Archive for kansas

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.

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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.

Targeting West-Central KS for Severe Storms and Tornadoes on Monday

Posted in Extreme Weather Video, Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2009 by stormstream

I am streaming my storm chase to western KS today.  My LIVE chase cam can be found at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/mike-phelps-mobile-weather-stream/.  Be sure and tune in and say hi!

My blog with updated chase forecasts and storm video is at https://stormstream.wordpress.com/

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

I saw the Wilmore, KS tornado yesterday and streamed it live.  It was a very exciting intercept as I had to drive southward from Greensburg through the core to get to the very wet bears cage and see the tornado about 1/2 to 1 mile off to my east.  Visibility sucked from my vantage point, but it was exciting nonetheless.  I’m hoping for a much more photogenic twister today.

FRIDAY STORM CHASE TARGET: Scott City, KS to Ness City, KS, to Great Bend, KS, to Medicine Lodge, KS to Dodge City, KS to Scott City, KS.

FORECAST: I’m heading to the area near and north and east of the triple point this afternoon where the surface low, warm front and dryline all meet up.  This area tends to be a breeding ground for storm development, and I’m hoping one develops there today.  If it does it has the potential to be an absolute beast of a storm with hail to the size of softballs and potentially tornadoes.  Like yesterday, I think the best potential to see a photogenic tornado will be in the first couple of hours of the life of the storm, so I want to try to time getting on the storm early.  I’ll be heading out highway 96 by the noon hour.

I can’t thank you all enough for riding along with me on my chases this season.  It has been great showing you all the things that have hooked me on storm chasing for the past 20 years.  I hope you are hooked now also!!  🙂  It has also been great educating while I’m chasing, and I hope everyone is enjoying “Chaser School”.  Keep watching and keep telling everyone you know about what we are doing.

Also, I’ve mentioned this while streaming, but haven’t really mentioned it here yet, but I do plan on conducting an extreme weather photography and video tour next season during June and July.  This tour will be geared toward the professional and amateur photographer and videographer who is a weather and landscape enthusiast.  I will take you to the weather so you can get the most amazing photographs and videos of weather events, and I will also show you some simple ways to forecast these events so that you may get to them on your own in the future.  When the weather is quiet then we will shoot landscapes of the Plains and Rocky Mountain region, or the West.  June’s tours will concentrate mainly on the High Plains region from western Montana southward to west Texas.  If you have watched my streams the past few days from Colorado you know ho special storms in that region can be.  In July we’ll hang out in the desert Southwest and shoot monsoon lightning storms and the amazing landscapes of the Southwest.  If you are interested in this and would like me to put you on an early list of those showing interest then simply e-mail me here or at stormvideoman@yahoo.com.

Severe Weather Continuing to Look Likely for the Plains on March 22 and 23

Posted in Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2009 by stormstream

Both Sunday and Monday continue to look like possible severe weather and storm chase days in the Plains, and the storm chase team is on stand-by and ready for action.

On both days the major negative factor for severe weather will be the shallow depth and quality of the modified Gulf of Mexico air that will be reside within the warm sector.  We are talking about dewpoints that will mainly be in the 50s and will struggle mightily to reach the lower 60s near the Red River.  This moisture will also be shallow and lead to a good deal of the moisture being mixed out of the lower atmosphere with afternoon sunshine and heating, thus limiting instability.  If there is to be a bust on Sunday, and the potentially bigger day on Monday, then this will likely be the culprit.

Still, there is decent hope for severe thunderstorms, and even a few tornadoes, and that hope resides with good upper level conditions that will overspread the region late Sunday and especially Monday, a sharp and bulging dryline, and more-than-adequate shear for rotating supercell thunderstorms.  These factors alone make Sunday and Monday both days that any respectable storm chaser needs to mark on their calendars as chase days.  This time of year anything you get is a bonus, so why not?

Sunday is an interesting day.  I’m sure there will be a good number of storm chasers that decide to stay home on Sunday due to the upper support being well to the west, and the rather meager and shallow moisture.  Still, the shear wil be good, and EHI values off the 12z NAM are pushing around 1 across northwest Kansas.  A subtle disturbance crossing the dryline Sunday afternoon could be the trigger to get storms going along the dryline.  If instability were to be just a little stronger than forecast, then a landspout or two might be possible.  The cap will also be pretty strong across Northwest Kansas, so any storms that do develop will be discrete with good visibility.  To me, this definitely looks like one of those potential “sleeper events” where later Sunday evening there could be a few chasers kicking themselves for at least not taking a stab at it when they had the chance.  So, it is definitely something to monitor as we head into Saturday and have better data to analyze the possibility.

