Storm season is upon us once again! I’m really excited for this year, and I plan on maximizing every opportunity I get to chase. I really should be concerned about budgeting for chasing, but you only live once, so at this point I don’t care a whole lot! I have already planned a chase-cation for May 7-11, so hopefully we see several days of tornadoes in the plains or midwest during that weekend.
Anyway, right now I am planning on my first real chase for tomorrow evening in northern Missouri. What we have here is a low pressure system progged to be over NE Iowa by 00z 4/4/11 (7pm CDT 4/3/11). A nice LLJ will bring warm & moist air up from the gulf, with mid 60s dewpoints reaching all the way into SE Iowa and NW Illinois. CAPE values at this time are shown to be at or above 2000 J/kg according to the 12z NAM forecast model. Bulk shear of 40-50 kts will definitely support supercell structures, though I would like to see more directional shear instead of so much speed shear. Nonetheless, this does look like a decent setup for a few EF0-EF2 tornadoes.
Earlier this week a strong cap was forecast to be in place across the entire warm sector, which was leading most to believe this would be a cap bust day. However, for the last few days the models have consistently eroded the cap in southern IA/northern MO between 21z and 00z. It looks like further south and west along the dryline there will still be a strong cap in place, though recent NAM runs have suggested a brief and narrow weakening in central OK and northern TX at 00z. Aside from the fact that this is too far for me to travel, I would still prefer to target MO if I could choose between the two.
As of right now my plan is to reach Quincy, IL by mid to late afternoon tomorrow, and then see where the models point me to from there, but basically anywhere east of Kirksville, MO and north of US Hwy 36. If the models continue to progress, the target may end up being further north and/or further east, which is why I plan on stopping in Quincy and taking a look.
The current day 2 outlook from the SPC shows a hatched area extending into northeast MO and even into IA and IL.