Post-Storm Discussion: 4/3/11 IA

06 Apr

I’m a little late on posting my discussion on this event, due to getting back at 3:00 am Monday morning, then having class on Monday, the NCAA Championship, studying, and working today.  Anyway, since I didn’t really see much action, it’s not too big of a deal.

On this storm I learned to trust my forecasting ability.  Sunday morning as I looked at the models, I really didn’t think there was that great of a chance of tornadoes.  However, when I looked at the SPC outlook they continued to display a 10% swath, which usually means a really good chance for tornadoes.  I thought maybe I was missing something.  Maybe they see something that my amateur forecasting eyes don’t see.  As it turned out, I was right and they were wrong!

The biggest reason we didn’t get tornadoes is that low-level winds did not veer at all.  There was plenty of speed shear, but virtually no directional shear.  The ingredients for this storm were speed shear, extreme instability and moisture, and a strong cold front.  All of that screams line segment!  High winds and big hail due to the steep lapse rates.  And that is exactly what we ended up with.

My hope was to catch a discrete cell early and just maybe it could produce a tornado.  I was still focused on northern MO due to the better instability there.  It was my thoughts that the storms would fire the quickest in that region.  However, I was also considering heading directly north from Quincy due to the fact the models had moved the Low into NE Iowa.  I debated it, but still went west.  I should have gone north, as that’s where storms initiated.

So instead I continued to Macon, MO which was my initial target about 5 days out.  I was sitting there forever, constantly refreshing the SPC page looking for a mesoscale discussion.  It wasn’t until we had decided to grab a bite to eat that I finally saw the MCD, which had been issued 45 minutes prior!  I was so pissed!  Had I been able to leave as soon as that MCD was issued (when I was refreshing that page every 5 mins), I would have been able to get to the the biggest cell that fired.  Instead I was trying to chase it down from directly south of it while it was moving northeast at 55-70 mph!  No chance of catching it.  I had to settle for some structure shots…

A quick look ahead to this weekend shows another deep trough in the plains/midwest on Saturday and Sunday.  There is still some uncertainty as to the positioning of the Low, but it looks like we might have a shot at a local chase on Sunday.  As of right now I don’t plan on driving all the way out to central KS on Saturday.  Parameters look AMAZING for tornadoes, but unfortunately storm motions appear to be in the 50-55 mph range.  Will have to watch future models to see if these slow down any, but even then I’m not sure if I can do too many long-range chases if I hope to go through with my planned chasecation in a month.

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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Post-Storm Discussion


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