Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Much to cover tonight...

I have several things I need to cover with tonights blog.  Let me start with a bit of a story about tonights storm system.

Out in the plain states, it is not uncommon to find a lot of chasers.  Chasers come in all forms from media sponsored to hobbyist to those looking for video and photos to sell.  A few are participating in science and then there are those which take other on chaser vacations.  The running joke (if you can call it that) is people in small towns usually have one of those "Oh Crap!" moments when there is a caravan of storm chasers camping out in their town waiting for the storm.

I think most weather enthusiasts around Indiana today had reasonable expectations thinking there would be a few severe thunderstorms with hail and wind.  No tornadoes seemed highly likely.  Storms really blew up fast.  In just a couple of scans of the radar (less than 10 minutes), they went from nothing to 30,000 foot tops.  I use a radar application on my desktop called GRLevel3 which is top notch. You can customize it many ways and one of the things I do is load the locations of storm spotters who have equipment to provide automatic updates from the field. 

There are not many in Indiana who do this but out in the plain states, this is rather common.  Oddly enough, I noticed someone was updating their location just a few miles from my house!  It was Charles Edwards the owner of Cloud 9 Tours who had had two vans and a SUV full of people waiting for the same storms to initiate as me.  (There were sitting just west of Middleton.)

"Oh Crap!"

After a brief pause, I went back and looked over the severe weather parameters and saw they remained good for strong to low end severe thunderstorms.  So the good news is Charles and company were not sitting here awaiting the big monster tornado to wipe out Kokomo.  They were just hoping to be in the best position possible for what did happen.

For me, I made a huge blunder with tonight's storms.  I saw what looked like a good storm over in western Carroll County and saw it was just going to slide north of Howard County.  I thought the other storms forming behind it and just south would be just as good or better and that there would be a good stream of them coming through.  I decided to take 20 minutes and a quick dinner with my wife.  Dumb...

I waited too long on Monday to get out before the storm rolled though and missed some good structure pictures.  When I finally left eh subdivision, I hit rain instantly.  Phooey.  Tonight I sate during what was the best and only storm of the evening.  Phooey again.

I did wait it out for another hour or so when I did head out but it ended up being fruitless.  I got a few photos like the one in the previous blog post.  On the other hand, Cloud 9 Tours got on that storm and the best I can tell followed it for a while seeing hail.  More phooey.

So I did make one resolution, I will watch to see what they do on Friday.  Friday looks interesting for Indiana and Ohio so I assume the team will be back.

Friday is one of the things I want to hit on tonight.  There are a lot of things which make one pause and think about a potential outbreak.  I would not be surprised to see a moderate risk out for Indiana and Ohio come Friday noon.  I could even see Ohio getting in on a high risk if things come together.  But like has happened a lot recently, there always seems to be an ingredient missing,  Friday is no different.  Potential problems include limited moisture from the gulf and a possible cloud deck/rain showers during the day limiting heating/instability.

The triple point rule should apply however and it various models having it passing either over or just north of our position.  This should be very favorable for us to get severe weather including tornadoes. 

I think anytime from noon until midnight is in play right now for an outbreak.  So while we wait for the details, I suggest making sure you keep alert for Friday.

Last, I want to mention Cell Warn, a free service to send alerts to your cell phone and email. I suggest taking  a moment to sign up.  However I want to alert you to a problem they are currently having.  The subject line of the email and text messages sent to cell phone has the time off by two hours.  Just be sure to add two hours to any watch issued.  The time is correct in the body of the email.  They are aware of the issue and are working to resolve the problem.

Have a great evening...

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