Frustrating Fizzlers

23 May 2016

We spent la long time this morning looking at models trying to pick a target. Yesterday's big storms left a number of outflow boundaries in place that would most likely aid storm development. These boundaries form from cold air being expelled from the back of storms and can act as a lifting mechanism for warmer moister air. However, some of these OFBs can be subtle and the exact placement and timing of them are hard to forecast.

We headed south to a town called Shamrock (hoping the place might bring us luck) where we forecast the dryline and an OFB to be placed. We pulled into a gassy and were reassured to see a number of other chasers had also chosen this as a starting position. A few cells started to show on radar a little south so we headed down there, with the masses it seemed. 

The storm was starting to look good and we thought the chase was on, but it was very slow to develop, so slow in fact that people were starting to take photos of insects hanging around and one guy even got a deck chair out. We got a few pics as it was extremely picturesque but it was clear the storm was fizzling.


Tim & LP

It wasn't obvious what the problem was and we gave the storm a bit of time - way more than everyone else who had already ditched it and were on to the next in line, further south, which looked stronger. We eventually chose to do this too but on the way, this storm also started to fizzle. So we waited it out for a while in a nearby gassy, had a drink and I played with a bouncy ball - great way to pass the time!

After an hour or so, the collection of scabby southern storms started to look a little more organised and were given a severe warning. So off we went again, only for a similar scenario to play out. We pulled up on the side of a road and listened to a bit of thunder before once again retreating toward the Memphis gassy. 

As it turned out, there wasn't enough low level converging winds to keep the storms invigorated. They were going up on the dryline but once out of the close vicinity of this boundary, they were toast.

However, on the way to the gassy, it seemed a more northern storm was getting its act together. It seemed to be growing at quite a rate - the strongest storm we'd seen all day and it was still on the dryline so there may be hope for it to live a while. Excited once again we headed towards the storm. It even became tornado warned at one point, but by the time we had it in sight - instant death took hold. By this point, we'd had enough and it seemed time to call it a day and get a motel. There were still a few cells about, but they too were seeming to struggle and there wasn't much light left now anyway.

It was at this point, once we'd booked a motel that the storms decided to go for it.  By the time we were checked in, two storms to our south had rapidly grown into tornadic supercells and were now PDS warned (Particularly Dangerous Situation) - large wedge tornadoes were being reported. However, with it now being dark, this was not the kind of thing we would want to chase anyway - but frustrating none the less. 

SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Mon May 2016

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Mon May 2016

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