Sunday, October 5, 2008

June 12th KS tornadoes.

We left from OKC and met up with Michael Ratliff and his buddy. We met some storms near Strong City, KS and saw some amazing rotation. At one point we were looking straight up into a funnel(video soon). It's been a few months since this happened, so I don't have many details. we caught a stovepipe tornado not far from Strong City, or Cottonwood Falls(same tornado as Brandon Ivey, i believe) and then followed it east, and saw one more brief touchdown. At one point we ran into the Samaras crew. anyways, I will have video up sometime within the next month. Hopefully.

538 miles.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Hurricane IKE, SCTVs first hurricane!

Randy had to work so he could not make this chase, so I invited James Machen, a buddy of mine who had never been on a real chase. He was super excited, and understood the mental a physical strain of a hurricane chase. So on Thursday, the 11th, we left Tulsa with high hopes, tons of redbull, and a lifetime supply of beef jerky.
We stopped in Tyler Texas for some rest, that we would for sure be lacking the next night. By now, it was a for sure night landfall, which sucks, but we were already half way there. We met up with Tyler Costantini and Bart Comstock as we arrived in Houston, and we all agreed to head to the coast as the outer bands of Ike were whipping ashore. We met the Hurricanes first rain band near Seabrook, where a lot of media and other Hurricane chasers were riding out the storm in a Hotel. We geared up and walked down to the shore, which was already flooding the lower level of the parking garage with 6 feet of water. We played around in the 60mph winds for about an hour, filming the trees whipping, and parts of the side of the Hotel being ripped apart by the 80mph gusts, then decided to head back to Houston to ride it out in a parking garage. We had decided against going to Galveston with the experienced Cane chasers, as all 4 of us were newbs. We found a sturdy 4 story parking garage and set up shop there around midnight of the 13th. We put on our rain gear, and headed out on foot to film downtown being pummeled by the now Cat 2 hurricane. With the now 70mph sustained winds, things were starting to get interesting. Since it was dark, we missed a lot of the action. There was some tree damage beginning and small debris starting to blow around, but it was still less intense than we had expected. After being harassed by some security guards for filming on "private property" we decided to go back to the garage and wait for the winds to pick up. Around 3, the winds picked up to about 80mph sustained with gusts up to around 95, and we decided to head out again. Trees were starting to come down, and it was getting pretty interesting. We spent much of the time on the top of the garage, feeling the wrath of the storm. We had a blast playing around in the wind and rain. It was amazing. I had never felt winds like this for more than a few seconds at a time. We had been hearing some extreme damage being done all throughout the downtown area. I decided to watch for small spin-up tornadoes and I believe we hay have seen one about a mile North of our location. I saw what looked to be a cone tornado with 4 power-flashes illuminating the funnel. There was never any report of damage by this so I decided not to count it. Around 4AM, the EyeWall was making landfall so we decided to head out in our trucks to survey the damage that had been done, and see if we could catch some video of the carnage taking place. Large trees were being uprooted, even larger trees were being blown completely over, and the streets were littered with debric from the buildings sawying around us. Office windows were being shattered by the 110mph gusts, and office supplies were raining from above. We drove around for about 20 minutes, then glass and debris from the Chase tower starting falling onto our vehicles so we headed back to the garage again. After a quick power-nap, the sun was rising and we decided to venture out and take a peek at the damage. It was complete destruction. Stop lights laying everywhere, every tree blown over, every building missing all of the windows, and major flooding of most of the bridges in the area. Our original route out of town had 5 feet of water over it. After taking pictures of the wreckage, we decided to try to find a way back to Barts Uncle's house in North Houston. The whole area sustained heavy wind damage. We get back to the house around 8am and decided to catch some sleep before the drive home.

1114 miles.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

May 24th tornadoes NC OK

I started this day at work, watching the OFB situation unfold, and expected another day of tornadoes to the north, with BS storms on my end of the system. As the day went on, I realised i needed to be on I35 and 412. With it being Saturday, I couldn't just leave work. So I watched all the chasers streaming video of ever shape of tornado possible. My boss even watched with me, as the trunk twister destroyed a pig barn. live from a helicopter. The groans of agony finally led my boss to let me off work. A week previous to this, I blew the engine head in my Tahoe(im an idiot) and was now completely broke, and could only drive my 2000 rear wheel drive Crown Vic. I love ole' blue. we've been through some storms, but I really am not comfortable chasing muddy OK county roads with a RWD vehicle. But I had missed hundreds of tornadoes this week, so I was tired of it. I picked up my girlfriend Daniele, and we busted ass to Stillwater, OK. We met the storm near 35 and 51, with a stovepipe starting to occlude/rope and a new truncated cone on the ground just N of the occluding tube. Here you can barely see both tornadoesOrlando Double

OrlandoTornado1 I set up on a hill to shoot video and admire Daniele's first 2 tornadoes. We stayed out ahead of the monster, watching for new tornadoes. There was one more quick rope-of-a-spin-up about a half mile W of us at one point, when we were struggling through the mud trying to avoid hail. Pretty scary, but we made it out. Followed the storm all the way to Red Rock, then lets it go at sunset.

