Thursday, May 31, 2007

Project TWISTEX 2007

TWISTEX or Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in/near Tornadoes EXperiment is a collaboration between Tim Samaras, WindLogics (Bruce Lee and Cathy Finley), Iowa State University, and each of their respective partners in funding. This project will be running full-time from roughly May 1 though June 30, a crew of approximately 7 people in 4 vehicles.

TWISTEX is a field research study to collect data that pertains to tornadoes, hail and lightning. Tornado data will be gathered by in-situ probes that are to be placed in the path of the tornado in hopes of the tornado traveling over them. These probes gather temperature, humidity, wind speed/direction and visualization at rates of 10 samples per second. Three of the vehicles are also equipped with mobile mesonets, which will be used for hopeful measurement of the RFD and combined with probe data for a complete thermodynamic mapping of near storm environment. Successful measurement of the RFD and near-storm environment along with in-situ data of a tornado simultaneously has never been done.
The project will also be collecting large hail (>2") and its' impact on selected targets, along with terminal velocity of these hailstones. One vehicle is 'hardened' to survive large hail impacts while this study is conducted.
Lightning is another part of this study, where extremely high speed cameras will be in use to measure specific durations that it takes for things such as the stepped leader/return stroke and its' attachment.

The project has nearly completed its' first month of activities, with the month of June and its' respective crew getting prepared. I was selected as one of the ISU students to be a part of this project and will be active for this entire month in all of the TWISTEX activities. As some may have noticed on previous posts, near the end of them have had a 'TWISTEX Update'. These updates will now become the main focus of the blog over the next month. Those still interested in the general forecast posts for Iowa, they will still be posted when I am not out in the field. Blog posts from now on will contain my current location, TWISTEX forecast, followed by any updates from previous days and its' activities. If it is an 'off' day, the general forecast for Iowa will likely follow that information.

I encourage you to continue reading my blog for information, posting comments is encouraged as well! When possible I will have nearly 'live' updates on the blog, along with updated radar views on my Iowa Chaser website. This is a very unique opportunity that I hope to share with you for your enjoyment as well... Thanks!

TWISTEX Update: Closed low over the northern plains is producing severe weather but tornadic threat is only marginal, thus no deployment is planned. The closed low will become swept up into the flow by the June 3/4, aiding in deamplifying the trough in the east. Northwest flow looks to remain over the plains states until mid-week next week when at least zonal flow will take over. Some models indicating a strong wave moving over the plains by next Wednesday/Thursday providing a severe weather risk for the plains. The GFS is flip flopping on this solution, ECMWF indicating strong trough in the west for late week next week keeping the severe threat going. The JMA model has northwest flow in tact as far as next Tuesday, but does show a wave coming onto the coast at that time as well (collaborating with other models). The GEM in the same boat as the JMA, with northwest flow shown on Tuesday, but strong wave on the coast by that time as well. Reason to believe the next strong risk for severe weather (w/ favorable tornadic parameters) will be mid to late week next week (June 5-9). Deployment for TWISTEX is probable for June 5th as of current forecasts, more details as event nears.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

May 30 Thunderstorms

Isolated showers and thunderstorms are likely throughout much of the afternoon and into this evening over the state. Some of these are already ongoing with extensive cloud cover that worked over the state late last night. The severe threat previously was thought to be fairly low, however with the advancement of a upper level system northward today is allowing the severe threat to increase. Much of Iowa has been put under a slight risk by the Storm Prediction Center in their latest day 1 outlook. The threat for damaging winds along with some isolated spin-ups is possible this afternoon/evening ahead of the cold front. The SPC has also put out a Mesoscale Discussion for portions of extreme northwest Iowa, a severe thunderstorm watch may be issued this afternoon. For more details on the possible watch, see MD #929.

