Tag Archives: 2014

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.

____ – ____
____ – ____
____ – ____
____ – ____
____ – ____
____ – ____
____ – ____
____ – ____
EOD – _____







TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start _
Finish_
Route _
Miles ___

21 May 2014 – The Denver Monster [PARTIAL]

More details to be added later.  Below are some photos to hold you over.

0715MDT: wake; pack battery charger

0845: breakfast

1000: briefing. Target: Denver to Ft Morgan/Sterling

1209: MD636 issued: Supercell tornado risk with 1-2 storms! (http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0636.html)

1215-1230: dpt Limon (grab-n-go lunch) westbound on I-70

1358: MD640 issued: increasing tornado threat for Denver metro! (http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0640.html)

1617: MD644 issued (Continuing threat) (http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/md/md0644.html)

____: We exit C-470 into the SE Denver suburbs for a pit stop and a break to check the increasingly threatening skies.

____: We continue to watch the skies. It looks like a tornado could drop onto a heavily populated area any minute.
(“Please Mr. Mesocyclone, move away from town and don’t hurt anybody!”)
.
. (more details coming soon)
.
EOD – Rodeway Inn, Stratton, CO (adjacent Claremont Inn & Winery) – BY FAR, the nicest place we stayed since leaving OKC! 🙂

TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start Ogallala, NE
Finish Stratton, CO
Route I-80, CO-60,I-70,US30, backroads
Miles ???

20140521-map

18 May 2014 [DRAFT]

[Still catching up. I’ll organize this soon!]

 

0730 – wake; REMOVE BEDBUG (ow!); shower; dress; pack. Transfer photos from iPhone and Nikon D7000 to laptop (and external hard drive).

0830 – Exchange texts with Kristy, “brekkie!” The breakfast room is packed. An OJ, waffle, and 20 minutes later, no Kristy. Late sleeper! 🙂

0930 – briefing and. TARGET: someplace where NE WY SD meet

1000 – dpt motel; fuel up next door (a second chance for me to return my room key card. We head N on I-25 at 1010. Trying to catch up my blog while we drive north. Spotty cellular internet coverage is a moderate handicap.

1215-1235 – lunch stop at Subway #13956, Douglas, WY

1415-1436 – photo stop at old house while we wait on storms; then we head west toward Lusk, WY.

20140518-144011-52811097.jpg

____ – ____
____ – ____

1521 – watching a storm moving SE toward us.

20140518-152231-55351724.jpg
1600 – rtn S to Lusk. Refuel.
1628 – deciding between 2 storms

20140518-163136-59496939.jpg

20140518-163136-59496804.jpg

1657 – re-enter NE on US20 Ebound from Lusk; another cell trailing that is building. The start of an overshooting top is suggested from what we see.

1703 – S at Harrison, NE
____ – ____
____ – ____

1928MDT – charging S toward Alliance, NE. We can see the storm has a healthy updraft (visually and on radar) from 90 miles away. Multiple reports of a landspout tornado and rotating wall clouds follow the storm.

____ – ____
EOD – _____

TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start Cheyenne, WY
Finish _
Route I-25, US18E, WY state highway network
Miles ___

20140518-165855-61135846.jpg

20140518-165855-61135440.jpg

20140518-165855-61135729.jpg

20140518-165855-61135612.jpg

TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start Cheyenne, WY
Finish Bridgeport, NE
Route I-25, NE/SD backroads
Miles ???
Route for 5/18/2014

Route for 5/18/2014

17 May 2014 [DRAFT]

Route for 5/17/2014

[OVERSLEPT! Photos coming soon]

0545 – Woke up; assessed situation; returned to bed (urrrrrrgh!)

0715 – Woke; showered; put in a load of laundery

0830 – Transferred laundry to dryer; walked to Moose Creek Cafe for breakfast (Bacon and scrambled eggs)
20140518-161802-58682126.jpg

0915 – Removed (DRY) clothes from dryer; returned to room; packed everything; met team at vans to load up

0930 – briefing: minuscule storm chances in eastern Colorado.

