16 May 2021: INTERIM UPDATE:

07:00: wakeup call
08:00: breakfast
10:00: briefing:

Shear: xxxx
Lift: xxxx
Instability: xxxx
Moisture: xxxx

xx:xx: Pass Happy, TX (Saw an F3 tornado here on May 5, 2002
xx:xx: East of Tulia, TX – Stop to discuss storm options
18:24: Olton, TX – model stop
19:34- Sudan, TX – funnel cloud in progress; tornado develops 2 minutes later. Tornado stays on the ground 6 minutes.

After a moderately long drive from the Guymon, OK, we caught this photogenic tornado a few miles from Sudan, TX:


A more complete update (with details of the forecast, chase strategy, and maps) will be posted later.

MAPS of the day’s route:

20210510 – Oklahoma City – Del Rio, TX – Borderland Thunderbumper (DRAFT)

Start – Oklahoma City,OK
End – Del Rio, TX
Distance– 669 miles (664mi captured on GPS track)
DRAFT – map and more photos to be added soon

07:00 – Wake up call; packed my gear; morning chores

07:30: Light breakfast with a couple of my fellow travelers

08:15: Pack my gear in the #2 Tempest van

08:30: Morning briefing : We are heading to South Texas, as it is the only area with a slight risk of storms.

09:00: Depart Oklahoma City on I 44, possibly the bumpiest the interstate in the country

10:41- Enter Texas, crossing the Red River. It is obviously a drought year as much of the riverbed is visible.

11:01 – Depart Wichita Falls on US277S.

13:01: Around Anson, TX, follow US 83, Passing by Abilene and many smaller town.

15:59: Anvil Time! South of Junction, TX (and I-10), we choose our first storm for the day. We are in rugged territory south of interstate 10. The road network here is very sparse, so we have to choose carefully. The cost of a mistake is missing a storm and ending up several hours travel from the next one.

1850: Decision Point! First storm fizzles, so choose our second storm of the day. Daylight is running out, but there is still atmospheric energy to fuel a good storm.

20:40: We briefly see a conical lowering that could be a funnel. Our storm gets tornado warning, probably for this feature which might be interpreted as a developing Tornado.

21:10: We arrive at the La Quinta motel in Del Rio, TX. We grab our gear and pack it in for the night


20210507 – Travel Day 1 (Bolingbrook,IL-Springfield,MO)

ROUTE: Bolingbrook, IL – Springfield, MO:

06:00 – wake-up, shower, etc.

07:00-11:00 – work from home, online, that is. (Don’t lots of folks do that now?)

11:00 – Lunch at Charlie’s (Bolingbrook Clow International Airport).
(They have scheduled flights to Canada, so ‘International” is quite real.)

12:12 – Depart Bolingbrook Airport, traveling southwest on I-55S.

14:09 – A brief pit stop in Atlanta, IL. Still good on fuel!

14:22 – Resume southwesterly course on I-55S

15:25 – Oh no. traffic jam!

17:28 – Refuel at St. Clair, MO, just west of Six Flags enough to avoid paying a premium price for gasoline.

2100 – Arrive at Red Roof Inn, Springfield. Check in then eat dinner at Jimm’s Steakhouse and Pub. Had the monstrously generous prime rib dip (like a classic French dip, but using prime rib). Too much food!

2315 – bed time.



20210502 – 2021 Shakedown Cruise #2

After building a fairly long list on shakedown cruise number one, it just makes good sense to do a second shake down and see what remains that list.

1145 – Lunch with Joe and Barb

1400 – Depart for Iowa 80 Truck Stop in Wolcott, Iowa. It was, at one time, the world’s largest truck stop. Supposedly a larger one was being built in Russia, but I’m not sure that ever happened. Needless to say, the place is huge, and technically qualifies as a national landmark.  It also happens to be reasonable distance from home. Depending on conditions such as weather, construction, traffic, the drive can be anything from 2 to 3 hours. (And on this occasion, it was just barely two.)

1559 – Cross the Mississippi river on the interstate 80, entering Iowa. (Upon inspecting my video after returning home, I find out that the crossing was captured on the starboard wyzecam. A nice surprise: the camera system delivered on its promise)

(insert link to crossing video later)

1615 – Arrive at the Iowa 80 Truck Stop. As it turns out, the shakedown cruise is also a test of the driver. I make a hasty run to the bathroom, and discover I am in real need of some Imodium AD. Given that I had a recent battle with “full on” diarrhea, I don’t mess around: I take a large adult dose of this medicine immediately (and do not have a problem with “digestive distress” for the rest of the trip, thankfully). I take a quick moment for some photos at the truckstop. To paraphrase Peewee Herman, “It’ll last longer if you’ll take a picture!”

