Monday, May 31, 2010

I will have HD video of an AWESOME tornado we saw near Campo, CO uploaded to the blog here early tomorrow morning. It was just spectacular!

5/31 - 12:45pm CDT - NW Oklahoma/SW Kansas

After a marginal chase yesterday in Oklahoma, we're on our way to the NW Oklahoma/SW Kansas border. There's a 2% tornado risk from the Storm Prediction Center and a Slight Risk in that area as a warm front moves northward into Kansas. Surface winds will cooperate today, but it seems that the flow at 500mb aloft may turn west or northwesterly. That will present a challenge today because you really need the winds at 500mb to be from the southwest to get the best shear and the much-needed dry air aloft. The good news is that instability/CAPE won't be bad at over 3000 J/kg in some areas. All in all, it's not looking too good for any rotating supercell thunderstorms today, but some storms will develop nonetheless.

If we see any good storms, we'll stream them live on http://stormchasertv.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

5/30 - 5pm CDT - KS/OK Border

It's been a busy day of driving here in Kansas. I've been in the driver's seat all this morning and afternoon, so I apologize for not posting earlier. We just finished lunch in Hays, Kansas and we're getting ready to head south to the Kansas/Oklahoma border to intercept a line of thunderstorms that is forming along a cold front. A Severe Thunderstorm Watch has been issued all the way down to the Oklahoma border, so we hope to catch up with the southernmost storm in the line.

We'll be streaming LIVE video at http://stormchasertv.com this afternoon if we see any good storms. Remember that you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest chase updates.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

5/28 - 11:45pm MDT - An End to a Great Week!

Not one thunderstorm developed in Wyoming today while we were out there. The cap (warm layer of air above the surface that inhibits storm development) was on too tight today and all the cumulus cloud development we saw was suppressed. Storms didn't even develop in North Dakota as forecast due to capping issues and surface winds becoming westerly earlier than forecast. At least we had a nice tour of Southeast Wyoming!

Storm Chasing Adventure Tours is saying goodbye to the guests on tour 4 tomorrow morning here in Denver and welcoming our new guests for tour 5 tomorrow night. Tour 5 is going to be very big, with 24 people in four SUVs. I won't be the only Kentuckian out here for much longer either. WAVE 3 TV meteorologist and good friend Kevin Harned from Louisville will arrive here tomorrow to begin chasing with us as a driver and forecaster.

It looks like we'll start out chasing on Sunday in either Kansas, Oklahoma, or the Texas Panhandle. A pair of disturbances pushing through the Plains next week should make most of the week pretty active, but there may be a couple down days.

Friday, May 28, 2010

5/28 - 10am MDT - Wyoming and Colorado

The best risk for severe weather today is in North Dakota, but we won't be able to make it there on time today. It's an eleven hour drive from Denver and we have to be back tonight for everyone's flights out tomorrow. Instead of North Dakota, we're going to shoot for the Wyoming/Colorado border area. Southwest flow aloft coupled with southeast surface winds and a batch of dry air coming into the area in the upper atmosphere should put the right ingredients in place for severe weather. A lack of a good source of lift and a strong cap in place may be a problem today, but we're hoping upslope flow overcomes some of these issues. The SPC has issued a 2% risk of tornadoes for the area, so maybe we'll be able to find some good storms today!

If severe weather develops today we'll be streaming LIVE video at http://stormchasertv.com. I'll also have the latest updates on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

5/27 - 11am MDT - No Storms Today? Then Let's Go to the Zoo!

The only risk for storms today exists in Montana, where road networks are poor and data coverage is spotty. We're instead going to hang out here in Denver today and go to see the Denver Zoo! This will work out well because we'll only have to drive north a little bit tomorrow to arrive at our next target area, most likely in Nebraska or the Dakotas. After all the action this week, I think a little break from storm chasing might be nice!

5/27 - 9am MDT - Tornado Video/CO Storm/Weather Channel

I was able to upload my tornado video from near Walsh, CO on Tuesday to YouTube in HD. Take a look!



This video aired on The Weather Channel yesterday during my live phone interview on-air with them. This is the second live interview I've done for them in two weeks, which is so exciting! I was actually able to get my family back home to record this interview, so I'll have it uploaded for everyone to see when I get home in just over a week from now.

