Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Storm Chasing & Photography forecast update for April 15

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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Quite a bit has taken place since the last storm forecast post in over a month. I simply didn't have time to put together a forecast post for the last big series of systems to move through during the first 10 days of April. That system actually had my Plains trip probabilities up to 60-70% at one point, mainly for the big day on April 8th in which storm chasers saw tornadoes near Medicine Lodge, Kansas. I ended up choosing to stay in the Midwest for that day due to supercell environments taking shape in the St. Louis metro on the 8th and 9th (those chase logs can be found here).

So, now that things have quieted down again, I figured it's time to look ahead for the next opportunities. For the next few days, there actually are a few half-decent setups from Texas to Nebraska as a cutoff low sits and spins over the four corners region, spreading a 40knot+ jet over the Texas Panhandle, Colorado and western Kansas. This would be a great pattern to chase if it were a little later in the season, but due to the lack of moisture, it's not going to meet my threshold for a long trip. This cutoff low eventually ejects out over the Midwest, providing for some potential local storm chase days over the weekend.

Following this, the Euro model is hinting at a western trough out toward the 24th or so that definitely bears watching. The GFS is not so optimistic, but does show at least marginal zonal flow (west to east) during the same time period. Either of those patterns could produce a few tornado days if moisture and instability are in place over the Plains, but whether they will be worth a trip remains to be seen. The most I can say at this point is that I'll bump Plains storm chase expedition probabilities up for the period beginning around the 22nd.

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

2015 Plains Storm Expeditions - Probabilities as of April 15
April 16-215%
April 22-2630%

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