Category Archives: Travel Notes

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

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

ChaserCon 2016 – Friday -Day 1

0230 – alarm sounds

0300 – depart home; gas up car

0340 – arrive at offsite ParkWhiz Nguyen for Chicago Midway

0410 – arrive at airport via parking shuttle

0556 – on board flight WN2653, bound for Dallas

0611 – De-icing treatment  

0620 -wheels up

0710 – daybreak. I snuck in a short nap.

0730 – sunrise reflected the off whitecaps 

0820 – arrive in Dallas

0850 – waiting on my flight to OKC. I would grab a Whataburger, but the airport price is $7. Too much for a burger!

1030 –

1200 – met by Lynda Whitfield and Cori Krehm, my regular ChaserCon homegirls. We headed to the Twistex Memorial

Later – …

Day 6: 14May2015 – Northward, Ho!

[My apologies: these are very rough notes, but I will refine them later. Enjoy!]

 

0900 – briefing

We will be positioning far to the north, in preparation for an active day in Nebraska on Friday:

 

Machine generated alternative text: Sprint •e  09:37  spc.noaa.gov  86%

 

Machine generated alternative text: Day 2 Risk  SLIGHT  MARGINAL  Sprint  09:11  spc.noaa.gov  96%  2: SLGT  HIGH  May 14, 2015 0600 UTC Day 2 Convective Outlook  Updated: Thu May 14 05:58:05 UTC 2015 (O, |  Probabilistic to Categorical Outlook Conversion Table  Categorical Graphic  SPC DAV 2 CATEGORICAL OUTLOOK  ISSUED:  VALID: tsn200z-16na:nz  FORECASTER. DIAL  Outlook  Area mi.)  49,736  166,508  Area Pop.  473,733  4616813  Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area  Grand Island, NE...Kearney, NE...North Platte,  NE...Hastings, NE...Columbus, NE...  Omaha, NE...Wichita, KS...Linc01n, NE...Lubbock,  TX...Amarillo, TX...  —n—Oklåh6hG'CiiibK...Kansas City, MO... Isa, o es  SPC DAV 2 PROBABILISTIC OUTLOOK  ISSUED: cS58Z  VALID: Isn200z-16nzoz  FORECASTER: DIAL  NOAA/NI•VS Prediction Center. Norman. Oklahoma  Moines, IA...Overland Park, KS..  Probabilistic Graphic  Total Severe Probability Legend (in S):  Probability of severe weather within 25 miles of a point.  Hatched Area: 10% or greater probability of significant severe within 25 miles of a point.

 

 

 

0945 – dot hotel

1000CDT –  depart Love’s in south Lubbock

1015CDT – depart
Walgreen store in downtown Lubbock on I-27 N (where we picked up AB’s Rx)

____ – at
Amarillo,TX

 

13:37CDT – depart
China Buffet, Dumas, TX

____-  Depart Stripes c-store in Iraan, TX

14:28CDT – enter OK

15:18CDT/14:18MDY
–  enter CO (Time zone change)

 

17:18CDT –

 

Machine generated alternative text: Sprint  Stop  Altitude  3592 ft  Waypoint  sland  3G  16:46  .. . w 315.......N..  2950  COIumbus-  00:00 /mi  ETA  14748 hr 52 m  540.50 mi 186.90  Time  Distance  Giassli  —Amarill  318.77 mi  IkÅk'syA»s  OKLAH  GPS: i- 16 ft Alt: 13 ft  38.117405, -102.604171  GPS Data  Map  Waypoints  Tracks  Settings

16:46MDT – we move
north toward Lamar

 

Machine generated alternative text: e...o Sprint  Stop  Altitude  3581 ft  Waypoint  16:54  .....45........É.  .135...  850  540.49 mi 187.10  800/0  63.8 mph  ETA  13 hr 14m  Time  Distance  320.38 mi  'L6gal  GPS Data  Map  GPS: 33 ft Alt: 20 ft  38.114554, -102.576009  Waypoints  Tracks  Settings

 

1655MDT – E from
Lamar

 

Machine generated alternative text: Cheyenne Wells  eld  Sharon Springs  Tribune  ich  'Daniel Shav  cJohnson  FM01ton  Leoti  heal nv  Hugoion  Scott City  eßarden  Haskell  Sublet  Sewa-

 

 

1732MDT- at Holly,CO

 

Machine generated alternative text: Goodland, KS  KGLD  10  17:35 MDT 5/14/15  Tribune  Johnson City  Manter  Last Updated: 17:42  Composite Reflectivity  Sheridan Lake  Hartman  Granada  Buttes  VCP: 212 Precip Mode

_____ – enter  KS

 

