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                   Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Meteorological spring 2022 arrives

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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30 Years of Storm Observing
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It's that time of year again! We've made it through yet another meteorological winter and have arrived at the beginning of the season of warming temperatures, greening trees and increasing convective storms.

While reaching this date is always a great feeling, I have to be honest - I'm exhausted right now. I'm just ending a personal-record 2-month stretch of unrelenting winter weather, with 20 events covered across multiple states. I've put in thousands of miles and several hundred hours of work on covering every minute of those hazardous road conditions, with rarely a week gone by without at least one 12 to 24-hour marathon of driving and being outside shooting video in the cold. If you're interested, you can visit my 2022 expedition logs to get an idea of how prolific that time period was.

That being said, I am thankful to have made it to spring, and am looking forward to what the season has in store. With lots of work on my plate and gas prices possibly escalating to trip-fund-impacting levels, how much long-distance travel I'll be doing for convective severe storms remains to be seen. Lord willing, I'm thinking at least one Plains outing as opportunities present themselves, but I might have to be more picky than usual this year on the setup quality I'll require to make a multi-day trip.

I am once again planning on focusing mostly on slow-motion lightning video with storms this spring and summer, shooting at the 10,000 frames per second setting (I shot at mostly 1,500 FPS during 2019-2020 and 6,000 FPS in 2021). 10,000 FPS is about the limit I can get any usable video with my current high-speed camera, but that framerate is capable of yielding some very interesting leader propagation phenomena. My ultimate goal with that framerate is to capture at least one good shot of the lightning attachment process (downward and upward leaders meeting), we'll see if the storms cooperate.

We won't need to wait long before we get our first convective storm opportunities of the season, with a couple of upper-level disturbances passing through the Midwest this weekend as low-level moisture surges northward. Saturday's setup might feature some tornado potential in Iowa or even here near St. Louis if enough moisture can make it far enough north. I'm not feeling the motivation to trek up to Iowa for this one, especially with the potential for at least some lightning here at home to make for some nice leisurely storm shooting. All told, it does appear that the first thunderstorm outing of the year is likely on Saturday or Sunday.

As always, I appreciate your readership, and stay tuned for what the 2022 season will hold!

30 Years of Storm Observing
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