On Monday, the upper level conditions improve greatly, but as I stated above, moisture concerns will be present, as will pitential cap concerns.  I’d say that anywhere along the dryline from west-central and central KS, southward into western and central OK and northwest and northern TX would be the zone where supercells and a few tornadoes would be possible.  I would love for dewpoints to reach into the 60-65 range across the northwest OK and KS portion of the target, and for moisture depth to be greater, but with wind trajectories coming out of the central and western Gulf that has been modified by wintertime arctic airmasses, I just do not see that happening.  We really need a fetch out of the Caribbean with these dynamic early season systems to really get them cranking into the major outbreak realm, and that’s not going to happen this go around.  Still, given the magnitude of shear and modest instability with a CAPE between 1,000 and 1,400 j/kg, and the good upper level environment, severe thunderstorms will be likely with the mode being supercells with a threat for a few tornadoes.  The EHI bullseye off of today’s 12z NAM from Medicine Lodge, KS into northwest OK sure looks like a sexy target zone to me at this juncture.  However, we are still a couple of days away from this event so this target is sure to change a bit.

After an Extended Quiet Period, Severe Weather Possibilities Return to the Plains and Missouri Valley March 22-24

Posted in Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 18, 2009 by stormstream

The overall weather pattern in the middle part of the country looks to become one that is more conducive to the formation of severe thunderstorms by late this weekend and early next week.

A significant trough of low pressure moves into the Rockies late in the weekend and progresses eastward next Monday and Tuesday.  This will provide the upper level support needed for the possible development of severe storms.  However, the surface will be a little slower to come around.  On Sunday, a dryline will be established in the High Plains, but there will still be significant surface high pressure ridging across all, but the extreme western Gulf of Mexico.  This will effectively limit the return of significant, deep surface moisture on Sunday.  So, we end up with the prospect for some high-based thunderstorms.  Still, shear will be decent, so we will need to watch the moisture and if it ends up being a little more than I think right now, we’ll have to entertain the possibility of a landspout or two.  This has been the case a couple of times this season already, as the atmosphere has had the ability this year in the Plains to overachieve on quite marginal days.  So, Sunday is definitely in play in terms of being a potential storm chase day.

Monday, however, looks much better.  The central and western Gulf of Mexico opens up as the ridging moves east.  There should be a healthy flow of richer surface moisture for about 12 hours begining Sunday night and continuing through Monday.  Still, this will not be the favored Caribbean trajectory that tends to lead to major severe weather outbreaks in Tornado Alley, but moisture should still be adequate for a significant severe weather event given the favorable shear and upper level support.  Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are in play in terms of severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds, and a few tornadoes.  One thing that will need to be watched, and could impact the southern extent of the threat, will be the elevated mixed layer (EML) or cap.  I think that capping is going to be an issue with most system this spring, but details will not be resoved on this until the actual day of the event.

On Tuesday, March 24th, the focus for severe weather will be shifting eastward into IA, MO, IL, IN, AR, LA and eastern TX.  The best upper support lifts northeast, away from the best instability.  However, I think enough instability and shear will remain to promote severe thunderstorm development from the MO Valley into the Arklatex region.  This day as well appears to be a chase day for local chasers in that region, however, it is not something that I think many Plains chasers would follow unless they totally busted on Monday.

It must be cautioned that as of the writing of this blog entry, we are still four to five days away from this possible severe weather event.  Timing of the system could be off by a day either way. 

I will certainly be keeping a close eye on this, and posting on it regularly in the coming days.

Daytime Kansas and Oklahoma Storm Chase Target and Forecast for Saturday, March 7, 2009

Posted in Severe weather with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 7, 2009 by stormstream

Man, that is some scant moisture out there in KS and OK today.  Dewpoints in KS along and ahead of the dryline and surface low are generally between 52 and 55 F., and in Oklahoma things aren’t a whole lot better with dews in the 55 to 58 range.  So, even with the mid and upper 50 dewpoints advecting northward into KS through the afternoon, mixing will work to cap off the dewpoint rises, and we are probably stuck with the dewpoints we have as of noon for the rest of the day.  Not good.

Also, the cap remains strong as forecasted by the NAM and RUC, although a little weaker than earlier forecasts.  Still, with such meager and shallow low level moisture the cap will remain an issue even with the strong disturbance and colder air aloft moving in.

Then you have the issue of cloudiness and lack of the robust surface heating you’ll need to really get the air rising enough to break the cap.  There are a lot of clouds in the sky, although a nice hole of sunshine is developing across northwest and north-central OK and into extreme south-central and eastern sections of southwest KS near the KS/OK border.  This area of sunshine jumps out at me as a target.

Also, the LCL will be rather high, leading to high based thunderstorms and limiting tornado potential.

So, my target for this afternoon for surface-based convection in the warm sector near the triple point and ahead of the dryline and surface low is as follows:  Wichita, KS to Stafford, KS to  Greensburg, KS to Woodward, OK to Kingfisher, OK to Wichita, KS.  Development possible as early as 3pm CST, but more likely in the post 5pm time frame.  Mode would be supercellualr and LP given the shear and low PW values.

Overall, I’m not too excited about daylight prospects for supercells with a tornado threat today, although if supercells should develop they will display good mid level rotation and we may get a few tornado warnings issued off of radar indications, and there is a very slight chance we could get a “surprise” weak tornado or landspout.  What I would shoot for today is a photogenic high-based LP supercell before or right around sunset, then shift into lightning mode, and consider anything more gravy.  The elevated storms that develop behind the front this evening and any surface-based storms ahead of it this evening should provide some nice cloud-to-ground lightning strikes.