Saturday will mark just my 4th chase of 2013. The previous three came in a little over a one week period back in April. I had already started school by the time the spring storm season really got underway.
This is a little different storm system, and obviously pretty unique for the time of year. It will be my first chase in December for sure! As with most winter set-ups, there won’t be much in the way of instability, however wind shear is plentiful. In the cold sector, a significant winter storm will take place, while the warm sector will see severe storms.
Here is the main reason I think this has the potential to be a pretty significant outbreak. Just like November 16th, this system features a negatively tilted upper trough.
That image is at 3pm central time on Saturday. The upper low will be in the Texas panhandle area. The surface low will be somewhere near west-central Arkansas. My plan is to hang out somewhere in the NE quadrant of Arkansas, and hopefully the low tracks just west of that area. Once you get into western Arkansas, the terrain is not conducive to storm chasing, with hills and tall trees everywhere. That northeast corner up into the Missouri boot, however, is nice and flat with very little in the way of trees.
Storms will be moving pretty quickly to the NE, so the likely play will be to stay near I-55 and just get on an east-west road out in front of the best looking storm, and wait for it. It won’t be a chase so much as it will be a quick intercept.
One more thing… I left all of my storm chasing gear at my apartment in east Tennessee! So I’ll be chasing with nothing more than a cell phone! I won’t even have my camcorder with me, so I’d say that increases my odds of catching a tornado! 🙂