The low pressure system and quasi-stationary front that triggered all of this vast destruction have finally de-coupled and moved away. But, not before untold billions in damage and destruction.
There are many aspects of this unusual event that deserve comment.
The most amazing thing is that this highly unusual event was forecast well in advance on this blog and elsewhere.
here. Five days before the first of the tornadoes. More on the forecast of flooding, published May 17, here. I believe you'll agree they were remarkable forecasts five days before all this began.. Take a look at the red areas above and compare it to the tornado map (ending this morning).
Creating Safety in Chaos
This forecast was only possible through the amazing progress in meteorological science. And, the warnings saved dozens and dozens of lives. Think about it: 207 tornadoes (more occurred today), including four in four densely populated metropolitan areas, and just seven lives lost. Seven. While each is a tragedy to their friends and families, that is a spectacularly low number.
And, this time, our work seems to be appreciated and understood. In addition to dozens of ordinary people, this showed up in my Twitter feed this morning.
Why do I, and others, chase storms? One is to help with the warning process.
Yesterday, Kathleen and I chased in eastern Kansas. I took the photo below and sent it out via Twitter (tagged: KSwx so meteorologists would see it).
But, I have to admit I have other reasons for chasing. I love watching the weather and the beauty of the Great Plains. I took the photo below in the Flint Hills north of Cassoday looking northwest at a slowly rotating wall cloud.
There were many other chasers in the area. The gentleman below was part of two large vans full of meteorologists -- from Holland.
A few minutes later, as the storm moved east, the sun lit up part of the storm.
Minutes later, there was nearly continuous lightning.
Some find beauty in Mt. Everest or at the bottom of the ocean. I find it in the Kansas sky.