I do not happen to have that picture, so 1000 words it is...(don't count)!
Good morning! This is the first day of Vortex2 operations. We lost 2 of the mobile mesonet vehicles to a muddy road...if anyone is just south of the Nebraska border, the mesonets might appreciate pizza (2 pepperoni, 1 mushroom, and 1 cheese will do)...and a tow.
Let's start from the beginning...
In order to forecast the weather, meteorologists use models--not the kind that you draw in art class (after you have mastered the fruit platter)--but the kind that combine physics (how things work) and mathematics (solving for how things work). Meteorologists spend a lot of time looking at models prior to a mission. Meteorologists also look to see if a model is verifying... In other words if a model predicted it was suppose to be 75 degrees by 200 p.m. in Wichita--is it? If it isn't, why isn't it? We adjust our forecasts are based on the evolving weather scenario...
Today unfolded as follows:
Phase 1: Status Quo
630: Woke up.
730: Rolled out of bed.
830: Dragged a comb across my head (showered and dressed first).
945: Attended the weather briefing. The models indicated there were 2 regions in Kansas that had environments which "might" be favor supercells (but probably not tornadoes) later today (meteorologists really are lawyers at heart): northwest Kansas, which was pretty close to our current location, and southeast Kansas, which was about 5 hours away. Eeeny, meeny, miney, moe...
Phase 2: Watch and Wait (and Work!)
1100: Parking lot.
1200: Parking lot. Based on evolving weather, the decision was made to target NW Kansas.
100: Parking lot. Applied sunblock.
200: Parking lot.
300: Parking lot. Applied sunblock.
400: Parking lot.
Phase 3: Intercept
500: Drive west. NOW.
600: This storm has potential! Deploy!
700: What storm?
730: New storm! Let's move north! This storm looks good...!
830: What storm?
900: Fuel stop.
Phase 4: Food
In summary, today was a great practice day for Vortex2! We realized early on that the storms would not be tornadic, so we practiced setting up the radars, tornado pods, disdrometers, mobile mesontes, etc. We gathered data to make sure it looked reasonable (some teams learned that it was necessary to turn on their instruments in order to get data...good to know, right?). So now we are ready...
Picture 1 (Left): A gathering of the masses...The Vortex2 public weather briefing.
Picture 2 (Right): The famed parking lot.