remains unimpressive to me due to the lack of instability shown. Since we are now within a couple of days of this event with such consistency and agreement in the models, my confidence in a Plains storm chase expedition - even a one-day run - is now very low.

To top that off, this system will bring multiple opportunities in Missouri and Illinois. In my opinion, these local setups look much better than the ones in the Plains right now - and they are about one-fifth of the cost to chase than a trip to the Plains!

Now - if I had unlimited funding to pursue everything, I'd without a doubt be headed to Kansas tonight. One has to consider that we still have the entire month of May and first half of June left in the season. What if the last half of May brings a series of banner storm chase days? It then would seem prudent to save money for that possibility, rather than to spend it all early on every setup in some sort of 'chase everything' philosophy.

I accept that there is a possibility that I will miss something if I don't cover the Plains this weekend. That goes without saying. The models could be wrong on storms not firing. It's times like this where I have to decide which is worse - missing the rogue tornado that defies the odds on Saturday/Sunday, or using up precious chase funds that might take me out of play for a better setup in late May/early June. I increasingly find myself leaning toward accepting missing the rougue tornado and saving money for better opportunities later. There is a gamble either way - that's the reality of storm chasing for most of us!

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 25
April 26-2725%
April 28-May 715%

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