320 miles. It was awesome to get Daniele her first 3 tornadoes on her first chase. She must be good luck. It's kinda cool that I didn't miss out on the entire week. 3 is better than none. Of course i know people that saw 15 tornadoes this day, and 25 more in the days leading up to this. Lesson learned. Vehicle maintanence is key to a sucessful season.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

May 10th tornado update.

It's kinda funny how things turn out. A few days after the 10th we were doing some local chasing near Purcell, and I received a call from Michelle of the MO national guard. She wanted to talk about SGT Eddie Hukill. Apparently the young man I drove to the hospital was a Sergeant for the Missouri National Guard. She wanted to thank me for saving his life. The doctors said that had he gotten there 5 minutes later, he likely would have died.

It's just strange how me getting stuck in the mud near Chetopa led me to save a man's life. I thought my day was going to end like all of my other "almost got a nader" days where I just mope around until the next chase. But for some reason, I felt like I needed to keep following this storm, which was now moving at 60+mph. I can't explain why. I knew I wasn't going to catch it. Strange. I'm not one to force my beliefs onto people, but I believe there were higher powers at work.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

May 10th Tornado Devastation

Well, I had to beg my boss to let me off early. Thanks Kevin and Joshua. I left at 3 and busted @$$ north on 75 to catch a Supercell already in progress. Well, by the time i got to it, it had weakened, and a storm ahead of it had strengthened. It was an HP mess, so I tried to intercept the storm that had just started rotating S of the HP mess. I met the storm near Chetopa. There was a confirmed large tornado on the ground just S of Chetopa. I was just W of Chetopa and I couldn't see it. I could have made it, but my S option was flooded by storms earlier this week. So I kept pushing E behind the now right turning storm. I needed to drop S ASAP. I made it to Baxter Springs and decided to hit 44 to get ahead of the storm, and drop S again to intercept near Seneca. Well, as I neared Seneca, it was obvious my chase was over. The storm was screaming SE at 60mph and there was extreme tornado damage in the towns of Seneca, Racine, and Neosho, MO. I came upon a small community of residential victims, most of which had minor injuries. I made sure they had help on the way, and tried to keep going. About 1/4 of a mile further, I came into a valley with homes that were once big and beautiful, completely demolished. Cars thrown around like toys. The hillside was scoured clean of grass and trees, and littered with the belongings of those who lived nearby. It was a war-zone. I came upon more victims who had ridden the beast out in a small van. Luckily, they were next to a small ridge and the worst winds jumped right over them, but a large tree branch landed right on the front windshield, smashing the front 1/2 of the van. 4 of the 5 occupants were fine and only sustained minor injurys, but the driver had major bleeding from a gash on his head. there were ambulances on the way, but they were having trouble getting past downed trees and powerlines, so I told him and one of his friends to get in the Tahoe. I tried to get them to Neosho, but there was major damage all the way there, so I decided to run them up to Joplin. I had to drive through trees to get through the damage. The 911 dispatcher was very helpful and gave me directions to Freeman Hospital in Joplin, MO. The young guy with the head injury kept asking where we were and if his wife and kids were ok. Luckily, their house was about 1/2 mile from the damage path, and they were fine. I dropped them at the hospital, and told the nurses to get ready for a busy night due to a large damaging tornado 10 miles S of them. We were the first tornado victims there. I went back to where I picked them up to let the other victims what hospital he was at and see if they were all ok. They had rides on the way and thanked me. I shot some damage video for about an hour at the mercy of the local Sherriffs. I was in tears pretty much the whole time. It unbelievable how fast it all happened. One minute you're driving to a church buddies house for dinner and the next theres grapefruit sized hail smashing your windows as a mile wide F3 tornado barrels into you and drops a 100 year old tree on your car. Its all very surreal. The whole thing hasn't really sunk in yet. I must have been in the zone or something because it was all just a blur.

Overall a terrible day. Many, many fatalities from this storm, and others as this system spawned tornadoes from KS all the way through SC and GA. My prayers go out to the families and friends of the victims.

