Cyclone Road

Saturday, May 03, 2003

It looks to me as if Roger Edwards is as stumped as the rest of us
and has reverted to a RUC-based forecast. In this case it might not
be a bad idea. New RUC shows the warm front stalled and kinked in
the E Texas Panhandle, where it *sort of* intersects a lackluster
dryline which doesn't surge because of the delayed surface

In fact if we didn't have the warm front, we'd have surface flow
parallel to the dryline, yielding zilcho convergence and a
guaranteed cap bust. But the warm front is there (on the model, and
that jives with obs) and backs the winds at 0Z in a very localized
area around Shamrock. The RUC does a nice job depitcing the
reaction of surface winds to a boundary like that in a small area,
particularly since it is flow somewhat deviant from the wider scale

Anyway, looking at a tour of soundings everywhere else, it's cap
city, and I mean some big ones. FWD is hugely capped, as is OUN and
DDC. DDC has a great vertical shear profile, but if they don't get
some dewpoints AND the warm front, they'll never break that cap. As
for the metroplex, the cap is even bigger. If the warm front stalls
along the river, then who knows? If not, I just don't see it given
the 12Z sounding this morning. It might take a convective temp of
100F to pop that thing today.

The plume of moisture moving into the Panhandle that Edwards
described is evident on the new surface obs, just like the short
wave ridging aloft (drat!) is visible on the vapor loop. This is a
super complicated pattern, but I know one thing: I'm too far north.
I'm bolting southwest and may check data again around noon.

Right now I think I'm heading more in the Shamrock direction.

Amos in Winfield, KS

Friday, May 02, 2003

Back In The Alley

Winfield, Kansas--Finished the 650 mile drive from Bloomington to Winfield, Kansas a few minutes ago. State Road 166 in Southern Kansas is a great route, fast and straight with a 65 and sometimes 70 mph speed limit. I made excellent time.

Nothing eventful beyond the drive. The ghosts of long chase vacations past have taught me some lessons, I noticed today. I was compelled not only to eat healthier, but to eat healthier than I do at home. I ordered a grilled chicken salad with water for lunch, and stopped at Cracker Barrel somewhere in Central Missouri this evening for grilled catfish, with ice tea, cornbread and a few sides. Only way to pull this off without going crazy is to get a mandatory seven hours of sleep nightly and not eat garbage all day long. I'm taking my contacts out nightly as well to keep them from drying out as they always do when zipping back and forth between humid and dry air masses.

No idea about targets tomorrow; haven't looked at data yet. Consensus (from phone calls and hazardous weather outlooks heard on NOAA) is that the warm front should set up somewhere along the Kansas/Oklahoma border, and not in Northern Kansas as we thought a few days ago. This is fine with me, except for the stronger cap down here. We'll see how it goes. This chase I should be in good shape relative to the front, well north of it, so little chance for it to slip past. I won't be tempted into southerly targets this time. I'm all about the LCL's tomorrow, and easterly surface flow.

Several chaser friends are on their way tomorrow: Jeff Lawson, Eric Nguyen, Brian Fant, Scott Weberpal, and likely dozens, if not hundreds, of others. Should be a real zoo.

Okay, time to check data and hit the sack.

Chase Vacation Begins

I have to take out the trash, pack the truck, and turn in grades before the start of my chase vacation this morning. Then I have to drive somewhere. Problem is I'm not sure where.

SPC Day 2 isn't very helpful, mentioning what I already knew about favorable areas both close to the low and along the dryline. Each spot has a trick to it, of course. The northerly target, in NW Kansas, is a very narrow instability ribbon, according to the ETA, where storms would elevate having moved across it. Yet the helicity and low-level shear up there is great.

The southerly target, along the dryline in Southern Kansas or even Northern Oklahoma, may be capped. Though if the cap breaks, with low LCL's and a wider warm sector, storms would survive as supercells much longer.

As I'm not a big believer in sitting here trying to decide, I'll take the route, I-70, that leaves me the most options. At Topeka, I'll decide to drop south to Wichita or continue west to Russell based on the new Day 2, tea leaves, the capture of the Iraqi Sanitation Director, etc, etc. If I have to, I'll stop in Lyons, which is the geographic center of the state--haha.

So I'm finally on my way!

Thursday, May 01, 2003

May Is Here!

