CHASE2002 – HAPPY, TX (F2/F3) TORNADO – Sunday, 05 May 2002

logo HAPPY, TX (F2/F3)
Sunday
05 May 2002
TRAVEL Abilene,TX – Amarillo, TX
Wow! What a day!  We started with a difficult forecast, with a moderate risk area stretching from TX to NE, covering 5 states:(map)

Bill and Dean put us on THE storm, nationally speaking.

I had seen several tornadoes before, but this was my first killer tornado (at least in the sense that someone who was alive when I entered the town was not when I left).  This was a very emotional day for me: (more TBD)

WEATHER
TODAY:We witnessed and filmed a strong (F2/3, probably) tornado from about a mile away. After we retreated to the south, the storm devastated Happy, TX, a town of about 600 people.  Two people died, four were hospitalized, dozens received minor injuries, and many building were destroyed.

Here is the sequence of video stills I extracted from tape:

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maps
text

FORECAST:
synopsis
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YESTERDAY’S SEVERE WEATHER NATIONWIDE:
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ACCOMODATIONS Motel 8
Exit 72

Amarillo, TX
One person, one night, standard room
COMMENTS:
BIG improvement over the Motel 8 further east along I-40.
RESTAURANTS
Name/Location/Phone Meal COMMENTS:
No breakfast No time, given our long drive
K-Bob’s
Childress, TX
Their famed Salad Wagon (buffet) Most of us did the salad bar, just like the locals.
Good eatin’ for under $10
Denny’s
I-40 Access Road
Amarillo, TX
Turkey Club Serving size was small, the kitchen service — not our friendly waiter– was extrordinarily slow. Not too good, even by Denny’s standards!

CHASE2002 – HANGING OUT IN OKC – Thursday, 02 May 2002

logo HANGING OUT IN OKC
Thursday
02 May 2002
TRAVEL Oklahoma City, OK
narrative_TBD
WEATHER
TODAY:
synopsis
maps
text
FORECAST:
synopsis
maps
text
YESTERDAY’S SEVERE WEATHER NATIONWIDE:
synopsis

maps

text

ACCOMODATIONS Holiday Inn, Airport
2101 S. Meridian Av.
Oklahoma City, OK 73108

405-585-4000

1 night, 1 rm, 2 dbl beds
COMMENTS: very cozy, but too close to the activities in the atrium (translation: VERY NOISY); the cool phone jack on the lamp at the desk had no connection, so I had my  laptop on the spare bed and power  connnected WAY across the room.  Dial-up connection did fire up immediately on the first try, but the connections sprawled, dividing the room cleanly in two. Service was very polite and thorough.
RESTAURANTS
Name/Location/Phone
Meal
COMMENTS:
NO BREAKFAST

Slept in late (and it felt GREAT)
Golden Corral
I-35 & Robinson St.

Norman, OK



Buffet
Food did not look very appetizing, though my server Nong was very attentive to details.
Not sure I would eat there again

Golden Palace II
rest_address_line1
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Chinese/Vietnamese/Japanese buffet
Astonishing variety! Food was good and the price was reasonable and the price was right ($11 incl. tip)  This was the tour group’s first ‘communal feeding’, though Luka and Alexandra chose not to join us (probably to get much-needed sleep).