1645 – Make a brief stop at the National Weather Service, located at Davenport airport. Grab a quick picture of myself in front of Weather radar

1655 – head back across the Mississippi and onward to home

1915 – Arrive at home. Goodness, I made good time driving back. The WyzeCams seem to be dropping out every once in a while, perhaps because the laptop is running low on space on the way back, but I do not stop to investigate. I just want to get home given the delicate state of my digestive tract.

2030 – Time to call it a day. And a good day it was. It seems the afjustments that I made in response to the to do list from the first shakedown cruise have been effective. I did not test the camera mounts but have a pretty good idea that I need to adjust the friction on the I pistol grip for the DSLR camera.

20210417 – CameraFest 2021

07:00: woke up for the day

09:45: doctors appointment; give blood sample for A1 C test

11:45: lunch with Joe and Barb

12:45: ran some camera tests in the van. Four of the five wyzecam V2 units are working

13:00: started debugging Camera 5

13:30: all five cameras working

14:00: went to Home Depot to get Velcro for  mounting the cameras (semi- permanently)

15:00: started the process of choosing permanent mounting positions for the cameras.

This process was much more lengthy than I anticipated.

17:00: cameras placed and Velcro mounted

18:00: dinner break and watch some TV

20:00: created 6 microSDHC Cards with the rtsp capable image for the cameras.

20:30: inserted micro SDHC cards in two cameras. Report camera ejected the card unceremoniously, sending it to parts unknown. Spent 30 minutes looking for the annoying little card, but did not find it. Looked outside the vehicle to make sure it was not underneath. Will look again in the morning when I have better light. Extremely frustrating to have such a positive day and have a airborne micro SDHC card mess it up. I’m a little upset with myself for not quitting when I was ahead.







2021 Test Drive 1

I took a 90-minute test drive of the chase vehicle and the technology onboard

Here’s a list of issues I’ve found:

      1. The camera mounts easily loosened up. Fortunately, the camera “droop” did no damage to the cameras.

  1. The GPS puck is seen by Franson GPSgate, but it’s output is not seen by GRlevel3 or other applications.
  2. The dashcam needed to be tested beyond seeing it power up and display a video of the road ahead.
  3. The cabling clean-up has yet to begin, but should be a fast task. Last year’s set up is unchanged, except for the mysterious disappearance of the original dashcam micro-USB cable. I replaced it today, but have some disconnected cables dangling.
  4. The rear seat’s Android tablet needs to be re-installed.
  5. Luggage space needs to be reclaimed. It’s full of bric-a-brack at the moment.
  6. The iPhone bracket need to have the stabilizer arm glued into place. It came off in my hand! WTF??
  7. The antenna cluster needs to be road tested. It was ‘indoors’ today. One antenna needs to be glued to its mag-mount.

All this amounts to another weekend afternoon spent with this new ‘to do’ list.

20190603 – Under the … Workload

Hi, all-

After a successful chase tour and an extra few days chasing — with nothing but a REALLY well-washed van to show for the latter period), I’m back to work.  I’m focused on recharging myself, as work has been insanely busy this last week.

My next chase-related activity will be extracting the videos and stills from my GoPro cameras and Nikon D7000, respectively.  I have also spent a little bit of time cleaning up my GPS tracks, as several dropout occurred during track recording.  Hopefully, I can recover (or reconstruct) the lost tracks, so I do not have to beg for them from fellow travelers, a last resort.

Hoping to have a REAL update for you by this coming weekend (08-09 June).


20190522 – 10% Hatch Surprise

This morning held a pleasant surprise: the SPC has put a 10% hatched (EF2+) risk blob up, where there was none yesterday.




I’m a little bit tired, but will catch up on writing later.

To sum up:  there was a 10% tornado risk this morning (more than we expected given yesterday‘s day two predictions), but development of storms did not follow the pattern we be expected. We did briefly see some interesting features (like a wall cloud by Mulhall), but nothing hinting at tornadoes. More violent weather was off to our Northeast, into an area with very dodgy roads (due to flooding, shown here in a couple pictures below). While we could have gotten show those areas, the risk of being trapped by floodwaters or sinking our vehicle up to the axles in mud was simply not worth it.

Congratulations to those who did see tornadoes this day. We would have loved to join you, but with a group of 16 people we could not risk getting stuck. I’ll be watching for your spectacular pictures on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media outlets.

(Text updates coming later)

(Descriptions of photos coming later)

Enjoy these pictures meanwhile!