Author Archives: Lisa Beal

INTERIM UPDATE – 20180519 – Day 9


I have had issues getting my OneNote documents off my iPhone and into WordPress (where my blog lives).

In the interim, I’m posting Postscript exports from iPhone OneNote.

Day 3   [15.52 MB]  http://www.underthethunder.org/uploads/20180513-CHASE2018-Day03.pdf
Day 4 [  26.34 MB]  http://www.underthethunder.org/uploads/20180514-CHASE2018-Day4.pdf
Day 5 [229.04 MB] http://www.underthethunder.org/uploads/20180515-CHASE2018-Day5.pdf
Day 6   [56.95 MB] http://www.underthethunder.org/uploads/20180516-CHASE2018-Day6.pdf
Day 7  [72.93 MB]  http://www.underthethunder.org/uploads/20180517-CHASE2018-Day7.pdf
Day 8  [56.95 MB]  http://www.underthethunder.org/uploads/20180518-CHASE2018-Day8.pdf
Day 9  [26.46 MB]  http://www.underthethunder.org/uploads/20180519-CHASE2018-Day9.pdf

Apologies for the delays.

 

 

20180514 – CHASE2018 – Day 4

5:50 am – Woke. Could not get back to sleep
8:00 am – Packed. Showered. “Urrrr, morning sure comes early around here”
9:00 am – Checked out; ate breakfast (all bags are with me in the breakfast room). Chatted with Eric, Georgia, Evelyn, Helwig and Petri (Peter).
10:00am – Intros, safety lecture, weather briefing

11:15 am – depart hotel. Head west on I-40
11:57am – exit WB I-40 for Watonga, OK


2:00pm – Ate a salad for lunch at Gambino’s Pizza


3:35pm – continue on US281N into Kansas. Stopped at Kiowa, KS, home of the Kiowa County Museum.
Pit stop. Fuel stop. Sky stop.
4:08pm – depart Kiowa.
4:20pm – back in Oklahoma
4:55pm – pass south through Cherokee, OK (Gateway to the Salt Plains and more!)
5:29pm – shade stop. Almost 100°F! Towering cumulus clod to our northeast. We have stopped to observe.


6:00pm – depart Carmen, OK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6:34pm – Major County, OK
7:25pm – Return to Carmen, to keep on our severe-warned storm. Losing our daylight!

11:30pm – We arrive at the Northwest Inn, Woodward, OK.  Right now, a comfortable bed and free breakfast mde-to-order in the morning sounds pretty wonderful!


(Daytime photo, obviously!)

[Revisions and cleanup to come later]

20180511 – CHASE2018- Day 1

11:02 AM – depart office promptly

11:45 AM – Depart from I-355, entering I-55 southbound. Drove through a brief call shower.

12:28 PM – Passed by Dwight, Illinois. Just saw a northbound Amtrak train heading to Chicago. Feels very like in my childhood memory of travel between Rockford and Monmouth, Illinois. The family used to travel US 34. We used to see many trains along that route. (Sorry, no picture, as I am in traffic.)

Traffic has slowed to a crawl. Seems there is some roadwork or a police action of a head up ahead.
“Work zone speed limit 55 mph.” (Actual speed 24, but it has been 10 mph for the last 10 minutes. Do the math!)  And there they are: those people who see the merge signs for the last 2 miles and wait to the last minute to join traffic because they think that the rest of us are stupid and will let them in. And it only takes one generous person to make them right. Now four lanes have become two lanes, one northbound one southbound. The southbound lanes of I-55 or being revealed re-built. (76.3 miles into the trip)

12:49 PM – Left the construction zone at exit 201, Continuing south on I 55. Detour signs indicating the delay was about 13 minutes with results. That feels about right. (Around Pontiac, Illinois)

1:03 PM – South of Pontiac, Illinois. It is wonderfully flat and open near here. This is prime central Illinois chase country. You can see all the way to the Verizon in almost every direction. And the landscape is almost completely free of distractions, except for the occasional microwave, cellular, or radio tower. There are power lines in the distance. A few scattered trees, I’m really not much here. Basically a blank canvas on which to paint a memory. (Tried to take a picture here, it was cut in half the long horizontal. What’s up with that?)  I have moved far enough south that I have left the 60°F weather in Chicago and I’m surrounded by 80°F temperatures.