5:15 PM Update: A line of thunderstorms is currently moving across central Iowa, slowly northeastward. Behind this main line of thunderstorms, in the north there are a couple other small line segments to make their way over, otherwise the rest of the state will see clouds begin to clear out. Severe weather is no longer expected at this time over the state...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Early Week Thunderstorms

Well as we head off to the start of this shortened work week, thunderstorms are in the forecast for the first half of it. A cold front will sweep across the state beginning tomorrow evening and will continue through the day on Wednesday. Along and just ahead of this front is where thunderstorms, some strong, are going to be possible. Tomorrows' highs will range from the lower 80s in the east to mid 70s in the west where cloudiness and early afternoon thunderstorms are possible. By Tuesday night expect thunderstorms to be moving across the state, especially western and central portions. Lows will range from the mid 60s to the upper 50s from east to west. Continued thunderstorms on Wednesday throughout the state as not only the cold front, but a low pressure system works into the state providing extra support for rain. Highs on Wednesday will range from near 80 in the southeast to near 70 in the northwest. By Wednesday night the thunderstorms finally begin to move out of the state, leaving western Iowa and most of central Iowa clear by Thursday. Lows for Wednesday night will be cooler, with lower 60s ahead of the front and mid/upper 50s for central and western Iowa. The latter half of the week may contain even more thunderstorms as we head into the weekend, that is a subject to be discussed later in the week.

TWISTEX Update: As the month of May finishes up, it will do so without another trip by the TWISTEX team. Long range models are not friendly for the first portions of June either, as a ridge sets up in the west (trough in east) allowing for northwest flow over the plains. This does not bode well for tornadoes, although severe weather may be present, large hail is largely the main threat. More of a zonal flow finally works in with a fairly significant wave by the June 6-7 time frame and may be the first action for the month by the TWISTEX team. This zonal flow continues, although southwesterly flow begins to show up in the longer ranges for areas of the Dakotas. This could be a sign for at least some marginal threats for severe weather, as at least the mid-level flow is looking brigher.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Stormy Forecast Continues

Today looks to be a lapse in the thunderstorm chances across the state, however they will return by tomorrow night and continue through Wednesday. Highs' today better than expected, being in the low to mid 70s throughout the state. Lows tonight should be fairly mild with 50s across the state, winds will pick-up for Memorial Day bringing moisture with them. Highs for your holiday will be quite warm, in the upper 70s and lower 80s throughout the state with southerly winds gusting 15-25 mph. Monday night will bring in the first chances for thunderstorms over that state, as they move in from the west during the late night hours. The remnants of those storms will likely dissipate over the state in the morning hours, with redevelopment likely Tuesday afternoon over western Iowa along a cold front. Those storms will work their way eastward during the evening and overnight hours over much of the state and should be cleared by Thursday. Temperatures during those days in the lower 80s/upper 70s ahead of the front, while behind the front temperatures will likely only be in the upper 60s, low 70s...
Severe weather with this system is still undetermined, small chances for severe thunderstorms will remain for Tuesday/Tuesday night over the state.

TWISTEX Update: TWISTEX will not be operating tomorrow for the Dakotas, as the threat is likely a one day trip which does not seem opportune at this time. Beyond the threat early this week, quiet times ahead with northwest flow and thus does not look likely for any operations until the June 6-8 time frame.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Today's Storms... More Storms...

Scattered thunderstorms worked across the state this morning and are continuing into the early afternoon hours over central and eastern portions of the state. Cloud cover has also hampered the warming that was expected over some parts of the state, this is also taking away from the potential severe weather risk that central/eastern Iowa had. A cold front is working across the state, currently past the northwest corner of the state and should be over central Iowa by mid-afternoon. Some clearing ahead of this front will allow for a slight warm-up and allowing some marginal instability. Whatever instability that can occur along with the lift along the front and marginal moisture returns should allow for redevelopment of thunderstorms over central Iowa and northward. These storms may be capable of large hail and damaging winds, although an isolated tornado is not being ruled out at this point the best risk for them will be north of the state line into MN and WI. Expect thunderstorms to move across central Iowa and through eastern Iowa by early tomorrow...

Highs today will be in the mid 60s over western Iowa where the cold front is already passing through, mid 70s could be reached over eastern Iowa. Lows tonight in the mid 50s possibly where the cold front has not yet passed, otherwise 40s for lows over much of the state. Clearer skies for Sunday, with highs in the low to mid 70s across the state. By Sunday night a warm front is forecasted to begin moving over the state, this is going to bring some thunderstorm chances into the forecast for southern Iowa on Sunday night. Otherwise lows in the 50s are expected throughout the state. By Memorial Day the front has continued its' move across the state, although bringing much warmer temperatures and moisture, it will likely bring isolated thunderstorms over much of the state. If you can avoid those, you're in for a nice day with highs in the mid 70s to lower 80s. Lows in the upper 50s for northeastern Iowa on Monday night, with other portions of the state in the low to mid 60s.

