Sunday, May 21, 2006

Chase 2006 #1

Hey Folks!
It's been awhile since I last updated the blog. School's been hectic, and the blog takes a lot of work to do up to my standards. Anyway, my chase group and I went on our very first chase of the season (and our lives, not the last God willing!) last week. This is the chase report for that eventful chase.

Date: Wednesday, May 17th, 2006
State(s): IN, IL
Original Target: Hebron, IN (Later changed to Peotone, IL)
County(ies): Lake IN; Will, Cook IL
Type of severe: Squall line
Watch: Severe Thunderstorm Watch #
Mileage: 98.65 miles
Time of start: 5:56 PM
Time ended: 9:00 PM

What a first chase! We intercepted a fantastic squall line as it dropped south from Chicago. Nearly from the moment we began the chase, we got fantastic pictures of it. It had a specatular shelf cloud, followed by very scary-looking low-hanging scud clouds that the public could have easily thought were funnels (luckily, none were reported as such). We did not experience any severe conditions, but the pics were incredible for the very first chase (for all of us). Overall, I cannot be happier with the way it all went!

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Moderate Risk # ..., ..., ..., ..., ..., Oh forget it, I lost count back on 3/12

Well, the Storm Prediction Center has issued yet another Day 1 Moderate Risk. This time, it is for south-central Kansas, western and central Oklahoma and the eastern Oklahoma panhandle, amd the eastern Texas panhandle and northwestern Texas.

SPC Day 1 Outlook (time sensitive)

The models show a potent system ejecting onto the Plains tomorrow. In front of it, CAPE values of up to 3000 J/kg will pool and helicities of up to 400 m**2 s**-2 will be in place. This should lead to the formation of supercells along the dryline, some with strong/violent tornadoes. I actually think that an upgrade to high risk is quite possible in later outlooks. I will update through the day as conditions warrant.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Another Moderate Risk

8:58pm 3/30 UPDATE:
This is just too sad:


8:28pm 3/30 UPDATE:
Tornado warning in effect for Pettis County, Missouri. Confirmed funnel cloud headed straight for Sedalia, wich was hard hit on 3/12. This is sad.

4:32pm 3/30 UPDATE:
The warm sector ahead of the dryline in Oklahoma has cleared out and cleaned up significantly. The last Area Forecast Discussion out of the Tulsa, Oklahoma, National Weather Service office expresses great concern about redevelopment of supercells with strong, long-tracked tornadoes. I completely concur. An F4 and/or a couple F3s would not surprise me this evening. It looks to be getting dangerous.

On another note, there are reports that a tornado has struck Omaha, Nebraska. I will provide more details here as they become available.

2:39pm 3/30 UPDATE:
Several tornado warnings continue across Kansas and Nebraska, with several confirmed reports of tornadoes. The Storm Prediction Center has just issued a third Particularly Dangerous Situation tornado watch for eastern Nebraska, southwestern Iowa, and western Missouri. I expect more supercells to develop this afternoon, with the probability of several strong/violent tornadoes. Stay safe folks!

12:01pm 3/30 UPDATE:
Thunderstorms are blowing up along the dryline in Kansas and Oklahoma. Extreme low-level helicities of up to 500 m**2 s**-2 suggest the possibility of long-tracked strong/violent tornadoes with any/all discrete supercells. Two Particularly Dangerous Situation Tornado Watches have been issued over this area.

It should be noted that the moderate risk area is not correct on the outlook. It should encompass the area of the 45% wind threat (all the way to western Illinois).

Mother nature continues to crank out the severe weather events this year, with yet another moderate risk designation, this one for tomorrow (actually, today right about now).

SPC Day 1 Outlook (time sensitive)

Personally, I would be very concerned from southwest Missouri to southeast Oklahoma. This is where the best combination of wind shear (extreme in the low levels) and instability will be. I would not be surprised if a very strong or even a violent tornado were to occur in this area. I will hopefully provide updates throughout the day.

Monday, March 27, 2006

My Top Ten Tornado Outbreaks since 1950 (Nationwide)

I am really bored tonight, so I am going to go through the annals of the past 56.232876712 years of tornado history by posting my list (with reasoning added in future days) of the ten worst tornado outbreaks since 1950. One tornado will not put an outbreak on a list. The overall severity of each outbreak was considered, along with the location of the outbreak in relation to the severity.

