Thursday, April 12, 2012 (OK Panhandle/Southwest KS, 550 mi.)


Long haul for a cap bust in high-end parameters doesn't set a great tone for this multi-day event.

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Day 1 of what was striving to be the best multi-day April setup in modern chasing history. At least, it looked that way the day before. By evening, on the drive home, not so much. Alex Schenkman and I led a caravan of four chase vehicles all the way to LBL, departing around 10:30am. Two days beforehand, models had indicated a very impressive triple-point threat across W KS, spitting out soundings that screamed for significant tornadoes. While my enthusiasm had waned markedly since then following model trends, the chance still looked just good enough not to blow it off, especially in light of my humiliating blunder earlier in the week (sitting out the WWR area multi-tornado and softball hail day on April 9). We first stopped at a gas station near Balko (Beaver Co.) for an hour or two, where each new HRRR run further cemented our fate. Already so far from home, we nudged N to LBL around 6pm just as a last-gasp effort to stay within reach of possible initiation in SW KS. Despite repeated attempts at convection along the dryline (near the CO/KS border) during this time, it was not to be, and by 7pm cirrus was moving overhead with the last towers dying out. We grabbed dinner and pressed home, arriving around midnight.