Author Archives: Lisa Beal

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22 June 2016 – Wind/Hail/Tornado event

Insomnia woke me around 4 AM, but I drifted back to sleep. A nearby lightning strike woke me around 5 AM. I’m trying to get back to sleep. It is a couple of hours before breakfast in the first (and mesoscale discussion) of the day have already been issued.

The NAM and GFS models are still calling for a big event today:

The current tornado probability [for the day as a whole] looks like this:

Severe wind probabilities for the day are as follows (per the 4 AM models):

And severe hail looks like this, per the same forecast for the day:

Current weather looks like this:

And the tornado parameters at the moment are well below any kind of threat threshold:

I will be watching these carefully as the day unfolds.

The sky was intensely red a moment before I took this picture, but it recalls the old expression “red in the morning, sailors take warning.”
8am – updates to the maps above show little change:


Up to this point, nothings severe reported:

15:10 – Arrived at the Naperville emergency operation center (DOC). Started up the weather computers and radios, in preparation for arrivals about their staff later in the afternoon. Traded in my XL size polo shirt for a new uniform shirt in a medium. (Doing a happy dance on the inside!)

15:35CDT – An axis of steep lapse rates is oozing east from Iowa.

1730 CDT – Looks like a tornado watch is imminent, per mesoscale discussion MD1020.

1810 CDT – tornado watch number 286 is issued. The EOC goes into operational mode.

While the situation could change from the forecast above, I heave a sigh of relief that the primary area of a risk is to the south of the Chicago metro area. Had this been forecast to occur 25 miles further north, the situation could have been very dangerous for the western suburbsand Chicago proper. Once again, we dodge the bullet, it seems.

1834 CDT – A severe thunderstorm warning goes up near Amboy, Illinois. Even at this point, Al Fisher and I spot a strong couple of forming on the base philosophy velocity plot.”Why aren’t they issuing a tornado warning on this,” we ask one another.

A few minutes later, that warning is issued. NWS policy states that once a storm is tornado-warned, it retains that warning until the storm falls apart. This is how the NWS errs on the side of caution.

The good news is that they are able to issue this with a high degree of confidence, as a number of spotters and chasers (the little red dots in the picture below) are already on the storm, As this radar scope pro composite reflectivity/base velocity product shows:

(Photo courtesy of Ethan Mulnix)

This tornado was the first one in a series strewn across northern Illinois. The storm reports (from later in the evening) show the path of the storm pretty clearly:

Chasers like Adam Lucio captured photos and video of other storms (at Marseilles, Illinois and further east). I will add links to those photos as I get a bit more time or the weekend.

(NWS has a preliminary page for this event up already.)

CHASE2016 Summary

18 days

6000+ miles

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Most interesting drive: Pinto Canyon,TX, for its wide range of altitude, punishing curves, and narrow passages. We were lucky we did not mEDT another vehicle along the way.

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12 tornadoes: Friend,KS (5/22); Woodward,OK (5/23); 9+ at Dodge City,KS (5/24); 90-minute EF4 near Chapman,KS (5/25)

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Photos/Video: close to 1 TB – gobs of editing needed

INTERIM UPDATE – 23 May2016 a.m.

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Tornado to our west. We (blue circle) are just east of the velocity couplet (red/yellow pair)

After several days of hunting, we caught a storm with a tornado. I took it as a good omen when we crossed paths with the TWIRL Project armada in North Platte. (photos coming here soon). We alos bumped into Reed Timmer while we were parked during the tornado.

I could not see it with the naked eye, and I was shooting with my GoPro cameras (neither of which has a viewing screen, to save on battery life).  My Canon video camera has a ‘stuck’ zoom control, so it is basically useless for the rest of this trip, unless I get time and resources to repair it somehow. (Not likely I’ll have either).

I think at least one GoPro captured the nearby lightning strikes that froze everybody in their tracks.  I’ll know once I copy the video to my external hard drive for review.

