Category Archives: Logbook

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

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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.

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!

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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):

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

CHASE2014: Season Plan/Summary

Here is the overall plan for my 2014 storm season (which I’ll update as events warrant):

CHASE 2014 DAILY JOURNAL

DATEDAYSTARTENDMILESREMARKSSEMINARS/CLASSROOM TRAINING: 14 FebruaryFridayBolingbrookILDenverCO-ChaserCon2014-minilogoChaserCon 2014 – day 1 (convention)
http://www.chasercon.com/15 FebruarySaturdayDenverCO—ChaserCon2014-minilogoChaserCon 2014 – day 2 (convention)
http://www.chasercon.com/16 FebruarySundayDenverCOBolingbrookIL-ChaserCon2014-minilogoChaserCon 2014 – day 3 (convention)
http://www.chasercon.com/11 MarchTuesdayBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-nexradNaperville EMA
Radar class (#1 of 3)
Weather Command Class I
http://www.napervilleema.org12 MarchWednesdayBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-nexradNEMA Spotter Training (mandatory)
http://www.napervilleema.org15 MarchSaturdayBolingbrookILWheatonIL-nexradDuPage OHSEM Advanced
Spotter Training (seminar)
http://www.dupagesevereweather.com26 MarchWednesdayBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-nexradNaperville EMA
Radar class (#2 of 3)
Weather Command Class II
http://www.napervilleema.org09 AprilWednesdayBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-nexradNaperville EMA
Radar class (#3 of 3)
Weather Command Class III
http://www.napervilleema.orgTBAPOSTPONEDBolingbrookILNapervilleIL-first-aidBlood-borne Pathogens (mandatory)
http://www.napervilleema.orgSOUTHERN/GREAT PLAINS CHASES: mid-May: 4060 miles / 11 days

 09 MaySaturdayBolingbrookIL––Prologue10 MaySaturdayBolingbrookILOklahoma CityOK–TRAVEL11 MaySundayOklahoma CityOK—PLAYING TOURIST12 MayMondayOklahoma CityOK______DAY 1: ORIENTATION; DEPART BASE13 MayTuesday_________DAY 2: _14 MayWednesday_________DAY 3: _15 MayThursday_________DAY 4: _16 MayFriday_________DAY 5: _17 MaySaturday_________DAY 6: _18 MaySunday_________DAY 7: _19 MayMonday_________DAY 8: _20 MayTuesday_________DAY 9: _21 MayWednesday_________DAY 10: _22 MayThursday_________DAY 11: RETURN TO BASE23 MayFridayOklahoma CityOKBolingbrookIL___Homeward bound24 MaySaturdayBolingbrookIL   EpilogueIL/IA CHASES/SPOTTING: Chaser/spotter fun within 300 miles of home
(TBA)(TBA)BolingbrookIL(TBA)– VIRTUAL CHASES/SPOTTING: Like chasing without leaving home (or the office)
(TBA)(TBA)BolingbrookIL(TBA)–


COLOR CODE
Plan was to not chase GRAY
Planned Chase Day (future) YELLOW
Available to chase; no weather (“blue-skied”) BLUE
Chase Day (available and expect stormy weather) GREEN
Weather Stormy, but not available for chasing RED
BUST DAY – no severe storms where we looked!
ORANGE
Training Day
WHITE
Accommodations Restaurants Tools Web Links

NOTE: The restaurant and accommodations links will be dead until I get out in the field.

12 June 2013 – Eyes on the Chi-town Skies

This morning started with a MOD RISK declared for Chicago and environs:

20130612-1409Z-day1otlk_1300

There was also much discussion about a HIGH RISK being declared, with a focus on the severe wind and hail threats:

20130612-1409Z-day1probotlk_1300_wind

20130612-1409Z-day1probotlk_1300_hail

While the tornado threat has been downplayed, I feel a bit wary about the hatched 10%(+) area:

20130612-1409Z-day1probotlk_1300_torn

Even early in the day, the severe parameters show signs of moving ‘into the hot zone’ later today:

We’ll have to watch this one carefully (as Gilbert Sebenste pointed out in my Facebook news feed). Gilbert is a respected expert in Northern Illinois weather, and I’m glad we have him watching our area.  He’s generous with his knowledge and is a great natural teacher. (Frankly, I wish there was some way I could carve out time to attend either his meteorology classes or the one’s Paul Sirvatka teaches at College of DuPage. Both of the gentlemen have a great sever weather sense, and I’d be delighted if their wisdom would rub off on me. I could always use more.)

11:00am:
As the morning wore on, the air was increasingly humid.  Definitely, “air ya kin wear’, to use a Northern Virginia-ism.

14:30CDT:
Per http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/watch/ww0298.html , A PDS (particularly dangerous situation) area has been issued to our west:

A rare Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) Tornado Watch 298

A rare PDS watch issued nearby

Certain aspects of today remind me of the

August 4, 2008 derecho event
.  On that day, the EF1 tornado in Bolingbrook, Illinois passed less than a mile south of my house. Too close for comfort!

