TWISTEX Field Operations for May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011 – 9:30 am

Currently driving to west central Minnesota

Past couple of days:

Near total cap bust for TWISTEX on Sunday and Monday.  Sunday, we targeted the eastern Nebraska area, and storms developed near Presho, SD, where a weak, very short-lived tornado developed.

Monday, we targeted an area near Murdo, where storms actually developed about 60 miles to the west (around Kadoka) after sunset.  Although it would have been great to see these storms initiate, we terminated operations at sunset.

Today:

A reasonable setup exists today in west central Minnesota today.  0-1 KM shear and cape are huge, although some of the latest RUC model runs suggest weakening surface flow.  Most forecast models break out precip west of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area, thus the TWISTEX group plans to give it a try.

The big challenge is to get to the Kansas target in time for tomorrow. We stand the chance of the target being capped off for the third time in a row today–but its a chance the crew wishes to take given the grim long-term forecast.

At the moment, it looks like the best combination of cape, shear and lift appears to be west of the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.  Hopefully, initiation will happen a bit further west and south..

Tomorrow:

Looks like a big day for Kansas and Oklahoma tomorrow.  Strong upper level flow and reasonable hodographs suggests that tornadoes are possible both in Kansas and Oklahoma.  The big trick is to get to the best area in time for tomorrow from Minnesota.

Future:

Thursday may have one last fragment of opportunity before the huge omega block pattern settles in over the midwest.  Haven’t looked at Thursday to make a determination-we MUST get to St. Louis for RADAR installation before the end of the week.

Blocking pattern may persist for a week or even longer.  Although painful to endure, this will give us time to finalize our instrumentation for the balance of May and June.

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