Remembering the November 17th, 2013, Tornado Outbreak

On Sunday, November 17th, 2013, an outbreak of deadly tornadoes occurred across the upper midwest region of the United States. 73 tornadoes were confirmed across Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio. Two of the seventy-three tornadoes were violent, of which both earned damage ratings on the Enhanced Fujita Scale of EF-4 (166-200mph winds). Both […]

Did You Know There Are Three Types of Supercells?

Determining the type of supercells that may occur within a given severe weather environment is important for a multitude of reasons. A supercell is a thunderstorm that rotates. There are three types of supercells: low-precipitation (LP), classic, and high-precipitation (HP). The configuration of the wind shear profiles within a severe weather environment is critical in diagnosing […]

Long Track Supercells in the Western Plains on May 16th, 2017

Long-track supercells formed across the western Great Plains on Tuesday, May 16th, 2017. Accompanied with these supercells were multiple tornadoes, damaging winds, and giant hail upwards of 4.00″ in diameter. Widespread flash flooding also occurred across the Oklahoma Panhandle and southwestern Kansas.  The morning data analysis, including the 1200z / 7:00am CDT observed weather balloon […]

Severe Storms in South-Central Kansas on May 11th, 2017

A low pressure system was located over the southern and central Plains Thursday, May 11th. Although the low-level dynamics were quite weak the combination of the mid-to-upper level winds, and outflow boundaries analyzed on the visible satellite, signaled the potential for severe weather in the early afternoon Thursday across the region. How to Get Flood Insurance – […]

Southwestern Oklahoma High-Precipitation Supercells on May 10th, 2017

Severe thunderstorms were in the forecast across southwestern Oklahoma on Wednesday, May 10th. The potential for supercells (a rotating thunderstorm) existed as well, particularly along the intersection of the dryline and outflow boundary. The forecast was quite complicated, with early morning convection and persistent cloud cover across much of Oklahoma that made for a complex afternoon for […]

Elevated Supercells in Eastern Colorado on May 8th, 2017

On Monday, May 8th, there was the potential for isolated thunderstorms across eastern Colorado with possible supercells (a rotating thunderstorm) along the Interstate 70 corridor in vicinity of the Palmer Divide. Although the tornado threat was very low, there was certainly a good chance of observing photogenic storms in the High Plains of Colorado.  Forecast soundings […]

How far away from a thunderstorm can lightning strike?

While injury from lightning strikes has increased since 1940, fatalities have decreased dramatically. In fact, lightning deaths have become exceedingly rare relative to other weather phenomena, but they still occur. The most dangerous lightning strikes are those that occur when our guard is down; lightning strikes from a sky that appears to be clear and […]

Splitting and Merging Storms in North Texas on March 26th, 2017

On the evening of Sunday, March 26th, 2017, severe thunderstorms affected portions of southern Oklahoma and North Texas. These storms were scattered, as predicted in our forecasts leading up to the event, and many people received no rain.  We also expected that thunderstorms forming along the dry line would quickly develop updraft rotation (i.e., become […]

January 21-23rd Tornado Outbreak Second Largest on Record in Southeast U.S.

On January 21-23rd, 2017, a rare, multifaceted severe weather outbreak occurred across the Deep South and southeastern United States. 80 tornadoes occurred over the three day span of the outbreak, of which several were strong (EF-2 to EF-3 strength), long-track tornadoes. This tornado outbreak was the second largest outbreak on record in the southeastern United States. […]

U.S. Tornado Count in 2016 Slightly Below the Annual Average

The year of 2016, there were a total of 1,059 tornadoes across the U.S. (with the month of May, 2016 having some of the more photogenic tornadoes). How does this compare to other years? According to the 2005-2015 tornado climatology, there was an average of 1,402 tornadoes across the nation. Tornado activity for 2016 was below the 2005-2015 average.  Each […]

Christmas Day Squall Line and Rare Tornadoes in Kansas

This past Christmas Day resulted in interesting weather across the central Plains. From strong thunderstorms in Kansas to the blizzard conditions in the Dakotas, the stockings were full of interesting weather Christmas morning. Nearly the entire state of Kansas, excluding the extreme western parts of the state, were impacted by a low-end squall line. I spent the […]

Lightning Stats for Injuries & Fatalities 1940 to 2015

Since the 1940s, the annual number of fatalities from lightning has been decreasing. In 1940, lightning was the #1 weather-related killer. In 2015, lightning was in last place. How many people were killed by lightning in 2015? Answer: Approximately 27 people were killed by lightning in 2015, according to NOAA records. This represents a 91% […]

Visiting the Chapman, Kansas, EF-4 Tornado Damage

On May 25th, 2016, a large and violent, long-track tornado tore through the landscape across north-central Kansas causing extensive damage along Interstate 70 between Abilene and Chapman, Kansas. What was a marginal day for severe weather ended up producing one of the most violent tornadoes of the 2016 season. We visited Chapman on Saturday, July 23rd, […]

Storm chasing: A day in the life of a storm chaser

Storm chasing is an emotional roller coaster. From operational field missions, to university research, and to the hobbyist and/or nature explorer, storm chasing consists of several thousand miles of driving for sometimes only an hour of action. Each Spring, scientists, meteorologists, hobbyists, and explorers, venture out to the Great Plains to seek some of the atmosphere’s […]

May 24th, 2016, Western Kansas Tornado Outbreak

On Tuesday, May 24th, 2016, an outbreak of tornadoes occurred across western Kansas. There were 13 observed total tornadoes a cyclic supercell near Dodge City, Kansas including four sets of twin tornadoes, a set of triplets, and a large multi-vortex tornado and wedge tornado. So far, the National Weather Service in Dodge City, Kansas, surveyed 9 […]

Remembering the May 21-26, 2011 Tornado Outbreak

From May 21st to May 26th, 2011, destructive tornadoes tore through the Great Plains, impacting thousands of people and leaving billions of dollars in damage in its wake. During this time period, there were 241 total tornadoes, including two EF-5, three EF-4, eight EF-3, thirty-one EF-2, eighty-six EF-1, and one hundred [and] ten EF-0 tornadoes. […]

May 8th and 9th Central Plains Storm Chases

A multi-day dryline setup was in place across the central Plains on Sunday, May 8th; and Monday, May 9th, respectively. Observed conditions from radiosonde, or weather balloon, launches, indicated an environment conducive for widespread severe thunderstorms was starting to filter into the central Kansas and central Oklahoma region. Important to any storm chase is to […]

Live stream video from storm chasers

Storm Chasers Broadcasting Live – Watch Now!

Future Radar Storm Chasers Live Storm Reports Rainfall Totals Lightning During periods of severe weather, storm chasers tend to converge on the predicted region, devise their strategy, and hit the road in pursuit of convective development unmatched in variety and intensity anywhere in the world. The United States is home to the most spectacular supercells, […]

The Coldwater, Kansas, Supercell of March 7, 2016

On Monday, March 7th, 2016, a spectacular supercell formed in far northwestern Oklahoma and entered southern Kansas. A supercell is a thunderstorm that rotates. Conditions on Monday were favorable for a couple of supercells to initiate off the dryline in far western Oklahoma, and into western Kansas. However, given weak convergence along the dryline and meager […]