Active Pattern to Continue into the New Year!

Posted in Severe weather, Winter weather with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 12, 2009 by stormstream

We are locked into an active weather pattern across much of the country that should last into the New Year. Many significant storm opportunities and blasts of arctic air can be expected. Looking into my long range forecasting crystal ball I see the next big-ticket storm system affecting parts of the country with heavy snow and rain a few days either side of Christmas. Right now I’d say the most likely regions impacted would be from the Plains to the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Maybe a white Christmas for many? I hope so!

My Latest Thoughts on Hurricane Ida

Posted in Severe weather with tags , , , , , , on November 8, 2009 by stormstream

My thoughts as of 10:30am EST on Sunday, November 8, 2009.

Wind will not be a huge problem at landfall, so whether Ida is a hurricane, strong tropical storm or is extratropical is only a classification concern, and not a sensible weather concern. There will be some storm surge issues, but nothing too terribly bad. Beach erosion should be moderate, but not severe. Overall, a system that should be a good one to sample from a high spot right at the coast if you are lucky enough to be able to get away and chase this one. One of the problems, however, with chasing Ida will be the time of landfall. I am projecting a landfall between 11pm Monday and 6am Tuesday. Nighttime landfalls are never much fun or photographically rewarding.

My official forecast is for a tropical storm in the process of transitioning to extratropical as it makes landfall near Mobile, AL at 3am CST on Tuesday, November 10. Maximum sustained winds of 70 mph, with gusts to 85 mph.

I said the wind will not be a huge concern at the coast, but that will not be the case inland. The gradient between the 1035mb high pressure over the Great lakes and the remnant low of Ida as it tracks across AL and GA on Tuesday will produce a swath of strong winds along and to the west and northwest of the low pressure center. These winds could easily be in the 30 to 40 mph range, with gusts to 50mph. The ground is still rather wet from the rains of late September and October, and additional heavy rain combined with these strong winds will provide the ingredients to bring down a lot of pine trees rooted in wet soil, and whose root systems have been compromised from years of prior drought. So, power outages and some property damage from falling trees appears to be a possible scenario from southern southern and central Alabama across central and northern GA and into the southern Appalachians of southeast TN, western NC and the upstate of SC. In fact, the higher elevations of the southern Appalachians could experience enhanced stronger wind gusts due to elevation.

Then we have the heavy rain element to contend with. Certainly enough rain is going to come down fast enough to create some serious flash flooding concerns. Like the wind threat, this will mainly reside along and to the west and north of the low pressure track across the Southeast. Once again, the higher elevations of the southern Appalachian mountains could take a serious hit from the heavy rain due to enhanced upslope rainfall. Hopefully the heavy rain will be quick hitting and not linger in any one given area for more than 10 consecutive hours, but there remain some questions with the models on just how quickly the heavy rain will move out, so this is certainly something to watch closely. Also, leaves are falling and the wind and rain will shake a lot more off the trees. These will choke drains and create serious road flooding issues.

Storm Chase and Streaming Plans for Monday, July 20, 2009

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2009 by stormstream

I am liking the severe weather parameters that are coming together late this afternoon and evening generally west of I-135/U.S. 81 from Salina to Concordia. Specifically I am targeting the Phillipsburg to Russell area between 4pm and 8pm CDT.

I will be streaming my storm chase live today at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream/. You can also access my live stream through my blog.

As always, I will have full audio and chat capabilities, and I’d love to have you ride along with me as my virtual storm chase partner. We’ll talk weather as well as any other topic that may come up, listen to some music, and hopefully capture some amazing storms.

Storm Chase and Streaming Plans for Thursday, June 25, 2009

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2009 by stormstream

I will likely be streaming my storm chase live today between 3pm and 10pm. My LIVE chase cam and chat can be found at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream/. You may also now access my live chase cam and chat on my blog page at https://stormstream.wordpress.com/ustreamtv-live-stream/.

Storm and nature pics at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stormscapephotos/

THURSDAY STORM CHASE TARGET: Salina, KS to Topeka, KS to Fort Scott, KS to Emporia KS to McPherson, KS to Salina, KS. Specific Target: 10 miles south of Manhattan, KS at 5pm

TODAY’S FORECAST: I am really liking the way the severe weather parameters are coming together across the northern Flint Hills region of KS this afternoon. The supercell composite is up to 4, the CAPE is over 4,000, and the EHI is forecasted to be around 5. Even though 700mb winds are weak, only around 10kts, the 500 and 300mb winds are better, and with that kind of CAPE, and a boundary in the area, a storm may be able to generate a weak landspout, and we may even get some modest supercell structure. I’m also liking the zone of east-southeast surface winds in that area, although they are rather light. The 15z RUC breaks out storms in the target by 20z, and there is an area of significant CU in that area right now on the visible satellite. All evidence points toward at least some storm development. It is certainly not the greatest chance in the world, and the SPC does not even have this area outlooked with a slight risk, but in my opinion it is worth at least a look see since it is not too far away, and it is a pretty area to view a storm.