1:36PM – stopped at rest area south of Bloomington-Normal, to stretch my legs, visit the restroom, and grab a light snack. Leving the Illinois pollination exhibit behind, By-bye busy little bee!

1:48 PM – Departed rest stop. Continuing south to St. Louis

2:02 PM – Passing the NWS weather radar at Lincoln Illinois (KILX).  It is approximately the midpoint between Chicago and St. Louis along interstate 55.

2:24 PM – travel note: 555 mile post 104 is the location of a rest area on the southbound traffic. This is a little closer to the midpoint of the Chicago St. Louis leg of the journey.

3:24 PM – Just outside St. Louis. Traffic has crawled to a near halt due to construction. We are
grinding along and about 20 miles an hour. Looks like the right lane is closed ahead. We are just south of Worden.

3:37 PM – Exited the construction zone. Very lucky to only have two delays in Illinois. On certain past trips I had 50 miles of construction; this time wasn’t so bad.

4:10 PM – Welcome to Missouri. Took I-255 across to I_44 and beyond. Definitely better than going downtown during rush hour. Temperature here is 91°F. It is like summer! I am loving every minute of it.

5:40 PM- fuel/bathroom/food stop at Roll, Missouri.

8:08 PM – Arrived at Motel 6 North, Springfield, Missouri. Feeling tired but very happy. So THIS is what vacation feels like, I had almost forgotten! Unpacked the van then went to sleep (gently). Zzzzzzz.

TODAY’S ROUTE: 499.3 miles as shown below (map courtesy of DeLorme Street Atlas 2014):

 

20180510 – Nebraska, You’re calling my name!

Today, I’m working my last full day before vacation.

The good news: the atmosphere is NOT stalled out, but storms are happening.
The bad news: I’m hundreds of mile away, and can only admire them from afar.

That beautiful tight ENHANCED blob will provide entertain for somebody. Just not me.

#GoodHunting to those of you who can get there. Take good pictures, please!

20180503 – Meanwhile in Oklahoma

Nothing feels worse than seeing a good storm on your radar app, but being sidelined due to work commitments. Here I am, stuck in Chicago while good storms are going on in the field.  (Yes, there was a confirmed tornado corresponding to the radar image above.)

A brief seasonal introduction

Howdy!

My name is Lisa Beal. I’ll be touring with Tempest for my 15th trip this year. Where has the time gone!

I’m nearing retirement, but still have plenty of energy for storm days. I’ll need it: I usually carry a hefty assortment of gadgets, earning the name Gadget Girl on tours past.

I live in the southwest suburbs of Chicago, in Bolingbrook, Illinois, and I work as an IT middleware engineer (that means I make big servers go, go, go). Like my buddy, Owen, I’m tied to a keyboard most of my waking hours — and sometimes those hours run really long. To maintain my sanity, I will NOT be answering calls from work on vacation. Would you?

My typical chase-cation starts with a drive to Oklahoma city, usually with a stopover near friends on the way. And I take about 3 days to get home afterwards, if severe weather is around for chasing. I have a dedicated chase vehicle (“Gadgetmobile II“, as the first one was gracefully retired in 2007), and like chase in groups, with a friend or two, or solo. “Gadgetmobile III” is coming soon, probably at the end of the model year (and, yes, I’m leaning toward SUV for the next one).

I’ll be arriving in Oklahoma City on the Saturday evening before the trip so if anyone is wanting to explore locally, let me know!Usually, I make a trip to WalMart on the Sunday before departure, and it is pretty usual to have 2-3 others with me for that store run. let me know if you need to do that.
Text me … to connect for that store run, a lunch or dinner on Sunday, etc. I welcome the company.

II cannot say enough good things about the Tempest crew, especially Bill Reid. He is the storm whisperer, and has put me in front of at least 30 of the tornadoes I’ve seen, among the 50 total I’ve seen. Bill is also an excellent photographer. Don’t be shy if you need camera advice. His his very solid advice.

I will be blogging each evening (or early the next morning) after each chase day. Look for updates at
http://www.underthethunder.org/blog/2018/05/
(once I set it up, in the next few days) . I’ll also be posting (after the fact) to Facebook &/or Twitter. I’m user polarpal99 on both.

See you soon!
lisaB

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.)