 

2016 Season Summary

08Here is the overall plan for my 2016 storm season (which I’ll update as events warrant):

CHASE 2016 DAILY JOURNAL

SEMINARS/CLASSROOM TRAINING:
DATE DAY START END MILES REMARKS
22Jan Fri Bolingbrook,IL Norman,OK ChaserCon 2016
23Jan Sat Norman,OK ChaserCon 2016
24Jan Sun Norman,OK ChaserCon 2016
12Mar Sat Bolingbrook,IL Wheaton,IL 26 DuPage OHSEM Advanced Spotter Training (seminar)
http://www.dupagesevereweather.com
24Mar Thu Oak Brook,IL Naperville,IL
Bolingbrook,IL
26 NEMA Radar Class #1: Rochelle, IL F4
http://www.napervilleema.org
07Apr Thu Oak Brook,IL Naperville,IL
Bolingbrook,IL
26 NEMA Radar Class #2: TX outbreak
http://www.napervilleema.org
21Apr Thu Oak Brook,IL Naperville,IL
Bolingbrook,IL
26 NEMA Radar Class #3: Mesovortices
http://www.napervilleema.org
GREAT PLAINS CHASES:
CHASE2016-01:
DATE DAY START END MILES REMARKS
12May Thu Bolingbrook,IL ??? Prologue
13May Fri Oak Brook,IL Kearney, MO 469 mi
(60694-61163)
DAY 01: To the “Show Me (Cheap Gasoline)
14May Sat Kearney,MO Oklahoma City, OK
(via Medford,OK; Wakita,OK;
El Reno, OK)
527 mi
(61163-61690)
DAY 02: The Unexpected
15May Sun Oklahoma City, OK Oklahoma City, OK 7 mi
(61690-61697)
DAY 03: Around OKC
16May Mon Oklahoma City, OK Plainview, TX 593 DAY 04
17May Tue Plainview,TX Ozona,TX 350 DAY 05
18May Wed Ozona,TX Van Horn,TX ??? DAY 06
19May Thu Van Horn,TX Raton,NM ??? DAY 07
20May Fri Raton,NM Limon,CO ??? DAY 08
21May Sat Limon,CO Kimball,NE ??? DAY 09
22May Sun Kimball,NE Dodge City, KS ??? DAY 10: Murky tornado
23May Mon ??? ??? ??? DAY 11
24May Tue ??? ??? ??? DAY 12
25May Wed ??? ??? ??? DAY 13
26May Thur ??? ??? ??? DAY 14
27May Fri ??? ??? ??? DAY 15
28May Sat ??? ??? ??? DAY 16
29May Sun ??? ??? ??? DAY 17
30May Mon ??? ??? ??? DAY 18
31May Tue Bolingbrook,IL Epilogue
 
COLOR CODE
Plan was to not chase GRAY
Planned Chase Day (future) WHEAT
Available to chase; no weather (“blue-skied”) BLUE
Chase Day (available and expect stormy weather) GREEN
Weather Stormy, but not available for chasing PINK
BUST DAY – no severe storms where we looked! ORANGE
Training Day WHITE

Accommodations
Restaurants
Tools
Web Links

20May2016 – Raton,NM-Limon,CO

0600 – wake; fumble about
0700 – morning chores

0915 – briefing

1019 – Raton Pass (7840ft) – Sangre de Cristo Mountains to Our west

1024 – enter Colorado On I-25W
1032 – Trinidad, CO – the TRINIDAD sign tops a peak just west of the interstate
Xxxx- Walsenburg,CO –
1203 – cont N on I-25 through Pueblo,CO
1232 – Approaching Colorado Springs,CO from the south on I-25N
1409 – Lunch – Qdoba (I-25) – Castle Rock,CO

1418 – WalMart run (10min)

1426 – Dpt E from Castle Rock,CO on CO86 Twd Kiowa,CO

Xxxx – Stop at c-store in Kiowa

Xxxx – stop in the middle of nowhere; take 360 photo.
http://360.io/qRVs8a

Xxxx – enter I-70E toward Limon,CO

Xxxx – Arrive at Econolodge, Limon, CO

xxxx – Dinner at Oscar’s. Delicious pot roast and steamed veggies.  A low-carb delight!

Xxxx – Do laundry at the TA Limon, across US24.No quarters required: machines take credit cards AND  add no surcharge  Woohoo!

2250 – turn in for the evening.

[photos to be added soon]

INTERIM UPDATE – 22 May 2016 a.m.

