An unplanned mini-chase
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
1w ago
Monday May 6th was a dangerous day in the Plains, with an SPC High Risk forecast across most of Oklahoma up into Kansas. Here in Virginia there was only a forecast for general thunderstorms: So far this spring my season has been lackluster (disappointing might be a better descriptor), especially since I haven’t ventured into far eastern portions of the state where things have been a bit more active. On this first Monday of May I drove south to the Stuart vicinity to meet my son to spend some time together at his mountain cabin. After lunch he planned to do some outdoor work but was thwarted w ..read more
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#vawx A Silver anniversary and a better convective outlook for next week
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
2w ago
Today – May 3rd – is a somber 25th anniversary of the 1999 Oklahoma tornado outbreak, including a devastating F5 which plowed across the OKC vicinity. It doesn’t seem that long ago. Meanwhile I’m still awaiting a decent convective setup here in my chase region. That may be forthcoming next week with the SLIM factors (shear/lift/instability/moisture) looking like they’ll come together. Here are the aggregate outlooks from CIPS, CSU-MLP, and the Storm Prediction Center for Tuesday (Day 5) through Thursday (Day 7): It’s tempting to think about heading out to the Ohio valley during this period as ..read more
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#vawx A paucity of spring storms
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
3w ago
The next several days look to be prolific for severe weather out west as shown in this CSU 6 panel graphic: However, my chances of heading out to the Plains this year are slim. Thus my chasing will be confined to areas much further east. So far this spring things here in Virginia have been unusually quiet. I’d hoped for a repeat of the very active (and long) storm season of 2016, another year when El Nino quickly switched to a La Nina pattern. However, the chasing opportunities so far this spring have been very disappointing around these parts. The above graphic does hint at something next Tu ..read more
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#vawx Tax Day expectations and disappointment
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
1M ago
Monday April 15th looked like a chase day, especially if I chose to head north toward the I-64 corridor. A cold front dropping south across Virginia was to fire severe storms with high bases and a good chance of large hail. A rare elevated mixed layer advected into the Old Dominion from the Ohio valley, assisting this convective setup. Thus, I had mentally marked the day on the calendar for a likely chase outside my usual territory. However, several things then altered my perception of things. First, the mid-day SPC convective update increased the risk to Slight across much of the state which ..read more
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#vawx Lots of humming going on
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
1M ago
Parts of the Old Dominion were just upgraded to an Enhanced Risk by the SPC for this afternoon and evening: Hmmm…. And an MD was issued for much of the state with a Severe TS Watch following: Double hmmm…. And Tuesday now contains a Marginal Risk for my general chase area: Triple hmmm… I had already given some thought to chasing today, and I’ve already picked my initial target and timing for this afternoon. Tuesday’s convection looks like it’ll happen a bit earlier ..read more
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#vawx Nope, didn’t really think so
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
1M ago
Thursday April 11th was one of those “hopeful but it didn’t happen” chase days. I was mostly skeptical of the potential for seeing anything worthwhile, even though I did succumb a bit to overly optimistic forecasts (see yesterday’s blogpost) like this SPC Day 1 convective forecast: The Slight Risk across western Virginia corresponded to a 5+% tornado potential, of which I was highly skeptical. Short range convective allowing models (CAMs) and a widespread rain shield both pointed to very stable air across the Old Dominion, with little instability to accompany the abundant wind shear. Thus I w ..read more
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#vawx Maybe Thursday?
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
1M ago
There is more evidence that today – Thursday 4/11 – may hold a late afternoon / early evening chance at a chase. It all depends on whether a forecast late day dry slot will erode the cloud deck enough to pump up instability values to go along with the robust shear. The Nadocast site shows this for tornado probabilities today: Meanwhile this is the SPC’s Day 1 convective outlook, with the Slight Risk outlining the 5+% tornado probabilities: Several numerical model forecasts show enough instability to bring storms into southwest and Southside Virginia around the dinner hour. This is supported ..read more
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#vawx Another HSLC setup this week
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
1M ago
It’s April. Can I admit that I’m ready for some decent instability and discrete storms to chase here in my region? This is the SPC’s Day 3 convective outlook: Looking more closely at this via a couple of forecast models I don’t see much to entice me to chase Thursday. It’s yet another high shear / low CAPE (hence the HSLC term in the post title) setup. Widespread rain ahead of a cold front currently forecast to cross the Appalachians Thursday night will greatly limit instability. Daytime lapse rates are also very anemic while shear values remain high. Meanwhile, forecast soundings indicate “s ..read more
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#vawx An April 3rd closer look
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
1M ago
During one stop in western Pittsylvania county yesterday (Wednesday, April 3rd) I was very close to the intersection of “Da Wedge” with an oncoming convective line. I had noted radar-indicated rotation just to my west: I pointed the chasemobile in that direction to capture the feature on the live-stream. This .gif is a sped up (8x) clip from that camera (ignore the time stamp…it wasn’t updating): The very white feature in the bottom center of the frame seems to be the area of rotation and ends the clip looking a bit barber pole-ish. This next clip (from yesterday’s blogpost) from the time-la ..read more
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#vawx A “Wedgie” chase on a 50th anniversary
Virginia Storm Chasing Blog
by Chris White
1M ago
Today, April 3rd, is the 50th anniversary of the generational Super Outbreak of tornadoes which pummeled the nation. Today’s chase here in Virginia definitely didn’t come close to that event. A stubborn multi-day cold air damming wedge refused to give an inch to the powerful storm system approaching from the west: The Storm Prediction Center was much more optimistic than I was, having published this Day 1 convective outlook: Short range models forecasted storms to fire well ahead of the cold front during the morning hours. Thus I headed down the driveway at 8:30 a.m. to motor east in an atte ..read more
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