CHASE 2001 SEASON SUMMARY

CHASE 2001
Daily Journal
DATE DAY START END MILES REMARKS
CHASE #1 – TORNADO ALLEY SAFARI (commerical storm chase tour) – 8 days
Chasers – lead vehicle: Stephen Levine (TX, lead), Dee Pumphrey (IN), Jerri Nielsen (NC), Lisa Beal (IL), Stuart Johnson (U.K.)
Chasers – 2nd vehicle: Brian Press (CA), Holly Press (CA)
Prologue Bolingbrook IL Preparing for the trip
23 May 2001 Wednesday Bolingbrook, IL IL Oklahoma City OK
000
Fly to OKC;  meet fellow chasers
24 May 2001 Thursday Oklahoma City OK Lampasas TX
000
Hailstorm (Southeast of Lampasas,TX)
25 May 2001 Friday Lampasas TX Sonora TX
000
Chaser Convergence (Junction, TX)
26 May 2001 Saturday Sonora TX Childress TX
000
Hailstorm, double rainbow (North of Snyder, TX)
27 May 2001 Sunday Childress TX Liberal KS
000
Spectacular gust front, winds (Liberal, KS)
28 May 2001 Monday Liberal KS Liberal KS
000
Visited local attraction, “Dorothy’s House”
Night “stovepipe” tornado (near Perryton, TX)
29 May 2001 Tuesday Liberal KS Amarillo TX
000
Morning t-storms (Liberal, KS)
Afternoon storms (KS-OK-TX)
Rotating wall cloud w/incipient funnel (Hardesty, OK)
Astonishing shelf cloud (Gruver, TX)
Tornadic storm system (N. of Amarillo)
30 May 2001 Wednesday Amarillo TX Wichita Falls TX
000
Afternoon and evening storms (TX-OK)
Rotating wall clouds (Ryan, OK; Wichita Falls,TX)
Tornadic storms (Scotland,TX; Archer City, TX)
3-per-second lightning display (Archer City, TX)
31 May 2001 Thursday Wichita Falls TX Oklahoma City OK
000
Stormy weather out-of-range (5+ hours away)
Return to OKC, visit NSSL, SPC
01 June 2001 Friday Oklahoma City OK Bolingbrook IL
000
Return home
Epilogue Bolingbrook IL

COLOR CODE

Plan was to not chase GRAY
Planned Chase Day (future) YELLOW
Available to chase; no weather (“blue-skied”) BLUE
Chase Day (have partner and stormy weather) GREEN
No-Partner Day (Weather stormy, no partner) RED
Weather Stormy, but not available for chasing PURPLE

Accomodations

Restaurants

CHASE VAN SHAKEDOWN – TRIP 1 – July 3-7, 2001

CHASE VAN SHAKEDOWN – TRIP 1 – July 3-7, 2001
400+ miles, varied road conditions and terrain

EASTBOUND

From :   Bolingbrook, IL
Via:     South Bend, IN; US 33
To:      Fort Wayne, IN
Mileage: 203.3 mi
Time:    Approximately 4:28
Weather: 80-90 degrees, rain for the middle 60 miles

WESTBOUND

From :   Bolingbrook, IL
Via:     US 30; Warsaw, IN
To:      Fort Wayne, IN
Mileage: 184.8 mi
Time:    Approximately 4:35
Weather: 80-90 degrees, sunny

VEHICLE PROBLEMS

Major problems

NONE

Minor problems

  1. Transmission shifts a little roughly (“jumps”) around 18-22 mph during acceleration
  2. Transmission shifts a little roughly (“jumps”) around 53 mph during acceleration
  3. Engine makes a “trucklike” roar when running over 60 mph for sustained periods; fuel economy is around 27 MPG anyhow
  4. Driver’s seat slightly loose; seat rocks slightly during starting and stopping of vehicle
  5. Driver’s seat belt sticks during retraction
  6. Small ‘cats-eye’ knick near edge of windshield on passenger’s side

Other Observations

    • Observed as mileage rating exceeds EPA ratings (18/25) slightly: 18.8 city, 27.4 highway; overall for trip: 26.1 MPG
    • Approximate cost of fuel is 5.7 cents/mile (at $1.50 per gallon for 87 octane unleaded gasoline)
    • Calculated vehicle range is 528 miles, per the onboard engine/fuel computer. This is consistent with manual calculations.
    • Tire walls look very round compared to other tires I’ve driven, but this may be normal for this vehicle.
    • On previous trips, the steadiness of the weather instrument cluster has been tested up to 50 MPH.  The mounting system for the cluster is still under revision, and it will likely evolve from its current T-shape to an “H” for sturdiness at higher speeds. Both the T- and H-shaped base for the cluster strap onto the luggage rack cross members.
    • The metal pipe caps ans tees show significant rust after less than two weeks. (I thought these were galvanized!). Looks like a clean/prime/paint job will be required to fix his [cosmetic] problem.
    • I still need to find/buy/make software to tie the wind cluster and GPS together for somewhat accurate wind measurements while the van is in motion.

