Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message
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                   Friday, March 1, 2019

2019 storm season blog kickoff

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It's that time of year again! Can you believe it? We've made it through another winter: the green trees and fields, warm air, storms and open roads of spring await. Every year, I'm increasingly thankful to see this date arrive and have an upcoming season of adventure to look forward to (this one is my 19th in the Great Plains and 27th overall). This year's storm season blog will be a continuation of past tradition: chronicling storm chase days along with periodic looks at the upcoming weather patterns. I hope you'll find both educational and interesting as you tag along via this blog.

Event operations this year should be the same as in past seasons: one to four trips to the Great Plains as weather patterns warrant, plus local outings in the Midwest as they occur. On the equipment front, everything is thankfully operating as it should, and no notable changes to the vehicle setup are in the works.

So, let's take our first look at upcoming weather patterns for early meteorological spring.

GFS 500mb pattern forecast for March 8

Unfortunately, the model charts for the next 10 days look more like January-February than March. After a significant Arctic air push to the Gulf next week, temperatures will be slow to warm north of roughly an I-40 latitude. Despite all of this, a few nice upper waves are shown traversing the country starting late next week, providing some severe weather/tornado potential in Dixie Alley (the southern US states). The GFS and Euro both agree on the system shown in the image above for next Friday, which has 60s dewpoints underneath the fast upper-level jet as far north as northern Arkansas - which is just about within my striking distance for an early-season Midwest chase (I generally don't chase Dixie Alley, barring something exceptional). For the Great Plains, nothing of interest is showing in the 10-day range.

We'll keep watching though, the season is here: the first chase systems are on their way.

The following table charts the probabilities for a Plains storm chase expedition taking place for the date ranges shown:

2019 Plains Storm Expeditions - Probabilities as of March 1
March 1-70%
March 8-141%

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