1329 – jct US287 & CO14

1447 – N from CO60 on SH257 (N, Quentine, Milliken, CO). Storms along I-80 at Cheyenne. W storm has 80mph shear marker. E storm has 60dbZ reflectivity core.

____ – stop for possible daytime lightning photos. I miss them FOUR time while adjusting my tripod. 🙁

1606 – pass into core; dime-sized hail followed by “the car wash.”
20140517-145429.jpg
____ – ____
____ – ____
____ – ____
____ – Dinner: Twin Dragon Restaurant, Cheyenne, WY
EOD – Rodeway Inn, Cheyenne, WY (same as two nights ago)

TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start Walden,CO
Finish Cheyenne, WY
Route CO14 to Fort Collins, I-25 south, wander NE CO road network, end at Cheyenne
Miles ???

 

Route for 5/17/2014

16 May 2014 – Bare Rock and a Bear Hug

0730 – Wake up; shower; pack, but leave everything in the room since it’s a little ways to the breakfast room and the vans are closer to my room in the front of the motel.

0830 – Ate in the breakfast room. My waffle stuck to the waffle machine, and I was barely able to get it out before started burning. It was so funky looking I decided to do something totally off the wall and put white gravy on it instead of throwing it out and getting a biscuit. All things considered it was pretty tasty, but I certainly got some strange looks.

0930 – Meet at the vans; load up; we do a short weather briefing, and discuss what things look like for Saturday and Sunday, which look like our first days with a reasonable prospect for severe weather on the high plains. Patience!

1000 – Depart Cheyenne on westbound I-80, for Laramie, after breakfast.

1040-1100 – stop at the Ames Monument, a tribute to a pair of brothers who made major contributions during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.

br />20140518-072753-26873700.jpg

____ – continue to Laramie for lunch at Lovejoy’s: spicy buffalo burger! We do a bit of shopping afterwards. I’m running low on laundry, so I buy a T-shirt to hold me over until I do laundry tomorrow morning.

20140518-073320-27200548.jpg20140518-073319-27199904.jpg

20140518-073318-27198614.jpg20140518-073319-27199253.jpg

 

____ – head south towards Walden, CO; beautiful snow-capped mountains rise to our west, south, (later) east

____ – Enter Medicine Bow National Forest (elevation:____)

____ – we rise to 9150 feet in elevation, allowing smaller vehicles to pass us.

____ – As we descend, we hunt for a turnout with a scenic view. The drivers, Bob and Rook, get plenty of practice downshifting.

1450-1501 – Scenic overlook #1 (photos in gallery, below)
1513-1526 – Scenic overlook #2 (photos in gallery, below)

[Gallery will be inserted here a bit later… laptop battery DYING]

1600 – We enter Walden from the north; check-in at the motel.

1640 – I chat briefly with the motel manager, whose daughter is fascinated with both storm chasing and Antarctica. I offer to chat with her if she is interested. I wander over to the town bank to buy a couple of roll of quarters, as it has reached the point of the trip or I will need to do laundry pretty quickly. The T-shirt that I bought in Laramie will buy me an extra 24 hours, but no more.

20140518-153854-56334199.jpg

1658 – I get my quarters for laundry, with two minutes to spare before the bank closes for the weekend. I wander around the main strip of town just looking to see what is there and taking pictures of some interesting stuff I encounter along the way. I wander up to what looks like a good place for dinner, the River Rock Café. Looks like they have a terrific menu and I bump into Bob one of our drivers there, who agrees this is a good choice for dinner.

1800 – The gang gathers close to my room to wander up the main street for dinner. It looks like Eric is sitting this one out. I hope he is feeling okay.

I order the Volcano Burger, opting for the 1-pound size, because I’m a little bit hungry. There is a 3-pound size available called “the challenge”, but I don’t feel up to eating that and the waiter warns that the burger is extremely spicy, made with jalapeños and habanero sauce. I later discovered that the burger is hotter with every bite, and barely finished 1 pound burger, guzzling several quarts of water along the way to cool my taste buds. I reward myself with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the end of it all, partly as a self–congratulations and partly to cool the heat of the habaneros that have saturated my taste buds when this time.