Storm Chase and Streaming Plans for Saturday, June 20, 2009

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 20, 2009 by stormstream

There is a possibility that I will be streaming my storm chase live today between 4pm and 10pm CDT.  My LIVE chase cam can be found at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream/.

Storm and nature pics at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stormscapephotos/

SATURDAY STORM CHASE TARGET: Wichita, KS to Dodge City, KS

TODAY’S FORECAST: Today is an interesting forecast.  The environment is actually fairly good for a few tornadoes across south-central and parts of southwest KS later this afternoon and evening.  The LCLs will be low, the EHI high, good low level shear, decent CAPE, and a potent upper level disturbance.  The problem is, there is a lot of rain going on in the target area now, and the air is very stable.  However, all of the forecast models show this rain lifting north and dying out through the morning, with rapid airmass recovery across northern Oklahoma moving into south-central and southwest KS this afternoon.  Today’s severe weather will hinge on this airmass recovery – if it happens to the degree the models say it will, and how fast the recovery occurs. My plan is to monitor this potential event from Wichita through the morning and early afternoon.  If I see the recovery happening, then I’ll probably hit the road and head west and/or southwest by 3 or 4pm.  Wichita may actually end up being a good place to hang out, so I may not have to go far today.

Targeting Central into Northeast Kansas for Severe Storms Today

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 19, 2009 by stormstream

I am streaming my storm chase live today between 3pm and 10pm CDT.  My LIVE chase cam can be found at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream/.

Storm and nature pics at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stormscapephotos/

FRIDAY STORM CHASE TARGET: North of Emporia, KS

I was headed out to chase some storms in west-central KS yesterday afternoon, but decided a little hail and rain didn’t excite me all that much.  So, I decided to stream a live tour of Greensburg, KS, so everyone could see the progress that is being made in re-building the town after the F5 tornado a couple of years ago.  I hope everyone enjoyed the tour.

TODAY’S FORECAST: A cold front/outflow boundary is dropping south out of southeast Nebraska into northeast Kansas.  This boundary will provide the convergence and lift to get storms going across northeast into east-central and south-central KS later this afternoon and evening.  Overall, the deep layer shear is sufficient for supercell thunderstorms, but the southwesterly winds at the surface ahead of the boundary will greatly limit the low level shear.  However, there is a weak surface low over central Kansas, and that is backing the surface winds in a localized area just east, northeast and north of the surface low.  If a supercell can form in this area of backed surface winds there is at least a chance for a brief tornado.  Overall though, the main threat today will be hail and isolated pockets of damaging downburst winds.

Maybe a Backyard Chase Today, and Maybe no Chasing at All

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 18, 2009 by stormstream

I may be streaming my storm chase live today between 3pm and 10pm.  My LIVE chase cam can be found at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream

Storm and nature pics at http://www.flickr.com/photos/stormscapephotos/

THURSDAY STORM CHASE TARGET: Kingman, KS to Pratt, KS to Meade, KS to Anthony, KS to Pratt, KS.

Yesterday was a perfect chase.  My target from the day before was Grand Island, NE, and that remained unchanged yesterday.  On my way up to the target early yesterday afternoon I was able to intercept the tornadic supercell that tracked east along the KS/NE border east of Concordia to Seneca, KS.  North of Marysville, KS I documented amazing supercell structure and a possible tornado.  I soon abandoned this cell and blasted north to my original target, and was able to easily intercept the Grand Island cell on the high-visibility south side.  I witnessed and streamed live to my audience the entire life cycle of a large tornado west of Aurora, NE.

TODAY’S FORECAST: The northern Iowa moderate risk area is out of my range todasy after dragging into Wichita at 2am, so I’ll be sniffing out potential isolated storm development closer to Wichita.  The various WRF models are all showing intense convective development near or west and southwest of Wichita after 6pm.  The 15z RUC also shows an isolated cell popping by 7pm around Meade, KS.  I think there is at least a chance for an isolated cell of two producing hail to the size of golfballs and modest supercell structure.  I’ll be keeping an eye on visible satellite and radar for development after 5pm.  I may be mobile heading west of Wichita as early as 3pm, and if so I’ll turn on the live chase cam.