10. May 25th, 1955: This day brought terrible tragedy to two towns on the plains: Blackwell, Oklahoma, and Udall, Kansas. Both towns were hit by terrific F5s. According to the National Weather Service office in Norman, Oklahoma, twenty people were killed as the giant funnel hit the eastern portion of town. Strangely, according to the National Weather Service report, the funnel was of a glowing nature as it struck Blackwell. The same storm dropped a tornado near the Kansas/Oklahoma state line. This tornado would take a strange path to the north, directly striking the small town of Udall after they had been informed that the threat was over. Eigthy people died, according to the National Weather Service office in Wichita, Kansas.

National Weather Service Norman report on Blackwell tornado
National Weather Service report on the Udall tornado

9. February 22nd-23rd, 1998

8. April 10th, 1979

7. April 26th, 1991

6. May 4th, 2003

5. May 3rd, 1999

4. April 21st, 1967: This outbreak may not be the most widely-known outbreak, nor is it near the most severe on this list. This outbreak is the outbreak that first gave us an idea of what kind of tragedy can occur when violent tornadoes strike modern day metropolitan areas. This outbreak would produce four violent F4 tornadoes. Of those, three would be in very highly-populated Northern Illinois, two in either the suburbs of or the city of Chicago. The first would strike the city of Belvidere in Boone County, just east of Rockford. The largest tornado in Northern Illinois that day, it would strike Belvidere High School right at dismissal. The buses outside were loaded with the elementary and middle students. Some high school students leaving the building were caught outside during the tornado. Thirteen died at the high school, twenty-four along the entire path. The next extremely violent tornado struck the northwestern suburbs, especially Lake Zurich. Amazingly, only one person was killed. The greatest tragedy would come with the last violent tornado of the day. This extremely violent nearly-F5 tornado touched down in the southwest suburb of Palos Hills and moved northeast. It continued at sixty miles per hour all the way onto Lake Michigan (exiting onto it at 79th Street) where it struck a water intake station a mile out onto the lake. That intake station recorded a 100 mile-per-hour wind gust. Thirty-three people were killed by this tornado, with many of those deaths at a skating rink and the intersection of 95th Street and Southwest Highway, both in Oak Lawn. That tornado and the Plainfield tornado of August 28th, 1990, have set the precedents for tornadoes in the Chicago area. My mom's cousin grew up in Oak Lawn at the time of the tornado. She lived near the corner of 83rd Street and Knox Avenue. She, with her parents, watched the massive tornado pass just blocks south of them. This tornado, however, still has not rid Chicagoans of the idea that the lake protects us from tornadoes. This, as this tornado perfectly exemplifies, is absolutely not the case. One day, another tornado of this caliber will happen in this area again, and I shudder to think about what happens when it does...

3. May 31st, 1985

2. April 11th, 1965: There is nothing disputable about the ranking for this nightmarish outbreak. At least forty-eight tornadoes touched down in six states (Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and Ohio); of those, thirty-eight were F2 or greater, and, according to Significant Tornadoes by Tom Grazulis, seventeen were F4 and two were F5, making for nineteen violent tornadoes. The accepted death toll is 256. The two F5s struck Dunlap, Indiana (which had been hit by a massive F4 just a short time prior), and Strongsville, Ohio. I will end this with the link to a page by Blake Naftel, which may be the best page for a specific tornado outbreak in history.

Blake Naftel's Palm Sunday tornado outbreak page

1. April 3rd-4th, 1974


Hey guys! My name is Tony Lyza. I am a storm historian and soon-to-be chaser from Northwestern Indiana (just southeast of Chicago). I am currently a sophomore high school student. My hope for this blog is two-fold.

1. I hope to post all results to chases/storm surveys through the year.

2. I hope to write informative articles/case studies on historical severe weather/tropical weather events.

If you happen to have any comments/ideas/suggestions, please feel free to leave a comment!


p.s. I have a terrible sense of humor that I cannot seem to control. Consider that fair warning.