Sunday, October 26, 2008

Pumpkins, Training, Green Screens, and Convergence

Had a fun weather-related weekend.

First off, was the pumpkin carving extravaganza. I carved a supercell into my pumpkin. No one really thought it was funny ... but I secretly thought it was AWESOME! ... on the sides, I carved the hurricane symbol and a lightning bolt. I rule.

On Saturday, I attended a spotter training session with Tony Laubach. We've both been through training a thousand times, but I always like to go anyway ... just for fun. Plus, this session had info from the Windsor and Parkersburg ternaders. This was a rough crowd, though ... there were a lot of questions like: "How many gallons of water are in a thunderstorm." Which were completely out of context to the current topic.

Afterward, Tony invited me to come up to NCAR to "help out" with KMGH's 24/7 Weather Experience. It was a lot of fun ... the basic premise is to let little kids to a mock weather report on the green screen using one of four weather scenarios. Then they get to watch themselves. So yeah, we had a lot of fun. After we were done breaking down all the equipment, somehow a silly photoshoot broke out. Since I was the idiot wearing the children's jacket, I wasn't actually taking pictures ... so it will be interesting to see when they are made ... hmmm ... public. haha



Finally, we had our first "Weather Or Not" party at Old Chicago last night. I say first because it seems everyone had a good time and thinks it should be made a monthly affair. I would tend to agree. I think from now on, it will just be known as "Convergence!"

We shared a lot of chase stories and just had generally good company. I've long had a separation between my school friends, work friends, and chase friends ... but weather is the common denominator there. Seemed silly that we didn't all know each other!

... so you better come next month!!


Saturday, October 25, 2008

Supercell Pumpkin

... for some reason, my pumpkin was pushed off to the side for group photos ...

... no one gets me.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

2008 Storm Chase X Preview (October 21st)

Well, I hate to use the word "bust" if I can say I took some worthwhile photos or saw some interesting weather. Unfortunately, some high clouds put a shadow over a decent convective day. We stuck around the cold front and while some interesting storms popped up, they were elevated and behind the front. The few photos I took were of this situation. The cold front itself, can be seen materialized as the shelf-ish cloud. The storms that popped up were from the elevated layer, forced behind the front. It was an interesting sight ...

All photos were in Yuma County, Colorado ... just a stone's throw from the Nebraska border. We decided to head back at this point and tried for some lighting, but ultimately failed.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Utah, October 17-20, 2008

Well, I'm finally caught up on images, so here are a few from my trip to Utah this past weekend:

The topography is dramatic flying into Salt Lake. The bear was impressed.

The Great Salt Lake

Close-up of some salt crystals.

The next set is from our hike to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon. (not to be confused with the Bridal Veil Falls that I recently visited in Colorado)

(for sense of scale)

Some fall color.

Playing around on the salt flats late on Saturday night.

One selection from a walk around downtown Salt Lake City.

That's all for now. I hope to get up some storm chase images tomorrow.


Utah's Bridal Veil Falls

A little sample of my trip to Utah this weekend.

... off to work.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chase Forecast: Tuesday, October 21st

Okay, so it looks like I'll be out chasing today with Michael Carlson and Ryan Shepard (blogs linked at the side). This is a real marginal day, but given the time of year, and my itch to get out one more time, I'm optimistic. I believe today will be a hail and shelf day. I don't think we'll see anything huge, hail-wise, but I'm hoping for some quarter-sized stones. Given the dynamically driven nature of today's event, I'm also hoping to see a good squall line with shelf cloud. These are my goals. A tornado would be a complete surprise to me.

Though we have not decided on a target yet, I believe that as far as proximity and availability of desired severe factors, Lamar would be my target.

We can see a surface front along the Colorado-Wyoming border, a low in South Dakota, evidence of lee-side troughing (which will be our dynamic feature today) in eastern Colorado. The westerly winds in southern Colorado lead me to believe we will have a moisture discontinuity setting up eventually as the system kicks through.

0Z Td forecast (wrf)

Both wrf and ruc show Theta-E "punches"

Instability is good enough with the forcing in place, but the inhibition gets stronger as you head into Kansas.

My main worry today is timing. Some of the convective precip models show initiation in southeastern Colorado between 0Z and 3Z ... which could be a little late in the day for good chasing. The farther north, the less instability we are working with. High clouds to the north could also kill us ... that's why I like the south ...

... thought that cloud shield will move through the south today. We already have a bit of convection up north (Sterling-area), but those high clouds and cooler temps worry me, even with the forcing coming through.

Quick updates on Facebook today. Got'a go!


