Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message

May 21, 2005: Forecast update

Just a quick update to comment on the latest severe weather outlook. An unusual agreement by several long-range models is reinforcing the storm-suppressing ridge of high pressure over the Great Plains, with the CPC (Climate Predition Center) even going so far as to suggest the beginning of drought conditions across the central and southern portions of Tornado Alley.

I could not have envisioned a worse outlook for the 2005 storm season, which is certainly becoming one of the most bleak of anomalous years in recent history. The one glimmer of hope is that the CPC forecasters have commented on a western trough (a Plains severe-weather maker) beginning to take shape during the first week of June. However, again, we are talking about flaky long-range models - and any trough that sets up may not start affecting the Plains until up to a week later than that. Furthermore, we must begin to see agressive Gulf moisture return via strong southerly surface flow, which has been nonexistent for virtually this entire spring season.

While the large scale pattern (ridge over the Plains, trough in the eastern USA) is certainly the least optimal setup for severe storms in the Plains, it is not impossible to get 'northwest flow' severe weather and tornado events despite the unfavorable upper-level pattern. So, we are still hopeful that the first week of June will bring at least one or two chaseable events. The second week of June looks a little better, but it is doubtful that we all can adjust our schedules to accomodate that much of a delay. So, for now, our Memorial Day weekend re-departure date still stands, and we'll continue to work hard to extend our trip dates another week.

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