Saturday, May 7, 2011

5/7 - 4pm CDT- Hello From Amarillo, TX!

I'm all settled in here at our hotel in Amarillo after a flying in from Louisville. Tonight our tour guests on tour 2 will gather for orientation at a conference room here in the hotel and then we'll go out for a nice dinner before a week of gas station burritos and fast food while chasing.

As a tradition during each tour that departs from Amarillo, the restaurant we'll be eating at is the world-famous Big Texan Steak Ranch. This place is the real deal here in the Texas Panhandle if you're looking for a taste of the stereotypical "Wild West". At the center of the two-floor establishment is an elevated table where diners can try their hand at eating a 72oz steak (with side dishes) within an hour's time. Besides being the spotlight for all the diners at the restaurant, each participant's attempt at eating this behemoth is streamed live online via a video camera mounted on the second floor. It's a fun place and it certainly starts each tour with a lighthearted ice-breaker for everyone.

Tomorrow's target will be a spit decision. Our target area will most likely be somewhere near Wichita Falls, Texas, which is just a few hours drive from Amarillo, or Northern Nebraska (maybe Kansas?). The SPC has a Slight Risk for severe weather posted for West Oklahoma/North Central Texas and Northern Nebraska/Southern South Dakota, but we'll see how everything sets up in the morning before deciding on a specific target area.

The NAM model has a good setup for the Texas/Oklahoma border near Wichita Falls right now with high CAPEs, serviceable wind shear, and decent low-level moisture. The LCLs (Lifted Condensation Level - height of cloud bases) are a little high for my taste at 3000 to 6000ft, which could limit tornado potential in any supercell that fires up. The other chase target in Northern Nebraska/Southern South Dakota (or Northern Kansas based on some of the newest model output) seems to have most of the characteristics of the Texas/Oklahoma one, but LCLs will be slightly lower and shear values could be higher. Those two components alone lead credence to a higher tornado threat, but there's concern that moisture from Texas won't make it up there in time for the advertised severe weather development (see right image - 850mb dew points at 0z Monday). We'll see how it looks in the morning before a final judgement is made!

Be sure to keep up with my updates on Twitter and Facebook for all the latest information while we're chasing tomorrow!

1 comment:

Craig McPeck said...

I look forward to following you as always Ryan, from my computer of course haha.