407 miles. I've decided to take some first responder classes and some emergency management training classes. I don't like the feeling of seeing people in need and not being able to help.

May 8th, KS slight risk squall line

Well today, Chris Bishop, Mitch, and Josh Gregory went to OKC to skate and hang out. I decided to take them to KS to chase some storms. There was a supercell that was already going, so we tried to meet it in Kingman CO. well, the whole system was squalling out, but we intercepted a notch in the line. There was a persistent Meso-Vortex wall cloud, for a good 45 minutes. Accidentally met up with Tyler Costantini and Jay Cazel. We were overtaken by the monster complex of crap. So we went home.

431 miles.

May 7th text message marathon/storm chase. minus the storms.

So I started this day off in Glenpool. My best friends, Randy Rhea and Josh Gregory, tagged along today. Pretty boring day. Drove to Paris, TX, met up with Randy Hicks and the outlaw crew. Michael Ratliff showed up. Right as Ratliff showed up, his wife called, and said she could see a tornado(landspout) from their front yard(Yukon, OK). Fantastic. He drove to TX and missed a nader in his front yard. So a few hours go by, our storm died, waited some more. I went into a gas station to get some food and use the little boys room, and when I returned to the car, I had 4 missed calls and 23 text messages. There was a tornado warning issued for southern Tulsa CO and instead of turning on the tv or taking cover, everyone that i know decided top call me or text me for info. TURN ON YOUR FREAKING TV'S PEOPLE! I AM NOT A WEATHER TIP HOTLINE! anyways, I guess there were brief touchdowns in Bixby and Broken Arrow. Our storm had gusted out and had a cool whales mouth but we decided to drive home. the end.

406 miles. Meh.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

May 1st, Pawnee/Osage Co. Tornado-fest!!!

What a day. Started off at work in Jenks forecasting throughout the morning. My savior showed up to work for me, to whom I owe this entire chase, Joshua Giddens. So I left at 1pm to get the car ready and head N to Coffeyville, KS. I stopped in Caney to eat some Sonic. Met up with Michael Ratliff, and we watched the cap erode and eventually break. We intercepted the first "cell" just S of Sedan, KS. The northern one looked better, so Michael went after it, and I stayed to watch the southern cell struggle, and to watch the northern cells line together. So I dropped S into Oklahoma where the cap was breaking with a storm in Oklahoma Co, and some storm just firing right over Stillwater. I went south despite the terrible terrain, so that even if I did bust, I would be in the KTUL viewing area and get paid for any video. So I drop down to Fairfax, where I meet a left-moving LP supercell that was splitting off of the now Tornado Warned cell. She was a beauty.

I keep punching S through Osage Co and eventually cross the Arkansas River on the worst bridge I had ever seen. I mean, had there not been a tornado reported on the ground, I wouldn't
have crossed this bridge. The whole way across I was white-knuckling the steering wheel. So i get across the bridge, and turn W to intercept the wall cloud. It was very nice.

I get to within about 2 miles and stop in a good clearing. It displayed very good motion and finally debris becomes visible. Tornado #1

So I call 911 and report it, and take off to the West to get closer to it. It picks up for a minute, then puts down another tornado, that went from just debris to wedge in a matter of seconds. Tornado #2

I blast through some stop signs to get even closer, hoping it will cross the road within 1/2 of a mile of me. It picks up again and I set up about a mile E of the wall cloud. It cycles for a few minutes, then spins up a skinny little rope for about 10 seconds, then its gone. Tornado #3

About a minute later, a rather large cone funnel appears but isn't on the ground. It had the "Im gonna be a multiple-vortex monster" look to it, but only spun up one quick debris swirl before dying out. Tornado #4

after another 2 minutes of good motion, a nice stovepipe hits the ground within 2 seconds of appearing. #5
It quickly grows into a fat cone with multiple-vortices screaming around it.

This was a strong tornado, luckily it was in a rural area. I keep filming while repositioning, following it N up muddy-ass county roads. The Meso becomes smaller and smaller and eventually wraps itself around the top of the now truncated-cone-stinger. At this point, the tornado was coming sideways out of the updraft, and then dropping straight down to the ground.

With a new meso to the E, I watch this bad boy rope out, and reposition to the E. Theres already a tornado on the ground with this new meso when I find a clearing. So I set the camera up and let it capture the next few tornadoes. Tornado 7 happens and dissipates while #6 rages on


#8 ropes out and 9 appears
cycling again

and the #7 still going as the storm is moving out of reach.