Machine generated alternative text: Goodland, KS  KGLD  10  17:51 MDT 5/14/15  Hartman  anada  Holly  VCP: 212 Precip Mode  Coolidge  Syocuse  Johnson Cit  Last Updated: 17:56  Composite Reflectivity

______ – S from
Syracuse

 

(insert Nikon
photos, GoPro video here)

___ – extended sky
stop to observe tiered supercell to our west

20:02MDT – stop at
Love’s c-store in Syracuse, KS
  

Amateur Astronaut Checklist – 2015 edition

Every year my gadget collection evolves, as gear wears out or needs a technology refresh to keep up with new capabilities in the field.  The following checklist (and its predecessors) have been my constant companion for over 10 years:

The ever-evolving checklist, obviously technology-driven

The ever-evolving checklist, obviously technology-driven (click to enlarge)

Without the list, I’d be rushing off on certain mornings, only to return to the motel where I’d left a key piece of gear.

I learned the lesson years ago when a member of the tour staff left an expensive camera in Norfolk, Nebraska.  We returned several days later to collect the missing camera, but only after frantic phone calls and changes to our positioning strategy to allow the return. While the camera had been turned over to the local police department, it could have just have easily disappeared.  After witnessing the anguish suffered by my chase companion, I decided not to repeat his experience. Thus, the list was born.

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.

22 May 2014 – [DRAFT]

0730MDT – wake; blog; pack

0845 – breakfast: scrambled eggs to-order

1000 – Depart Stratton, CO. I’ve missed the briefing (or vice versa). We are heading to the TX/NM border area,
where we expect to encounter a wind/hail event. Gustnadoes or a brief spin-up tornado are possible.
After the rain-wrapped tornado(es) near Denver, we are still a little vortex-hungry.

1132MDT – MD655 issued: NE/E NM, severe hail/wind event, evolving to MCS (http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0655.html)

1206 – Arrive at Lamar, CO; we grad a quick Burger King lunch. I actually am one of the first to the counter, so I get to sit and eat for a change. I grab a large cup of ice with a bit of water added. I’ll use this to re-stock my Monster beverage canteen as we go. This canteen is still going strong after 3 days, unlike its predecessors that were dented and crushed by the change in atmospheric pressure as we descended from the mountains.

1207MDT – MD656 issued for SE WY, NE/central CO: wind/hail threat (http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0656.html)

1348MDT – Pass through Campo, CO (“You’re welcome, Eric!”)

____ – MD658 issued for TX panhandle and western OK: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0658.html

____ – MD663 issued: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0663.html

1356MDT/1456CDT – enter OK, Central time

____ – We cross into Texas (our 8th state of the trip) from the north, bypassing New Mexico for the moment. [We never get there, actually.]

1556CDT – Conlen, TX (home of “Tall Tex” statue; http://www.agilitynut.com/11/4/conlen4.jpg , http://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/11608)

Scary “Tex” statue at Conlen, TX (photo: RoadSideAmerica,com)

____ – We take a backroads (FM (farm) roads), some paved, some gravel, some plain dirt. Yee-haw!

____ – We spot dusty storm outflow in the distance, We are entering the storm boundary, where we have some chance
to see brief gustnadoes or tornadoes. We blast south a ways.

____ – We flee the blowing dust, moving east then south for a better view.

____ – Bill sees a suspicious cloud on our 9-o’clock, so he stops us for a look. Possible weak tornado is pulling
dirt up from the ground. We spot a funnel above, but the dust makes photography difficult. Tough to focus
me and my camera as I chew on the dust that these Texas winds are forcing into my teeth.

____ – As we retreat, the roads are almost totally obscured. Our drivers do an excellent job keeping from from
driving into a field (or each other). Visibility is only a couple hundred feet, as best.

____ – We give up on the storms, as they are just blowing dust around and the prospects of a tornado are gone now.
We head for Shamrock, TX, where Bill has booked our rooms for the night.

____ – Arrive at Shamrock; we check into our rooms; 15 minutes later, we do a convenience store run a few blocks away. The C-store at US-83 and I-40 (the replacement for he epic US-66) has TONS of great souvenirs; Marina and Owen complete their refrigerator magnet collection of the 8 states we’ve visited: Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming, South Dakota, Colorado, and Texas (in order). We return to the motel for an impromptu party to celebrate our journey, recollect stories, and appreciate one another’s company one last evening.

0020 – Lights out!

