When Storms Get Together: Storm Interactions and Tornado Potential

Today’s storm diagram deals with what happens when two storms get together — aka when a supercell interacts with another storm.

This storm is from June 1, 2019 just west of Roswell, New Mexico.

The situation is as follows: a storm to the south has thrown outflow northwards towards our supercell. I am making sure I keep the storm in my sights because this type of interaction has led to tornadoes many times in my career.

Especially on marginal days, storm interactions can make the difference between meh and wow!

You’ll gradually see the outflow move from left to right through the screen and as the outflow briefly interacts with our updraft the whole base lowers and spins quite rapidly. As the outflow pushes through, the storm’s base rises and the tornado threat drops quickly (and the storm promptly dies).

Three Key Takeaways

1)Never sleep on a supercell when it begins interacting with another storm.

2)The window during a storm interaction is brief and things are chaotic.

3)Oftentimes this will mean an end to tornado chances, at least short term.

The Types of Weather Models

This long-form course is all about weather models and the different types of weather models.

This course covers what each different model type does and what they’re best for when forecasting.

If you haven’t done so, be sure to check out our introductory course to weather models, The Hitchhikers Guide to Weather Models.

When it comes to weather models there are several different types that are built for different jobs. There are models built to forecast climate signals many years into the future, there are other models built to anticipate weather patterns over the course of the next couple of weeks, and there are weather models with high resolutions that let you see where individual storms may be likely to form down to the city.

This means that when you are approaching weather models, you need to do so with a bit of a concentrated mind — as if you use the wrong model for the job you won’t get the right results.

Furthermore, it is also important to remember that one model can be very wrong, it is always best to use weather models in such a way that you are using several different models to make a forecast — that will lower error rates and up your chase successes.

We love the following models most:

ECMWF: The vaunted Euro model is really good at predicting mid-term weather patterns, which means we pay a lot of attention to it a few days out from a chase.

GFS: The GFS doesn’t get nearly the same recognition as the Euro but it is a more than capable model that we also use a few days out to forecast chase probabilities.

NAM: While the NAM is soon to be defunct, we still use it to forecast chases within a couple of days out.

HRRR: This is the bread and butter day of model, with high resolution it makes targeting for storms the morning of the chase way easier than it used to be — but remember this is an imperfect model that’ll steer you very wrong as well if used in isolation.

Enchanted — A Monsoon Season Timelapse Short Film

New Mexico is known as the ‘Land of Enchantment.’ That is a fitting name for this beautiful land, with the Rockies and Great Plains and Southwestern Deserts converging to create a space that’s unique in its beauty and diversity. It’s also a place that completely rekindled my love for weather and my appreciation for the art of chasing down storms.

If you had asked me in July of 2018 if I was ever going to do weather and storms again as a photography subject, I would have probably told you no. A little over a year ago, I was preparing to move to New Mexico to start a new career after transitioning. Seemingly, storms weren’t in my future at that point.

The preceding years were incredibly difficult for me. I was beginning to feel burnt out as my pacing of chasing had gone through the roof starting in 2015 all the way to 2018. Given everything that was going on, I made the decision to publicly announce I wasn’t going to be doing anything else with storms and weather as I was completely out of ideas. That was true.

However, life was difficult a year ago and I definitely wasn’t ready or capable of making a plains season happen in 2019. That was all good for me to heal and rejuvenate. I had been doing chasing as an all consuming passion and eventually job for about a decade and the time away was incredible.

As the summer monsoon season approached, I knew it was time to return to weather. The monsoon season was something new and the exploration of the my new state was exciting. As I jotted down ideas for shoot locations, I began to get really excited about weather again. The love of storms and the weather doesn’t ever truly leave you, but I needed to rediscover that passion.

I joked on my own Twitter account (@RaychelSnr) that I was certainly going to make a lot of mistakes in my first monsoon season and that is for sure the case. However, what I captured represents the diversity of this state and the beauty of the storms that come each and every summer. This also was apparently a more quiet season, which only has me excited about the future. With 29 days of filming the summer monsoon, this is what became of those efforts.

This is Enchanted.