Here's a video of the storm we chased north of Denver yesterday. Notice the ominous wall cloud that forms very quickly and nearly touches the ground:



There's a risk for severe storms in Montana and North Dakota today, but I'm not sure if we'll actually go up there due to poor road networks and cell coverage. I'll let you know in my next blog post this morning!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

5/26 - 12pm MDT - Northeast Colorado

Good afternoon from just south of Eads, Colorado! We're on our way to Northeast Colorado where surface winds are already out of the southeast this morning and winds at 500mb are out of the southwest. This means that we'll have adequate shear this afternoon and storm motion should be very slow, much like yesterday. Dew points will be around 60, which is good for Colorado because of the elevation. A 5% tornado risk has been issued by the SPC for the area as well, so we'll see what we can find this afternoon!

My tornado video from yesterday is posted on the previous post below. I'll have a HD YouTube version of it on here after we get to a hotel tonight.

Remember that you can follow our chase with LIVE streaming video this afternoon at http://stormchasertv.com. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest chase updates!

5/26 - 9:30am MDT - Tornado Video Yesterday, Eastern CO

The internet connection at our hotel is very poor, so I was not able to upload my Walsh, CO tornado video from yesterday to YouTube for viewing in HD. I'll try to upload it again when we're at another hotel tonight. For now, here's a low resolution version that I was able to upload:

video

Here's a photo I snapped of the tornado when it was at its strongest:


It looks like we'll be chasing in Eastern Colorado today, but I'll have a full update once we're on the road later this morning.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

5/25 - 11:30am CDT - Southwest Kansas

We're getting into position in Southwest Kansas right now for storms this afternoon. Southwest flow aloft coupled with forecast easterly winds at the surface in this area will provide good air support for supercells this afternoon. Even though a big dry line push yesterday scoured out all the low level moisture in this area last night, it is already recovering and we should have dew points in the 60's this afternoon according to the 9z RUC computer model. CAPE values should rise reasonably enough for storms this afternoon, but there's concern that cool temperatures in the area this morning will compromise the cap this morning, meaning that storms could fire up before the optimum moisture and instability arrive.In any case, storms will be moving slower today than yesterday, so they will be much easier to chase compared to yesterday. The SPC has issed a Slight Risk and 5% risk for tornadoes in our area, so we'll keep an eye on things as they develop this afternoon!

Remember that you can view our LIVE video stream at http://stormchasertv.com when severe weather begins. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest chase updates.

Monday, May 24, 2010

5/24 - 11:15pm CDT - Fast-Moving Storms, but Little Action

As you probably saw in my last post, we weren't too optimistic about today's severe setup. As expected, the southerly flow aloft and at the surface produced disorganized storms that eventually formed into a linear system. The first few cells that formed before merging and contaminating each other in West Nebraska were pretty good though! We raced to intercept a cell on I-80 that formed on the dry line and it looked very good on radar. As we neared it, both our tour leader Todd and I noticed a dark wedge-shaped lowering under the base a few miles away in the haze. The surface winds were blowing at over 40 kt today, so all the dust from the ground obscured what little we could see only a few seconds later. We were pretty convinced it was a tornado based on the strong rotation couplet on radar and the very smooth shape in the distance. We could not chase the storm because it was moving 60 mph northward into an area with no roads. Our tornado suspicions were later confirmed this afternoon when the SPC storm reports listed two reports of a tornado on the ground near Kimball, Nebraska at exactly the time we were there. So in essence we briefly, and I mean briefly, saw a tornado today.

After that cell moved off well to the north, we waited at a rest stop on I-80 and let a few more rotating cells pass over us. We then traveled to the east to get ahead of the dry line, but nothing of interest formed there. The thing we enjoyed today was the impressive surface winds that wrapped around the low to our southwest as I mentioned earlier. Winds of 40-50 mph with gusts to 60 mph blew dust and tumbleweeds everywhere and made it nearly impossible to walk around. All our tour guests wanted to have their picture in the wind because it made everyone's hair look crazy.

After a few hours of waiting for more substantial cells to form ahead of the dry line, we threw in the towel and headed toward Colby, KS. Just as we were getting ready to go head to our hotel, a small funnel cloud dropped from the sunset storm we were taking pictures of. A second one formed after the first diminished, but it too had a short lifespan. The storm then fell apart after the funnels were through. Obviously we missed the big wedge tornado today in South Dakota, but winds and thermodynamic factors were simply better in Nebraska.

We may try to chase in East Colorado if moisture recovers in that area tomorrow, but our backup plan is to go sightseeing in downtown Denver if it doesn't. We'll see how the situation looks tomorrow morning!

