May 31, 2010

May 31: western KS

We are currently in Goodland, just in a wait and see mode.  There is a disparity between the RUC (out to 12 hr) and NAM-WRF models (goes out to 84 hours) in the view of where the focus will be today.

Both models suggest wind profiles favorable for rotating storms, and both models suggest that such storms will be briefly rotating in the south and long lived in the north. The difference is that the NAM suggests that storms will NOT initiate up this way, and the RUC suggests they will.

Anyway, we are holding at the Holiday Inn Express in Goodland, and watching the moisture fields/dew points as they evolve today.  If they evolve in a way that suggests the RUC is correct, we stay put.  Otherwise we drift south.

Tomorrow, the focus will be anywhere from southwest Nebraska to southeast Nebraska, and then the pattern goes down.  So I am departing the Plains on Wednesday, but just in case we are pretty far east at sunset tomorrow, I changed my flight to Wednesday at 7PM from Denver International Airport.  That would give me all day on Wednesday to drive back to Denver, if we are really far east.

And our forecast area never did get the moisture return forecast by the RUC.  Not only did storms not initiate in our area, but a single storm, essentially, did initiate in the southern target, about 175 miles southwest of us, on the Raton Mesa.  

That storm became a cyclic, repetitive tornado producer.  Congratulations to all who made the astute decision to be in that area in advance.  This is a storm worth studying.  Evening hodographs verified that 0-6 km shear should NOT have been adequate for long-lived supercells.