PIERRE, S.D. — We headed south into Nebraska this morning with the idea of possibly chasing severe storms in the southern part of that state. But we changed our minds and returned to central South Dakota. Two factors: (1) Storms appeared as if they would fire too late for us to reach and too far south in Kansas before moving into Nebraska near sunset — this in fact came to fruition; (2) midday forecast guidance ramped up the threat of tornadoes and supercells over the Dakotas for Monday as a strong disturbance moves north-northeast through strong jet stream winds over the western High Plains. We didn’t want to get too far south for marginal stuff and put us out of play for Monday farther north. So, along a lonely highway in the Nebraska Sand Hills under cloudless blue skies, the Virginia Tech storm chasers unanimously decided to reverse course and return to where we started to set up for Monday.
After Monday’s rather volatile setup, there are big signals that the pattern will become unfavorable for severe weather in the Plains as high pressure continues to build over the eastern two-thirds of the nation. So Monday’s chase might be the last on this particular trip.