Day Three – Geometry

In storm chasing, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. Yesterday was a a travel day for us, in which we headed from Lubbock, TX to North Platte, NE.

There was murky setup in extreme south Texas basically at the border that was set to blow cells up all over the place and produce some severe wind and hail. Synoptic scale parameters for supercell development and maintenance were laughable at best, and the road network and terrain weren’t going to be fun to work with. That said, based on reports, the setup seems to have locally overachieved – but at this point, there’s no looking back!

We’d been eying the end of this week in the upper Midwest for a while for some severe potential, but today has turned out to be a bit of a dark horse. We started heading up here before the SPC actually issued a categorical outlook, and today we woke up to our area upgraded to a slight risk. It’s mostly for wind and hail from an MCS but, like the southern setup yesterday, we’re hoping for some local overachievement. Chasing yesterday and chasing today were mutually exclusive because of the distance, so we opted to punt yesterday and put ourselves in position for today.

A fairly nice wind profile coupled with moderate instability has a pretty good shot to produce us a discrete storm or two that we’ll be able to play tag with for a while up in South Dakota before everything congeals into one big line. The road network is pretty good and visibility will be a whole lot better than where we were chasing a couple days ago in Texas. Looking at the probable placement of storms today, I don’t think it’s super likely we’ll back a tornado – at this point I’m mostly optimistic with regards to storm structure. We’ll see though!

Storm Chase Day 03

Western Kansas is pretty flat. Monument Rocks are visible off in the distance on the right.

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