Category Archives: Chase Day

Chase Day

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):

 

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

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.

image image image

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.

image image image image image image image

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.

 

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*

img_8224-1.jpg

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.

img_8225.jpg img_8226.jpgimg_8232.jpgimg_8231.jpg

 

??:?? 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!

img_8236.jpg

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):

img_8237.jpg

 

 

Miscellaneous photos:

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

_summary_

 

 

(I’ll add the day’s summary later)

12May2016 Thursday : A Brief Introduction of … me

Photo: Lisa "Gadget Girl" Beal

Lisa “Gadget Girl” Beal

Hey, gang!

Some of you have chased with me before and some of you haven’t met Gadget Girl before, so here’s a bit about me.

I am a former polar explorer (3 years contracting for the U.S. Antarctic Program (USAP)), a career computer technologist, and — Surprise! — a storm chaser. I’ve been chasing in several forms now for 20 years: I go with tour groups, chase with a few local teams, and chase solo. I’ve seen about 3 dozen tornadoes and uncounted severe storms in that time. I still have plenty to learn, but I know enough to keep myself safe chasing and doing storm spotting for my local emergency management agency.

I’ve chased with Tempest Tours since 2002 (though I’ve missed a few seasons, due to job or economic constraints). If my count is correct, my 2016 trip will be my 14th chase with Tempest. I guess you become a regular after spending over 100 days with these folks. You may find other excellent tour companies, but none better! If I had all the money I could ask for, I’d still choose Martin Lisius and Bill Reid to guide me ‘under the thunder.’ (Yes, I use that expression a lot!) I would have to say that about 2/3 of the tornadoes I’ve seen in my life were with Tempest.

I tend to favor chasing in May, since we cover a broad range of the central and southern plains during a ten-day stint. I’ve found that this makes for better ‘blue sky’ days, as well as lots of target choices when the weather is active.

If you were to ask those who’ve chased with me before, they’d probably tell you I carry a lot of ‘toys’ and invariably am the unofficial IT helper for the tour. If your technology gets messed up, please feel free to ask me for help. I do not know every thing about every gadget or software package, but I give good guidance, tend to be generous with my time, and derive great satisfaction from helping others. (I also speak a little Spanish, should the need arise; I spent a lot of time translating for one guest a few years back.)

Also, those of you who know me will note that I’ve dropped about 80 pounds since last year. This is partially due to a (usually) strict low-carbohydrate diet, better commitment to exercise than I’ve had in years past, and the mysteries of modern medicine. You’ll see me eating a lot of salads, but trust me, I’m really enjoying myself.

One last thing: I sometimes talk too much. Feel free to stop me!

S M I L E S,
Lisa B

11May2016 Wednesday: Rumble in my ‘hood

Thunder and lightning are at my door. Nothing severe here, but I feel like I’m being teased. Note: the two odd-shaped polygons in the center circle are the city limits for Naperville, Illinois (where I volunteer for the emergency management agency’s weather desk) and neighboring Bolingbrook, where I live.

20160511-2219C-KLOT-CR

I’m going through my pre-vacation checklist. I just finished one deceptively small item: cleaning my Nikon camera lenses, a two-hour job, thanks to not doing it in a very long time. Beats having dirty lenses!!

Here’s what’ was left of a much longer list when I started my work day:

  • Re-check with Tempest office – confirm all paperwork, T-shirt size (medium) etc. in good order. Let them know I am driving down, not flying – Thu
  • Respond to introductions (email) once they arrive – Wed
  • Computer and media checks:
    • Test laptop  – done
    • Test 3 TB hard drive – done
    • Format memory cards (an evening’s work) – Thu
  • Prepare vacation task list for work – Thu
  • Clean and check all Nikon lenses and camera – done
  • Utilities, etc. in VACATION mode – by departure date
    • Mail held at post office – done
    • Water –  a.m. of departure day
    • Gas – water heater – a.m. of departure day
  • Update travel plans with my U.K. contingent:
    • Sun 08 May – done
    • Wed 11 May – done
    • Fri 13 May
    • Sat 14 May
    • Sun 15 May