5/24 - 10:30am CDT - Messy Setup in the North Plains

We're not terribly optimistic about today's severe weather setup in Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. The SPC has issued a Moderate Risk of severe weather today, but southerly flow at 500mb, fast storm motion, and ongoing thunderstorms in North Dakota will make today a difficult chase day. The southerly flow happened yesterday as well, which caused storms to become somewhat linear and move from south to north. Fast storm motion, on the order of 60 mph or more, means we won't be able to chase individual cells, but rather get in position to let them pass over us. CAPE values of 3000 J/kg, good moisture, and decent shear will sustain a severe threat, but it seems like the 15% tornado threat that the SPC is advertising won't be as great. We'll see how it goes today, but right now we're not expecting a very good setup this afternoon.

Don't forget to view our LIVE video stream at http://stormchasertv.com when storms form today. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest chase updates.

5/23 - 11:45pm CDT - Bust Today in Nebraska

Things didn't go so well in Nebraska today. We stayed along the warm front in Southwest Nebraska/Northwest Kansas where east winds, building instability, and decent shear was, but things fell apart before they could even get started. The main reason for this was the low in Colorado unexpectedly moving westward just before storm initiation. This turned our east winds into south winds and threw our shear into the garbage. Storms that initiated moved south to north with little to no rotation and tended to pulse instead of slowly build up strength. There were a few reports of tornadoes in Northwest Kansas this evening, but they were generally weak and most likely caused by outflow boundary convergence and micro rotational factors instead of large scale shear. We threw in the towel around 8pm this evening when the storms all weakened considerably, but we managed to see a nice sunset and a few mammatus clouds under the anvil of a storm to our north. The shot on the left is from our live stream this evening... that's me taking a picture of the mammatus clouds.

Looks like we'll be in South or North Dakota tomorrow as a low travels from Colorado to South Dakota. The latest NAM computer model run indicates east winds along the ND/SD border tomorrow afternoon with good shear, dew points near 70, and EHI values of 3 or more. I certainly think that tomorrow will have more potential than today, but we'll know for sure by tomorrow morning. For now, the SPC has placed North Dakota and South Dakota under a 30% Slight Risk of severe weather for tomorrow. There's talk that they may upgrade to a Moderate Risk tomorrow morning, so we'll see how that pans out!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

5/23 - 10am CDT - Kansas and Nebraska

We're heading north from Amarillo this morning to Kansas as we begin chasing this week on tour 4. During our break and switching out guests yesterday, a large wedge tornado touched down in northern South Dakota. It seems that tornadoes like to happen on our Saturday breaks, but we're looking forward to what the atmosphere has in store for us today.

There's a boundary right now situated from Southwest to Northeast across West Kansas and we're thinking that will play a crucial role in today's severe weather setup. Dew points to the west of this boundary are very low, while to the east they are high. At just 5,000 feet up, dew points are more uniform across the boundary. This means that the surface layer moisture has been scoured out to the west of the front, but the mid level moisture is still very much intact. A triple point low in Southwest Kansas will help to create east winds in Northwest Kansas today, but as it moves north we may find ourselves chasing in Nebraska. We'll see how things pan out. The computer models have been having a difficult time over the past 24 hours with the boundary in Kansas, especially when it comes to painting where the best instability will be and how things will fire up this afternoon. The Storm Prediction center has a Slight Risk for severe weather and a 5% tornado risk over West Kansas and Nebraska.

We'll be streaming LIVE video at http://stormchasertv.com today if severe storms initiate. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates from the road!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

5/22 - 2pm CDT - Switching Out Tour Groups

Today is a day of rest in Amarillo as we say goodbye to the guests on Tour 3 and welcome our new guests on Tour 4 this evening. As usual we'll be having our orientation meeting tonight at the hotel and then going out to dinner at The Big Texan restaurant here in town. This past week will go down as one of the most exciting we've had out here because of our close tornado intercepts in Oklahoma on Wednesday. Media-wise it was very busy this week as well. I did a live phone interview on The Weather Channel on Wednesday and my video from our tornado intercepts aired on Thursday and Friday.