07 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 7

07 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 7

06:47 – Wake, shower

08:15 – As I’m toweling down from my shower, I get a call from Danny: briefing over. I had written 08:30 down. Oh, crap! “Run, Forrest, run!”

08:30 – Depart Plainview, heading north to Kansas.

10:22 – Continue north from Amarillo,TX, after a stop for bathrooms and a McDonald’s run.

_____ –

20130507-102743.jpg

11:00 – stopped at (adjacent) Walmart and Verizon stores in Dumas, TX. Dang! They do not carry the myCharge device I wanted to buy. Jenna is getting good use out of mine, but I still need one, too. I’ll try to find one later.

11:40 – Angled northeast toward Guymon, OK on US54.

12:06 – Cross into Oklahoma at
Texhoma.

13:30 – Lunch at the Subway in Hugoton, KS

14:00 – Continue north on KS25 through Ulysses, KS. Developing storms are building to our north.

15:00? – pit stop at Lakin, KS

16:05 – Headed north from Scott City, KS

16:15 – east on KS4 toward Healey

20130507-162040.jpg

1745 – Heading south towards Dighton on KS23, we briefly encounter quarter-sized hail. (I submitted an mPing report.)

1806. – Charged east of Leighton toward Ness City. Trying to get ahead of our hailer.

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______ – We catch a photogenic storm. Many photos, which Jim Reed will critique for me.

.
.
.

23:00 – Arrive At Dodge City Days Inn. A neighbor is engaged in a knock-down, drAgged-out argument; the hallways look like something from The. Brady Bunch era. Wow!

23:30 – We grab dinner at Applebee’s, then turn in for the night.

(More photos soon)

06 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 6

06 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 6

10:00 – We sing Happy Birthday to Bill Reid, our meteorologist and main guide. Bill does the weather briefing: chances for storms are rising, chance of severe to be non-zero, too.

11:00 – depart Van Horn, TX for New Mexico. We are positioning to be close to the OK/TX Panhandle – western Kansas area tomorrow.

_____ – stop at Guadalupe Mountain (highest point in Texas) for photos.

_____ – stop at NM/TX line for photos of the welcomes signs.

13:45 (CDT) – stop at Danny’s Place (REAL PIT BBQ) in Carlsbad, NM (the one with the famed Carlsbad Caverns).

17:45 – Exit Roswell, NM via US70N. Fueled up. No aliens sighted.

_____ – ___

_____ – ___

_____ – ___

_____ – ___

01 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 1

01 May 2013 – CHASE 2013 – DAY 1 – Oklahoma and Texas

06:15 – Wake; morning chores;; pack bags

07:30 – Drop bags at Holiday Inn; return rental car

08:00 – Return to Wyngate via shuttle; eat breakfast.

08:30 – Walk to Holiday Inn; meet other chasers; do introductions and safety briefing,

10:30 – Pack vans, grab cameras and head for Wichita Falls , TX then toward Abilene.

20130501-111322.jpg

12:50 – Rest stop then lunch 20 minutes later (just north of Wichita Falls, TX).

13:20 – Continue southwest from Wichita Falls on US277.

15:12 – stop at Munday for bathrooms, fuel, food. Continue southeast

17:15 – turn back north from Albany on US283. Storms with 55,000 foot have developed along I44 in southern OK, with the line spreading into our area. We are in a severe storm watch box.

18:00 – sky stop. We see a storm with a hard back sheared, take photos as it evolves.

20130501-135701.jpg18:30 – depart south on US283 as the cold outflow breeze of the storm invades.

20130501-234905.jpg

Air being pulled up into the storm

Air being pulled up into the storm, near Throckmorton, TX, 01 May 2013

19:35 – we duck south, bit by bit, trying to keep out of monster (2.5-inch or larger) hail. At one point we can to the hail roar of the storm. (Hail roar is the sound of large hail hitting the ground, cars, rooftops, etc. It can sound like thunder only it can last for minutes at a time.)

 

20:30 – We stop west of Albany,TX, where we witness a spectacular display of spider lightning. I have embarrassing camera issues here, because I miss a control setting. Our team leader helps me figure it out, but I miss the best part of the lightning. To add insult to injury, the Storm Prediction Center indicates an unfavorable weather pattern (for storm chasers) for at least three days. I feel terribly frustrated.

Still, I captured a little bit:

Spider Lightning,

Spider Lightning, 01 May 2013, just west of Albany, TX

22:30 – We depart for our hotel after a fast food dinner at the Dairy Queen in Fort Griffin.

23:00 – We check into The Ridge Motel in Breckinridge,TX.
23:46 – turn in for the night. I’m exhausted physically and emotionally.