342 miles. What a day. My video of #2 and #5 was aired on KTUL, and then on The Weather Channel, numerous ABC platforms such as GMA, and World News Tonight. I also sold it to the Associated Press, who aired it on CNN Headline News. Over 6800 miles without a good tornado will make you feel like its a bad year, then with one slow-moving cyclic-supercell, the season is salvaged.

Disclaimer:For the haters and neigh sayers, there were actually 9 different tornadoes. Not 5 tornadoes that skipped a few times. If I counted tornadoes like that(some people do) there would have been over 15. Some didn't show any visible damage during surveys. Some people say that the 7th tornado was on the ground for over an hour.

April 23rd, Moderate Risk. NC TX. 5 TX Busts in a row?

Well, you can pretty much sub in the last chase for this one, as it was almost exactly the same. actually, it's been a few weeks and I hadn't written up a report because I thought the last report was for this day.

Randy Rhea and I headed out from Edmond the day before to stay at my Mom's house in Decatur. Later that night, Randy and Lisa(the Outlaw Chasers) showed up. We woke up early to head west towards Breckenridge. DeLorme informed me of an imaginary highway in an imaginary town(W of Albany on TX180), and the storms bright green core was fast approaching, so we ducked S to get in position. There was a nice velocity couplet to the N in the core, and another one to the S. I would have much rather stayed for the N one, but road options made the decision for us. We jogged out ahead of it, and enjoyed some decent structure with an AMAZING lightning display. Stayed out ahead of it through Albany and shot N out of town to watch it come in. Looked like junk the whole time, so we caught the next storm. Also an HP mess, but we had to chase it. Punched through it to see if there was really a tornado. there wasnt, but as we approached the wall cloud, there was a nice needle funnel starting to poke out. It never touched the ground, and we dropped S to weigh our options. We decided that the only cell isolated enough to produce tornadoes was to our E and we let it go. Randy and Lisa went after it and were about 5 minutes behind a strong tornado. We dicked around, got some dinner, went by my Mom's again, then headed back to Edmond. Randy and Lisa stayed at the KGB house in Edmond, and we would discuss chasing in KS the next day.

847 miles. 3 "supercells" that never really looked capable, but thats how TX has treated us so we'll deal with it. However, finding a funnel in that mess of a storm was definitely a good feeling. Eh.

Friday, April 11, 2008

April 9, Moderate risk. again. NC TX. again.

Well. What can I say. I was suckered into NC TX again by a good looking setup that ended up being marginal, at most. I believe this is the 4th MOD in this area in 2 weeks that hasn't verified. Not to mention the next day in AR where a MOD contained almost ZERO severe reports, including ZERO tornadoes in the hatched area. Fantastic.

Anywho, Randy Rhea and I left Edmond around 9, and made good time. We were in Mineral Wells when the only storm of the day went up near Abilene. We busted our asses W to catch it near the town of Moran. It looked like a cold rainy HP waste of time. But we were there, so we chased it. Stair stepped NE on County roads, and never got a decent look at her. We almost punched it into Breckenridge, and I'm glad we didn't. Those who did either got a great view of the tube(guess who) or got thrown off of the road by the beast. We tried to take a dirt road E, there was a locked gate that a guy didnt tell us about, and when we came back, he called me a dumbass. Like he couldn't have told me it was locked when I drove past him on the way in? I'm the dumbass? Some uneducated local is sitting on the hood of his truck watching a tornadic storm and is calling me a dumbass? whatever dude! anyways, we ended up missing the Breckenridge tornado because of this. So we got East of it, and intercepted it again NE of Palo Pinto, SW of Graford. There were a few chasers that punched N into the rainy monster, we stayed S to ride it out. I'm pretty sure we were caught in the edge of a weak tornado. I was filming a Texas flag just about 25yds S of us to show the winds we were getting blasted by. they were pretty strong, about 50-60 out of the W then out of nowhere they switched and we got about 50mph out of the East, For about 15 seconds, then the winds switched back and we got blasted with 70mph winds and some small debris. This was all rain-wrapped BS so we never could make-out any condensation, but our video right after that shows major rotation in the rainy crap-fest. We have multiple sources that a tornado was sighted in our area and there was confirmed EF1 damage just NE of us. So I'm counting it. We had to drop South to get to a good option to follow it, but it was too late. It was hauling ass towards Decatur, so we stayed behind it thinking we might be filming damage in Decatur. The most impressive thing we saw was the street flooding. The roads were big flowing rivers. It was fun. So we went to my moms (in Decatur), smoked our victory cigars, and called it a night.

