Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Saturday, April 13, 2024

Storm chasing season forecast update 6 for April 13

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There was a reason I only went as high as 75% confidence on a Plains trip for Monday: the fact that sometimes models back off of the potential on a big event as it gets closer in time. And that's what is happening now. There are several significant problems with the upcoming system.

First, as models now show, the timing on the main trough's arrival has slowed down considerably. This does two things: one, the northward moisture transport from the Gulf will not be as strong, and two, the "lift" (upward motion that helps trigger thunderstorms) from the system will arrive late. This means Monday's event could have much lower moisture/instability along the dryline, and storms may not develop until well after sunset. The observed upstream moisture along the Gulf right now is also not as deep as expected, which will further stunt this system's potential. The wind profiles remain favorable for tornadoes in western Oklahoma and Kansas, but it appears that, at best, they could be well after dark. Late timing of storms, to me, isn't a huge problem - a nighttime event can still be worth chasing. It's the moisture issue that is the most unrealistic obstacle for a setup to overcome, regardless of when storms fire.

Again, that's what models have started showing, and there is still a slim chance they could reverse course again and show the more potent setup as they did earlier. That gets increasingly less likely, as we're now just a couple of days from the event. Since this system is no longer the "no brainer" trip impetus that it originally looked like, my confidence in a Great Plains trip happening for it has decreased. If the moisture quality and/or timing issues can improve, I'll be more likely to pull the trigger on a trip. The other factor is that this system will bring a tornado risk here at home on Tuesday. A very late/overnight event on Monday puts in question the logistics of getting back here for Tuesday's event with adequate sleep.

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 13
April 11-130%
April 14-1655%
April 17-1910%

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