Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Thursday, April 11, 2024

Storm chasing season forecast update 5 for April 11

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I just arrived home from the trip to New Hampshire/Vermont for the eclipse, but it appears that Lord willing, I'll be back on the road soon. A significant tornado event on this coming Monday the 15th has been indicated by models for several days now.

GFS 500mb forecast for Monday evening, April 15

That is what we call a "negative tilt" trough, meaning that if you bisected the trough roughly in half along its axis, that line would lean backwards. Strong upper-level winds overspreading the Plains in that configuration produce the most favorable wind profiles for tornadoes. Furthermore, the other critical ingredient - moisture/instability - is shown being in adequate supply for this event. While it's too soon to talk about the details and nailing down a target, that overall pattern is the type that produces the biggest and most violent tornado outbreaks. As shown, it's a no-brainer for a Great Plains expedition.

There is still some time for models to reverse course on this, which is why I'm not yet going above 75% on my probabilities for a trip. If the models continue to be consistent and in agreement on what they are showing right now, then that probability will only increase in the coming days. This appears to be a one-day Plains event that - as indicated now - would mean a departure on Sunday, tornado chase on Monday then a return home either that night or on Tuesday. This system may also produce a severe weather event on Sunday and/or Tuesday here in the Midwest, but since Monday's event will likely be confined to the Great Plains, there would be no reason to stay here. I'll likely post about this system again in the next couple of days. Stay tuned!

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

2024 Plains Chase Expeditions - Probabilities as of April 11
April 11-130%
April 14-1675%
April 17-1910%

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