[MORE INFO, DISORGANIZED, BELOW]

May 22, 2014 1630 UTC Day 1 Convective Outlook
Updated: Thu May 22 16:12:40 UTC 2014 (Print Version | | )

Probabilistic to Categorical Outlook Conversion Table

Categorical
Tornado
Wind
Hail

Population
Cities/Towns
CWAs
Interstates Counties
ARTCC FEMA Regions

Categorical Day1 1630Z Outlook

Risk Area (sq. mi.) Area Pop. Some Larger Population Centers in Risk Area
SLIGHT 259,763 43,926,981 New York, NY…Philadelphia, PA…Denver, CO…Baltimore, MD…Nashville, TN…

Forecast Discussion

SPC AC 221609

DAY 1 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
1109 AM CDT THU MAY 22 2014

VALID 221630Z – 231200Z

…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM NY SOUTHWARD INTO VA…

…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ACROSS PARTS OF THE TN
VALLEY…

…THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS ALONG THE FRONT RANGE OF WY/CO
SOUTHWARD INTO EASTERN NM/WEST TX…

…SUMMARY…
AREAS FROM THE CENTRAL APPALACHIANS WESTWARD TO THE MIDDLE
MISSISSIPPI VALLEY WILL EXPERIENCE NUMEROUS STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS
WITH DAMAGING WINDS AND HAIL TODAY. STRONG TO SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS
WITH ISOLATED DAMAGING WINDS AND HAIL SHOULD DEVELOP ACROSS PARTS OF
THE NORTHEAST AND MID-ATLANTIC.

STORMS WILL ERUPT ALONG THE FRONT RANGE OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS FROM
SOUTHEAST WYOMING TO COLORADO…AND ADJACENT AREAS OF THE SOUTHERN
AND CENTRAL HIGH PLAINS. SOME OF THESE STORMS WILL PRODUCE STRONG
WINDS AND HAIL.

…NY TO VA…
CYCLONIC NORTHWEST FLOW ALOFT IS PRESENT TODAY OVER THE GREAT LAKES
AND NORTHEAST STATES TODAY. VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY SUGGESTS
RELATIVELY STRONG HEATING AND DESTABILIZATION WILL OCCUR THIS
AFTERNOON FROM EASTERN NY INTO THE MID ATLANTIC REGION. THIS
CORRIDOR IS EXPECTED TO SEE SCATTERED THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT.
SUFFICIENT DEEP LAYER SHEAR WILL PROMOTE A FEW STRONG/SEVERE STORMS
CAPABLE OF HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS. REFER TO MESOSCALE DISCUSSION
653 FOR FURTHER DETAILS.

…TN VALLEY…
FULL SUNSHINE IS OCCURRING ACROSS PARTS OF KY/TN TODAY…WHERE
DEWPOINTS IN THE 60S WILL YIELD AFTERNOON MLCAPE VALUES OVER 2500
J/KG. WHILE ISOLATED TO WIDELY SCATTERED THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT
IS EXPECTED…WEAK FORCING AND SUBTLE UPPER RIDGING SUGGEST THAT
COVERAGE WILL BE LIMITED. THOSE STORMS THAT FORM WILL POSE A RISK
OF LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS. HAVE BACKED OFF ON HIGHER
PROBABILITIES OVER THIS AREA DUE TO CONCERNS REGARDING COVERAGE.

…WY/CO…
ISOLATED THUNDERSTORM DEVELOPMENT APPEARS LIKELY AGAIN TODAY ALONG
THE FRONT RANGE OF SOUTHEAST WY INTO CO. THE DCVZ WILL BE ACTIVE
AGAIN THIS AFTERNOON…FOCUSING A RISK OF SUPERCELL STORMS NEAR THE
DENVER AREA. STORM-SCALE MODELS SUGGEST CONVECTION OVER SOUTHEAST
CO MAY BE MORE WIDESPREAD TODAY…POSING A RISK OF LOCALLY GUSTY
WINDS AND HAIL.

…ERN NM/WEST TX…
THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO FORM ONCE AGAIN ALONG AND EAST OF THE
DRYLINE OVER EASTERN NM AND WEST TX. MULTICELL STORMS CAPABLE OF
DAMAGING WINDS AND HAIL WILL ONCE AGAIN BE A RISK.

..HART/SMITH.. 05/22/2014

CLICK TO GET WUUS01 PTSDY1 PRODUCT

NOTE: THE NEXT DAY 1 OUTLOOK IS SCHEDULED BY 2000Z
CURRENT UTC TIME: 1654Z (10:54AM), RELOAD THIS PAGE TO UPDATE THE TIME

Satellite image(s) [ABQ, vis]
generated from http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/satellite/ at Thu, 22 May 2014 16:58:54 GMT

NEXRAD radar image(s) [KPUX BREF1]
generated from http://weather.rap.ucar.edu/radar/ at Thu, 22 May 2014 17:00:12 GMT
Click image below for corresponding velocity image
If the image below is out of date try the latest image from the National Weather Service instead.

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EOD – _____







TRAVEL SUMMARY
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Route _
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