Our next big system will move in late Monday night, but especially Tuesday as another cold front sweeps across the state. Thunderstorms may work over the area early Tuesday morning from their initiation in the Dakotas. Redevelopment along the cold front is likely over western Iowa at this point, with the potential for severe weather. These thunderstorms will likely work across the state Tuesday night and possibly into Wednesday for eastern Iowa. More details on this threat will be worked out as it nears...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Storm Chasers... A Nuisance?

On Tuesday a story came out of the Hays Daily News in Kansas featuring a story in which storm chasers were portrayed as being a nuisance on the highways in Trego and Graham counties. It featured quotes from the Trego county Sheriff and the emergency manager in Graham county. You can read the whole story on the Hays Daily News Website. Today another story came out with the similar reports, however this one not quite as skewed to portray chasers as the nuisance. This story came out in the Lawrence Journal and can be read online as well. Well here is my response to these stories:

This may be a nitpicking of stories here, but if it's there choice to be quoted or write the story they can also deserve to have some criticism about that. First off, I wasn't able to chase these days and I may not be what you call a seasoned chaser as this is only my third year. Nonetheless I call myself a chaser and several of my colleagues deserve to have some defense here. We'll start off with the Hays story:

Trego county sheriff was quoted saying that there was some 200 chasers in his county, which is believable when looking at SpotterNetwork and by the amount of reports that have came in from the storms in that county on Monday. The next quote however is something that gets me, “We had to get rough on them to get them to move.” I so far have not heard of any reports indicating that chasers were ticketed or even had run-ins with the sheriff or his deputies. Could it be that the only people causing problems for him were his own residents?? It has become known that quite a few locals will simply jump in their cars and go out looking for the storms as well with their video cameras, etc. There is yet another sentence showing something wrong with the story here, "Once that message got passed along among the spotters, they left, he said." First off, I assume we are still talking about the chasers, not the spotters as I certainly hope he is not bashing his local residents that are out there to specifically help him. If there are some 200 chasers out there, how did this message get down the lines so quickly as within even an hour? I don't deem it possible, plus the fact that they were warned to stay out of the way would make everybody leave? Highly doubtful...

Moving onto the EM of Graham county and his quotes; “They are a hindrance to emergency services wherever they are,” well that is something you certainly wouldn't expect to hear. As many reports to the NWS are given by chasers that are on the storm, what if the EM was to lose all of this chasers out there? Well he would likely not have as many reports and eyes on the storm as he would like. The next couple lines in the story, I'm not sure if they came from the EM or if it the writer who seems to have no idea what he is writing/talking about. Pointing out the Univ. of Oklahoma and saying how they understand the ways of chasing and help him out? Isn't there at least half of those 200 that are out there doing the same, as I know quite a few of them are veteran chasers who are also emergency personal or NWS employees. One of the last statements mentioned indicates "It's the other chasers that are problematic." What other chasers? Is he meaning that only the OU and NCAR people are not causing trouble? I have a hard time believing that there are nearly 200 chasers out there all causing trouble. Either way, enough of this crap shoot of a story.

The Lawrence Journal article today I have to admit was better written and kind of shows both sides of things as far as chasers are concerned. It at least isn't a complete negative reaction, as the last statement reads how one of the 'higher ups' hasn't heard of any problems with chasers before this. Much of the quotes are the same, thus no need to rehash those. But, as you read through the story and think of the chasers you usually encounter and the ones you know, or for those that were there, the ones you encountered. Think hard about how many true chasers were the ones getting in the way, I think it is a mix between some of the more 'daring' chasers that we know of along with the public that is seemingly running around with their heads chopped off trying to see a tornado. I see it locally even here in Iowa, knowing that it is going to be worse in Kansas. The best comment to come out of these stories is not that chasers are a big problem, but the public that has no training and is simply trying to 'tag along' is the bigger problem here.

Alright, rant over... Hope that this was an enjoyable read for some. Comment if you like... Thanks for reading!

EDIT: A much calmer and well written story can be found on the KMEG 14 Community Correspondent webpage.

Weekend Ahead Features Storms...

Once again, rounds of thunderstorms are going to be working into the state for the Memorial Day weekend. The first round likely coming in early tomorrow with redevelopment along this system Saturday afternoon. The next system to come into play will be for Sunday night and into Memorial Day, with several chances of thunderstorms continuing throughout the early week period.

