This is always a fun time of year to guess what the upcoming chase season will bring. The La Nina pattern ushered in an early severe season last year with the April tornado outbreaks across the Southeast, so what will this year look like?
The best current news is that western Texas and Oklahoma have been seeing more rainfall and snowfall this winter than last. This should replenish the soil moisture that was so lacking in 2011, aiding both the farmers and other folks that live out there plus enhancing the chasing potential by sharpening the dry line and its effect on storm initiation. Even though it's still pretty dry out that way I expect chasing in the TX/OK panhandles to be more productive this year than during 2011.
As for the rest of Tornado Alley my guess is that 2012 will resemble last year...under the assumption that the current La Nina hangs on through spring. Thus the late spring Hokie Stormchase crew will have to be on its toes with the flexibility to take advantage of brief windows of chasing opportunity.
Now, for Virginia: I have my fingers crossed that this mild winter and abundant rainfall will lead to an early start to the chase season, perhaps with a couple of fruitful March chases. That would mean I only have about 8 weeks to wait!