Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Great Plains trip #2 summary and logs; forecast update 9

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The second Plains expedition of the season took place from April 24-28 across Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and Oklahoma. This was one of the best trips of my career in terms of video and photography captures, solidly in my top 5. With a total of 11 tornadoes, the trip ranks second only to my third 2016 expedition in the number of tornadoes observed. April 26 nearly tied my single-day tornado record with 10 observed during the outbreak, almost matching the Dodge City, Kansas chase on May 24, 2016 by only 1. I had three career close intercepts with strong and audible tornadoes, and witnessed four separate EF3 tornadoes. Then on April 27, a prolific upward lightning event occurred in Oklahoma City during which I captured dozens of stills, 4K videos and 1,502fps high speed video captures.

The trip is logged on the 2024 Great Plains expedition page. The April 26 tornado outbreak and the April 27 upward lightning event each have a large amount of material that warranted their own dedicated pages.

Forecast update 9 for May 1

There is not much downtime after Trip #2! In fact, a trip-worthy system is moving through the Plains now producing two quality tornado days, but I elected to sit it out to preserve PTO days for a potentially busy May - which is indeed starting out active. Trip #3 may begin Sunday as yet another big system is forecast to move into the Great Plains. This one has all the hallmarks of another big tornado outbreak on Monday - with a negatively-tilted upper trough, deep moisture and a sharp dryline from Nebraska down through Kansas. This may be followed by another couple of days of tornado potential as a strong upper-level jet remains overtop of deep moisture in Oklahoma and Texas. Right now, my confidence is high (and increasing) on 2024 Great Plains trip #3 starting this Sunday.

GFS 500mb forecast for Monday evening, May 5

After this next system exits, models show the potential for the Plains and Midwest to have an extended quiet period for a week or more - so trip probabilities after the 10th will reflect that.

2024 Plains Chase Expeditions - Probabilities as of May 1
May 1-45%
May 5-975%
May 10-1510%

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