The Basics of Skew-T/Log-P Diagrams

Skew-T Diagram

One of the most important tools that convective forecasters have is the Skew-T/Log-P Diagram.  It is a thermodynamic chart that allows forecasters to view real information about the state of the atmosphere from the surface level all the way to 100 millibars. The Skew-T diagram contains all the information needed to understand the atmosphere at a particular point. From these data, forecasters can determine wind speed and direction, temperature and dewpoint throughout all atmospheric layers and more. Let’s look at the basic elements that make up the Skew-T/Log-P Diagram.  The name itself is self-explanatory in that “T” represents “Temperature” and “P” represents “Pressure”. The skewed lines on a Skew-T Diagram give the diagram its name. These lines, called Isotherms, represent temperature. Lines of pressure increase horizontally from 1000 millibar (mb) at the surface to 100 mb at the top of the troposphere. ISOBARS – These are lines of equal pressure.  On a Skew-T/Log-P Diagram they run horizontally …Read more »

Importance of Ham Radio in Storm Chasing


On Memorial Day in 2007, a violent tornado happened in southeastern Colorado. Our storm chasing tour group witnessed the tornado from birth to its death. But, something else interesting also happened. The local cellular tower was damaged in the resulting hail storm. I attempted to call the NWS office in Pueblo to inform them a tornado was in fact occurring, but couldn’t. Thankfully, I never actually rely on my cell phone as a reliable form of communication. I’m an amateur radio operator and always have a ham radio in my chase vehicle for situations just like this. While most NWS Warning Forecast Office locations also have a ham radio, I wasn’t entirely sure of local repeater frequencies. And, we were pretty far from Pueblo. So, even if there was a local repeater, I wasn’t sure if it’d be able to handle the distance. I did the next best thing, I called the police and I …Read more »

The Definitive Storm Chasing Bible

Storm Chasing Handbook

You probably came to because severe weather fascinates you and captures your imagination. There is a strong chance that you’re looking for information about chasing storms. If so, you’re in luck because we have it! But, there is one offline resource you should definitely read, the Storm Chasing Handbook by Tim Vasquez. The Storm Chasing Handbook by Tim Vasquez has been an invaluable resource to thousands of storm chasers over the past 20-years. This book is of great value to seasoned storm chasers and newcomers alike. Newcomers will enjoy learning about severe weather forecasting. Seasoned chasers will enjoy the “Tornado Alley Travel Guide” section to discover good places to eat and things to do on severe clear days when there are no storms. Storm chasing is a lot more than just “chasing storms”, for many it is a way of life. Just as people who ride Harley Davidson motorcycles consider it a lifestyle (it’s …Read more »