The next day we were planning on getting up early, and heading to AR for a possible HIGH risk. luckily, I looked at the radar and decided that nothing good would come from that mess of crap. So we slept in, and drove back to Joke-la-homa. The end.

778 miles.

April 7, Moderate Risk, NC TX supercells

Well I started the day in Edmond, met Randy Hicks for some lunch, then headed down 44 towards my target of Lawton. A monster supercell popped but I held my ground. After about 30 minutes, I decided to drop S into Wichita Falls to intercept. I got to it about 15 minutes before it died. I filmed this timelapse near Iowa Park. Notice how the RFD cut actually cuts the meso in 1/2.

Then I decided to go back into OK but Dick McGEEZY texted me a nowcast and I flipped a U-ey and flew S to catch the cell developing in Baylor CO. I met it just SW of Holliday, TX and she was gorgeous. I set the camera up and filmed the best structure I have ever seen.

Tyler Costantini, Chris Wilburn, and Bart Comstock showed up out of nowhere. We watched it for 25 minutes then dropped S to catch the 3rd and final storm of the day. It had a nice saucer-shaped updraft and it was a nice way to end the day. We filmed and shot lightning out of the updraft for about 45 minutes. The updraft ran out of moisture(a HUGE problem this day) and took on a scrawny stack of plates structure. We ate at Dennys in Wichita Falls and called it a day.

487 miles. Not a good day tornado-wise. Moisture was shallow and just as the storms would get crankin', they would just dry up, become un-rooted, and go LP until they finally just died. But I did witness and timelapse some of the best structure I have seen to date.

Friday, April 4, 2008

April 3, Moderate Risk NC TX/SC OK

Well, the night before I drove from Tulsa to OKC pick up Ryan Warford, Randy Rhea, and Matt Hagy. We decided to drive to my mom's house in Decatur, TX to be in better position. Had a fun night, woke up, had a fun morning, and got the Tahoe ready for some bumpy-ass TX county roads. Headed W towards Wichita Falls. As we were on our way, a storm went up and we intercepted near Archer City. It looked very nice. Good wall cloud with decent motion. Unfortunately the day was downhill from here. Followed it E, Drove into someones driveway (THANKS DELORME!) and then it took off and left us in the dirt. Literally. hahah we actually accidentally met up with a chaser caravan through some dirt county roads. It was a parade of 6 chasers, with Amos Magliocco right in front of us. The storm looked terrible and we took 35N back into OK to catch anything that would go up on the triple-point, but that never happened. Some storms went up on an OFB but the ColdFront swooped in. We intercepted a nice cell NE of Pauls Valley, With a very nice outflow dominant structure. Best Shelf I have seen in a long time. Then we headed back to OKC to drop everyone off, and I went back to Tulsa.

857 miles. It's never a good feeling to chase a moderate risk and not see any tornadoes. Which has been the case twice in 4 days. The good news is with us 4 guys, theres always a good time to be had. Even bust chases are fun with these kids. They're the best chase partners I could ask for and I appreciate them.

March 31st Moderate risk

Started the day once again in Edmond, with convection across most of OK. With a Tornado watch already in place, I decided to head S to catch a developing supercell near Newcastle. Decent structure, but she was elevated. So I headed E out of Chickasha to catchup with the next one near Lindsey. Looked pretty good on radar, but not too good in person. Dropped S for number 3 in Garvin County. Came up behind it and found hail covering the ground, some up to almost baseball sized. Decided to jump on 35 and head S into TX. Met up with Michael Ratliff and one of his buddies. Gassed up and went back into Oklahoma to catch a Tornado Warned cell just NE of Durant. Man I love my new 4x4 tahoe. Amazing. Followed it E all the way to 70, then we decided to jump N to antlers to intercept another TorWarned "cell." I dropped back S of town as the cell was turning right a little. I took some county roads SW of town, and got very close to the wall cloud. It was only organized for a few minutes. I ran into some very muddy roads, but White Lightning handled it with no problem at all. Got up close and personal with the "wall cloud" which was looking less and less organized and eventually shelfed out. Sat about 7 miles S of Antlers waiting for Randy Rhea to meet up with me. Shot some lightning in the whalesmouth for KTUL. Hung out with fellow STer and talked storms for about 20 minutes. It was cool to meet a fellow chaser. He left and I went back into town to steal WIFI from a motel and send my video in.

528 miles. got on 5 SUPs this day, no naders. None of them looked very healthy, esp. for a moderate risk. But I'll chase anything.

