Chased after some fast moving storms, but could not circumnavigate the south Chicago metro area and keep up at the same time. These storms produced tornadoes around Kalamazoo, MI, but I was 2 hours away as this happened. At least I got a good look at some dramatic daytime anvil crawlers. Sorry, no photos. But the GoPro camera is on my Christmas list. After seeing Chris Gullikson use it so effectively, I want one! I may even go 3D (http://gopro.com/hd-hero-accessories/3d-hero-system/).
The good news is that I passed my Spotter Network exam and have the software for real-time reports set up. The near real-time positioning works as long as I have a broadband connection up (and the laptop does not hibernate, as it did when I stopped for a quick McDonald’s run).
Was I wasting my time? Maybe. Was it a good storm day? Yup. Check this storm reports excerpt:
000 NWUS53 KLOT 292344 LSRLOT PRELIMINARY LOCAL STORM REPORT...SUMMARY NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE CHICAGO/ROMEOVILLE IL 644 PM CDT SUN MAY 29 2011 ..TIME... ...EVENT... ...CITY LOCATION... ...LAT.LON... ..DATE... ....MAG.... ..COUNTY LOCATION..ST.. ...SOURCE.... ..REMARKS.. 1145 AM TSTM WND GST DUPAGE AIRPORT 41.92N 88.25W 05/29/2011 M58.00 MPH DUPAGE IL ASOS 1135 CDT. 1224 PM HAIL KINSMAN 41.19N 88.57W 05/29/2011 M1.00 INCH GRUNDY IL AMATEUR RADIO WEST OF THE TOWN ON GARDNER ROAD. 1253 PM HAIL JOLIET 41.53N 88.12W 05/29/2011 E0.25 INCH WILL IL TRAINED SPOTTER INTERSECTION OF ROUTE 30 AND GOUGAR ROAD. 1259 PM HAIL NEW LENOX 41.52N 87.98W 05/29/2011 E0.75 INCH WILL IL TRAINED SPOTTER 0103 PM FUNNEL CLOUD KANKAKEE 41.12N 87.86W 05/29/2011 KANKAKEE IL TRAINED SPOTTER CROSSING I-57 0105 PM TSTM WND DMG KANKAKEE 41.12N 87.86W 05/29/2011 KANKAKEE IL LAW ENFORCEMENT 12 TO 16 INCH DIAMETER TREE UPROOTED ON COBB ST. TREE FELL ON CAR. DRIVER NOT INJURED. 0105 PM FUNNEL CLOUD HERSCHER 41.05N 88.10W 05/29/2011 KANKAKEE IL TRAINED SPOTTER AT COUNTY LINE RD 8000 S AND RT 45. 0105 PM TSTM WND DMG KANKAKEE 41.12N 87.86W 05/29/2011 KANKAKEE IL LAW ENFORCEMENT TREES DOWN ON CAR ON COBB BLVD 0115 PM TSTM WND DMG KANKAKEE 41.12N 87.86W 05/29/2011 KANKAKEE IL TRAINED SPOTTER 3 LARGE TREES DOWN ON MAIN ST NEAR HOSPITAL 0115 PM TSTM WND DMG KANKAKEE 41.12N 87.86W 05/29/2011 KANKAKEE IL LAW ENFORCEMENT TREE LIMBS AND POWER LINES DOWN CITY WIDE
I am also running with the $25/month AllisonHouse data service subscription. It’s WAY easier to make chase decisions when you can see fronts quickly (like the warm front below), take the tornado risk ‘blob(s)’ — the purplish contours, below — into account, see dew point contours (green), etc.:
NOTE: This particular screen shot shows why Tempest Tour’s Bill Reid chose to stay at West Point, NE (near KOAX) last night: short drive, big storms right on the doorstep. His passengers even have time for a Walmart run this morning and a sit-down lunch before scoring a big storm. Good call, Bill!