Storm spotters, chasers and well anyone that would enjoy a better understanding of severe storms, especially tornado producing supercell storms. I wish something like this existed when I was getting into storms. Even if you already understand storm structure and some storm forecasting, there's a lot of good storm footage on here anyway. If you don't really know about storm structure yet and behavior, this video is likely huge for you. I've chased a lot each year since 1999 and have a pretty good grasp on storm behavior and structure.
This replaces the old popular Storm Structure 101 video. It's goal is to take someone that knows very little about storms, to a point they have an excellent grasp on what storms might be doing and what it takes to get truly severe storms. It's not all that complicated really, as far as storm structures. Forecasting is a bit more involved and yet it's sorta basic. Understanding some "basics" of forecasting is essential in understanding storms though. So the video has a good deal of both storm structure talk and forecasting talk. Oh and a lot of cool storm footage! Obviously a video can contain a lot of a lot of things at almost 7 hours long! I essentially put anything and everything I know on this. as much as I could remember to put on it anyway.
The video is a mix of narrated screep captures or pauses and straight storm video. This is how I should have done Storm Structure 101 instead of the text I used then. So really no reading involved on this one.
It starts with some basic need to know stuff. What height each millibar level is roughly, surface plot stuff, zulu time, etc. Just look at the indicated run times of each section to get an idea how much of each is gone over. 22 minutes of basics here, so actually a good bit covered. Essentially some primer stuff for the rest or next sections.
For some the idea of forecasting might sound daunting. It doesn't have to be. I tried to make what I know easy to understand on here. If you want to understand what storms are doing and why, you have to get some of the forecasting side of things. It's not bad though. This goes over quite a bit in 40 minutes. But there is a whole lot more of it in each chase setup section for those days. Wind shear, moisture depth, capping, instability, soundings, satellite, radar, surface plots, upper air. Really just wind, moisture and instability when it comes down to it. And well fronts and their orientation to the flow aloft. Ok there is plenty to pin down, but again it isn't that bad and it will really open your eyes to why storms are doing or not doing various things.
A half hour goes over some storm structure talk using still photos. More primer for the rest of the video. There is a wealth of information to learn in these intial 3 sections. Consider there is an hour and a half in these first three sections, or a typical dvd. By the end of this video you should not only have learned a whole heck of a lot, but also seen some crazy storms.
An interesting setup with fairly weak mid-level flow but a storm turned deviant on a boundary. Basically had this storm to myself as most others were chasing the more outlooked area to the west into Wyoming. This was an ideal setup for a slow moving tornado machine and that is what happened.
The stationary tornadic machine near Dupree SD. Crazy tornado video(just like Bowdle), as the storm produces an amazing long-lived large tornado, then several others, some at the same time. The main tornado is truly mesmerizing with its motion and shape changing, all while basically sitting in one spot. First it was going east slowly, then west as a beast, then eventually back east as a rope.
I'd say this storm produced 11 or 12 tornadoes on either side of Dupree South Dakota. Some counted 22 but, well you watch the video.
Talk about a violent setup! Big cape, strong cap, big shear and deviant on a boundary. The trick was would a storm even form with the cap and if one did, could you get it to turn on the boundary and not just cross it right away, as it was a heck of a turn from the flow aloft it would need to do to do so.
The most intense tornadic supercell I've seen to date, with some close range footage included. Price is probably worth it just for this chase. As it really plants and goes violent, it's only about a block away. A stupidly wound up violent tornadic supercell. Consider this one small part of the video as a whole is 45 minutes long, over an hour if you include its setup video. Like a dvd right there or a good chunk of one anyway. This storm and tornado are crazy.
I usually don't have much luck with these wound up tight upper level lows, especially the more compact ones. Often messy and often the good turning shear is in a rather small area full of storms. This one I actually give more time to the setup discussion than the chase itself. But still combined you're talking 40 minutes.
Close intercept of the Bradshaw NE tornado. Best part may have just been the view straight up at the vortex overhead, while the ground circulation crossed the highway a bit east. Tornado outbreak day with really only two specific areas in the setup working out. Was important to find the area with the mid-level flow crossing the boundary.
Summer setup with weaker mid-level flow aloft that works out. You get too close to 180 degrees of turning from the surface on up and storms act more pulsy as they ingest their own rain-cooled air. This one almost didn't work out, but finally got it done with a close big tornado.
Tornado near Ewing Nebraska. Windshield cracking hail just before the tornado. Interesting setup and situation. Jaw dropping example of the power in a rear flank down draft at the end of this one. Hard to beat this as example of the power in an RFD. See an updraft crashing downward hard on the backside. Also before that, this was a situation where you end up with dual entities in one basic storm. Very close bases that sorta verge on being multicell but organized. Each tending to mess with the other's rotation, till one area finally gets it done. One can learn a good deal just from this setup and chase day.
These summer setups are some of my most favorite to chase. Northwest or west flow, often weaker and good turning and juice down low. Sometimes you get a slow-moving wonder of a supercell to watch. Usually you don't. But when you do it can be completely amazing, like this one was.
Likely the most messed up storm I've seen to date. Jaw dropping structure, barely west of the highway the whole time. Up close and personal view of just what can happen in the sky with a crazy storm. Felt like one was on the wrong planet. This thing fired off the Black Hills near Rapid City SD and didn't die till many hours later south of Valentine NE. South of Valentine it was just insane. And luckily riding right down the only highway around for miles in the sandhills.
I had to include a linear setup and chase to learn from. This is that. Looked like a day with potential but high bases and outflow quickly killed supercell odds. Instead a crazy fast moving line happened, which was good enough to make the trip very worthwhile without getting any supercells.
Crazy outflow machine moving 60mph down the highway west of Watertown SD. Too much dry air around off the deck and you get evaporational cooling and outflow issues. But not all cool storms are supercells. A mean line can be very much worthy of the drive as well. It was simply insane how fast this thing started to race down this highway. Literally the front of the shelf was moving 60mph down the road. You gain some distance and pull over and it is approaching you like a car driving down the highway. Just zero time to stop and shoot most of the time.
Special thanks to following...
SPC - Storm Prediction Center
NWS - National Weather Service
NOAA - National Oceanic and atmospheric administration
UCAR - University Corporation for atmospheric Research
Plymouth State University
Video Duration: 6hrs 45 minutes