When it comes to storm chasing, dry lines may be the bread and butter of targeting — but triple points are oftentimes the bullseye that demands attention.
This region is also often an overlooked target for new storm chasers (but perhaps less so in recent years).
Don’t ignore it.
The triple point is usually where the dryline meets a warm front or stationary front — and also where a center of surface low pressure resides. All of these ingredients create a vorticity rich zone which favors tornado formation and big-time severe weather threats otherwise.
When triple points work…
A strong surface low pressure with a strong moisture gradient on the dryline and a somewhat diffuse warm front is the perfect combination for triple point tornadoes.
In fact, there are some days that the target becomes painfully obvious when all of these factors come into play. While in storm chasing there are no foolproof strategies, if a triple point looks promising it is best to pay attention.
Another time when you might target this region is when capping is stronger. Triple points tend to see the cap broken more often than other targets due to the enhanced forcing here. While it isn’t a hard and fast rule, most severe weather days will at least see the triple point target see storms.
When to avoid…
If there isn’t much capping and a lot of forcing, avoid triple points. In this scenario, the dryline will likely be a more favorable target for isolated storms. Triple points will tend to see storms crowd up fast and first on chase days when capping is weak and forcing is strong.
In these scenarios there will be a messy/complicated and perhaps impossible chase situation develop. At the very least, storms will display almost zero photogenic characteristics if you are into that sort of thing.