19 May 2016 – A positioning day. We move north, in preparation for the weekend’s storms. We stop at the Guadalupe Peak overlook, Carlsbad,NM, and Roswell,NM. Many aliens seen.

(photos to be added later)

We end at Raton,NM, just south of the Colorado-New Mexico border.

20 May 2016 – We continue north on a second positioning day. We end up in Limon,CO, after a photo stop at an abandoned house, one of Bill Reid’s favorite activities on a down day.

21 May 2016 – Win e had a difficult choice: western Kansas, where storms would fire early and likely be a messy, disorganized cluster OR go for a later show near Chugwater, WY.
We chose the latter and busted bigtime. Such is life.

22 May 2016 – We will likely be in central Nebraska, only a short distance from our hotel.

More later. 7 minutes to pack, load the vans, and start our daily briefing.

19May2016 – INTERIM UPDATE

Hi, All!

Our group arrived at 1 a.m. at our hotel last night, so no update! We also spent the previous two nights in motels WITHOUT INTERNET and very sparse cell phone coverage.  We were beyond ‘the middle of nowhere’ (perhaps a bit left of center).

Quick summaries:

16May2016: Oklahoma City, OK – Ozona, TX

We chased in the OK and TX panhandles, catching 2 tornado warned storms. An additional storm beyond our reach produced a tornado, while our storms were undercut by cool air (and, thus, could not produce).  We did photograph some amazing structure.

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More photos to come

17May2016: Plainview,TX – Ozona,TX

We chased after several promising storms, but only saw a brief, weak funnel spin up. One law enforcement-based tornado (“sheriffnado”) report was all the day yielded, nationally.  We had encounters with pea- and nickel-sized hail (and some roadway flooding) around Big Lake, TX, but that’s all.  Photos and video coming soon.

18May2016: Ozona,TX-Presidio,TX-Van Horn,TX

We headed from Ozona, TX toward Presidio, TX (only a mile from the US-Mexican border),  It took us several hours to wind our way through rugged Pinto Canyon, creating our journey around 5800 feet above sea level.

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Many beautiful canyon photos will be added here once I have time and connectivity to do the job.

Several well-organized supercells persisted on the Mexican side, and when they moved into Texas they pelted us with quarter-sized (and slightly larger 1.25-inch) hail. image I will post hail photos and video as soon as I’m able.

 

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The 13May2016 – Off to the “Show Me (Cheap Gasoline)” State

M(text entries)

12:07 pm – “Elvis has left the building” (My vacation starts, albeit 7 minutes late.)

12:20 pm – After setting up the van, I roll down I-88, I-355, and I-55 southwest bound for Springfield, Illinois and points west. Starting odometer reading: 60964 miles.

1:20 pm– Dwight, Illinois – along Interstate 55 south at Illinois 17, exit 217. Off to my west, I see clouds, probably a building cumulus field. I’m cruising along at 75 miles an hour, but there are enough people who want to go 85 miles an hour that I’m feeling a little crowded. Off to my east, dual rotor copter (perhaps military?) Is slowly moving northward, paralleling the interstate.

1:57 pm – Passing Chenoa, Illinois, roughly halfway between Chicago and spring. Starting to hear rumbles of dissatisfaction from my tummy. Even though the van’s tank is still above half full. I think my stomach is much less than half full. *insert gurgling noise*

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2:45pm – Stopped at pilot fuel center in Bloomington Illinois. Main odometer reads 61089. Trip odometer 525.4 miles (probably the distance since two fillups ago). About 125 miles into my trip now.

A fFew minutes down the road I had to make a sudden stop and laptop, Wi-Fi hotspot, console for the Vantage you always flying. Boy, was I pissed off!!  No damage, except my nervous system. My current laptop has its center of gravity in a very different place than . than it’s predecessor, so I will have to adjust how are secure it to keep it from flying around.