Will next week be as active as this week was? I think the answer is yes based on some of the latest computer modeling. Southwest flow aloft will continue throughout much of the High Plains next week, meaning shear and cold air aloft will be adequate for severe weather in parts of Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, and Colorado. That's quite a contrast from the last two weeks when we've been mostly in Texas and Oklahoma. I don't see any huge outbreaks in the near future, but I think tomorrow could be quite active in Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota. The Storm Prediction Center has already placed the Nebraska/South Dakota border under a 30% Slight Risk area for severe weather, but they note that it could be nightfall before storms affect that area. We'll probably target an area south of where the 30% risk due to high cloud bases up there, which are not good for tornadoes. I'll have a full update tomorrow morning!

Friday, May 21, 2010

5/21 - 10:30am CDT - Another Day of Chasing Begins

We're on the road heading to Amarillo from Abilene after chasing in Central Texas yesterday. We'll be arriving in the Panhandle in just a few hours to begin chasing storms that will form as the dry line pushes east this afternoon. Strong southeast winds at the surface and southwest winds aloft will create good shear today. CAPE values (instability) will be over 2500 J/kg according to the latest RUC computer model run, which will be more than enough for good storm development. There will be more CAPE and higher EHI values in Eastern Colorado today, but we're thinking that moisture may be a bit of an issue up there, so the Texas Panhandle seems to be a good target area. The SPC has also issued a Slight Risk for this area as well, including a 5% tornado risk.

As always, we'll be streaming LIVE video at http://stormchasertv.com when we're actively chasing. Don't forget to follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest chase updates!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

5/20 - 11pm CDT - On to the Texas Panhandle Tomorrow!

Even though our supercell thunderstorms south of Brownwood, Texas didn't have any tornadic potential this evening due to weak upper wind support, we had a great time watching them form and photographing the lightning show that started just before dark. The picture on the left was my best shot of the evening... pretty good for a little point-and-shoot camera I'd say!

It looks like we'll be off to the Texas Panhandle tomorrow. The SPC has issued a Slight Risk for the area and our current thinking is that moisture will be best around there. We'll get a better handle on all the data in the morning before we set off. For now, I need some rest. I was up extremely late last night editing tornado video from Oklahoma and only got two hours of sleep. My efforts paid off though because that video aired on The Weather Channel this afternoon. It's cool to know that what I shoot with my little HD camera can be seen by millions around the country!

5/20 - 11am CDT - Central Texas Today

We're on I-35 heading toward Dallas, TX. We hope to eventually end up just south of Abilene to be in position for today's severe weather setup. While nowhere near as good as yesterday, I think today's setup has potential to fire off some interesting storms. A cold front stalled out northeast to southwest across Central Texas should provide a little lift this afternoon and pretty strong westerly winds at 500mb should keep shear intact. Surface dew points are already in the 70's this morning just south of the cold front, so moisture shouldn't be a problem. The issue is that we already have a line of storms forming this morning in Northeast Texas and we'll have to chase the tail end of that. If southeasterly winds develop, we may be able to squeeze out some discrete supercells at the end of the line. We'll see how it all goes!

As always, we'll be streaming LIVE video at http://stormchasertv.com when we intercept severe weather. We had over 1000 viewers yesterday as we brought you both of the tornadoes we saw in Oklahoma live. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest chase updates!

Don't forget to check out my spectacular tornado footage from yesterday in the previous blog post!

5/20 - 4:30am CDT - Video from Oklahoma Tornado Outbreak

Here's the video I shot of the tornadoes near Leedey and Pauls Valley, Oklahoma. Both tornadoes did touch down with visible dust swirls on the ground even though their condensation funnels didn't make it all the way.


This video is available in 720p or 1080p high definition
News Media: Interested in airing this footage? Contact me at ryan@ryanweather.org


Here are a few still photos I managed to take as well:


Looks like we may head to Northeast Texas later this morning. Time for some rest!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5/19 - 8pm CDT - Tornado Outbreak in Oklahoma!

We saw a great tornado earlier this afternoon near Leedey, OK. Shortly after I posted a cell phone photo of it to Twitter, The Weather Channel contacted me for an interview live on-air. We kept chasing the storm until it became linear about an hour ago.

We're getting ready to intercept a supercell near Pauls Valley, OK. I'll have all the pictures and video later tonight when we arrive at our hotel.