Back In Colorado and a Possible Chase

Well, I'm back in Colorado after a fun filled weekend in Utah. I ate too much, went on a hike to a beautiful waterfall, got to see the sights, and even spent some time out on the salt flats. Much fun was had by all and it was great to see some good friends.

Now that I'm back in Colorado, my attention turns to the plains today. I hadn't really paid any attention to the weather at all, so I was surprised to get a "do you want to chase today?" text at 7:30 this morning.

Absolutely! ... but I still need to forecast. :)


Friday, October 17, 2008


Heading off to Utah to see a good friend for the next few days. Hope you all have a good weekend!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Painted Lady

Playing around with the "macro" setting.

Record Low for Butte, October 13th, 2008: 10ºF

0735 AM MDT MON OCT 13 2008



Sunday, October 12, 2008

Archives: May 30th, 2003

Was just looking through some old prints of photos I took back when I was shooting with an old Minolta SFT101 with an MC ROKKOR-PF 50mm lens.

A severe storm swept through the Butte, Montana area and a severe thunderstorm warning was issued, so I headed out the door with camera in hand. I literally walked down the street and saw the wall cloud. There was obvious rotation!

I jumped in the car and drove up the hill for a better shot. By this time, the wall cloud dissipated and the rear flank opened up. Lightning was frequent, so I balanced my camera on the car door and started taking longer exposures, resulting in my first ever photograph of lightning:

Ah, memories.

I remember running down to WalStarMart to get the film developed. I did have a digital camera at the time (an old Sony Mavica) ... but the battery was toast and expensive to replace.

This was the summer that I decided I needed to get the hell out of Butte and finally pursue my dream. I've come a long way in the last five years.


Snow Tonight?

I think not!

It's 12:42AM and it's raining again here in Denver. The temperature at my apartment is 39ºF. The freezing level right now is at 4,000ft above the ground! We have NW winds at the surface with SE winds 1,000ft above ground level. The temperature in Limon right now is 57ºF! There is a definite inversion and some decent overrunning going on. There is evidence of this all the way up to Cheyenne where the winds shift from northerly to southerly at about 1,200ft above ground level.

Nothing is really changing at the surface right now ... the upper level system is just not pushing the "front" nearby at all. If I had to wager a guess, I doubt we'll see any flakes in the metro area before morning.

Come on atmosphere, prove me wrong!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chase Forecast for Saturday, October 11th

Well, if I had to put money down ... I think we'll see a similar situation to what happened last Sunday. The GFS completely tanked on instability for tomorrow.

The WRF looks a little better though:

I was planning on hitching a ride with Tony, but he's having his doubts. We'll see on the later runs tonight. SPC is still being optimistic, though the words "line segments" are awfully frightening to me. That's what you get when you have TONS of shear like we have tomorrow. They contend that the lack of instability will be made up for by gratuitous upper level support ... but I'd still like to see some better heating.

Instability looks better on Sunday ... but there's also even more shear, plus surface dynamics.

So, I guess it's wait and see ...


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Convergence! (Weather Or Not)

WHO: Storm chasers, weathersexuals, meteorologists, majors, enthusiasts and friends.

WHAT: Convergence! "Weather Or Not" gathering.

WHERE: Downtown Denver, Colorado - Old Chicago (Market Street / 14th Street)

WHEN: Friday, October 25th 8PM MDT

WHY: Get together to talk weather (or not)! Just a fun time to meat others, network, tell stories, enjoy food and drink, relax, and have a fun time!

Let me know if you're interested in attending!

Chase Forecast: Saturday-Sunday, October 11-12

The GFS and WRF are on different planets right now. They both seem to handle the upper level system closely, but the surface conditions are wildly different.

If I am to believe the GFS (which I am wishcasting with right now), there is a marginal chance of severe weather in northwest Kansas on Saturday and in west-central Texas on Sunday. I'm not inclined to get too detailed at the moment as things will likely change a lot by the next run, but I'm keeping my eyes out.


Sunday, October 05, 2008

No Chase Today

I'm glad we didn't head out today. It's kind of messy in Texas. The system is strong and is lifting anything and everything. I have a hard time seeing anything becoming discrete today. Tomorrow looks bad too. Next weekend?


Saturday, October 04, 2008

Chase Forecast: Sunday, October 5th

I was pretty excited about this setup yesterday and the day before. This morning ... not so much. The synoptic features are in place ... we have good shear, moisture, lift ... but heating? That's the big issue here. The models are not giving us any instability (well, there is some, but not much; enough to warrant the trip).

I guess I'll wait and see the later runs, but as of now, I'm thinking this might be a good day to stay home and watch football.