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High Plains Drifter

disclaimer:  "The meteorological views/forecast thinking expressed are those solely of the author of this blog
and do not necessarily represent those of official National Weather Service forecast products,
therefore read and enjoy at your own risk and edification!"

April 30, 2009

Chase Forecast: May 1-2, 2009 (Southern Plains)

Filed under: Chase Forecasts/Outlooks,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 10:52 pm

Friday and Saturday May 1-2 are my days off and after thinking about it for a couple days, I will be chasing.  A fairly aggressive cold front was really worrying me regarding the quality of chaseable supercell thunderstorms, thus resulting in the last-moment decision to go for a 2-day chase.  Friday May 1st looks to be perhaps a spectacular supercell day somewhere along the Red River valley, perhaps along the Highway 287 corridor.  A target centered around Vernon-Seymour, TX has my eye at this point.  There will probably be a dryline/front intersection near here, which is the place to play Friday — right at the nose of the 90+ degree heat intersecting upper 60s to near 70 dewpoints.  Below is a forecast sounding from this evening’s 00z run of the NAM model valid 24 hours from now (when a storm should be in progress) for a location near Seymour, TX.  The hodograph looks very favorable for supercells to go along with the more than adequate CAPE of 3300-4000 J/kg.  This hodograph structure would support slow moving deviant supercell of 10 to 15 knots!  I’ll take that any day of the week :)   This hodograph is not too dissimilar from the hodograph/wind profile of the Garden City/Plymell, KS Supercell just last night (April 29th) which yeilded the incredible "spaceship" supercell and even a few tornadoes.



Saturday, May 2.  This is a little more problematic, but has the potential to be a very nice surprise somewhere across Southwest TX or adjacent southern New Mexico.  I am in favor of playing the area right at the nose of the 300mb jet streak poised to nose right into the Midland, TX area by Saturday evening.  The question is how far west moisture can make it.  The NAM has been very aggressive with the cold wedge nosing down into West Texas, however my gut feeling is that the NAM is probably a bit overdone, and has backed off on this in the latest run… more in line with the GFS and ECMWF.  The ECMWF had me quite excited about Saturday’s prospects when I was looking at it at work earlier today.  The forcing will be very good across the Jal, NM to Midland, TX area by early evening Saturday.  Even if mid 50s dewpoints can sneak back northwest up to Midland-Seminole, TX then that would be enough given the degree of ascent to help get storms going.  The shear profile looks excellent with the west-east oriented jet streak.  The "nose of the upper jet" pattern in the upper levels reminds me of my May 9, 2006 chase in the TX Panhandle, where models struggled in the westward advection of moisture by early evening toward the nose of the upper level jet. 


48-hr GFS forecast valid 00z 5/3 (7pm CDT May 2nd).  300mb Jet streak (in blue) nosing into southern portions of West Texas.

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