Sunday, 17 May 2009

Almost time for the off!

Hello all - well, in just over 24 hours our flight will leave London Heathrow bound for Denver International Airport. This is my 9th storm chase trip, and Helen's 6th. Matt Clark will be joining us this evening, and we're heading out for some pizza. Ian Miller is coming down from the north-east on an overnight coach tonight, and so will meet us at Heathrow tomorrow.

Unfortunately the charts are not looking that good at the moment for the next few days at least. A big trough is digging in across the eastern USA, and looks like causing a 'cut-off' low to form near Florida by Tuesday. The long and short of this is that quality Gulf moisture is unlikely to spread into the Plains through much of this week...a few upper troughs are likely to cross the northern Plains, pushing a cold front southwards. The lack of good moisture means that any storms which do form are likely to be high based, and non-tornadic. Even so, shear will be reasonable, so a few high-based supercells are possible across the higher terrain of the western Plains, especially in the north. We'll decide on Tuesday morning what the plan is - there are a number of possibilities depending on how the rest of the week is shaping up. They range from heading to Colorado Springs, and ascending Pike's Peak, to heading to Yellowstone, to heading to the northern Plains.

I reckon that the cut-off low in the Gulf probably won't hang around as long as the models suggest - to that end I thing week 2 shows at least some promise of moisture returning to the Plains, and a greater chance of some severe weather. However, this pattern is not looking very good at the moment, and is a very far cry from last year's storm fest!

Stay tuned!

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