2016 Season Summary

08Here is the overall plan for my 2016 storm season (which I’ll update as events warrant):


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)
24Mar Thu Oak Brook,IL Naperville,IL
26 NEMA Radar Class #1: Rochelle, IL F4
07Apr Thu Oak Brook,IL Naperville,IL
26 NEMA Radar Class #2: TX outbreak
21Apr Thu Oak Brook,IL Naperville,IL
26 NEMA Radar Class #3: Mesovortices
12May Thu Bolingbrook,IL ??? Prologue
13May Fri Oak Brook,IL Kearney, MO 469 mi
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
DAY 02: The Unexpected
15May Sun Oklahoma City, OK Oklahoma City, OK 7 mi
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
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

Web Links

CHASE2014: Season Plan/Summary

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


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)

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!
Training Day
Accommodations Restaurants Tools Web Links

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

Sunday, 31 May 2009 – Raw Travel Notes

23MAY09 – OKC – Hays, KS (Positiion for tomorrow)

1400C – dpt – Wingate Inn, OKC
—-C – via I-35 to OK-KS line
—-C – through Wichita, KS (I-35/I-135)
—-C – via Salina, KS
—-C – end – Hays, KS – dinner: Whiskey Inn

24MAY09 – Hays, KS – via storm – Fort Morgan, CO

1000C – load vans; Wx briefing
—-C – dpt – Hays, KS
1627C – lv Pine Bluffs, WY
1635C – stop for cloud base
—-C – stop at Scottsbluff, NE
end – Fort Morgan, CO

note: FRED freq=457+ MHz (FRED is the radio transmitter on the rear of a freight train)

25MAY09 Fort Morgan, CO – via storms – Shamrock, TX

0910M – dpt Ft Morgan, CO
—– – N on I-76
—– – S on CO SR71 (“last gas for 75 miles”)
—– – S on US287 – Eads, CO to OK line
—– – via Lautz,TX
—– – E on FM1573 twd McKibben,TX
—– – via US 83 thru Canadian, TX (storm to SE)
—– – FM277 twd Allison
—– – back N to canadian
—– – S to Shamrock, TX
—– – END: Shamrock Inn, Shamrock, TX

26MAY09 Shamrock, TX – via storms – Abilene, TX

1000C – briefing
1030C – fuel stop, dpt Shamrock, TX
1129C – S on FM1642
1152C – “Bridge of Doom” – photo stop, bee swarm
1254C – Quanah, TX
—-C – US287 to Vernon, TX
1409C – dpt Vernon, TX
1510C – fuel stop – dpt (5 mi W of Wichita Falls)
1600C – US 287 at Bowie, TX
—– – Stop at Chico. park.
1740C – S on FM51 (Weatherford,TX)
1800C – Pea-sized hail
1821C – FM51 to I-20 east
1834C – Quick stop (I-20 @ Aledo exit) then back 2 exits
1940C – I-20 west
2300C – END: Abilene, TX

27MAY09: Abilene-Del Rio TX

(need to transcribe my annotated paper map)

28MAY09: Del Rio, TX – Junction, TX

1000C – load vans
1030C – briefing – dpt DRT Days Inn
1055C – S on US277 – WalMart run (re-supply) – 30 min
1150C – detour to DRT border crossing – photo opp
1255C – lunch (Hot Pit BBQ) – dpt N on US 277
—-C – Border patrol inspection – detained while 2 UK tourists locate passports
—-C – stop @ I-10 – go crazy snapping wildlife/flora photos and blowing bubbles
—-C – ar Junction, TX (the winds and heavy rain arrive shortly after we do)

29MAY09: Junction, TX – Chickasaw (“CHICK-a-shay”), OK

1030C – load vans; WX briefing
—-C – dpt Junction, TX
—-C – detour to Mt. Scott – photo opp. at sunset
—-C – ar Chickcasaw, OK

30MAY09: Chickasaw, OK – OKC – rtn home

—-C: dpt Chickasaw, OK
—-C: ar Wingate Inn, OKC – unload and say goodbyes
—-C: rtn rental vans
—-C: wash T1 van
—-C: get lunch while oil is changed for T1 van
—-C: ar OKC (Will Rogers Intl. Airport) – say final goodbyes
—-C: change to earlier, direct flight
1700C: dpt OKC
1900C: Ar Chicago (IL) O’Hare Intl. Airport
1930C: eat dinner with my ride, John N.
2300C: sleep in my own bed for the first time in 8 days

Sunday, 31 May 2009 – Home Again

I am home again, trying to prepare myself for work tomorrow. It will be quite an adjustment waking up in the same place two nights in a row.

I am sorting out my emotions today:

  • my pragmatic side says “Get back to business as usual”
  • my adventurous side says “One week was not enough. Do more soon!”
  • my spoiled side says “What? No tornado?”
  • my stoic side says “That’s how it goes. Accept it gracefully.”
  • my intellectual side says “Learn from the experience. Get better with weather.”
  • my conciliatory side says “It was an uncooperative pattern. Be happy for any storms at all”

I obviously have a lot of sorting to do!