3:17 PM – I’m south of Bloomington, Illinois. In a construction zone. Almost sent all my gear flying again. It seems people here either drive 85 miles an hour or 5 miles an hour and nothing in between. Yoga thing that’s 85 is the temperature inside the van. The sun is really beating down now, in the dark dashboard in the pool three are really heating thing up. Turned on air conditioning in the car for my first time this year. If he is terrific. To add to the confusion we had a left-wing close for about 10 feet, and now we have a right lane closed just after the left lane is open. I have no idea with the road crews are trying to do, but traffic is moving along at 10 miles an hour. Thank you, road gang! *snerk*

3:30 PM – I finally emerged from the construction zone around exit 133 (Wink). For about 12 miles I was in a construction zone in a white dust storm at the same time.

img_8238.jpg4:22 PM – I just passed 90th Meridian sign, a quarter of the way around the world from my buddy, Owen. I hardly ever think about how big out planet is. I look at the sky at night and think about how small our world is.

4:37 PM – The western sky is now getting shades of purple in it. I have entered the eastern third of the severe thunderstorm watch that extends southwest to eastern Kansas. Missouri(I have noticed that the voice recognition is doing very poorly now, due to environmental noise in the van.) One moment your every word perfectly, another moment it will record my words gibberish. I also have noticed that my GPS unit is not recognized by three, so I cannot see my physician on the GR level III great artist radar display. I will have to park for compatible software to decode the form for proprietary GPS strings.

img_8229.jpg4: 57 PM – The temperature in the van is down to about 76°F, thanks to alittle air-conditioning and abundant cloud cover.  Above the cliffs on each side of the roadway, there are hawks (with a 2 foot wingspan each) hunting for dinner. Speaking of dinner, it must be around suppertime, as I have the road pretty much to myself. Taking a look the radar, it’s like most of the really juicy storms are over in North East Kansas, too far away for me to catch before dark. With a little walk, I might get a good lightning show the storms over Northeast Missouri, which I’m approaching now. I should cross the Mrs. Mississippi River within the next half hour

5:12 PM – About to cross the Mississippi River. The last sign said it was 9 miles to Hannibal, and I just reached by I-72/US-36 split. It also just started raining sky is a deeper will color to my Northwest, But nothing severe is imminent.

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??:?? PM – I grab a few shots of the fading storms to my northwest.

 

??:?? PM – I think God is looking for me! I see his flashlight shining down on the road ahead of me!

 

img_8234.jpg??:?? PM: Stopped in Macon, Missouri, selecting The Apple Basket [Restaurant] for dinner. I chatted with the local folks. The main topic was The Andy Griffith Show and Mayberry, as the walls of the place has Mayberry posters all over the walls. I order the steak, which comes with the well-prepared 10-item salad bar, I side of veggies (I chose the pickled beets — I love ’em!), and a beverage (water for me).
The steak is a thin-cut steak, but thoroughly enjoyable. YUM!

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11:01 PM – Arrived in Kearney, MO, after using the Orbitz hotel site to find the best price on a room. Gotta rack up those Orbucks! (LOL). Once I’m in bed, I run through the evening buzz list. While moving the bags to the room earlier, I realized that the metal plate that I stick the antennas to (when they’re inside) the van is missing. The last place I remember seeing it was at work. It is conceivable I left it on the ground i.e. in the parking lot at work. I will have to send an email to the operation center to see if someone can go out there and look. How embarrassing!

I will have to find some kind of substitute at Home Depot nearby. My first Saturday morning errand for tomorrow, perhaps.

Day’s receipts (except gasoline):

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Miscellaneous photos:

Missouri, the “Show Me (Cheap Gasoline)” State:

_summary_

 

 

(I’ll add the day’s summary later)

12May2016 – P.M. Edition

All the bags are packed, and all but one of them are in the van, as I need some things out of that bag in the morning.

Here is a look at the evening checklist:

All things are in good order except I cannot find my sunglasses. So, big deal! I will buy a new pair. I have probably just missed placed them somewhere around the house. Nothing to worry about.
I am trying to get a good nights sleep, as I have an early start on my workday. 

It also looks like I might see some storms sometime tomorrow if I can get an early start from work (around noon, let’s say).


Depending upon what the models project in the morning, I may be taking off from Chicago, passing through Western Illinois, and shooting across the top tier of Missouri on US 36, perhaps sending up someplace like Kansas City or Wichita for the evening. 

I will refine my target for the day based on my departure time and the expected time storms will go up.