Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Thursday, May 29, 2019

Great Plains trip #3 conclusion; Forecast update 11

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My third Great Plains storm photography expedition of the season - a 12-day journey - ended on Monday the 27th, with two additional severe weather days in the Midwest to add to the long stretch of consecutive storm photography days. Following the successes of the first couple of days, the rest of the trip was unproductive and frustrating. Starting with the 20th, each day had big potential in model forecasts - but largely fell apart as the storms unfolded. The final tally for the trip was five tornadoes: three in Nebraska on the 17th and two in Texas on the 20th. Though most of the trip was a letdown, the first day was excellent in quality. So, it wasn't as bad as it could have been.

A summary of all of the individual days is in the works, including GPS logs, photos, videos and 4-way dashcam timelapses. Stay tuned!

Forecast update 11: I am still tentatively planning a fourth trip the Plains this season if conditions allow. Right now, models don't show any sign of a pattern that would trigger trip #4 anytime soon. In fact, models are in good agreement in the annual summer ridge ending the severe weather season in the southern and possibly central Great Plains. This southern Plains "death ridge" would mean if we do get another trough, it may end up providing only opportunities farther north into Nebraska and the Dakotas. As with any big season where I have logged a lot of days (and spent a lot on travel), the bar is pretty high for a system to be worthy of a fourth expedition. Right now, I don't see any such sign on the horizon.

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

2019 Plains Storm Expeditions - Probabilities as of May 29
May 30-June 51%
June 6-125%

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