5/19 - 11:15am CDT - Another Oklahoma Outbreak

Things are really lining up this morning for another severe weather outbreak in Oklahoma. The dry line will push east to near Lawton, Oklahoma this afternoon, providing a good source of lift this afternoon. CAPE values (instability) will be over 4000 J/kg in some areas and shear will be well over 40 kt. As low pressure moves into the state, winds should back to the east somewhere between Central and South Oklahoma depending on exact movement. Dew points near or over 70 will be markedly better than yesterday's setup in Texas as well. Fast southwest flow at 500mb and diffluence at that level will also help get uplift going. The best news I've seen this morning is that the storm motion is still around 20-25 kt, meaning the storms will be moving slow enough for us to chase them. Last week in Oklahoma we had storms that were moving 40-50 kt and we just could not stay up with them. The SPC has issued a Moderate Risk and a 15% hatched tornado risk for most of Oklahoma, which is the best probability we've seen this week.

Don't forget to view our LIVE video stream this afternoon at http://stormchasertv.com when storms break out. To get updates on our chase and to find out when we're streaming, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

UPDATE 12pm CDT: The Storm Prediction Center has issued a HIGH Risk of severe weather for portions of Oklahoma including Oklahoma City.

5/19 - 12:30am CDT - Empty-Handed Today in Texas

We busted big time in the Texas Panhandle today. We were expecting storms to form in the nicely sheared, moist, and southeasterly-winded environment to the south of Amarillo, but they didn't. Instead, a huge supercell exploded north of Amarillo as we waited. It kept looking like there would be more southward development as the afternoon went on, but that lone supercell was the only show in town. We held our position and so did other experienced chasers because the environment was so ripe for supercells south of Amarillo. Any storm that formed there would cut off the supercell to the north, and we didn't want to head north for fear of that scenario. Five hours and multiple tornado touchdowns later, we were the ones who left empty-handed. We were befuddled because dew points and temperatures in the area where that supercell formed were way too low to support a storm like that. There must have been something else going on that we could not detect. Nature throws curve balls like that sometimes!

Tomorrow's severe outlook for Oklahoma looks pretty good right now, with the SPC already issuing a Moderate Risk (45%) for much of the state. An area of low pressure just to the west coupled with an advancing dry line will generate east winds and a source of lift for storms tomorrow. CAPE values will be over 2500 J/kg, dew points near 70 degrees, and bulk shear over 50 kt just east of Elk City, OK. With storm motion forecast to be 10-15 kt tomorrow, any storm that forms will be a slow mover. I'll update our chase forecast tomorrow morning!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5/18 - 11:15 am CDT - Lubbock Here We Come!

We're on the road to Lubbock, Texas right now, which is our target area for the day. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Moderate Risk for this area, and we're also under a 10% risk for tornadoes. Instability, shear, and winds are all looking very good for later this afternoon, but the flies in the ointment right now are moisture and cloud cover. A cloud shield is moving into Texas right now from New Mexico will have to clear out before we can see any good severe storms. On the moisture side, dewpoints are in the 50's around Lubbock, which is too low. Should dewpoints not rise this afternoon, we'll have storms with high bases. We'll see how both of these things develop this afternoon. For now, we'll wait around and find something to do in Lubbock!

Remember that you can see our LIVE video stream during severe weather at http://stormchasertv.com. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest chase updates.

Monday, May 17, 2010

5/17 - 11:30pm CDT - We Saw a Funnel Cloud in Texas Today!

About an hour after we left Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico, storms began to form from the mountains of West Texas to Roswell, New Mexico. We intercepted the strongest of these supercells just north of Kermit, Texas and began to follow it as it progressed northward. As we stopped on the side of the road to watch it, a small funnel dipped down from the updraft base a few miles away and sent us scrambling for our cameras (it wasn't a terribly impressive storm so nobody had their cameras ready!). The funnel lasted for only a few seconds, so by the time I had scraped my leg up badly on the thorny Texas brush trying to get my camera out of the SUV, it had disappeared. It was definitely a funnel because it was very smooth and had obvious rotation. That was about all the action we saw today because the numerous supercells around the region began to merge into a line after contaminating each others' inflows with cold outflow air.

Today was good because we got to at least see a storm (and a funnel!), but tomorrow should be better because the storms will have a fighting chance at being tornadic. A low in New Mexico will slide north slightly tomorrow, which will trigger southwest winds in East New Mexico and easterly winds south of Lubbock, Texas. 500mb diffluence over West Texas will cause air to rise from the surface and a fast jet at the upper levels will begin to creep into the area tomorrow evening. Something we did not have on our side today was good shear, but tomorrow will be much improved with bulk shear values over 60 kt. Energy Helicity Indicies (EHI) of over 1 near Lubbock won't hurt either, so I think things will come together tomorrow for a better chance of some good supercells. The SPC has issued a 30% Slight risk area for tomorrow, so it seems they're seeing the setup come together like we are.