March 30th Slow Supercells

well, I started this day off in Edmond, with Randy Rhea and Matt Hagy. Our target was Watonga, but we moved S as the sfc winds were beginning to back. Sure enough, 2 cells went up and we shot S and intercepted the first, at close range, with the base of the 2nd Cell in view. The first cell could get it's act together, so we ran W to get the 2nd cell. She was a beauty. Nice broad Mothership. Amazing. Best structure all year. It was nice to have an isolated cell with no BS cloud matter blocking view of the whole storm. We set up a ways out to get some structure shots, but we got bored and went in for the kill. Everyone and their mom was under the updraft. Played with it until dark. Broke waaaay east to Anadarko to get more miniDV tapes, then broke N to intercept again. The storm was going through Binger when we was a few power flashes, wrapped in rain. Followed it to Tuttle, shot some lightning, and drove home. There was a weird 3-cell cluster where the front of the cluster would rotate for a minute, then move to the N, the next Cell in the cluster would rotate, then move N and so on. Like a carousel. it was neat. On our way home, a cell to the W had isolated and started showing rotation. So we went for it, as we were close to home. We intercepted at 178th and Western, NW of Edmond, 1 mile from where the first EF1 damage occurred. Saw a lowering in precip that looked suspicious, then we saw powerflashes. Headed E through town, where the power was out due to a damaged substation. Got harassed by a dumb edmond cop. Got on 35N to get another look. Apparently we were looking at a tornado without even knowing it. It didn't look like it was on the ground but it was producing damage. Tried to follow it NE but ran into some washed-out county roads.

418 Miles.

Such a great chase. I LOOOOOOVE slow moving SUPs. very nice.

Friday, March 28, 2008

March 27th Suprise Supercells

Well, I started the day early in Stillwater, with no intention of chasing supercells. I thought if I make it back to Tulsa in time, I could film some BS storms for KTUL. So I headed to the KGB house in Edmond, to setup my new Tahoe, and get her ready for the chase season ahead. Randy Rhea stopped by on his afternoon lunch break, we had some pizza, then he went back to work. I was about to head back towards Tulsa when randy called an informed me of towers off to the East. Hmm. Looked East, then pulled over to get "white lightning" ready for her first chase. Supercell in Okfuskee County moving at a whopping 22 MPH. So I break a few laws trying to get there, a "large tornado" which was probably just rainwrapped scud was reported. The coldfront was to the north, and Dicky McG suggested i catch the storm that went up just S of the tornadic cell. She was a beaut, dropping random golfballs out of the anvil canopy onto my new car. I caught the cell near Eufala and got very close to the disorganized(but TorWarned) wall cloud, got stuck in some mud, and decided to head E a little. More quarter sized hail with a few golfballs mixed in. Filmed some crappy video for KTUL and went to Glenpool.

256 miles.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

March 17th NW TX "chase"

Well, I started the day in Glenpool, woke up early, and met Ryan Warford and Randy Rhea at the KGB house in Edmond. We Headed out for Wichita Falls around noon. A little late, but it didn't matter. When we got to Wichita Falls, we decided to keep going to Seymour. Ran into Jeff Snyder, said hello. We held our ground there as storms struggled to sustain themselves. One storm near Abilene went TORwarned and another cell went up just S of us neat Throckmorton. We busted S to intercept. when we got there, it had a bit on an elongate updraft, but it did have a wallcloud with some rising motion. we followed it down a dead end county road (thanks delorme) and by the time we got back to our highway. it had split and the left split had accelerated towards OK. We could make out 2 wall clouds on that cell for a few minutes as we tried to follow it. As we went through Seymour, we decided it was a lost cause and were debating on heading 200 miles east into the new watch. I chased SE OK last week for KTUL video, and I will never do it again. Those hills and highways are hell for a chaser. So we chased a pack of wild boar, and Steve Miller pulled up. Said hello, then we headed North towards home. Mike Ratliff passed us, then i called him to let him know I wasn't a copper. We tried to stop and take a few lightning shots, but the rain always overtook us. Then we got home(Edmond), and I went to bed knowing that the next day I would spend alot of the next day filming flooding in southern Tulsa county.