Today looks like a nice way to start the weekend off however, with highs in the 70s and lows tonight in the 50s. Some thunderstorms may work their way into the western part of the state by Saturday morning; hampering highs for the day. Upper 60s in the west while the eastern part of the state could see temperatures into the mid 70s. Expect thunderstorms to redevelop Saturday afternoon over the state with some severe weather being possible. Instability is expected to be >1000 j/kg with decent shear values will allow supercell development along with the threat of damaging winds and large hail. Currently the tornado threat is low, but not being ruled out along the warm front.

By Sunday this system has moved out, highs once again in the 70s with lows in the 50s much like before the front. However, by Sunday night the next system is already working its' way in with a more likely threat for thunderstorms on Monday. Your memorial day will still see highs in the mid and upper 70s as well as lower 80s, but likely have to dodge some afternoon thunderstorms as well. Monday night lows much milder in the low to mid 60s, however thunderstorm chances still hanging around...

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Heavy Rains

The severe risk for the system crossing the plains is over for the night, at least as far as Iowa in concerned. The threat now turns to the heavy rain which is continuing over parts of central Iowa and will be reinforced by the wave of thunderstorms currently in KS/OK by morning. By tomorrow afternoon, temperatures will rebound in the east ahead of the cold front with highs approaching 80 degrees. The rest of the state will range from the lower 60s to lower 70s from western to central Iowa. Ahead of the front will also be the place to watch for more thunderstorms, some potentially severe with the characteristics much like todays' storms. By tomorrow night the storms should have exited the state, leaving behind lows from the mid 40s to lower 50s from west to east. We finish off the work week with 70s on Friday, lows in the 50s and another round of thunderstorms coming in during the late night hours in the west.

TWISTEX Update: The late May crew was out Tuesday and Thursday in the central/southern plains. Tuesday they managed to be on the cell nearly every other chaser was, but much like them they were also only watching this cell as the road options for deployment were mud. Today the only update is via Tony Laubach who is out with the crew on this trip. Entered the HP cell in the Texas panhandle mainly in means of doing hail research, once entered in they were greated to two tornadoes! Tony has some shots already up on his blog page and full accounts later that you can enjoy. Remember I join the crew for the month of June...

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Severe Weather Possible

The system that has affected the plains the past two days is finally bringing a severe threat to Iowa today. Cold front is currently just to the west of the state and will likely not move much until later this evening. Once it does begin to move it will likely light up with thunderstorms over much of western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Given the hopes for some sunshine this afternoon, instability will be there to go along with decent shear and lift and thus a threat for severe weather over mainly western Iowa. The severe weather threat currently looks to only entail large hail and damaging winds, although a tornado could not be ruled out it does not look very likely. These thunderstorms will be moving to the north/northeast along the slow moving cold front, which also is going to bring the threat of heavy rain and potential flooding. A new SPC outlook is expected in approx. 30 minutes and another update on the forecast can be expected after that is released. Other updates throughout the day...

8:00 AM Update: No changes to SPC outlook for today, keeping in risk for large hail, damaging winds and a very small tornado risk. Updates will continue throughout the day today as the severe weather threat continues to become defined.

2:10 PM Update: Cold front has moved over parts of northwestern Iowa already and with this movement has triggered a line of thunderstorms from Kossuth county back southwestward to just north of Omaha. One of these thunderstorms has become severe over eastern Emmet county and is moving northeastward. Expect thunderstorms to continue over those areas and eastward this afternoon into this evening. SPC has indicated that if thunderstorms continue to become severe then a severe thunderstorm watch is probable.

6:00 PM Update: Severe Thunderstorm Watches #290, #291 & #292 are all in effect for portions of Iowa until 9 PM tonight. Thunderstorms have slowly worked their way across western and central Iowa this afternoon with several training lines. Main threat with the severe storms thus far has been large hail, only warning currently in Iowa is for Dallas county. Expect continued storms to cross central Iowa and move into eastern Iowa this evening, early tonight. Additional thunderstorms are likely to initiate and move into western Iowa late tonight and continue into tomorrow for the rest of the state.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Been busy with graduation this weekend, as both my sister and my girlfriend graduated. Finally time to look ahead and see what the forecast holds for the rest of the week. Thunderstorms definitely are in the mix as a more active pattern has setup over the plains states, the possibility of severe storms is not out of the question. Despite thunderstorm chances, the days could be decent with warm temperatures and clear skies until the storms roll in.

