This time of year, I always keep an eye on the long-range models to see when the next chasing opportunity could present itself. At the current time, I’m particularly interested in the weekend, because that’s the only time that I can chase. For several runs now, the long-range models have been pretty consistent in a somewhat weak trough ejecting into the central plains on Saturday May 9. A few days ago, the speed max was somewhere in the 30-40 knot range, however now that has increased to be above 60 knots per the ECMWF. Both the GFS and ECMWF are in fairly good agreement as to the location and timing of this feature.
If this trend continues, and the surface features line up, this could be a pretty significant day somewhere in Kansas, and possibly Oklahoma and Nebraska. My main question right now is what will happen with moisture return. Currently models are predicting just above 60 degrees right along the dryline. However, this may be sufficient, as surface temperatures are not expecting to top the mid-70s.
Also evident on the above map are backed surface winds, particularly up near the warm front in northern Kansas. If moisture return is sufficient, and the upper trough arrives across the dryline in the late afternoon/early evening hours, this could be an outbreak type of day.
As of now I’m fairly confident that this will be a worthwhile chase, even given the distance from my current location in Indianapolis. The consistency in the models from run-to-run is what increases my confidence. The SPC is also confident enough to have introduced an outlook area in the Day 6 outlook this morning.
I’ll continue to watch the models, and likely won’t make a final decision on whether or not to chase until the day is within the range of the NAM. If it all pans out, I’ll likely leave Indy on Friday afternoon and make it as far west as possible in order to shorten my drive for Saturday.