Conclusion

Provided the minor rough shifting does not indicate future transmission failure, this vehicle is ready for the open road.

CHASE1998 SEASON SUMMARY

CHASE 98

Daily Journal

DATE DAY START END MILES REMARKS
Prologue Fort Collins CO Fort Collins CO Preparing for the trip
15 May 1998 Friday Fort Collins CO Roscoe IL

000

Fly to Chicago; visit Mom
16 May 1998 Saturday Roscoe IL Roscoe IL

000

Sister’s College Graduation (WI)
17 May 1998 Sunday Roscoe IL Oklahoma City OK

000

Fly to OKC
18 May 1998 Monday Oklahoma City OK Fort Collins CO

000

Storm chase tour “blue-skyed”
19 May 1998 Tuesday

000

Half day at work
20 May 1998 Wednesday

000

Back to work!
21 May 1998 Thursday Fort Collins CO Elsie NE

554

(RT) Verango storm; good action
22 May 1998 Friday Fort Collins CO Oskaloosa IA

000

23 May 1998 Saturday Oskaloosa IA Roscoe IL

000

24 May 1998 Sunday Roscoe IL

000

25 May 1998 Monday Roscoe IL Joplin MO

000

26 May 1998 Tuesday Joplin MO Gretna NE

000

27 May 1998 Wednesday Gretna NE Fort  Collins CO

000

28 May 1998 Thursday

000

29 May 1998 Friday

000

30 May 1998 Saturday

000

Spencer, SD F4 tornado killed 6
31 May 1998 Sunday

000

01 June 1998 Monday Oklahoma City OK Fort Collins CO

000

08 June 1998 Monday Fort Collins CO Fort Collins CO 1.25 inch hail at Englewood, CO (work)

COLOR CODE

Plan was to not chase GRAY
Available to chase; no weather (“blue-skied”) BLUE
Chase Day (have partner and stormy weather) GREEN
No-Partner Day (Weather stormy, no partner) RED
Weather Stormy, but not available for chasing PURPLE

Accomodations

Restaurants

CHASE1997 Chase Summary

Tornado Alley Tour – 6/5/97-6/12/97

Daily Journal

CHASE #1 – Tornado Alley Tour – 6/5/97-6/12/97
DATE DAY START END MILES REMARKS
03 June 1997 Tuesday Englewood CO Hayes KS Drove straight from work (Colorado) to Oklahoma City (and so far I never have again!)
04 June 1997 Wednesday Hayes, KS Oklahoma City OK
05 June 1997 Thursday Norman OK Norman OK visit NSSL, OU Meteorology Dept.
06 June 1997 Friday Norman OK Pecos TX
07 June 1997 Saturday Pecos TX Fort Stockton TX via West Texas
08 June 1997 Sunday Fort Stockton TX Lubbock TX via Southwest Texas
09 June 1997 Monday Lubbock TX Lubbock TX W. Texas Panhandle
10 June 1997 Tuesday Lubbock TX Trinidad CO via Northeast NM
11 June 1997 Wednesday Trinidad CO Garden City KS via Southwest KS
12 June 1997 Thursday Garden City KS Oklahoma City OK via Northeast Texas
CHASE #2 – “While we’re already here and the weather looks promising…”
DATE DAY START END MILES REMARKS
13 June 1997 Friday Oklahoma City OK Norman OK via Northeast Texas
14 June 1997 Saturday Norman OK Fort Collins, CO via Wakita, OK
CHASE #3 – Just out looking at the weather (a solo trip)
DATE DAY START END MILES REMARKS
15 June 1997 Sunday Fort Collins CO Fort Collins CO via Cheyenne, WY