822 miles

Friday, March 7, 2008

March 2nd W OK chase

Well, I started my day in Edmond, and had a list of things to get done before I left. I woke up late (imagine that) and needed to do some serious cleaning, wire 3 cig-plugs in my car, and build a new laptop mount. I finished around 1 and headed toward Lawton on 44. Today would be good as I would finally get to test my Sprint card and all my programs and see how well I can chase by myself. Watched some storms in NW OK get TorWarned but new that the cold front would blast through within the hour, so I stuck to my Southerly target. Talked to Chris Wilburn. He said he was headed towards Hobart to wait on some cells firing on the Red River. I broke W to intercept near the town of Snyder. I could see 2 interesting areas on the base of the storm, but the southern area quickly stole the show. It played around with some disorganized wall clouds for about 20 minutes, but as I neared Roosevelt, the whole Meso had lowered from the base and was putting on quite a show. I set up and watched an amazing wall cloud cycle and occlude, then headed E to re-position. Then she really got cranking. The 10 minutes I spent watching this mothership spin is why I get up in the morning. Even though she didn't tornado, that 10 minutes made the whole day worth it. It was amazing. Heres a timelapse from this spot.

From there on she transitioned into a High Precip beauty, so I punched it once for fun, then turned around and went back to Roosevelt to catch the next "cell" which was embedded in a line segment. Decent wall cloud, but very disorganized. I headed home to get back into the KTUL viewing area so I can get some video for them. I gassed up in Wellston where Matt Hagy, Randy Rhea, and Jessica Sager met up with me. We headed S into a new watch-box where some new SUPs were trying to develop. They never happened and we parted ways near Tecumseh. The next 2 hours I spent trying to get ahead of the line and avoid my biggest fear and a Chasers' worst enemy... hydroplaning. Well, I suck so it didn't work and I almost ran someone off the road. Maybe they won't drive in people's blind spot from now on. Anyways, I slowly crept home(Glenpool) and got a good nights rest. The end.


I feel that I chased very well with few mistakes. It was also nice to chase storms that were moving less than 50 mph! This was just one of those days where you chase by yourself with no expectations and get rewarded. It's days like this that make all the BS days worth it.

A few chasers that played further north were rewarded with a brief but nice tube. However, the structure wasn't near as pretty as the storm I was on so I don't feel that I missed anything. Also, I'm pissed that mother nature rewarded people to the north when it was obvious that the cold front would intervene. Whatever.

Also, I would like to thank my bosses for letting me bribe them with subway. I buy them lunch so that they let me chase on days that I should be at work. Thanks Eagle and Kev!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

February 4-5, 2008 Chase

Well, Chris Bishop and I were planning on going to Tahlequah to skate a visit my Family, and there was a chance for storms late that night, so it was going to be a good day. We skated a few spots, then went to my Dads to hang out and wait for storms to fire up. Fell asleep, and my little sister woke us up when she was leaving for school. I woke up to see the SPCs first high risk of the year, with an emphasis on long-track tornadoes. So I ask Chris if he's ready to go on his first nader chase and sit on his ass for 14 hours straight. We decided to go for it, and we head out to Little Rock at 8:30 am. I called Randy Rhea and Hagy to see if they were in, and they jumped in the car and headed out from Edmond. We met in Ft. Smith and kept East to Little Rock. Randy Hicks called and said he was heading South of of Little Rock to catch a TORwarned cell near Hamburg. We decided to break south as well, but the storms were too fast, so we decided to catch another. On our way there, we caught a mini-SUP. It was weak, but it was rotating. We get a view of out target cell and she's a beauty. Very broad updraft base with precip around the wall cloud. Follow it as far as possible, but road options SUCKED. So we headed North to catch a new cell going up near Pine Bluff. We set up 5 miles S of Stuttgart, and watch it come in around dark. AMAZING anvil crawler lightning. It just so happens that a few cells were going up behind it, which would make for a good chase. I believe were were watching 2 wall clouds to the SW and W, with rain-wrapped power flashed to the North. All at one time. The rain-wrapped power flashes were caused by a tornado near the Stuttgart airport. We headed north after our cell to the west went TORwarned. In the distance we could see the possible tornado, with the Meso of our storm wrapping up very nicely, very close to us. It never did much and we let it fly away, and we headed towards 40 to head home, and we punched the core of another cell, and Headed W to position for the Squall line. We went a little North of Brinkley to watch some lowerings along the edge of the line. There was a suspicious lowering that turned into a funnel, so we went after it. I havent looked at video yet so we arent sure if anything came of it. It left us and the line hit us with 70mph winds and airborne gravel scared us South to get some subs and discuss our trip home. Pictures and video up soon.

804 miles.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 7? Tornadoes?

