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A Somber Memorial and a Discussion Of Clippers

4 Feb 2013, 11:26 am

A Memorial For Andy Gabrielson – Storm Chaser

In early 2009 I had the privilege of meeting a young man who wanted to be one of the best storm chasers in the history of the hobby/profession/etc.  He contacted me while I was chief meteorologist at a station in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  His request?  He wanted to storm chase for us.  His price?  Whatever it would take to get on the air.

He and I met for lunch to discuss things, to discuss chasing, and discuss life.  It was my first time meeting Andy Gabrielson – future all-star storm chaser.  We chatted and then he showed me his vehicle.  He ended up finding a much better deal than I could offer him, and went on to be highly successful in storm chasing.  He was a great guy, as well.  I wished him nothing but the best.

Unfortunately, one year ago, he was hit head-on by a drunk driver while returning home from a chase.  Many people know him much better than I do – especially his family and other storm chasers.  I wish those people all of the best, and we at WeatherNation wish those people the absolute best on this somber anniversary.

Here is some information from Tom McGehee, the moderator of the Andy Gabrielson Memorial (click here for more info on that):


Make sure you take a moment to check this out on this somber anniversary.

Also – here is a video tribute put up by Kory Hartman:

Light-Hearted Snowfall/Clipper Discussion


So maybe you’ve heard us talk about “clipper systems” and “clippers” here on WeatherNation with increasing frequency lately… and that is no coincidence.  Before we get into the forecast details… let’s talk about what they even *are!*

So… What is a clipper system?

Well, let’s go back to the 1800s.  Here is a look at the fastest ship in the sea from that era:


Clipper Ship
Clipper Ship


So now you have an image.  Obviously, those were in the ocean at that time and these systems are in the atmosphere.  Meanwhile, you also have the Los Angeles Clippers… an NBA basketball team.  Blake Griffen is a big-time NBA player, and he is pretty fast… similar to a clipper ship and weather phenomenon… but let’s get to the clipper that is a weather phenomenon.


Average Clipper System
Average Clipper System


That is a rough approximation of the average clipper system’s path.  They move rapidly, often originating in the Canadian province of Alberta.  Hence the name, “Alberta Clipper.”  They race in, typically riding the jetstream – the path of least resistance.  Dropping a few quick inches in many locations along the way.  Here is how the past few average paths of clippers have coincided with the temperature constrast across the nation:


Temperature Trend
Temperature Trend


Look familiar?  It matches up pretty well with what we’ve been talking about as the average path of a clipper.  Here are some of the snowfall forecasts out of this:


Ohio Valley Snow Through Early Tuesday
Ohio Valley Snow Through Early Tuesday


Midwest Snow Through Wednesday
Midwest Snow Through Wednesday


As our own Todd Nelson has been saying, it’s been like Groundhog Day.  Light snow after light snow batch moving in.  It has created quite a scene in some spots around the nation… quite a bit more snowfall.

Please take a moment to visit the Andy Gabrielson memorial and stay tuned for more on the “clipperfest” that has been dominating the weather pattern.

WeatherNation Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer @ashafferWNTV

3 responses to “A Somber Memorial and a Discussion Of Clippers

  1. This has been annoying! It needs to just snow two feet isntead of these little 1-2 inch snowfalls for the past few weeks. Stupid clippers!

  2. Faculty are authors of national and international standing, including Colum Mc – Cann, Philipp Meyer, Chuck Klosterman, Rick Moody, and Richard Selzer. The particular account of your setting is entirely using your responsibility.

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