Highs today range from the mid 70s in the west to near mid 80s in the east, lows tonight in the 60s throughout the state. Thunderstorms may come into play late tonight in the western portions of the state...

Wednesday will see plenty of thunderstorms and heavy rain over the state, the first round likely pushing through central Iowa during the early afternoon hours and continuing over to eastern Iowa by evening. Another round of development is possible, although models are having a difficult time with this system tomorrow and thus the forecast is likely to change easily. Highs nonetheless will range from near 70 to near 80 from west to east with lows at night ranging from near 50 to 60 from west to east as well. This cold front responsible for the thunderstorms may be able to trigger some severe weather, this will likely be discussed in the late night update tonight.

Thursday has continued thunderstorm chances for central & eastern Iowa with highs in the mid 70s where the cold front has yet to pass, while western Iowa is likely to see mid 60s. By Thursday night the rain has left the area, along with the cold front, thus lows in the mid 40s to mid 50s can be expected across the state.

Friday & Friday night bring in the next quick system already, putting in chances of rain throughout much of western/central Iowa during the night. Highs expected to be in the lower 70s over the state with lows in the mid to upper 50s.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Graduation Forecast

It looks like the weather should cooperate for most of the state this weekend as everybody gets prepared and holds their party to celebrate. Today has highs in the lower to mid 80s, partly cloudy skies and winds 10-20 mph from the southeast. Lows tonight should be in the 50s throughout the state, some isolated thunderstorms also look to be possible in northern Iowa during the evening and into the early nighttime hours. Those chances of thunderstorms will linger over the northeast portion of the state on Sunday, at least keeping cloudy conditions in place. Highs in the northeast will likely be in the 70s with mid 80s in the western portion of the state under partly cloudy skies. Winds on Sunday should only be 5-15 mph from the south. For the seniors and their party on Sunday night, lows should be in the lower 50s to lower 60s from east to west, lighter winds and partly cloudy to clear skies.

Cleaning the parties up might become a problem for the early work week, as thunderstorms move into the forecast. Monday night has some isolated thunderstorm chances, although I would not expect much. Tuesday into Tuesday night will have western Iowa under the gun for some severe weather. These thunderstorms will move across the rest of the state early Wednesday before another round develops and could become severe for central/eastern Iowa on Wednesday. The exact risks for severe weather aren't known yet, as the system looks to be fairly potent depending on moisture return and heating during the days before thunderstorms development. Those threats can become better outlined by Sunday night or on Monday as the system first moves into the plains states...

Friday, May 18, 2007

An Iowa Spring Day

I finally got a series of pictures up from May 8th, just before I left for Florida I captured some views of Iowa as it looks on a nice spring day. My next update for photos will likely be the one containing several of my Florida pictures, but for now enjoy Iowa:

Cloudscape 1 & Cloudscape 2

Dandelion (1), Dandelion (2) & Dandelion (3)

Lilac (1) & Lilac (2)

Farm Work

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Cold Night... Extended Forecast

Last night saw temperatures drop to near freezing levels in some areas of the state. Although these temperatures aren't breaking any records (upper 20s/lower 30s), they are still well below normal and just downright chilly. Mid 30s were recorded across northern Iowa along with some lower lying areas of the state, while the remainder of cities were just above the 40 degree mark. Normal lows for this time of year are upper 40s in the north and lower 50s in the south...

A quick glance at the temperatures over the next week show upper 60s and lower 70s today with quickly rising highs as southerly winds pick up. Tomorrow ranges from mid 70s to lower 80s with the weekend bringing 80s throughout the state. Monday and the start of another workweek has upper 70s to mid 80s forecasted. A system works its' way through the state and brings highs down for Tuesday, lower 70s to lower 80s currently expected as the front comes across the state during the day. Wednesday then shows the effect of this system on temperatures, with highs only in the 70s across the state. Lows throughout the next week range from the 40s & 50s tonight, moderating with the highs to 50s for Friday night through the weekend. Even after the next system they look to remain in the lower/mid 50s, although some 40s may be seen as well by Wednesday night.

