Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Monday, May 5, 2014 - 12:27AM CST

Storm Chasing & Photography forecast update for May 6-17

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Straight to the point for this update: I don't see any good news for Plains storm chasers for at least 2 weeks. The upper trough shown moving through in the next few days looks to be mostly wasted by a strong cap that will keep storms from forming on the days with the best wind profiles (Tuesday and Wednesday). By Thursday, the upper forcing overcomes the cap, but by then the wind profiles have deteriorated to mostly unidirectional - aside from the zone very close to the surface low. Right now this is shown on the Iowa/Nebraska border. This may indeed be a worthy target for anyone out on their chase vacations right now, and might even convince me to make the drive from here if it's going to be a Midwest (Iowa) play. If I still lived in West Virginia - or was flying in from overseas or somewhere on either US coast, it's doubtful I'd consider Thursday's "one shot deal" worthy of a trip.

Beyond this week's system, there is not much to be encouraged about in the medium to long ranges. The Euro shows a trough swinging through next week, but it's coming in a little north - and once again suffering from capping issues. The GFS and ensembles are even less optimistic, trending toward eastern troughing. The only good news is there is disagreement at that range, which leaves room for some unexpected improvement. Right now I don't see any strong signal of something chase-chase-worthy out to at least the end of next week, so I'm lowering my chase probabilities for the time being.

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 May 5
May 6-810%
May 9-110%
May 11-1715%

Looks like Thursday's not looking good. It went from "some tornado potential" to only a few tornadoes possible. St. Louis probably won't get much if any, severe weather and like you said, cap's an issue. Anything that happens on Thursday will probably be sub-severe and what's left of any storms farther west. That's been all too common this year.
- Posted by Tim

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