2012: The year of the EML bust, overmixed moisture, and the model fail.
This chasing season has been a struggle for many - aside from the intense early April outbreaks - and for good reason. Mother Nature has not been cooperating in the slightest. From abnormally hot temperatures leading to high dew point spreads to the northerly troughing and, again, abnormal heat leading to excessive EML issues, many potential lifetime chases have turned into nothing more than blue skies or thundershowers. However, there is cause to have hope. June always holds promise in the Northern Plains as moisture sneaks its way through the States, and with a more northerly jet this could pan out nicely. The season is not over until..well..the season is never over, as seen in the past few years' late fall and even winter events.
That being said, since the chase of my career on April 14, my chases have been largely dull and depressing. Cap busts followed by moisture problems followed by unlucky mesoscale features have kept my storm count on the minimum. Additionally, models have failed to nail down specifics until hours before the event which causes troubles in the "should I go or not?" department - this has hammered a sizable dent in the bank account. I am still resilient, though. Due to my unhealthy obsession, I don't spend money on relatively anything except for living expenses and chasing, so I have the opportunity to keep on chugging on, going out on a limb for most events in hopes of catching that elusive lightning strike of luck. On top of this, optimism is bubbling throughout the chaser community as we look ahead toward a week or so of active weather pattern.
The fun looks to start on Friday, where yet another high risk-high reward type set up will set stage across most of Kansas and Nebraska/Iowa. In my opinion, the more favorable target will be the dryline play across west-central Kansas where stronger forcing and less subsidence will reside in comparison to the northerly warm front play. The ECMWF calls for an outbreak while the GFS culls the tide slightly, but still hints at some optimal chasing parameters. On the other hand, the NAM is much less optimistic, blasting in scorching 700 mb temperatures, leading to an "atomic" (or the opposite of that?) EML. However, the NAM and various WRF runs have still broken out a couple storms along the dryline, so even with these models there still is reason to chase. I'm watching for a couple supercells along the northern sector of the dryline with cyclic tornado potential if they can become well established before the cap crushes them.
The line of sight then shifts to Sunday, where a dynamic event looks to take shape across western and central Kansas. The SPC has highlighted an area from Nebraska up to Minnesota, but I believe the uni-directional shear will make for a mess of storms and relatively low chasing appeal, so I will focus on the dryline. Much cooler upper level temperatures will be advected in by the approaching upper level trough, minimizing the risk of a cap bust. In addition to this, the mid and upper level energy will be impressive to astounding, with southerly to backed winds at the surface leading to rotating storms along the dryline. CAPE shouldn't be on the extreme side, but there should be enough moisture and resultant instability to get the job done. We'll leave a more specific, enthusiastic forecast for this day for when the models start to nail down the specifics. The GFS and ECMWF have both been consistent, albeit in different locations, so that is a major plus.
Let's get this show on the road! Hopefully the more dedicated, high risk pursuing chasers will be able to sneak out a couple diamonds from the rough this late May and recuperate the optimism they have lost throughout the last month.
And as always, happy chasing!
4 months ago