On my way out the door, I get a farewell hug from River Rock Café’s mascot, Fred the Bear.

20140518-154209-56529818.jpg

EOD – North Park Inn & Suites

TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start Cheyenne, WY
Finish Walden, CO
Route I-80W, through Medicine Bow National Forest, to Walden (CO 14)
Miles ___
DRAFT - Map for 5/16 travel

DRAFT – Map for 5/16 travel

 

15 May 2014 – Holy Holyoke

0600MDT/0700CDT – wake; shower; pack bags. Can’t find my neck pod (Sima VideoProp) – later found in my duffle bag.
0850MDT – Pack the vans. test the Diet Coke and Menthos myth: VERIFIED!
[I’ll add video later]
0910 – Weather briefing. Another down day today.
0920 – Depart Imperial, NE westbound on US 6.
1000- enter Colorado, heading to Holyoke, CO for breakfast
1040-1140(est.) – breakfast at Kardale’s, Holyoke, CO.

Kardale's Haystack Breakfast: Hash Brown Heaven!

Kardale’s Haystack Breakfast: Hash Brown Heaven!


1222 – I turn on the GPS Tracks app. (Oops!)
1250-1400 – We stop at Sterling, CO to look for a replacement 400-watt inverter. Without this key piece of equipment, we have no laptop power and no radar images or weather models. After the team lead and one of the drivers check out several local stores, they find the needed item at the NAPA Auto Parts store. Eric and I visit the Verizon store, in the meantime, to locate a phone battery for his iPhone.
1431 – Entering Raymer, CO, traveling west on CO 14, then angle northwest on County Road 390 toward Wyoming.
1446 – We wander off the main route to Keota, where it looks like they’re doing oil exploration or fracking.
1533 – We continue north from Keota, CO.
1556 – We pass through Hereford, CO
1600 – We cross into Wyoming, our sixth state on the journey; the road is now WY 217
1620-1640 – Burns, WY, I-80, WY217 exit – Fuel/snack stop; we enter I-80, heading west to Cheyenne.
1700 – Arrive at Rodeway Inn, Cheyenne, CO.  The desk clerk is overwhlemed,  so we leave the details of our party and go get dinner, so the poor man can catch up with check-ins, preparing our rooms, etc. (This happens more often thatn you might think with smaller, older motels.)
1720-1930 – We take a liesurely meal at a local Chili’s, near the Wyoming Air Group airfield. Many C-130 cargo planes here! A brief weather update (video) follows:


EOD – _____

TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start Imperial, NE
Finish Cheyenne, WY
Route US6 to Holyoke, CO,CR 390 to Keota then north to Grover and Hereford,I-80
Miles ___

l

14 May 2014 – Monument Rocks

0730 – Wake up: shower; pack

0800 – Breakfast and conversation with chase team. I overcooked my Carbon brand motel waffle because I did not hear the timer ding after the mandatory 2:30 cook cycle. Crunchy waffles are OK, too, once in a great while (LOL).

0830 – Return to my room; brush teeth, re-pack my bags, and work on my blog for a while.

1000 – Weather briefing (breakfast room)

1100 – Depart Hoisington to the west

1430-1450 – Photo stop at abandoned farmstead

1458-1525 – Stop at Monument Rocks. Bill chills outs to David Bowie’s “Panic in Detroit”

1553-1653 – Lunch at Colonial Steak House, Oakley, KS. Ate at the buffet, as we save steak for after we see our first tornado of the trip. Re-fuel and head for Nebraska

1748CDT – Distant cumulonimbus to our east, a tiny rain shower on our west:

20140514-174935.jpg 20140514-175334.jpg
1834-1904 – Stop at another old, abandoned house for photos
[photos to be added later]

1938 – pit stop – St. Francis, KS

1956 – cross into Nebraska on KS27. Jct US34. Head east. Hotel will be in Imperial, NE.

2111(est,) – N on NE61 from Benkelman, NE

2157MDT – Rodeway Inn, Imperial, NE. We grab dinner at a local convenience store. Mmmm, hot dogs!

TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start Hoisington, KS
Finish Imperial, NE
Route (see above)
Miles 310(est.)

 

13 May 2014 – Hubble Rubble

0630 – Wake; edit this blog site; shower, dress, pack.
0830 – Breakfast: waffle, highly homogenized scrambled eggs, orange juice, toast.
0945 – Pack the vans; weather briefing. The Great Plains will be quiet until Friday or Saturday. Blech! Time to play tourist on our way northwest.
1035 – Depart Days Inn.
1045 – Arrive Walmart
1122 – Dpt Walmart
1140 – Started using the GPS Tracks app to record our route. (Thanks For pointing me to this, Eric Meola!)
1230(est.) – Enter Joplin. Inspect 2011-05-22 EF-5 damage path.

1315(est.) – BBQ brisket and pulled pork at Sawmill BBQ (612 S. Main St. in downtown Joplin, MO; 417-782-7225). SO MUCH FOOD!
1418 – dpt Joplin
1449 – cross into Kansas on US160/MO96
1503 – cont E toward Sherwin, KS
1520 – At Oswego KS, briefly separated from the lead van. Reunited 3 min W of town.
1550 – Reach Jct US160/US169; continue W US160 to Independence, KS. 15 minute pit stop at Citgo.
1638 – cont W on US160
1700 – cont W from Elk Falls, KS
1709 – N KS99
1730(est.) – Stopped to take photos at Hubble’s Rubble metal sculpture exhibit (Howard, KS)


1744 – W on US400 toward Wichita, KS
1825 – Augusta, KS , going W on US400.
1836 – x I-35
1900 – re-enter US400 after meeting with Jim Reed (to get a set of keys); exit to I-235 N, which becomes KS96.
1933 – Haven, KS near KS96. We stop for some sunset photos. I tangle my hand in the latch for the van door after I loose my footing. I’m luckyt to not break a finger!  My hand hurts so much, I almost miss a beautiful sunset:

EOD – Arrive Rodeway Inn, Hoisington, KS
EOD – Also ate dinner here: Grilled Chicken sandwich and a diet Coke (with a shot of cherry liquer).

TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start Springfield, MO
Finish Hoisington, KS
Route I-44,US-160,US-400,KS-99,KS-96
Miles 307 (est.)

 

12 May 2014 – Monday – Missouri Lightning Delivery

20140512-231420.jpg20140512-231431.jpg1000. Intros and briefing.

This tour’s leadership includes veteran chaser and guide, William (Bill) Reid and drivers Bob Smith (a wildlife biologist) and Bill’s colleague, Rook, who used to work with him as a contractor meteorologist before the National Weather Service and FAA thrust the job of observations and Forecasting on air traffic controllers at small airports.

The rest of the team is a mix of returning chasers (like David Balfour and myself), first-timers from the UK and Australia, and a handful of sky-lovers from all across America (most of whom have had some kind of tornado encounter during their lives). About half of us are degreed scientists (meteorologists, biologists, chemists).  Several of us work in IT.  Many of us have desk jobs (and need a little excitement to break up the hum-drum routine).  There are 16 of us altogether, two full vans of people.

Our vehicles are comfortable 15-passenger vans with broad windows to offer a clear view of the sky from every seat.  Over the years, the technology has evolved, so each van has onboard WiFi connections to the broadband modems used to download weather maps and forecasts, view BIll’s many chase trip logs, and exchange email between our laptops (and smartphones) and the outside world.  Everybody has a little nook for camera gear and the snacks we carry (as real meals will be few and far between once the atmosphere recovers).

The weather briefing is a little bleak for the first half of the trip: Sunday’s tornado barrage in Nebraska has scrubbed the moisture out of the Great Plains, leaving us only a low potential to see severe weather far to our east (in the ‘jungles’ of Missouri).  A strong ridge — the chaser’s arch enemy! — will dominate the plains for 4-5 days thereafter.  We get a refresher on the ingredients for severe weather, so we will be reminded when the outlook for chaseable storms improves.