The magical month of May is here and I woke this morning to an MCD right on top of me, with cu bubbling just to the west. Looks like SPC will issue a blue box for this portion of Central Indiana before noon. I can't chase today, but I appreciate the celebration in my honor. Haha. Last night I managed to throw some text and pictures up on the blog from my laptop, pulling the images from the camera and posting all with the laptop. So that works. I want to learn to make tables in html, so maybe Jeff L can give me a tutorial as we're chasing down tornadoes in Southern Kansas Saturday. My Texas flag front license plate came in the mail yesterday, the image you see above. I'll attach it to the front of the truck later. The plate that was only the Texas flag looked too strange. It looked like the Puerto Rican flag when stretched to fit the weird plate-sized proportions. This is explicitly clear.

Today I collect my students portfolios and grade them all like crazy. I have an outside chance of turning in grades before 5:00 PM today though it's not likely. After I finish, all I lack are a few packing chores, a few packages from FedEx (like my wide angle lens adapter!), and washing clothes.

A few birds are nesting beneath the cover of the porch, making the cats crazy. Oreo jumps on top of the support bar for the venetian blinds and knocks off the hard plastic cover which stretches across the support bar, then she falls back to the dining room table where she scatters my books before sprinting away in terror. Cute.

Indications are that Saturday's chase will ineed happen along the warm front in Central or South Central Kansas, with the potential for tornadic supercells as far south as North Central Oklahoma. I've been too far south on a few chases already this year, so I'm going up into the cooler air this time to try my luck. Sunday, I have no clue. All depends on how quickly the system ejects. If it's Southern Iowa, I'll play it. Anything east of there I'd be more hesitant about. But Saturday looks good right now.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

Here's another test of the blog: updating from the laptop entirely. Not exactly a moon landing, but one never knows until one tries, right. So here's a day in the life of a typical (or atypical, as the case may be) IU grad student.

The room awaits

Jennifer, Sara, and Kyle

Sara Jane

Prof McCluskey, Tolu, Bob, Amanda (looking out window), Susan, Crystal, and Robin

Prof McCluskey, David, Kim, Tolu, and Bob


I've forgotten a very important blog ethic by failing to add any links to these posts. Chalk it up to lack of sleep. I'll make the first one to my chase partner Jeff Lawson's stormchase blog. He's the first chaser that I know of to use a blog for chase-related accounts and updates, and the trend is spreading fast. The flagship of stormchaser media, Stormtrack Magazine, is now blogging on their front page, as well as my friends in Florida, the tornado and hurricane chasing outfit known as Weathervine.

As well, the link to my main stormchase page leads to all the accounts and picture of chases past. But none of that history matters now. It's all about the next four weeks.

Am testing another Blogger feature this morning. I don't know how this post
will look.

At the moment, it looks like some of the pressure is off concerning this
weekend, at least in terms of distance. Friday looks very weak and
Saturday's setup in in SE Kansas, which is closer to Indiana than north
Texas, obviously. So it's not as important that I drive deep into the night
Friday. That helps some. Today I have to fax UNT to send more transcripts
to the IU English Department for my transfer hours, then mail some letters,
take out the trash, and, at some point, it would be really nice to get a

Walt just puked on the carpet in the living, so that's waiting for me. Of
course, right after doing that, he comes into the office and looks at me as
if I'm neglecting him by not filling the food bowl yet this morning. Class
is at 3:30, so I should get going.

Well after little sleep last night I'm already up much too late. As for chase news, it looks like I'll leave here Friday afternoon after turning in grades to the department. Targets for the weekend aren't clear but perhaps NW Texas on Saturday, then the Oklahoma / Kansas border on Sunday. I still need to use velcro to tack down some wires along the center console, and read through the owner's manual of my digital camera again. I'm going to take that thing out and shoot with it tomorrow too, for a little practice. I'll post the results here. Okay, too tired to make sense. Later.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Testing Cyclone Road
Okay the test message is lame since I gave all of you the URL, so, what can I say at 4:00 AM? I have seven student conferences tomorrow then a three-hour class, the teacher of which wants to take us to dinner afterwards. So I'm going to be one cranky SOB tomorrow. Why didn't I build my fancy blog in February, when I only left the apartment once? I don't know.

Somebody should chase SE Nebraska on Wednesday. I'm going to bed.