As for precipitation, a weak wave expected to pass near the state on Saturday night. Although precipitation is shown to be light and mainly north of the state, some areas of northern and western Iowa have been introduced into some lower chances of rain on Saturday night. The next strong system looks to be over the Dakotas on Monday, working east on Tuesday with the low moving into Minnesota and pulling a cold front over the state. Currently some severe weather is being mentioned with this systems' movement on Tuesday afternoon across the state the threat is conditional on the features of front and low. Nonetheless, it does seem fairly likely that some rain/thunderstorms are possible Tuesday & Tuesday night. Another system is currently forecasted near the Memorial Day weekend, which is usually coincided with some type of severe weather outbreak. A lot of details on a system that far out are up in the air, however the pattern over the US does look to become more active as we near that weekend. Details of those systems will come into play as it nears, however I certainly hope the pattern can become more active as I go 'on call' for project TWISTEX on June 1. So far the crew has only been active for 3 days this month, with not much hope in sight currently.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Preliminary Graduation Forecast

Well several area high schools are holding their graduation this weekend and I figured it would be nice to give a heads up for what the weather is to be like for Saturday/Sunday. So here goes the preliminary graduation forecast for the state of Iowa:

Saturday - Highs ranging from the lower 80s to mid 80s with partly cloudy skies. Winds from the south at 10-15 mph. Saturday night lows only expected to drop into the 50s, thus bearable conditions during the evening parties as well. Shorts & shirts likely for the afternoon, with a change to pants in the evening to accommodate some chillier conditions as the sun sets.

Sunday - Highs in the upper 70s for northeast Iowa, otherwise lower 80s for the remainder of the state. Partly cloudy skies with winds from the south 10-20 mph. Sunday night lows expected to range from mid 50s to some 60 degree marks, thus the evening forecast remains just slightly better than Saturdays'.

An updated graduation forecast will likely be put out on Friday afternoon for those last minute preparations as graduation bears down on the families.

Back from Florida!!

Well no internet while down in Florida and really no time even if I did have internet access while down there. Good weather wise with temperatures in the 80s and 90s, clouds in the afternoon with a few showers as expected being in Florida. No major weather problems whatsoever...

Catching up on quite a few things as I get back, hopefully however I'll get back on track with updates in the weather world for Iowa. A quick glance looks to be fairly 'boring' weather with temperatures in the 70s and 80s and mainly clear skies. More on the forecast and other details, with pictures from Florida and other details likely coming in the next few days! Look forward to it!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Quiet Week...

After the excitement of severe weather throughout the plains this weekend, it has calmed and looks to remain that way for the remainder of the week. Some light showers across the state today, but some sunshine as well allowed for a decent day today across the state. Highs today ranged from the lower 80s in the southeast to upper 60s in the Sioux City area where showers and heavier cloud cover kept temperatures down. The calmer weather will help with the pick up in the plains states, where several areas were hit hard, including the much known Greensburg, KS area. Iowa saw a couple of tornadoes on Saturday/Early Sunday; Mills, Pottowattamie, Montgomery and Cass county. These tornadoes were surveyed, getting ratings of EF-0, EF-1, and two EF-2's. Besides the risk of tornadoes, the worst concern was flooding; causing closures of I-29 in southwest Iowa and several county roads and likely hundreds of rural roads. This flooding is still a concern, but water levels should be on the decrease by the end of tomorrow.

As for that calm week, temperatures should remain fairly steady as noted in previous forecasts. Highs should begin in the mid to upper 70s across the state tomorrow, slowly rising through the work week into the mid 70s and lower 80s. Lows in the upper 40s to upper 50s tomorrow night, should steady off in the 50s for the remainder of the work week. Thankfully this won't leave me with much to talk about over the week and I won't be writing much. I leave on Wednesday for Florida, returning back to Iowa on the following Tuesday, May 15th. Possible sporadic updates if there is any time, otherwise enjoying the weather in Florida for the next week!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Storms Continue...

As we enter into the workweek the thunderstorms over the state continue, with a nice line of thunderstorms moving through south-central Iowa at this hour. Expect these storms to continue to effect the state through the night, with more thunderstorms developing fairly early in the afternoon in western Iowa and continuing eastward through the afternoon. The SPC has yet to issue their day 1 outlook, however in their day 2 update there is a risk of some severe weather tomorrow over the state. I'll add in the severe weather threat at the end of this post when it comes in...

Much of the early half of this week may be wet, with small chances of showers/thunderstorms over some portions of the state. Highs for Monday should be in the 70s, with lows dipping into the lower 50s to lower 60s in the southeast with cloud cover. Highs throughout the rest of the week should range throughout the 70s, not much change. Lows will also stay steady, 50s throughout the state for the entire work week as well.

