Monday, December 31, 2012

Another Chase Season Gone

Its finally that time of year. The last day of the year is ere and looking back on the 2012 season I can honestly say it was not that bad. Comparatively speaking, 2012 was one of the worst seasons for tornadoes and supercells in recent history. After setting the second highest number of tornadoes recorded in a year in 2011, we went to the fewest recorded in recent years in 2012. The two biggest outbreaks of the season: March 2nd and April 14th, proved to be extremely difficult to chase if you didn't make every decision perfectly. I was lucky enough to be in a good spot for viewing a tornado on March 2nd, that I think only Adam Lucio and co. saw as well. Following that, as my graduation gift I got five days during the final week of May out on the Great Plains. Although the first chase of that trip (May 24th) proved to be an enormous bust and something which nearly cost us good positioning for the next day, May 25th made up for it completely. What started out as a sleeper "See Text" day turned into a typical late spring setup in Central Kansas. I saw my first Kansas tornadoes and some of the best storm structure I have ever witnessed. After a day's rest in Omaha the next day, we went on to York, Nebraska and ended up catching some of the high-based stuff that came out of northern Kansas. Overall it was a great experience and something I won't soon forget considering it was my first time on the Plains. Between May and October not much happened. It was the quietest June I have ever seen and besides a bust on June 29th (the day of the mega derecho), not much was going on chase-wise. The season looked to be over early but thankfully a day popped up on the GFS in late September, progged for sometime between October 11-13. So on October 12, I was able to, thanks to the huge kindness of Stephen Jones, go out to the Texas Panhandle and see my first Texas/October tornadoes. The season wrapped up for me on November 10th after a fun bust in south-central Kansas with Zach Elliot, Andrew Lyons and CJ Sayre as well as a whole group of other awesome people at a bar in Pratt (which I would not recommend if you want fast service). I can't complain about one of the best seasons I've had in five years of chasing, especially with all the new people I was able to meet and hang out with. So goodbye to 2012, its been great.

Friday, December 14, 2012


As I sit here typing this out, we're currently stuck in what I consider the second worst part of the off-season barring February. The pattern, while becoming more active recently as opposed to the stagnant zonal flow we were stuck in for much of late November/early December, is still depressing as hell. A rather deep trough brought an arctic blast with it about a week ago and we've just begun to thaw out a bit in Oklahoma. Heading into a month long break from school with about 76 days left to go in the off-season, I can only imagine how bad the doldrums will get. This winter so far has served as quite the conundrum. Bursts of extremely cold air mixed with almost spring-like temperatures haven't made it very reassuring for what's to come next season. Although no amount of climate prediction/black magic voodoo can predict what the upcoming tornado season will be like, I am not particularly impressed so far with what the pattern looks like in the foreseeable future. Periods of zonal/split flow followed by extremely amplified longwave patterns over the mid-section of the country make this out to be a wonky winter. I pray this doesn't lead to another 2009-type season, with the best setups scattered all over creation. But it's still extremely early and making predictions/assumptions right now is beyond stupid. So here's hoping for a quick end to the off-season so we can finally see what 2013 will hold.