Making a successful storm chase forecast and getting the best storm chasing targeting involves a lot of work.
Severe storms need lift, ample wind shear and ample instability to sustain themselves.
Hence, a lot of the work in forecasting storms hinges on these three ingredients.
These main ingredients make up the fundamental elements you always forecast for severe storms.
Wind shear is one of the main ingredients to look for storm organization.
Wind shear is the change of direction or speed of winds with height in the atmosphere. We look for higher shear environments for the potential for supercells to form.
Instability is, in short, storm juice.
We measure instability commonly with an ingredient called CAPE. Ideally, we look for CAPE values of over 1000 j/kg for the most favorable severe storm environments. But, the higher the better when it comes to CAPE.
Lift is an important ingredient for storm formation. No lift, no storms. Thus, this one is a pretty overlooked but essential storm ingredient.
When it comes to lift we look for it on two levels. The first is at the surface with surface boundaries. You’ll learn about these in the other videos in this series. The other is via upper air lift.
The Basics of a Storm Chase Forecast
So with those three basic ingredients in mind, here’s a bit of a more in-depth discussion via video of what to look for with each ingredient.
In this video we discuss wind shear, CAPE/Instability, and what surface boundaries you can look for while planning out a storm chase target.