Browse Category


New Project – U.S. Tornadoes

A little over a month ago, my friend Ian Livingston (@islivingston) started a new project that focuses on the past, present and future of tornadoes in the United States. He has brought me on board as the tornado threat forecaster for the site (, where I will be posting 1-7 day tornado forecasts every Monday and Thursday. I will also be posting special updates to the forecast if needed.

In addition to my forecasting responsibility, I am also doing some work on the web design as well as posting to the U.S. Tornadoes Twitter feed (@USTornadoes) and Facebook page.

Here is a look at the tornado forecast I wrote yesterday:

I will still be posting most of my material to this site, but you can also follow me on U.S. Tornadoes.

Meteorology 101 – Sounding basics

I drew up a basic primer on how to read a Skew-T sounding. Click here or on the image to expand the image.

There is so much that you can use a sounding for, and all of that information can be derived from the three basic plots: Temperature, dewpoint and wind. A great amount of the atmospheric details that you can derive from a sounding can be found in this PDF:

A dry cold front is pushing through the region

Winds are starting to gust again today as another cold front makes its way through the region. A lack of moisture out ahead of the front means nothing but an isolated shower or two is possible along the front as is slides eastward.

Despite being a cold front, it won’t do much to bring in cooler air as temperatures drop into the upper 20s to lower 30s in the DC region tonight, with highs in the upper 40s to lower 50s tomorrow afternoon.

Storm chasing in 2012

Now that we have turned the corner into 2012, it is time to start getting plans ready for my 2012 Chasecation.

This year will be a lot different, as I have a more flexible looking calendar from mid May to mid June to spend two weeks out in the Great Plains. I really wish I could stay out longer, but I have not been able to save up that much time off. Next year I will have more time to play with, and I might consider skipping a year of chasing to stock up enough time off to do longer chases beyond that.

A lot of things culminated together last year to make it a pretty terrible chase, including dry, hot weather and a fairly tight chase schedule. On top of the improved schedule availability, over the last couple of months the southern Plains have gotten a fair amount of wet weather, which should help the overall weather pattern a little heading into the late spring. It would be ideal to see the wet weather continue in the southern Plains as the drought is still widespread despite the recent rain and snow taking a dent out of it.

For equipment, I have decided to invest in a DSLR camera for this trip. My old consumer-level digital camera has broken, and I do not want to use my cellphone as my primary camera. It will be a nice improvement that will bring all of my equipment up to the “prosumer” level. I do prefer shooting video, and I will use my Canon HG10 for that. While a prosumer-level camcorder, I plan on upgrading to a more professional digital camcorder a few years down the road. Other already-acquired equipment I will have available includes my HP laptop, tripod, Garmin nuvi 1450 (as a backup GPS) and a backup 400w power inverter.

For chase partners, I plan on teaming up with Jason Foster and Ian Livingston again this year (same as 2011). Jason has switched out the 2000 Subaru Legacy with a 2000 Jeep Cherokee, and that will be our chase vehicle if he can get it ready for the Plains in time. I will help him prep the vehicle if he requires assistance. If that fails, we will acquire another vehicle for the trip.

On top of being an excellent driver and navigator, Jason will also provide all of the chaser equipment for the trip, including a laptop stand, GPS and road map software, antennas and a signal booster, power inverter and extra plugs and a satellite internet card. He will also have a dashcam and has the capability to do live streaming.

This year is looking a lot better than last year (couldn’t get much worse, am I right?), and I can’t wait for May to get here!


Jason Foster

Web Site:
Twitter: @weatherwarrior1


Ian Livingston

Web Site:
Twitter: @islivingston

New page – Weather Links

I decided to spend some time collecting my favorite weather links on one page so that other can see what I use and maybe use it themselves. I just put on my main ones that I use just about every day on there, and I plan on adding more in the future as I dig through all of my old bookmarks.

Weather Links

The link will be permanently affixed to the top navigation section. Enjoy!

New Twitter Feed!

After some playing around with Twitter’s widget options, I got something that I’m reasonably satisfied with on the top of the sidebar where the old What To Watch Fore(cast) highlights went. Since I update that more often, I figured it would be good to 1) finally put the feed on the page, and 2) get some fresh content onto the site.

Don’t forget to follow me! @MADUSWX

Work today, pictures tomorrow

Been wiped out with all of the chasing (both Plains and at home) to be motivated enough to keep the pictures coming… I have work this afternoon/evening, but tomorrow I should be able to get a bunch of stills up from the last couple of chases. I also need to go back and get some shots from the Chasecation, so there’s plenty of content to provide… I just need to sit down and get it done!