20140512-231803.jpg 20140512-231915.jpgWe also get our official T-shirts. This year, Tempest added a nice personal touch: a personal greeting tag attached to each team member’s shirt (pictured above).

The shirts (pictured at right) feature  tribute to engineering whiz and self-taught meteorologist Tim Samaras (left), his son and photographer Paul Samaras, and Tim’s longtime chaser partner Carl Young. Also depicted is one of the ‘turtle’ probes that this team would anchor in the path of oncoming tornadoes to measure temperature, wind, and barometric pressure.  One of thsee 40-pound probes, an original design by Tim Samaras, took the first readings from inside a tornado (as well as video inside the funnel from ground level).  The November 2013 National Geographic magazine talks about the life and death of Tim Samaras, who had received several recurring grants from ‘NatGeo’ for his groundbreaking weather research and amazing photos of his work.

1045 – We depart for southwest Missouri, where our best chance — but not a great chance— for some storms exists.

1223 – as we approach the outskirts of Tulsa, light rain starts

1238 – Heavy rain as we pass through the Tulsa metro area.

1450 – cross into MO on I-44. For about 45 seconds, no rain, then car wash 2 begins.

20140512-231356.jpg1510 – we make a 10-minute pit stop at flying J in Joplin, MO, where and EF-5 tornado plowed through on 22 May 2011. The regional hospital in Joplin was so badly damaged, that they had to tear down and build a new one. Many people lost their lives that day. I was out with the Tempest Tours team chasing that day, but was near Southwest City, MO, several counties to the south. Today, the storms are only delivering rain and LOTS of lightning. Apparently, delivering lightning is a local specialty.
1525 – dpt Joplin for points east.
1541 – We take the Sarcoxie exit south.
1544 – Travel east, out of Sarcoxie

1600 – Cross highway MO37

1607 – Arrive at Pierce City, MO

1617 – Depart Monett, MO,  eastbound on highway on H.  The radar show several storms, but nothing is rotating:

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1631 – We move south, past Verona, continuing eastbound on US 60E. Trying to get ahead of the outflow boundary into warm air, where we might see some lightning and hail together.  We are briefly pinged by pea-sized hail.

1700 – We enter Springfield, MO from the south. We have abandoned hope for today being a good severe weather day, at this point. It looked like we might see some good storms on the front of the outflow boundary, but they never materialized. We had a brief encounter with a storm that was dropping piece sized hail near Monett, but that is all. Mostly driving through a long car wash, getting wet, and everybody getting my impromptu mini-lecture on how all the various radar screens — reflectivity, base velocity, storm relative velocity, etc. work.

1745 – Check in at Days Inn (near huge, new Bass Pro store). WiFi here is DaysInnBassPro ( YES, really).
I wonder if I’ll be logging into FishNet. (LOL)  The storms slog slowly to the east, but weaken as they go. (Yawn!)

Here we are:
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1900 – Meet for dinner.  We eat at a local sports bar and grill, Bair’s.  I opt for the buffalo chicken salad, a luxury meal compared to the convenience sore meals that lie ahead. We watch the Boston-Montreal hockey game (a warmup for Bill’s game, the L.A. Kings vs. the world). Bill jokes about the Cubs wasting all those runs, as the rain approaches. If the game is rain out before the 5th inning is done, it’s a ‘no-gamer’. (The Cubs go on to slaughter the Cardinals 17-5 in 9 complete inning. Nice try, Bill!) I remind Bill how much I’m looking forward to the Blackhawks-King series for the conference finals, should each of us cheer our respective NHL favorites on to victory.

EOD – We return to the motel. Here our route for the days ends.

Route for 12 May 2014: OKC to Springfield, MO

Route for 12 May 2014: OKC to Springfield, MO

We blow off a little steam with a lobby party. This particular Days Inn sells a little alcohol at the front desk.

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Lobby party with Alan (l.), Kristy, Marina, and myself (front). Others join later. (See my Facebook feed for more photos.)

TRAVEL SUMMARY
Start Oklahoma City, OK
Finish Springfield, MO
Route I-44,US-60,many side roads
Miles 307 (est.)