Monday Severe Weather Threat: The first SPC outlook for today indicates that the severe threat should stay south of the state. Although thunderstorms are likely, the severe threat limited by moisture/instability, etc. Updated 1:00 am

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Stormy Weekend (Cont...)

Severe weather is not too far off of the Iowa border with several tornado and severe thunderstorm warnings in Nebraska & South Dakota. Two tornado watches do cover some portions of the state, mainly extreme western Iowa: PDS Tornado Watch #235 & PDS Tornado Watch #236

Those two watches will be in effect until the early nighttime hours, expect the thunderstorms that are currently in NE/SD to slowly propagate eastward. They will likely enter the state around the 10 PM time frame and may continue through much of the night. Several rounds of thunderstorms may occur over western portions of the state tonight and into tomorrow, some of these storms may be severe with the best risk of large hail. People living in or near the two watches that are in effect should keep an eye out into the early nighttime hours for severe weather, the potential for severe weather may then last into the night and possibly for the remainder of the weekend. More updates on the severe weather threat throughout the weekend...

Friday, May 4, 2007

Stormy Weekend

Showers & Thunderstorms are likely to be seen throughout the weekend, especially over areas of western Iowa. Currently, tornado watch has been issued for areas of SD/NE that are bordering the state. These thunderstorms may move into the state later tonight, however significant severe weather is not expected thanks to cloud cover persisting for the remainder of the day. Expect highs in the lower 60s to the low 70s possible in southwest Iowa where some clearing may occur. Continued risk of showers, possible thunderstorms persists into tonight. Lows with the cloud cover will remain mild in the mid 50s to lower 60s...

Tomorrows' risk of severe weather is increased over portions of western Iowa, especially towards the nighttime hours. The system causing severe weather today doesn't move much, allowing the severe weather threat to once again be favored over NE/KS and southward. But, the continued convection into the nighttime hours should spread into western Iowa and pose a possible severe threat. Other areas of Iowa will also see the chance of thunderstorms/showers much like today and the days before. Highs Saturday will be much warmer with some sunshine in the forecast; upper 60s to some lower 80s seems likely with lows mild once again with clouds/rain, ranging from lower 50s to some mid 60s.

Sundays' forecast doesn't change much, with showers/thunderstorms likely in the western parts of the state during the day. Continued development and movement will push these into most of central Iowa by the night as well. Severe weather on Sunday is a much better risk, as the SPC has put much of the state in at least a slight risk area for severe weather. This threat could become much better defined later as the system evolves, once again this system is still the one causing severe weather in KS/NE and other areas today and tomorrow; finally making its' way into Iowa for Sunday. Highs during the day should range between 70 and 80, with lows in the upper 50s & lower 60s.

Summer Plans

An exciting opportunity was given to me in the last month, a scientific research project that will have me chasing throughout the plains states during the month of June. Because of this I was asked to do an interview with KICD Radio, whom I was formerly an intern with. Below is a transcript, with some audio of the interview as played on the radio:

(Ames, IA) -- An Iowa State Meteorology student and former KICD/KLLT weather intern has landed a choice summer assignment.
Jayson Prentice got a recommendation from the head of the ISU meteorology department. He'll be working with nationally known researcher Tim Samaras.

-- Audio Clip 1: 0:00 - 0:28 seconds

Samaras is also planning to do some very high speed photography of lightning; to the tune of a million frames per second.
Prentice will be driving one of the chase vehicles. But he'll also be forecasting where to intercept severe thunderstorms.

-- Audio Clip 2: 0:30 - 0:48 seconds

Prentice's first day as a weather intern at the KICD/KLLT stations was June 11th, 2004. That's the day a record 11 tornadoes touched down in Clay County in one afternoon.


I will be working with Samaras for the entire month of June, while other members of the Iowa State meteorology department will be working with me during that time. Others will also be with him starting this weekend and through the rest of May. During the time I am out in the field, I will be providing updates on this blog as well as the Stormcenterusa Forums. Several other plans are in the mix for possible features to the site showcasing the day to day traveling/chasing we are doing. This research opportunity is not only brought on by Samaras and Iowa State, but also funded by National Geographic among others. Thus, some details may have to be left out during the chase as well as some photographs, etc. dependent on what we capture. But, by no means figure that there won't be pictures up daily of some of the excitement! If you have any other questions or comments, be sure to add them to the end of this post by clicking on the comments text.