5/17 - 1pm MDT - Caves and Storms in New Mexico

We just got through touring Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico this morning. Hiking down to 800 feet under the surface was quite an experience and it was a good walk for us since we were in the vehicles so much yesterday. To those back home who've been to Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, Carlsbad Caverns has a much steeper walking path and it's quite a workout after an hour or so.

We're in good position for today's storms already as a cold front is getting ready to stall out in our vicinity and warm southeast winds are blowing pretty well. CAPE values (instability) of over 3000 J/kg are taking hold here in Southeast New Mexico, so any storm that forms will have a good environment to grow in. A very distinct outflow boundary is moving southward from Lubbock, TX and should kick off some supercells on the south side of it. Southeast winds in Southeast New Mexico and West Texas will help funnel good moisture and may help to increase shear as well. Overall, the good news today is that we'll probably see some storms today.
The Storm Prediction Center has released a mesoscale discussion for the area we're in and they'll likely issue a tornado or severe thunderstorm watch this afternoon. Things are heating up out here!

Don't forget to check http://stormchasertv.com to see our live video stream. Follow me on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates on our chase and find out when we're streaming live video.

5/16 - 10:45pm MDT - Not Much Happening in New Mexico

It seems that a layer of warm, moist air at the mid levels of the atmosphere kept things pretty tame here in New Mexico today. Storms tried to get going, but developing updrafts would hit that warm layer and simply come to a halt, spreading outward instead of upward. A few thunderstorms eventually formed near sunset, but they were very weak and didn't have a snowball's chance on Mercury of producing a tornado. Basically, we had most of the elements (shear, warm surface layer, etc), but the air in the mid levels just would not allow things to go.

We'll be touring Carlsbad Caverns tomorrow morning before we set out for tomorrow's chase in the afternoon. It looks like we'll be chasing south of Lubbock, TX again as an area of low pressure in Mexico moves northward and brings southeasterly winds to West Texas. A cold front associated with a low in the Ohio Valley will also translate southward through most of Texas tomorrow, which may provide some lift. Even though instability looks good, shear and EHI values aren't looking great on the 0z NAM computer model. The SPC has issued a Slight risk for severe weather tomorrow south of Amarillo, but I'll hold off on making judgment on tomorrow's chase until the morning. A lot can happen overnight as computer models and surface conditions change. Let's just hope the storms actually form tomorrow! 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

5/16 - 10:30am CDT - SE New Mexico

We're on our way to the southeast corner of New Mexico to see what kind of storms develop down there this afternoon. We're not terribly optimistic about today's setup because of weak surface winds and an ongoing MCS (mesoscale convective system - line of storms) this morning on the Texas/Mexico border. Redeeming qualities of today's setup are good instability, decent shear, and ample moisture. The increased elevation should provide a little bit of lift out there, but we're not seeing the push of dry air from the west that we need. In any case, we'll see how it goes today.

We'll be streaming LIVE video at http://stormchasertv.com if storms form today. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook as well to get the latest updates on our chase and video streaming.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

5/15 - 8am CDT - Videos From West Texas

Here are two videos from yesterday's chase in West Texas. The first contains the supercells we chased near Kermit, TX and the second has the sunset supercell we chased near Brownfield, TX on our way back to Amarillo:





Both videos are available in 720p and 1080p high definition.

Friday, May 14, 2010

5/14 - 11:30pm CDT - Heading Back to Amarillo

We're on the road to Amarillo, TX right now so that our current tour guests can fly out in the morning and our new guests can arrive for Tour 3. It's been a great week out here in the Plains, and we're just getting started! We'll be chasing again on Sunday, most likely in Texas again like today and yesterday. There aren't any big severe weather outbreaks on the radar for this week, but we'll see what we can turn up!

Today's chase was very interesting to say the least. Supercells got going near Kermit (the Frog?), Texas just after the noon hour. This early firing caused by a weak atmospheric cap nearly depleted tornado chances because the environment became cluttered with cells very quickly and the maximum heating of the day had not occurred yet. We tried to intercept a very strong cell that formed close to us, but road options were terrible and we could not make it to the updraft base before it merged with adjacent cells. This supercell did produce a brief tornado according to chaser reports and photos that were sent in to local media. Another supercell then formed to the southwest in the warmer air to the south of the cold front and that one showed quite a bit of promise for over an hour. Like the last cell though, it perished as cool outflow air from other storms corrupted it and caused it to merge with the squall line that had formed. VORTEX2 was on this second cell and we saw their vehicles all over the place. The TIV2 (Tornado Intercept Vehicle 2 - IMAX film production crew) even zoomed by us as well.