(More later! This entry is incomplete.)

Casualties of Travel?

(excerpt from a letter to my fellow travelers)

Hi, Guys!

I just wanted to check in with all of you. I hope you enjoyed the trip. I will have my pix up on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/polarpal99/collections/72157605566660377/ by the end of the weekend.  (You’ll get an invite to Flickr group “CHASE2008-polarpal99” shortly for access).

For my part, this was a pretty expensive trip (vs. last year, which was comparatively painless). Casualties of travel include:

* Pentax ZX-5 SLR camera – jammed up … time to go all digital next year, I guess

* Acer laptop – Windows XP eating itself … time to back up and re-install (once I procure the install CD … it didn’t come with one, sadly). When I do re-install, I will probably lose access to GRlevel3 (but probably should register after using Alex’s key for the last year, right?)

* Novatel broadband modem – dead (but I had insurance, so a free replacement is coming).

* Vehicle damage – $1200 damage to sub-frame, gas tank and one of the boots.

At any rate, I hope we can vacation together again next year. I also hope you will understand my reluctance to travel the back roads when we have other options, too; this van situation has me pretty freaked out.


EPILOGUE – Licking my Wounds – 20080609

[NOTE: I am in the process of transcribing numerous paper notes from the trip. I hope to have the blog caught up before the coming weekend. I’d be caught up already, if not for several issues with my laptop and its broadband modem over the last week. *sigh*]

The morning SPC outlook maps looked like this:


1300Z Convective Outlook for 2008/06/09




  • 0700C – Wake up! On the second morning since my neck got so stiff that i was barely safe for driving the van, my neck pain has only subsided a little,
  • 0900C – Look over the weather models. No cause for excitement: the nearest area of even slight risk is either (a) about 4-5 hours south, along I-57 (in Illinois) or (b) 3-4 hours east (in Indiana). I decide to stay put and unpack, regroup, etc.
  • 1000C – I try to get my broadband modem working with a different laptop, a Toshiba Satellite M55-S139. No good! The broadband modem appears to be dead, perhaps a casualty of too much ‘road wear’ over the last year.
  • 1100C – Clean up the van. Since the guys I travel with are relatively neat and helpful, collecting the trash from the trip only takes about 30 minutes. I also do some sweeping to remove the road dust, including a strip of Kansas dust an inch deep around the seal of the rear hatch. Thanks goodness the door seals are great!
  • 1230C – At Scott’s suggestion, I try to rearange the seating a bit.  As it turns out, this is a major ordeal! The center console (full of radios and wiring and such) blocks the Stow-n-Go panels so completely that folding a seat into the floor is impossible. (Insert much waving of arms, cursing, etc. here Yell) After partially dismantling the radio setup, moving the from seats as far forward as they’ll go, and moving the back seats as far back as they’ll go, I can finally foce the right seat (in the second row) into the floor.  At one point it gets jammed against both the movable floor panel and the front row seat; I resort to using a garden shovel handle for leverage to pry it out of the seat well and try again. On the third try, I discover the secret:borow one of the legs of my laptop ‘table’ and use it to jack up the center console to create better clearance for the flor panel. A firm shove finally gets the seat into the floor. Over two hors after I’ve started, the job is done.
  • 1500C – Grab lunch at the Red Lobster.
  • 1600C – I visit the Sprint store to see what can be done about replacing my broadband modem. Fully expecting to shell out several hundred dollars, I quietly describe my observations about the device and all I’ve done to get it working.  The sales rep checks my account and gives me good news: I paid for insurance on the gadget! I’ll have to wait two days for the replacement to arrive, but I will not pay a dime for the trouble (and the storm pattern looks uncooperative for most of the next week, so I can afford to wait). Thank God I paid for that replacement plan insurance! (I usualy opt out of such coverage.)
  • 1650C – I call my Chrysler deal for an appointment to look at the fuel system issue we experienced on the trip. I get a Wednesday appointment, first thing in the morning. I return home, fingers crossed that the warranty covers the problem (i.e., that i do not face a big repair bill).
  • 1730C – I continue to empty stuff out of the van.  I find a metal plate just big enough to accommodate my antenna farm inside the van, so I put the antennas on the plate, in preparation for a visit to the car wash (to get the rest of the road dust off the van)
  • 2030C – I grab dinner. Man, am I tired!
  • 2200C – Turn in for a night’s sleep

Catching Up

Well… Thanks for lots of long drives— we covered over 4300 miles in 7 days, snd I did the lion’s share of the driving— I’ve had little time to spend updating this blog live.  Now that I’m home, I’ll re-construct what happened from GPS logs, paper receipts (which usually act as good location/timestamp records), photos, and video.