Archive for May, 2009

Drivers who Dare – Day 1

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 30, 2009 by stormstream

Friday was a meet and greet day with the Speed Network crew from New York City.  We met Brian, Murial and Jake.  The crew is a fun and energetic bunch, and we had a great time yesterday as they taped interviews and shot video of the vehicle.  I know, not real exciting, but all necessary when you are trying to put together material to fill an hour-long program.  Today should be a little more exciting as it looks like there is at least a chance for an isolated thunderstorm or two along a boundary just north, northwest or northeast of Wichita after 6pm.  If the storms form they will be high based, but could produce some good cloud-to-ground lightning, some microburts winds, and maybe some small hail.

Here is a press release that Jim Reed posted on his blog oage about what we are doing:

http://web.mac.com/wildweather/JRP/Jim_Reed/Entries/2009/5/29_Production_Begins_Today_on_New_TV_Show.html

I am hoping to stream a lot of what we are doing live on Ustream.tv between noon and 10pm CDT each day.  Check it out at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/drivers-who-dare/.

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Heading Back to Tornado Alley Today

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather with tags , on May 28, 2009 by stormstream

I’m headed back to Kansas today, and will be spending time with family and friends as well as storm chasing from now through July.  I will be streaming my drive live all day on Ustream.tv, so ride along with me and chat with me.  You can see me at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream/.

A Sustained Quite Weather Pattern for Tornado Alley

Posted in Severe weather with tags , , , on May 16, 2009 by stormstream

Well, yesterday was it for a while folks. The next 10 days look rather uneventful as the jet stream shifts north and GOM moisture return is nil. Not sure I’d go sa far as to call it a “death ridge” just yet, but no doubt there will be a lot more down days than active ones over the next 10 days to 2 weeks. That’s not to say we won’t have some marginal opportunities, especially up north, but it really doesn’t look too exciting.

Something thrown into the mix will be the possibility of a couple of early season tropical or sub-tropical systems over the next week or two. The GFS has been insistent on forming something near or around the Gulf for the past week in it’s long range, and now the other models are picking up on this for later next week. There could be something that form in the GOM next week and possibly near Bermuda as well. With such a weak westerly flow now and likely continuing for the next couple of months we may see an early start to the tropical season with even a chance for a major landfalling U.S. hurricane before the end of July. By the way, if something tropical or sub-tropical forms in the Gulf next week then the circulation around it will kill any GOM moisture return to the Plains, thereby increasing the likelihood of a very quiet severe weather pattern.

So is there hope for a return of a sustained and classic severe weather pattern across the Plains? The ensembles have been showing a western torugh for the end of May and the first part of June, and have been consistent in this possibility for about the past week. This consistency is good, and may indicate an overall shift to a more active pattern beyond the Memorial Day weekend and into the first part of June. It is discouraging, however, that so far the operational runs of the models have been reluctant to pick up on this trend advertised by the ensemble members. It’s a watch and wait situation. Keep watching the ensembles and hope the pattern shift they show continues, and look for the operational models to start showing this trend as well on a consistent basis over the next week.

In general I’d say there is not much hope for a sustained severe weather pattern across the Plains through the remainder of the month of May, and there is at least a chance for one during the first two weeks of June.

Tornado Potential Increasing Across South-central and Southeast Kansas and North-central and Northeast Oklahoma on 5/13/09

Posted in Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 13, 2009 by stormstream

http://wxcaster4.com/nam/CENTRAL_ETA212_ATMOS_STP-NEW_24HR.gif
http://grib2.com/wrf/NW1_WRF_ATMOS_STP_24HR.gif

Still looking pretty good IMO.  This is the Significant Tornado Parameter (STP) from the 0z NAM and the WRF.  These graphics are time-sensitive.  I’m glad the SPC extended the moderate risk back to the west to include south-central and southeast KS and north-central and northeast OK.  Also, watch out for gorilla hail today if you are chasing!

The slowing down trend continues.  The 06z NAM now has an EHI over 8 bullseye around Medicine Lodge at 7pm today, and the significant EHI now extends up to include the Wichita, Hutchinson and Pratt areas.  The threat looks to have shifted far enough north and west to put the Wichita area squarely in the target zone.

The NSSL WRF breaks out the first convection along the front near or just south-southwest of Wichita.  I’d be watching the Sedgwick, Sumner, Cowley, Harper, Kingman county areas in Kansas  for initial development as early as 2pm, but more likely in the 4 to 5pm range.  The cap is strong west and southwest of ICT at 21z, but has weakened to an easily breakable range from Wichita eastward by 21z.  This tells me that initial development my be very close to Wichita, KS.  Storm motion today will be from 278 degrees at 21 kts, so easily chaseable.