Besides this opportunity I have several other plans in the mix, including a trip to Florida next week with my girlfriend and her family. I depart next Tuesday evening, arriving back to the plains by the next Tuesday/Wednesday. My sister as well as my girlfriend are both graduating this year as well, making the rest of May eventful as well before I head out in June. Plenty more updates on my personal ongoings as well as the forecast updates in the future! Hope you stick around to read much more about it...

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Spring Continues... Class Year Ending

The Iowa forecast update first before we get into the personal side of things. Another nice day looks to be on schedule with highs forecasted in the upper 60s and low 70s with some cloud cover across the state. Lows tonight in the upper 40s and lower 50s in the southeast where some clouds will likely remain over the area. Clouds continue in the pictures for Thursday/Thursday night, with highs only in the mid to upper 60s for the most part. Lows should be mild in the upper 40s to mid 50s with the risk of some showers/thunderstorms over the western and central parts of the state. Some lingering showers in the east for Friday, highs only in the upper 60s there while the rest of the state should see low to mid 70s. A second system should move into the state by Friday night, affecting mainly western Iowa although NWS offices are having discrepancies in how good the chance really is. Nonetheless, easy wording would be to mention scattered showers possible from Friday night through much of the weekend as weak systems continually move over the area. Don't expect washouts if you have outdoor plans, but would be prepared for some showers in case they do occur. Highs over the weekend will depend on possible showers/cloudcover, but mid 70s to some lower 80s on Saturday seem reasonable. Sunday highs in the mid 70s to maybe some mid 80s if areas can get by without any cloud cover.

Tomorrow at 2 PM I check out of my dorm room here at Iowa State and will end my Sophomore year in the Meteorology program. Finals week this week hasn't been terrible, Meteorology 301 final on Monday went great with no snags at all; Last night was the Physics 222 final which wasn't the greatest according to the supposed answers posted online. But, I passed the class no matter what and I'll essentially take whatever grade and not look at another physics book again, unless it's Atmospheric Physics. Tomorrow at 9:45 am I take my last final, Differential Equations, should finish by 11:30 am with not to many problems as I actually understand the math this semester thanks to a outstanding professor. I'll be back home for the summer Thursday afternoon/evening and tomorrow nights' post will explain my summer plans! A sneak preview of them below:

In Mid-May I have a big trip planned that will actually have me leaving the plains states! The month of June will be filled with traveling as well, all in the name of science. I was featured in a KICD Radio interview for being a part of this, a transcript with audio clips of the interview will be provided. Hope you stick around for that post, it'll be some important news!

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Slight Cool Down

After consecutive days of highs approaching 90 degrees, this mornings' commute was a nice surprise with temperatures much lower. Lows this morning ranged from the lower 50s in northwest Iowa to the upper 60s in the southeast where they remained in the warm sector of the system moving across the state overnight. Todays' highs should be much milder than the past days, ranging from 70 to 80 degrees from northwest to southeast. Temperatures for the rest of the week should be consistent with today, only one precipitation chance currently in the mix on Thursday & Thursday night. That system will come into more detail tomorrow, the next update here will explain the chances that the state actually has for rain. As for high temperatures, upper 60s to mid 70s on Wednesday; Upper 60s to lower 70s on Thursday and finishing off the week with highs back up to the upper 60s to mid 70s. Lows during the rest of the week will also be consistent; ranging tonight from 40-50, upper 40s to lower 50s on Wednesday night. Thursday night brings upper 40s to mid 50s as some moisture returns to the state along with potential cloud cover. Another system Friday night will bring moisture and cloud cover chances again, lows in the 50 to 60 degree range overnight.

Some pictures for the viewing pleasure as well, over the weekend I had a chance to grab some shots of various things. High school track meet on Friday evening gave me a chance to do some more sport shots, G/T Track 2007. A new kitten out on the farm as well, grabbed a couple of shots of it before the mother had enough of me playing with it on Saturday morning; Last two in This Album. Another event Saturday night had me being a part of the photograph, went to the prom, the 4th and last time I will do so. G/T 2007 Prom (I'm in the white coat). Lastly, I'll leave you with a shot of a Robin that I took this weekend as well, enjoy: