Saturday, June 30, 2007

Trip to Denver & New Computer

TWISTEX has came to an end and thus the cars will be returning to the Denver area in the upcoming days. The ISU crew will be driving from Ames to Lakewood, CO during the day tomorrow, hopefully making Lakewood by supper time. Spending the night in Lakewood before returning to Ames on Monday, in which I will also be returning home Monday evening as well. This trip will tack onto the total miles for TWISTEX, with 850 miles on the trip for me one-way, thus the trip total miles will likely add on around 1700 miles! Once I return and we get passed the July 4th holiday, I will then get the whole update on the miles and time spent traveling during the month of June.

Other news is the addition of a new computer, an Inspiron 1501, which has been equipped with Windows Vista release. So far I haven't ran into many problems with the computer, a lot of features with the new Vista release that allow you to personalize it. I've gotten all of my programs on it without problems for the most part, however there are still programs that aren't 'officially' ready to run with Vista and thus do have some problem with what features they can offer running in a Vista environment. The new media offers with Vista are quite unique and make it look much like some of the iBook or other Apple computers do that have been bought by the more photo/video people as of late. If I have any troubles with Vista I'll be sure to update on here, but for now it looks good. Any questions on it be sure to leave a comment and I'll get back to you!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ending of TWISTEX

Well I returned from the marathon of driving late last night, about 1 am is when I pulled into my destination for the night. This after the crew began the trip home at 9:30 am in Grand Forks, ND; stopping to dismantle the mesonets in Grand Rapids, MN and then on our way down I-35 to Ames, IA. This isn't the end of driving however for the ISU crew, as we will be taking the vehicles back to their rightful home in Denver, CO coming up on Sunday/Monday. Once I find some time from the hectic schedule to update and review the whole June TWISTEX season I will post the totals miles and what we actually saw on the long journeys.

Jokingly as we sat in Subway in Grand Rapids, a comment was made on our month of chasing that can pretty much sum it up however. "You know, we can't really figure out how many miles we traveled per tornado captured, as when you divide by zero you get an error!!"

Monday, June 25, 2007

June 25 TWISTEX Chase

Status: On-The-Road
Location: Pierre, SD -- Devils Lake, ND -- Grand Forks, ND

12:50 AM Update: Finally ending the night in Grand Forks after eating our 'last supper' here in town. This was the last night the crew will be together for the year... Tomorrows' plan will include the drive to Grand Rapids, MN to disassemble the mesonets; then the long journey back to Ames, IA to put up the cars for a little while; and of course finish it all off with my drive back home which I can hopefully make before the day comes to an end. Stats on todays' chase and all of the chases for TWISTEX will likely be posted in the later days, for now it's time for bed.

8:50 PM Update: We've sat in Devils Lake for nearly 6 hours now waiting for something to show up in the area. Needless to say we've been shut out, not even good signs of convection in the clouds. Just had the wind shift come through, making winds northerly and finally forcing us to leave the area. In route to Grand Forks where we may likely stay the night...

4:30 PM Update: Sitting in Devils Lake, ND still; looking at some data now and I have some hope for the storms if they can develop. And that is where the hope is, that we can get storms to develop during the evening hours in the area and not have it wait until nightfall and the parameters start to drop... The crew is all in the Devils Lake area, thus shouldn't be too much longer until we do something worthwhile on the chase front.

3:10 PM Update: Finally reached our destination of Devils Lake, ND, left Pierre around 9:30 this morning. Not to bad of a trip, at least the latter couple of hours was terrain that we had yet to see. Don't have much information on how things are looking, but the rest of the crew is on their way and should arrive shortly. It's time to go and enjoy our pizza...

8:30 AM Update: Woke up to a not so great forecast for the area really, nothing is screaming at us at all as far as severe potential goes. In fact, according to SPC it is just whispering about tornado potential for the day... We are likely to be heading to the best spot we can find, northeast ND once again as we are in front of the surface low and it holds some at least 'decent' potential for storm development by this evening. If storms can develop in the capped environment up there, they do seem to have potential for tornadoes. Likely hitting the road soon to head to Devils Lake, ND...

Sunday, June 24, 2007

June 24 TWISTEX Update

Status: On-The-Road
Location: Terril, IA -- Ames, IA -- Pierre, SD

12:15 AM Update: Reached our destination for the night of Pierre, SD; staying at our trusty Super 8 once again. Getting some information on the setup for tomorrow before we head to bed... Ended the day with 628 miles traveled over approx. 10 1/2 hours total.

4:00 PM Update: In Ames now, awaiting for the team to assemble up and hit the road. We're still really unsure about where we are going for the night, but I'll update when we get to that unknown destination.

11:30 AM Update: Quick update once again as things have been put together quickly for a trip to North Dakota. After seeing the last couple of days and how they have came together in Canada, it isn't a huge surprise that we've decided to make it at least a 1 day trip up there to get in on the action. Too bad we couldn't have seen the last 2 days of tornadoes in southern Manitoba...

The ISU crew is hitting the road today to get closer to the target in central ND tomorrow, unsure of our departure from Ames and where exactly we'll spend the night. I'll update tonight once we get into our destination for today with more details...
The Samaras crew is hitting the roads already in hopes of gaining some large hail in Montana today. SPC's latest outlook upgraded to moderate risk due to the large hail risk over portions of MT/ND. It is unsure where they'll spend the night as well as it will be based on their location after todays' chasing.

Update likely tonight to adjust location and put out an actual forecast on the events for tomorrow...

Friday, June 22, 2007

June 22 Storms & TWISTEX Update

Thunderstorms began in northwest Iowa once again early this morning and continued across the state during the overnight hours. The remnants of the storms left behind plenty of cloud cover and a very soaked ground over the state. Despite all of this working against more development, thunderstorms have once again taken hold of Iowa. Two severe thunderstorm watches are in effect for the state this afternoon and into tonight, for southwest Iowa (Watch #443 Details) and for much of central and eastern Iowa (Watch #442 Details); Both of those watches continue until 9 PM. Currently Guthrie and Dallas counties are under warnings, for the threat of large hail and damaging winds. Previously storms moved over areas to the northwest of their, putting down .75" hail and 65 mph winds near Carroll, Iowa. Expect these thunderstorms to continue to work south and east during the evening/nighttime hours until they exit the state late tonight.

More development of thunderstorms is possible tomorrow, but mainly over extreme southern Iowa. The severe threat with these storms is once again small, much like todays' threat over the state...

Early this morning when the thunderstorms were over northwest Iowa, I was able to grab a few shots of the light show that they were producing. Those pictures can be found online in my photo album: June 22 Lightning

TWISTEX Update: A quick update for now, deployment plans are possible for early next week. Targets would likely be the extreme northern plains and possibly the Canadian plains... Details will likely be finalized tomorrow, although currently the chances of deployment for that far of a target are slim.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 21 Severe

Overview: After an early round of severe thunderstorms this morning in eastern Iowa, the skies lit up once again in the afternoon. Storms began moving into northwestern Iowa in the early afternoon hours, with new development just ahead of this line in northcentral Iowa and another newly developed line in west-central Iowa. Both of these clusters of thunderstorms were quickly able to become severe and even tornadic in some cases as they moved across the state. Continued development of storms occurred to fill in all of the gaps in the cells, essentially blanketing the state in severe thunderstorms by this evening. To go over a few of the reports today, tornadoes were reported near Eagle Grove (Wright county), Shell Rock (Butler county), Ames (Story county) and Waterloo (Black Hawk county). Several dozen reports came in with large hail and damaging winds, most of the hail reports were an inch or less and many of the wind reports were not greater than 65 mph. Besides the tornadoes, the worst report of the day came in at 3 miles north of Renwick in Humboldt county, where 2.50" diameter hail fell around 3:20 this afternoon.

11:25 AM Update: New SPC outlook for today has now upgraded to Moderate for portions of SD/NE/MN and Iowa. Storms continue to develop in southeast SD, these should continue to move east/southeast this afternoon and eventually make their way into northwest Iowa early this afternoon. If these storms as well as others that develop remain discrete during the afternoon hours, potential for very large and damaging hail is there along with the chance of a few tornadoes. However, the possibility exists for thunderstorms to congeal into more of a linear line and thus the wind threat would become higher, with some large hail being possible.

10:15 AM Update: Severe weather already occurring this morning across the northern plains, including parts of eastern Iowa where warnings were posted for large hail earlier near the Iowa City area. Those thunderstorms continue to move out of the state while new storms are expected to move in this afternoon. One severe/tornadic thunderstorm is already occurring in southeast South Dakota, this storm is expected to continue and allow other storms to develop near it during the rest of the morning hours. For this reason, Severe Thunderstorm Watch #433 has been issued for areas of SD, MN and Iowa. The northwest 9 counties of Iowa are included in this watch that serves for mainly large hail and damaging winds, it is valid until 4 PM this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Severe Weather Likely in Iowa

Several rounds of severe thunderstorms may occur over the state the next 3 days. The first round will likely occur late tonight over mainly portions of western Iowa, although central Iowa is not completely excluded from this risk. Latest forecast models have a MCS (large cluster of thunderstorms) moving into the northwest part of Iowa after 3 am tonight. This cluster or line of thunderstorms may have the potential for damaging winds as well as large hail throughout the early morning hours as it moves through the state. Several questions with this system that are unknown at this time include how far this cluster will make it into Iowa while remaining severe and if it does continue eastward or southeastward through the state, it has the possibility of intensifying and becoming severe during the afternoon on Thursday as well in eastern Iowa.

Another round of thunderstorms then becomes possible during the afternoon Thursday in northern Iowa as we have a frontal boundary that is likely to be near the area. This combined with possible outflow boundaries from the late night MCS may allow for very strong thunderstorms to form. Any thunderstorms that do develop along the boundary during the evening hours will likely be capable of all modes of severe weather, including tornadoes. Areas that are not affected by any isolated supercells during the evening hours will once again be put in a severe risk by another nighttime MCS. Once again coming out of SD/NE and moving eastward, the threat for damaging winds and large hail increases during the nighttime hours.

Lastly, areas of central and eastern Iowa have their shot at more severe weather on Friday when the system begins to move east. The threats at this point are questionable and currently do not look to be as severe as the previous days severe weather, however with the forecast currently for tomorrow still questionable, there is time for the threat on Friday to become larger.

Updates likely tonight and early tomorrow dependent on MCS movement and prospects of a storm chase...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Severe Weather (Wed/Thur)

TWISTEX Update: Crews have all returned home, with us once again waiting for another good severe weather threat with westerly or southwesterly flow aloft. Although severe weather is likely over the northern plains, winds aloft are from the northwest and are not usually considered as the best when it comes to a tornadic supercell threat. Thus, deployment not likely until this weekend when a belt of westerly and southwesterly winds become possible over the far northern plains. This is currently the highlighted area for watching, possible deployment for the weekend and into Monday as of current forecasts...
Adding the last chase trip, I have now logged in 3,608.59 miles with the TWISTEX crew and over 75 hours of on-the-road driving.

A severe weather threat is likely over the plains states tomorrow and Thursday, with Iowa being involved in both days. Although cooler today, with much less moisture over the state and other areas of the northern plains will quickly evolve into warm and humid by as early as tomorrow. Strong moisture gradient is currently noted over KS/MO where at least mid 60s dewpoints are noted. This moisture is likely to surge northward today/tonight and through Thursday, allowing mid 60s to upper 60s dewpoints as far north as SD/MN. This moisture return along with strong heating will allow for moderate to strong instability over the plains states on both days. A warm front is likely to settle into portions of SD/MN during both days and a cold front, possible dryline will be near stationary over SD/NE. These two areas will be the focus for severe weather development...

On Wednesday, on the eastern edge of a cap (warmer temperatures aloft) thunderstorms will likely develop during the late afternoon, evening hours. These thunderstorms will likely be capable of large hail and damaging winds; isolated tornadoes may also be possible, especially over areas of southeastern SD. This threat is likely to congeal into a linear line of thunderstorms or an MCS that travels eastward through the nighttime hours. This MCS is likely to reach the IA and MN area by early morning on Thursday with the potential for damaging winds most likely...

Thursday morning will allow the MCS from previous night move out of Iowa, possibly continuing its' severe threat of damaging winds into the Ohio Valley by Thursday evening. Additional thunderstorm development seems likely over possibly two areas; one along the cold front/stationary boundary in central & eastern SD/NE and the other along the warm front through northern Iowa. Both boundaries may be able to initiate thunderstorms capable of large hail and isolated tornadoes. Currently the forecasts indicate that the best tornadic potential may indeed be over portions of Iowa during the evening hours. However with this threat still a decent time out in the forecast, expect subtle changes in the threats and their locations by tomorrow. It is definitely going to be a couple of days in which Iowans should keep an eye out for severe weather.

June 18 TWISTEX Update

Status: On-The-Road
Location: Grand Forks, ND -- Terril, IA

Hitting the road for home today as the severe weather threat over the northern plains is diminished considerably along the cold front. After finding a place that was open at 1 AM last night for food and getting it delivered to the hotel, it was around 2 AM. Another late night, but with a route for home today allowed us to take it easy and get off to a fairly late start. I'll be dropped off near Sioux City to make my way home from this trip, which was once again mainly unsuccessful.

June 15 Travel: Home to Sioux Falls, SD -- 134 Miles (2 Hours, 30 Minutes)
June 16 Travel: Sioux Falls, SD to Wyoming to Pierre, SD -- 780.26 Miles (16 Hours, 50 Minutes)
June 17 Travel: Pierre, SD to northwest ND to Grand Forks, ND -- 520 Miles (12 Hours, 53 Minutes)
June 18 Travel: Grand Forks, ND to Home -- 510 Miles (10 Hours, 10 Minutes)

TWISTEX will hopefully once again get another chase in before this month is complete, but forecasts are not very helpful in showing good systems once again. Haven't had a chance to look at anything for the extended outlook, so I don't have any great idea of when we could go out again. SPC did have portions of the northern plains in their extended day 4-8 outlook yesterday, but the system responsible would likely be another cold front passage. Updates will continue in hopes of operations once again...

Sunday, June 17, 2007

June 17 TWISTEX Chase

Status: On-The-Road
Location: Pierre, SD to Grand Forks, ND

10:30 PM: The team has been on the cell in Ramsey/Nelson/Walsh counties in North Dakota for nearly the past 2 hours. Quite a unique storm and very interesting situation, as we approached we had very thick fog (visib. 1/4 mile) and could not make out any structure whatsoever. The storm did however really become organized and tornado warned; visibility became better and we were able to see structure with it. As noted, we followed this storm very closely for approx. an hour and a half watching various lowerings as it continued to be tornado warned. We broke off from the storm approx, a quarter after 10; once on our road to go southeast however we encountered the core of the storm once again. Wind gusts 40-50 kts and some penny sized hail along with blinding rains finished off the chase nicely, now likely heading for a stay in Grand Forks, ND for the night. Tomorrows' plans will likely include the journey back home for the crews...

8:15 PM: Well we've watched an elevated storm just north of the warm front near the Devils Lake, ND area for a while. After watching the towers south of the front pulse and die, with little hope of development the decision is we might as well head to that storm and

7:15 PM: Went up to McVille, ND to top off the gas tanks and wait a while for something to show up that was exciting. Ended up with fresh radar images that showed off a nice boundary that was actually moving southwards, as we let it overrun us just before leaving it was a nice cool air with winds from the northeast. Now moving back southeastward out ahead of that boundary and back into the really juicy air that we left behind for a moment.

5:30 PM: Stopped just south of Finley, ND to check up on things and wait for better development; now moving once again just to stick around in the area of good CU development. (6:00 PM)

4:15 PM: After seeing what the cell northeast of Grand Forks did, rapidly turning tornadic, we've quickly decided to move east and north. This will locate us along that same boundary and near two other potential boundaries that we've picked up on. One located now east of Jamestown and another that we recently noted on the Aberdeen radar that has just crossed over the border and moving north.

4:00 PM: Sitting in Jamestown, ND awaiting something to get our attention and begin the chase. We are fairly pleased with the way things are sitting right now as far as observations go, but still awaiting a good sign of convection along or south of the warm front and ahead of the cold front. We should have storms to chase within an hour or two the way things look...

12:49 PM: We've now entered North Dakota with CU field's in sight to our west/north and even some CU to our east. With the warm front still in sight and hanging around we have good hopes compared to last night. Looks like we'll be driving continuously here as I doubt we'll have time to spare the way the CU are starting to act up.

11:00 AM: Taking a late start today thanks to the target area being nearby and the delay of getting a tire fixed. We're going to try and play the warm front/cold front intersection (triple point) somewhere along the ND/SD borders as it stands right now. On the road again after a good 8 hour period of 'downtime' from the vehicle; going to put another state visited under my belt today as we're likely end up in North Dakota. Just to continue the blabing a little more, Pierre had some nice folks and overall South Dakota was a nice place to chase (only better if there were storms).

3:00 AM: Finally arrived in Pierre after our adventures of the day, or actu0ly 2 days and very ready for some sleep. Will update again in morning with some idea of our target along the cold front...

1:00 AM: An update a little earlier than expected, a nice blowout in one of the vehicles near Wall, SD has put us even further behind in route to our hotel. With a spare tire it has also decreased our speeds to a near unbearable 55 mph. Currently planned on arriving to Pierre near 3:30 am local time; with an earlier wake-up to fix a tire in the morning.

12:30 AM: Still driving to begin the day, 25 miles east of Rapid City with over 165 miles left to go before the night is done. Will be spending the night in Pierre, SD and hopefully awakening to a decent outlook for tomorrow or at least one better than is being pictured by what data/forecasts we have looked at so far tonight.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

June 16 TWISTEX Chase

Status: On-The-Road
Location: Sioux Falls, SD -- Wyoming -- Pierre, SD

16 Hours, 50 Minutes and just over 780 miles total traveled today.

11:59 PM: Technically, it is past midnight central time, but still holding onto today as we are in the mountain zone just leaving Rapid City. Have rooms in Pierre for tonight, which is around a 2 1/2 hour drive from Rapid City; thus putting us into bed around 3 am central time at the best hopes. All in all today ended up nice and scenic, with potential for severe weather, we did end up on a storm that was severe/tornadic and witnessed severe weather. But, still a disappointment...

9:00 PM: Stopped just to the northwest of Four Corners to attempt some lightning shots, not too much happenings in terms of CG strikes to make it count. We've decided to make our way back towards the Black Hills area as it is eastward and will still put us right behind the now linear blob of storms.

8:30 PM: Journey into Wyoming has led us onto and into the core of a storm near and south of Sundance. Encountered some small hailstones, maybe a penny size hail one in the mix as well. Good gusty winds from it along with the extremely heavy rain, recorded a 50+ kt wind gust. Once again now hitting some small hail between Four Corners and Sundance, Wyoming. Good lightning with this storm as well, but still not what we were hoping for today. Still trying here, but not looking pretty anymore.

8:00 PM: We've now entered Wyoming, pretty much on last efforts here to get onto a storm before we lose too much sunlight.

7:40 PM: Arriving in Belle Fouche, SD with not much to look forward to at the moment as our cell in Wyoming has been dieing off and no other convection that really gets our attention currently. Looking like we will make a stop here and wait to see if anything can come off of the higher terrain and get going.

6:45 PM: Still in route to Belle Fouche, SD area, likely to intercept the storm that is going to be nearing the WY/SD border at that time. Main threat with that storm currently is large hail, latest estimations of 2" diameter.

5:50 PM: Arrived in Faith, SD after the stay in the nowhere sections of South Dakota. Also by looking to our west at a nice CU field that has begun and continues to increase I have good 'faith' about the day and how it will turn out. Still only 5 PM local time and thus leaves plenty of time for good chasing out here in the beautiful land of northwest SD. Leaving Faith behind as we continue westward in route to Belle Fourche, SD (nearly Wyoming) for the continued progression of storms already developed.

4:30 PM: Still sitting and waiting for the most part, good feelings for the most part from the crew that we will have something today. It's a waiting game and a fairly decent guessing game on where that first storm will go up and hopefully become tornadic. Currently sitting pretty much in the middle of nowhere South Dakota, expecting we'll move somewhere within an hour (currently 3:30 local time). Now that I've just finished this up, we are now moving westward further, so on the road again...

1:15 PM: Arrived in Murdo, SD well ahead of previously planned schedule, although cloud cover and scattered showers were abundant through quite a bit of central South Dakota. Tim & rest of crew were already there and with the risk area being better to the northwest we are once again hitting the road for a relocated target area of Faith, SD.

9:00 AM: Awake in Sioux Falls to a moderate risk and good tornado chances today in western SD. A nice morning breakfast courtesy of Mr. Karstens & family, the KELO-TV meteorologist here in Sioux Falls. Looks like we will depart around 10:30 am on our target of central South Dakota once again...

1:00 AM: The ISU crew pre-deployed tonight and is currently in Sioux Falls, SD spending the night in hopes of an easier drive for tomorrow. Samaras and his crew have also pre-deployed to North Platte, NE once again to make their drive easier as well. The WindLogics crew of Bruce & Bob will be meeting up with us tomorrow as well, not sure on their status as of this moment. Haven't had much of a chance to look at things this early this afternoon, thus currently still have a broad target of central South Dakota. The ISU crew likely leaving Sioux Falls between 10 and 11 am tomorrow to our destination...

Friday, June 15, 2007

June 15 TWISTEX Update

Status: Preparing for Deployment Tommorrow
Location: Terril, IA

11:30 am Update: Official word is out that TWISTEX will be deploying tomorrow and Sunday over areas of the Dakotas. Marginal day expected on Saturday, however with the threat being there on Sunday in the Dakotas we will string it into a 2-day trip. 12z NAM continues to show promise in central SD tomorrow along a stationary warm front, sufficient instability and shear should allow thunderstorms that do develop to become severe and possibly tornadic. Target will likely be somewhere near the dead-center of South Dakota.

On Sunday the target is still up in the air, as we could potentially have two surface low pressure systems along the cold front that is likely taking over the Dakotas. Capping may be a concern south of the SD/NE line and even some parts of southern SD may be under to stout of a cap. Currently the SPC has picked up on areas of ND/MN as the best potential. We'll have to just leave the target for this day open as too many options exist at the moment.


Forecasts are becoming increasingly favorable for TWISTEX deployment this weekend, with latest thoughts including Saturday as a chase day for the Dakotas. Tonights' NAM run shows good shear values, with westerly winds aloft from 200mb through 500mb with slight speed shear. Winds then turn to the southwest at 700mb, and then southeasterly at 850 with even some straight easterly winds in the western Dakotas. This combined with southeasterly/southerly winds at the surface finish off good low level shear values that seem conducive for tornadic storms. Moisture and instability should easily be sufficient for thunderstorms as well, the current negative seen in forecasts could be a good focus point for development. Models seem to throw to MCS's into the picture, one over central SD/ND and another over southwestern Minnesota & adjacent areas. Nonetheless, feel that with this type of wind fields and combination of other severe parameters it could very easily warrant a chase opportunity.

The threat on Saturday comes before the trough works into the plains even, with Sunday bringing in increased wind speeds at the upper levels. A good 20-30 kts increase at 250mb and 500mb levels, with only slight changes in direction to a southwesterly component. 700mb level does show some concern, first with wind speeds only favoring a speed shear component and not much directional; secondly the temperatures are shown to be 12-15 C throughout South Dakota. This would be a good cap over the area, however the last event in western SD with temperatures well above normal capping strength didn't seem to have a problem. This system is different, but still hard to look down on the event just because of that at the moment. Instability is much greater on Sunday, with moisture and lifted indicies higher as well. Shear is in question though, with winds at 850mb and surface coming from the southwest/south. Despite some flaws, the day on Sunday still has potential for tornadic storms in the Dakotas and possibly Minnesota. The system is likely to be shown faster in the models, thus expect the eastern part of the Dakotas if not central Dakotas to be the best target on Sunday. Sunday does seem like a chase day if the team is already out from a Saturday chase in the region as well.

Monday the cold front begins its' quick move across the plains, thus with the lack of shear and the simple movement of just a cold front across the plains it is unlikely that a chase will ensue on this day as well. However, this day is still quite a ways out and forecasts due change. This day will remain questionable for deployment in my mind...

Thursday, June 14, 2007

June 14 TWISTEX Update

Status: Awaiting Deployment
Location: Terril, IA

Just a quick update this afternoon on the next deployment that may potentially come by Saturday. Winds become westerly aloft by Saturday over the northern plains, allowing for better shear profiles across the area. A trough that is also expected to make its' way into the plains will be affecting the Dakotas as soon as Sunday. These features are enough to where Samaras feels we may take off as early as Saturday to head to the Dakotas for a severe weather threat, also staying in the Dakotas area on Sunday as the trough moves in. Another update likely late tonight with a better forecast after the 00z runs come in...

Also likely to have pictures from the June 6 & 7 posted by early tomorrow as well...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

June 13 TWISTEX Update

Status: Awaiting Next Deployment
Location: Terril, IA

Although slight chances of severe weather are in the forecast for the next couple of days, the threat is not high enough to warrant deployment by the TWISTEX team. Scattered severe thunderstorms are possible throughout much of the plains states, with the best threat actually coming in the southern plains for the next 2 days. Here in Iowa, would expect western Iowa to see thunderstorms today with the system slowing progressing for tomorrow. Western and central Iowa could see thunderstorms on Thursday then, although possibilities of severe weather on either day are fairly low.

Beyond this system we head into zonal flow over the plains until our next trough moves in. This is expected to happen by the end of the weekend, Sunday already showing up on the SPC day 4-8 outlook along with the following days as it moves a front southeastward. Expect TWISTEX will be watching this closely for deployment opportunities, with at least the upper level winds becoming favorable. Sunday looks to be Dakotas with the best chance, moving into Iowa/Minnesota and possibly surroundings on Monday. Tuesdays' threat then shifts southeastward again, covering areas near the Mississippi River. Details on the threats are going to have to be worked out in the next couple of days, but this is going to be our next deployment opportunity as of the way things look in the near future.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

June 12 TWISTEX Update

Status: Awaiting Next Deployment
Location: Terril, IA

Severe weather across the plains is in the forecast for today as well as tomorrow, with some enhanced risks possible. Downside to this is the lack of good surface parameters, creating the threat of mainly large hail and damaging winds as the storms get into multicluster lines and even squalls. This occurred last night with the system and is expected to occur today/tonight as well across areas of the Dakotas, Nebraska southward through Kansas. Wednesdays' threat is also there over portions of the plains states, best threat currently over areas of KS/OK and possibly TX. However even in this area the shear with the system is lacking and thus a supercell threat is marginal. Other thunderstorms are possible throughout the plains tomorrow, severe threat is less due to the lack of shear and instability over the area. The marginal threat of tornadoes and really overall severe threat means TWISTEX is not expected to be operational today/tomorrow.

Thursday the system continues to stall over the plains states, with the best severe threat currently confined to areas of the northern plains (ND/SD/MN) and the southern plains (TX/OK). The southern plains is still lacking sufficient shear for a good supercell threat, however multicell lines are the focus for severe weather there once again. The northern plains threat however does have good support thanks to the trough moving into the area. This is allowing a more widespread event to take place, with shear values that do look sufficient enough for a supercell threat. The tornado threat on Thursday is still minimal however, thus TWISTEX operations will once again not be likely. Once again over much of the plains a linear thunderstorm event may take place, from the Canada border into KS and other lines in the southern plains as well with their multicell severe threat.

In the extended outlook, the next trough that comes onto the plains looks to come by this weekend. The SPC has outlined areas of the northern plains on Sunday. Continued threat on Monday over areas of the plains as well according to the SPC. Models are still grasping solutions on how this one will play out, Saturday evening still has zonal flow over the northern plains, but is still increasing the speeds at the upper levels. By Sunday the trough has dug in and the wind speeds at 500 are much better, being southwest between 40-60 kts over the Dakotas/Minnesota. Monday is a little less exciting on last nights' GFS model run, the trough expands out and the sharpness of the trough is weakened. Still good west/southwest winds are in place over areas of NE/IA into the Great Lakes area and thus a severe threat is not out of the question. The rest of the month is up in the air, with model runs consistently featuring some type of ridge or blocking pattern over the plains. This doesn't bode well for TWISTEX operations, but any small disturbance could occur and provide some severe threat. Continued daily updates until TWISTEX operations resume...

Monday, June 11, 2007

June 11 TWISTEX Update

Status: Awaiting Next Deployment
Location: Terril, IA

Once again the forecast for tomorrow does not look so good, in fact as far as the tornado threat goes it is likely minimal. The severe threat for tomorrow is good, with the large hail and damaging winds into the nighttime hours being decent. But, with the shear values being low, especially near surface, this is not going to allow for a favorable environment for tornadoes. Thus, TWISTEX is likely to once again sit at home for a day to await better severe weather chances.

The Colorado crew has stated that they may head out for a local chase, mainly for large hail hopes. The Iowa State crew will see the chance for thunderstorms come into their area on Wednesday and the TWISTEX project is still undecided on the prospects for deployment for that risk in the plains. The threat is somewhat questionable, as directional shear does seem to be lacking over the Missouri Valley area where the best threat is likely to be. Instability is also in question as thunderstorms from Tuesday may be lingering and causing cloudcover debris. Both models currently seem to be indicating a continuing line of storms from Tuesday, lasting through the morning hours and redeveloping in the afternoon along the Missouri River. This would likely not feature a great tornado threat and thus not sure what to expect as far as possible deployment...

Either way it does look like I'll get into some thunderstorm, possible severe chances this week. The line moving in on Wednesday night will likely effect western Iowa by evening and move over the rest of the state overnight. Thursday looks to have the front stalled out in the area of western Iowa and thus expect continued thunderstorm chances for Thursday evening in western Iowa and across the rest of the state overnight. Friday may continue to hold chances in for isolated thunderstorms, however by this time it looks as if the front is pretty much dissolved.

Long range outlook for TWISTEX shows the next system to indicate possible deployment by the end of next weekend, or early next week. This system looks to have chances once again for the northern plains as a trough moves across the area. Details aren't going to be in place until late this week, but prospects after that system aren't looking good as a ridge or at least weaker zonal flow is forecasted for a majority of the June following. Hopefully that can change as there does not seem to be much confidence in the ensemble forecasts.

Next Update Likely Tomorrow by Noon

Sunday, June 10, 2007

June 10 TWISTEX Update

Status: Awaiting Deployment
Location: Terril, IA

Just a quick update as I have little time to spare currently. Arrived back at home on Friday evening, been spending time here now as we have had a couple days off. Tomorrow looks good for severe weather, with isolated tornadoes possible, however the best threat is into western North Dakota. This means a very long drive to reach a target area from Ames, over 10 hours, plus the road networks aren't known to be the best. This means that we will not be deploying for a target tomorrow in ND...

We may be deploying for Tuesday/Wednesday in the northern plains, decision on when/where the target has not been made. Tomorrows' update will have more details on the possible deployment for Tuesday, along with subsequent days.

Friday, June 8, 2007

June 8 TWISTEX Update

Status: On-The-Road
Location: Dubuque, IA ~ Ames, IA ~ Terril, IA

Severe weather risks are in the forecast through next Wednesday for the SPC, however the next couple of days risk aren't the most conducive for tornadoes. Sunday looks to have potential across central NE especially with the latest model runs, good shear/instability combination that may support some tornadic storms. Monday through Wednesday next week has our next trough coming onto the plains and would also likely be a good system for severe weather. This system is different from the last in that it is not as strong dynamically with the low pressure system, but is much slower and compared to how the last system turned out it is likely better. The risk translates across from the Dakotas/Nebraska on Monday to Dakotas/NE/KS and western MN/IA on Tuesday and finally a threat across much of IA/MN into MO on Wednesday. That compared to a western Dakotas threat one day, to Wisconsin threat the next! Overall feel that although we might get a tornadic supercell in the high plains on Saturday, the drive day down there today just doesn't seem warranted.

Indeed after meeting with the entire crew it just doesn't look good enough on Saturday for us to drive down to the high plains. Instead it looks as if we will hold off on operations until next Monday with the trough moving in. Sunday is still a possibility for deployment, but not likely. So as noted above in 'Location' we are headed back to Ames, IA and then I'll be back home by this evening. Drive totals once again noted below:

Total Miles: 245 Miles (1,664.33 Miles Total)
Total Road Time: 6 Hours, 15 Minutes

Thursday, June 7, 2007

June 7 TWISTEX Chase

Status: On-The-Road
Location: Sioux Falls, SD ~ Dubuque, IA

Be sure to read back on previous post, as Chase Recap of the June 6 Chase has been posted.

Chase Recap: Began in Sioux Falls, SD; ended in Dubuque, IA after being all the way to northeast Wisconsin today. Storms were able to rotate fairly well, organization was lacking some, but the worst thing of all was the speed of the storms. Storm motions were 50-70 mph for the most part, moving northeast and making them impossible to keep up with. We were in position on one tornadic storm in southwest MN, but the storm quickly went outflow dominant. Also watched the beginning of the storm of the day, that ended up traveling through Wisconsin and putting down several tornadoes. We then got on a storm that traveled through central Wisconsin, ended up with around 5 wind/hail reports from it. Also looked very good at times, but in the end, way to fast to keep up with.
Not a great day, but we were in position and did the best we could. Decision time now for TWISTEX team on where to head next. Possible weekend chasing in the high plains, or return to bases for a couple days break?

Total Miles: 644.33 Miles (1,419.33 Total)
Total Drive/Chase Time: 13 Hours, 51 Minutes

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

June 6 TWISTEX Chase

Status: On-The-Road
Location: Ames, IA ~ Sioux Falls, SD

ISU Crew getting prepared to take off early this morning, yes it is now 4:45 am! Heading to central SD for the day, Moderate risk by the SPC has been issued for a large area of the northern plains. Not to much time to update, just check back throughout the day as updates will likely come in as we have time.

Chase Recap:

As stated, started off the day in Ames leaving at 5:30 am on our way to the target of Murdo, SD. Arrived in Murdo where we met up with Tim Samaras and the rest of our crew. We were quickly joined there by several other chase groups, including the DOW/ROTATE crew, Texas Tech, Twister Sisters, Silver Lining Tours and several others. Waited around there for quite a while until storm in Shannon/Bennett county went up and got going. Decided to head after that cell as it was tornado warned and tornado confirmed, but several problems with equipment held us up for a while. Did end up getting on this cell as it was going HP (high precipitation) to the southwest of Kadoka, SD. Very beautiful cell that was well contrasted really, good lowerings and showed good rotation on the leading edge of it for a while. Nice brief funnel before we had to take off to avoid getting overtook by the precip; which we played around with for nearly an hour and a half. Quite a few gustnadoes with the leading edge as well as we let it overtake us a couple of times, reading ~50 kt gusts on the mesonets. So playing with this line as many others did, it did produce one good tornado for ~30 minutes in its' beginning however as several other storms merged in with the storm it went mainly outflow and created a good wind/gustnado event.

Highlights for the day will include the nice HP cell southwest of Kadoka, SD; Several gustnadoes with the leading gust front; pea sized hail near Vivian, SD; and the very nice chaser convergence in Murdo, SD.

Spending the night in Sioux Falls, in which we should be arriving there by midnight. Looks like a chase target of eastern Iowa for tomorrow. Next update likely tomorrow sometime...

Total Miles: 775 Miles
Total Road/Chase Time: 19 Hours

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

TWISTEX Update #2 (June 5)

Status: Final Preparation for Deployment
Location: Terril, IA ~ Ames, IA

Final preparations have been done to the mesonet vehicles, tested all equipment and they are gassed up ready for the trip to SD tomorrow. ISU crew is meeting in the morning and departing at 5:30 am on the road to central SD. We will be there plenty early, but this is being done in order for us to go over everything with Tim and the rest of the crew. Expect initiation to hopefully occur by 7 PM tomorrow, the capping is quite a concern at the moment for all chasers. Despite this, there is a lot of chasers making quite a journey to the targets in SD/NE. With such an early departure it is time to head to bed for the night... I'll hopefully get an update on here for June 6th before I take off.

Thanks to Eric Kropf for the room tonight... Sleep time!

TWISTEX Update (June 5)

Status: Final Preparations for Wednesday Deployment
Location: Terril, IA

Models continue to show significant parameters for a severe weather outbreak on Wednesday (Tomorrow) and thus TWISTEX is a go for activities in the SD/NE area. Timing is an issue with the speed of the low pressure system along with its' location in SD; the timing of a 500mb wave coinciding with the vorticity max is also a concern. The vort max will be a likely initiation for storms, if they do not get going on their own. Currently the capping is the biggest concern, with temperatures at 850mb and 700mb not being very favorable for storm development. Shear is well beyond sufficient, with instability the same; thus the stage is set for a potentially significant severe weather episode. Currently the SPC has areas of SD/NE/MN/IA and even an extreme portion of northcentral KS in a Moderate Risk. New outlook expected within an hour may change slightly, but nothing dramatic is expected. Initiation seems possible by late afternoon along the dryline/cold front, especially further north near the low pressure system and triple point.

TWISTEX crew members will all be on the road today, ISU crew is meeting in Ames, IA tonight. Tim and crew will also be getting into NE to spend the night setup closer for tomorrow. Minnesota (WindLogics) crew will likely depart early tomorrow as well as the ISU crew to get to target by early afternoon Wednesday. Current thinking is the drive into southcentral SD for Wednesday target.

Another update on status is likely tonight...

Monday, June 4, 2007

TWISTEX Update (June 4)

Status: Preparing for Departure Tomorrow, Deployment Wednesday
Location: Terril, IA

SPC has issued a MODERATE risk for Day 3 already, with the highest probabilities that are allowed. This risk area includes portions of SD/NE/MN/IA, with the mentioning of strong supercells. Not only will the large hail, damaging wind threat be significant, but the tornado threat is also very high per the latest model runs. SPC also indicates this with their text, indicating the potential for strong, long track tornadoes.
All models are in good agreement for the most part, all of them agreeing that the warm sector in which the moderate risk has been issued has significant severe potential. Instability is near extreme values, although slightly overdone by high forecasted dewpoints. Shear is also outstanding, wind fields are impressive with strong southwest flow at mid levels, southerly flow at lower levels and then great upper level support as well. All of this is leading to an event that may likely be one of the better ones of the year, other chasers are calling the setup, "Insane".

TWISTEX crew is preparing for deployment on Wednesday, although many of the crew members will already be on the move tomorrow afternoon. ISU students planning on Tuesday night meeting, to prepare for departure on Wednesday morning. Samaras & National Geographic members may leave tomorrow as well to get an early start on the trek to NE/SD. No target has been specified, beings a lot is still changing with timing, expecting a target area in southern SD between Mission, SD and Lake Andes, SD. Next Update Likely Tomorrow Morning/Early Afternoon...

Sunday, June 3, 2007

June 3 TWISTEX Update

Status: Preparing for Mid-week Deployment
Location: Terril, IA

Both the NAM/WRF as well as the GFS are within range of the next system to effect the plains states mid-week this week. A strong wave expected to come onto the west coast by late Monday/early Tuesday and work across the rockies and into the plains by Wednesday evening. This wave will be responsible for the flow returning to the southwest at mid levels, also in the formation of a potentially significant low pressure system. This low in conjunction with the mid-level wave is going to aid in bringing up good moisture northward, near 70 dewpoints into NE/IA. Low pressure currently forecasted along the SD/NE border, with warm front extending southeastward and dryline expected to the south from SD through KS and possibly into the southern plains. TWISTEX is likely for deployment on Wednesday for areas of NE/KS, with continued chasing through the week. This trip is potentially the first long trip TWISTEX is going to be able to take this year, with previous trips only including 2/3 days of chasing. More details on this trip likely by tomorrow and especially Tuesday as I prepare to travel to Ames and get on the road in the TWISTEX vehicles.

Long range outlook for the project also continues to look promising with no major ridges being shown. Continued active June is a good possibility at this point and thus expect many updates concerning TWISTEX and the next possible deployment.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Severe Weather in Extended... Iowa T'storms...

TWISTEX Update (June 2)
Location: Terril, Iowa

Despite recent severe weather with some tornadic thunderstorms over the plains states, TWISTEX has remained stagnant with the northwest flow. Models are finally converging on a very nice solution for next week, with southwest flow returning. The exact timing of the large trough that will make its' way over the plains is still up in the air somewhat. Previous indications from Tim Samaras were we could possibly deploy on Tuesday, even Monday, but latest forecast doesn't put southwesterly flow onto the plains until Wednesday. Tonights' model runs show an outstanding setup for Wednesday over central Nebraska, with continued threats likely for the remainder of next week. Likely deployment by next Wednesday, details coming in later updates...


Widespread thunderstorms continue across the state today, with only one severe weather report thankfully (large hail). Tomorrow is likely to continue this trend with scattered showers/thunderstorms across the state. When the sun does come out between the breaks in the clouds it is expected to warm up quickly, highs in the 70s throughout the state. Expect the rain to exit most of the state by Sunday night, lingering showers possible in eastern Iowa; Lows in the mid 50s to upper 50s. To start out the work week, expect highs in the lower to upper 70s, scattered showers/thunderstorms once again are in the forecast.

Going back to the tornadoes on Friday, damage surveys have been completed by the NWS, links to each of the reports below.

Louisa & Muscatine county Damage Survey
Jackson county Damage Survey

Friday, June 1, 2007

June 1 Severe/Tornadic Thunderstorms

Tornado Watch #321 has been issued for portions of eastern Iowa and will be in effect until 7 PM this evening. There have already been several reports of a tornado traveling through Louisa, Muscatine and now Cedar counties in Iowa. The town of Muscatine has been reportedly been hit by this tornado and damage has been done as a couple of the reports have indicating debris with the tornado. This storm has done damage and may continue to do so as it moves northeast, those living in eastern Iowa should pay close attention for the remainder of the afternoon as these storms move through.

Update: New Tornado Warning issued for Rock Island county in Illinois, this cell has just went tornadic and is an indication that the cells this afternoon mean business.

2:00 PM Update: Tornado warning for Jackson county in extreme eastern Iowa, otherwise Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for Scott & Clinton counties as well. There is a second line of thunderstorms west of this line, however at this time they do not look like they will become severe. Thus, expect the severe threat over the state to be diminishing after 3 PM.

The area in and near Muscatine, IA has been reportedly incurred significant damage; houses and businesses have been destroyed with several injuries. Path of damage goes from Fruitland, IA to Muscatine, IA as of latest reports from law enforcement. Other damage reports have been received from the Grandview, IA town where more significant damage has occurred, the town has been cordoned off by police due to the damage.


Review & NWS Surveys': The NWS in Davenport has already surveyed the tornado that tracked through Grandview, Fruitland and Muscatine areas. The tornado was given a starting point 1 mile south of Grandview, tracking through the town and moving on to go through parts of Fruitland and Muscatine. A total of 16 miles of tornado damage as it moved north-northeast and lasted for over 20 minutes. The tornado receives a EF3 rating (winds ~143 mph) for the damage that was done in Grandview, EF2 (winds ~125 to ~135) damage was done in both Fruitland and Muscatine. More detailed information on the damage, as well as some photos are on the NWS Survey Page.