Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message
Home | Blog Index | Blog Archives | Christianity & Faith Essays | Storm Chasing Essays

                   Monday, March 27, 2017

Plains forecast update for March 27

Important Message 30 Years of Storm Chasing & Photography Dan's YouTube Video Channel Dan's Twitter feed Dan's RSS/XML feed

The month of March is part of the spring severe weather season, and I am always on alert for opportunities. Although I travel frequently in the Midwest this time of year, I've never actually embarked on a Great Plains storm chase expedition during the month of March. I usually don't plan on it, for two main reasons. One, March setups are less climatologically favored for good tornado days - most have multiple failure modes (things that can go wrong) compared to peak-season. Two, and more importantly for me, with a limited number of Plains trips (roughly 10 or so) in my budget each year, I'm very hesitant to use those days early on during a time when few setups work out well. Event dollars go much further in the tornado department in late April through early June, and without unlimited days at my disposal, I must pick and choose. I never rule out a March Plains storm chase expedition (look up March 13, 1990 for one reason why), but my bar is *very* high for a March day to steal away a peak season-earmarked day.

And so, it is mainly for these reasons that I didn't go for Oklahoma on Sunday the 26th and won't either for the Texas panhandle tomorrow the 28th. Both are respectable setups, with many of the right ingredients in place - but both with big caveats. Sunday's problem was insufficient moisture, Tuesday's looks to be early-day convection fouling much of the target area. Not to mention, tomorrow's target distance is a big one. At more than 11 hours away, it would require two of my budgeted Plains days and at least one overnight stay. Again, I'm not against a March chase if the setup is right, but in my opinion this doesn't appear to be that at this stage. It could change for the better in 24 hours, but I *have* to make the call now - and that call is "no".

Beyond that, going into April, things certainly look very active. A long parade of shortwave troughs is shown crossing the southern Great Plains every 2-3 days:

GFS model for April 5

Any and all of these could be players for a Plains trip. That being said, I don't typically like patterns like this as they aren't necessarily a good thing for us non-unlimited-funds storm chasers. Right now, none of the days really stand out as exceptional, and they are all "one hit wonders" with 1 to 3-day gaps in between each. It will be difficult to choose which, if any, of these to use chase funds on. With all of the in-between down days, covering them all could use up more than half of my season budget! We will just have to take each one on a case-by-case basis as they come, making any decision to go at the last possible minute. And so that's the plan for now. I'm elevating storm chase expedition probabilities to 50% starting this weekend, and start evaluating individual setups as they get closer. Stay tuned!

2017 Plains Storm Expeditions - Probabilities as of March 27
March 27-April 12%
April 2-750%

30 Years of Storm Chasing & Photography
Important Message
Dan's YouTube Video Channel
Dan's Twitter feed
Dan's RSS/XML feed

GO: Home | Storm Expeditions | Photography | Extreme Weather Library | Stock Footage | Blog

Featured Weather Library Article:

Lightning types
Anvil crawlers, bolts from the blue, sheet, ribbon and bead lightning. Learn how to identify each!
More Library Articles

All content © Dan Robinson. All usage requires a paid license - please contact Dan for inquiries.

Web Site Design and Internet Marketing by CIS Internet