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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

20210406 – Murphy’s Law of Central air-conditioning

There seems to be an old established rule about central air conditioning: if there is a three day heat spell in April, the air conditioning will break down on the next to the last day and then not be needed until the month of May.

There seems to be an old established rule about central air conditioning: if there is a three day heat spell in April, the air conditioning will break down on the next to the last day and then not be needed until the month of May.

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!

Xxx

20190520 – Mangum,OK Tornado

The day started with a 6 AM wake up call at our hotel in Amarillo. It is very quiet. Very quiet, indeed.

The morning round of storms has already started to our north.

My first look at the SPC Convective Outlook is very scary:

   ...SUMMARY...
   An outbreak of strong tornadoes and severe thunderstorms is expected
   today across parts of the southern and central Plains. In addition,
   many of the storms will have very large hail and wind damage. The
   severe threat will be concentrated from west Texas and the Texas
   Panhandle eastward across Oklahoma, Kansas into western Missouri and
   western Arkansas. Additional severe storms with wind damage and hail
   will be possible this afternoon from southeast New York into
   southern and central New England.

   ...Tornado Outbreak Expected Across the Southern Plains Today Into Tonight

 

Graphically, we see these:

Today appears to be a historic tornado outbreak in the making, and here we are ready to jump into it.

Stopped at Clarendon, Texas for a quick lunch. (See http://m.360.io/f8CMYu)

Continue SW

More updates later!

More updates later!

More updates later!

Tornado videos are here:

20190519 – Road to Amarillo

We started this Sunday at the Northwest in in Woodward, Oklahoma. We expected the date to be a down day, so we repositioned for Monday. Monday look to be a very big day, so it is critically important that we position ourselves correctly to get the most out of the day.  After considering the forecast, thanks to do along the way, and where we like to wake up Monday morning, we headed toward Amarillo.

We refueled and re-provisioned at Shattuck, Oklahoma.  As we rounded the bend toward El Tipi fuel station and the Ventura grocery/fuel store, We all noticed a large collection of windmills. We doubled back after our fuel stop/ pit stop/grocery stop to check out the windmills.

We wrapped up the day with a visit to the Big Texan Steak Ranch (BTSR). I enjoyed a 12 ounce Fort Worth cut ribeye with all the trimmings. It never ceases to amaze me how wonderful a side of cowboy beans can taste at the end of a long day. Must embrace the simple things!

20190515 – Norton, Kansas to McCook, Nebraska

Here we woke

We started our day at Norton, Kansas, a little place in northwest Kansas, less than an hour from Nebraska and Colorado. Our breakfast was one of those mid-range continental breakfasts: fresh made waffles, cereal, yogurt, fresh fruit, juice, and coffee.

 

We made a brief pit stop at Atwood, Kansas, for to the famed “It’ll Do” motel and this memorial tank.

We went westward into Colorado, stopping at The Grainery (in Idalia, Colorado)  for lunch. Some members of the chase team had been here before (for a celebratory steak after catching a photogenic tornado at Prospect Valley).

After lunch we continued west to Joes, Colorado at a rustic little prairie walk and roadside playground.

As we walked around and relaxed, we saw some cumulus towers go up, so we headed east then north. Picking a couple of target storms as we went. One even surprised us by going severe-warned briefly.

The best looking storm of the bunch did not last long and became outflow-dominant. This produced spectacular wave of blowing outflow dust. We braved the dusty, gritty breezes to grab  a few photos.

My favorite shot of the day was a view of fellow  traveler, Graham Clowes, dwarfed by the dusty thunderstorm that pursued us across southwest Nebraska.

Once darkness set in, we wrapped up our chase day and headed to McCook, Nebraska for the night.