January 7, 2008 Chase

I got off work at noon and met up with my chase partner, Randy Rhea at a subway in Jenks, OK to discuss the forecast. After a quick Mesoscale analysis, we decide to head SE toward Checotah, OK. After watching storms struggle to develop, we decide to head North to Wagoner, to meet up with our other chase partner, Matt Hagy. On our way there, there was a "cell" that was displaying supercell-type structure, and not even showing reflectivity on GR3. It was interesting. We meet Matt at McDs, do another meso-analysis, and look at the latest radar. With the windfield at hand, a storm would have to deviate to the right to make full use of the backing winds at the surface. We head north to 412 and set up at the truckstop on 69 and 412 to pick a storm. After a quick radar check and chat, we see one storm that would possibly make the right-turn. It was just starting to crank in southern Cherokee CO and was already showing a hook-echo. So we jump in the car, and blast East to get ahead of in on 412. It was TOR warned near Tahlequah, and low-level rotation was intesifying. It was going to turn right! After catching a decent hail core(dimes and a few nickels) and some really intense lightning, we get ahead of it just before heading into AR. We moseyed through Siloam Springs, wondering how far east we needed to go to stay safe, as this storm had been taking a more Easterly course than we had seen on radar. We decided to keep heading East out of town, just in case. We found a nice hill to watch from, and then we decided we were too far East. We jump back onto 412 W and hear wall cloud reports NORTH OF TOWN. This b*tch was really moving. So we jump onto AR59 and flew north towards Gentry. While on 59, we were tailgated by a the WhackerChaserSuperLightbarPolice(see end of post). After being harassed by police-wannabees, we head north in hopes of finding a clear spot to watch the storm leave us. We found a spot behind a chicken processing plant, near Decatur, AR. We see a lowered area with rotating scud, get behind this processing plant, and this lowered area is close to the ground. Is it a tornado? Well, it's rotating condesation from the belly of a right-turning SUP, and it's almost on the ground. It looks like sh*t, but its January, and it's in the Ozark Hills of Arkansas. Then, a funnel appears on the souther edge of the scud lowering, and reaches out about half way to the ground. We watch it, i take video, Randy and Matt take stills, and it says goodbye, but not before the funnel just to the south of it touches down.

We celebrate our first tornado of the year, and head towards Bentonville to gas up, data check, and pick our next cell to intercept. Well, another Sup had popped up, and was going right over Bentonville. It was TOR warned, but with about 971576 different cells also being warned, we had no idea. we stop to get gas, I pull up GR3, and theres a very intense velocity couplet over the north side of town. It was too late to "chase" it. So we watch lightning, and I look to see what our tornado producer had become, and was in awe of the radar signature. It had taken on a "tornadocane" structure. Amazing. While looking at the radar, lightning hits about 150 yards behind me. Matt is filming me looking at the laptop, and accidentally gets this...

After we finished gassing, we head South on 540 in hopes of finding hotel with free wifi(man we need something better hah). We hear of another cell about to cross into the boonies, so we head West on 412 to meet it. We stop at WalMart in Siloam Springs to wait for it. It becomes disorganized, so we head West into the mess in hopes that the next cell in line would isolate itself. It doesn't, so we punch through it to get back to Hagy's car, which we left at the shell station. Before we get too far behind the line, the mess had moved on, and a cell had become extremely isolated and displayed a fantastic radar signature, and intense low level rotation, right over Wagoner. So we punch west through the northern edge of it, with hopes of following behind it on 412. It became less organized, and by the time it reached 412, the Meso had accelerated to the forward-flank of the storm. We watch the rain-free tail of it anyways, and wave goodbye as it accelerates toward MO. We take Hagy back to his car, and head home.

411 miles. 5 sups, 1 tornado, 1 tornadocane, 1 lightning reflection video, and one hell of a first chase of the year.

RANT: Now back to the Lightbar rant I didn't know if we were in a parade of lights, or chasing a tornado. Then these a-holes use their lights to gain right-of-way not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES, IN A CONSTRUCTION ZONE, with little to no room to move off of the roadway. I film the license plate, for later use, of course, and we get out of the construction, and out of Gentry. The Weather Police decide to pull over. I decide that i want to find out who they think they are. so i get out, and run back to their car to see who the hell these POLICE IMPERSONATORS were. And guess what. I'll be a daughter of suzie if it weren't BILL BRASKY HIMSELF!!! OK. They were voluteer firefighters, with FOUR laptops running GR3. Lets go through the lighting set-up. WIGWAG headlight brights, 4 MASSIVE led lights in the grille, 2 more on the brush gaurd facing the side, a humongoid amber arrowstick, and 4 90watt Strobe tubes on the brake/backup light assembly.
Don't get me wrong. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm all about some emergency lighting. I'm all about the safety aspect of it. There is a point where its just ridiculous, and these idiots passed that point. Thats all I got.