July 10, 2009

Summertime and the chasin ain't easy

Friday July 10th, 11:43 am: Blue sky bust yesterday in Nebraska but today could make up for it if the cap goes. I'm looking at yesterday as a nice day trip to Lincoln, NE to see the sights. Pretty cool town, except for that ugly red color that's all over the place. Depending on whether or not these rain showers and clouds clear out soon, we could get some supercells to develop in the KC area later today. With these very high 700mb temps we will need a lot of sunshine cooking the ground to be able to break this cap.

The rain showers and t-storm complexes are laying down a lot of outflow boundaries (OFB's are the boundaries separating the rain cooled air from the warm, moist air) which are generally the focus for new thunderstorm development later on in days with a strong cap like this. You get increased convergence in the low-levels with these OFBs which means that the air piles up along them and has nowhere to go but up and this vertical motion coming from the surface promotes thunderstorm development. The problem is that these OFBs (seen as a fine line on radar) can stretch for hundreds of miles and guessing the location of the new development can often be tricky. What it usually comes down to is putting yourself somewhere along the OFB in the most favorable thermodynamic and kinematic environment for tornadoes and hoping that the convergence there is sufficient to break the cap. These setups can be quite the test in patience and intestinal fortitude and you have to be able to mentally deal with the blue sky busts like yesterday, but the days that the tornado potential is realized REALLY make up for all the other ones.

The live stream will be up if there is anything to chase, to view it, click on my car icon on the radar map on my website http://ChaseTheStorms.com. In the meantime, check out my videos of my last two chases, both were quite memorable:

July 3rd tornado near Abilene, KS

June 20th INCREDIBLE supercell structure and maybe-nados near Ottawa, KS

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