Once all the storms joined into a linear complex, we punched north through it and headed for dinner in Odessa, TX. About half an hour after dinner on the way to Amarillo we saw a compact supercell on radar in the cool air behind the cold front. Intrigued by this strong little cell that was along our route, we pulled over to watch it. It dropped one inch diameter (quarter-sized) hail and did not have much rain at all. The sunset pictures of this cell were just gorgeous (see right) and we let the storm pass over us after parking under a gas station overhang. I think everyone is still trying to dry out after getting pelted with small hail and brief heavy rain as we stood outside to watch the storm pass.

I'll upload some video of each storm event as soon as we arrive in Amarillo and have it posted here.

5/14 - 11am CDT - West Texas

After a night in Fort Stockton, Texas, we're heading to the western edge of Texas near the New Mexico border south of Lubbock. An area of low pressure in New Mexico is pulling in east winds near the southeast corner of that state and well into Texas as well. High dewpoints, bulk shear above 40 kt, and CAPE values above 4000 J/kg will help to set off some supercells this afternoon. This is certainly a better scenario than yesterday's chase conditions, so we'll see what we can find!

As always, we'll be streaming LIVE video at http://stormchasertv.com when things get going this afternoon. You can also follow me on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates and live streaming notifications.

5/14 - 8am CDT - Video from Yesterday's Chase in Texas

It took quite a while for storms to get going around Fort Stockton, Texas yesterday, but the handful of cells that finally formed put on a good show. The two strongest cells we saw had some good lowering, but rotation was marginal at best. There was likely some large hail in the cells as well.



This video is available in 720p and 1080p high definition.

We'll see what we can find here in Texas later this afternoon!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

5/13 - 11:30am CDT - Central Texas

We're heading south to Central Texas today to get ahead of a stalling cold front down there. Decent instability, good moisture, and deepening shear ahead of the front should kick off some storms that will likely become severe. We'll be on the look out for any isolated tornadoes that may form down here, but I must say that the risk is not as great as previous days this week. The SPC has put part of Central Texas under a Slight risk area, which is up from yesterday.

We'll be streaming LIVE video today when the storms form at http://stormchasertv.com. If you'd like to receive updates on our chase and when we're streaming, follow me on Twitter or Facebook.

Don't forget to check out my HD storm video from yesterday in my last blog post. I'm really liking the video quality coming out of my new camera, so hopefully we'll see some more substantial storms today.

5/13 - 9:30am CDT - Video From Yesterday's KS and OK Storms

We saw a couple good episodes of storm activity yesterday. Linear supercells that formed near Attica, KS couldn't produce a tornado due to linear interference, but they were picturesque nonetheless. A supercell near Cordell, OK later on in the day actually did produce a tornado, but we arrived after it had lifted. VORTEX2 was on the Cordell storm and were quite busy trying to get into position. Here's a video recap of what we saw:



Video is available in 720p or 1080p high definition.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5/12 - 11:30am CDT - Kansas Here We Come!

Yesterday looked promising, but the environment was just too capped to allow for any good storms. We chased two developing supercells south of Woodward, OK, but both perished before they could mature. The number of storm chasers on both of these cells was astounding. At one point we were across the street from Reed Timmer and his TVN "Dominator" from the Discovery Channel Storm Chasers show. Later that evening, Tim Samaras from the same TV show walked in the door of the Pizza Hut we were eating at. We'll see who we can find while we're out there today!

The target location for today is somewhere around or east of Pratt, KS. An area of low pressure spinning around near Dodge City should provide east winds this afternoon, which are crucial to tornadic development. Dewpoints near 70, CAPE values over 4000 J/kg, EHI values above 6, and bulk shear around 40 kt should be quite adequate for supercell development in Central and East Kansas. Storm motion will also be from 20-30 kt (25-35 mph), so it won't be like Monday near Oklahoma City when the supercells outran us. I'll be posting frequent updates on Twitter and Facebook today, including notification of when we'll be streaming LIVE video at http://stormchasertv.com.