USA STORM CHASE 2010
This was our last day on the road, and although there were storms forecast to our east we unfortunately had to head north back to Norman OK, for our flights tomorrow...a sad time for us but a good two weeks chasing for all of us.
MAY 14 2010
Today we had marginal hopes of a good chase, but these days can sometimes surprise you, and so it proved.
We headed south out of Amarillo to chase the storms along interstate 20. We followed the first storm and intercepted its hail core, The stones were not that large but were very hard and this caused a whole bunch of idiots ahead of us to park up under an overpass because they thought their windows would shatter, and all they proceeded to do was completely block the road. A few words later and they moved off.
We pursued the storms east and they were becoming very outflow dominant and produced some nice photogenic shelf clouds, not ideally what we wanted as we needed strong inflow but good all the same.
The storms began to get more electrified and I managed to film a bolt of lightning striking the blades of a wind turbine.
We eventually finished the chase in Abilene, TX.
MAY 13 2010
Today was a relocation day to get into position for the storms that would fire up in Texas tomorrow. We had a long trek from Wichita Kansas to Amarillo ahead of us, and did we know the way.....pretty much as we have been here a few times to indulge on the steak at the Big Texan, oh and the 32oz beers of course.
We arrived after 7 hours on the road and hooked up with some other British chasers when we got there. None of us tried the 72oz steak but we tried everything in the bar it seems...
MAY 12 2010
The SPC had issued a slight risk of severe weather in the Oklahoma/Kansas border area, so we initially targeted an area north of our current location of Enid, OK.
Again today would be a waiting game, so we headed to an initial target area of Alva, OK and waited for the cells to fire up. The first cells began to fire around 3pm so we stayed in position to intercept the first storm. It began to look good on radar although more cells began to pop up behind it there was a real danger of them merging and becoming too linear.
We chased the storms further north into Kansas before we decided to eat and book up for the night in Wichita, KS and let the line of storms hit us. They did and we witnessed some great lightning until the early hours.
MAY 11 2010
There were more storms expected today in Oklahoma. The capping inversion was quite strong so we weren't expecting initiation much before sunset, however the storm motion was much slower than yesterday so when the storms fire we would have a greater chance of keeping up with them.
It was a day of waiting, but a few cells began to fire early so we went after them in central OK, but they were disorganised and despite showing potential began to fall apart. It looked like a day of frustration for us.
However a storm fired up just before sunset (as anticipated) and we chased that to just outside the town of Woodward. It grew in strength to eventually produce a beautiful Low Precipitation photogenic supercell that had great structure as contained a lot of CC lightning. A great end to the day.
MAY 10 2010
There was a high risk of severe weather predicted today, including the threat of long track violent tornadoes in the states of Oklahoma and Kansas.
The problems that we had though, was the storm motion as every storm today would be moving at between 50 and 70 knots, so would be near impossible to keep up with. There was also huge chaser convergence expected due to the high expectations of the days setup, that could also make positioning extremely tough.
We headed north to our initial target area of Enid and a few storms began to fire up along interstate 35, that quickly became supercellular.
We reached the town of Cherokee to see baseball sized hail of 4 to 5 inch laying on the ground with a lot of damage unsurprisingly to homes and cars. As we headed further north we saw numerous trucks flipped on their side possibly by a tornado that had been reported moments earlier. As we continued on a roof of a house flew past which i managed to capture on video.
Then we witnessed our first brief tornado spin up in Medford OK, before witnessing the second, another brief touchdown outside Wakita.
The storm though was racing ahead of us so we positioned ourselves for the southern storm but by the time it reached us it was beginning to die.
As we decided to head to Independence KS for the night we heard reports of major tornado damage back in Oklahoma around the OKC area. Unfortunately there have now been two fatalities due to this tornado.
MAY 9 2010
Today was a down day, so we just hung out in Norman OK waiting for tomorrow’s big show hopefully and took the time to go bowling.
However just afterwards a few storms popped up on radar, and the one closest to us had some potential with increasing elevation and hail of 1.00 inch.
Dave Patrick, Cheryl Davis and I decided to blast north east to intercept it as it intensified for a while with the hail growing to 2.25 inch and elevation to 47000 feet. However as we reached it and waited for the core to hit us it began to die, so we called it a day. We had no expectations for today so we didn't lose anything. If it's there we'll chase it.
MAY 8 2010
Today there were no storms forecast so some of us decided to head for a local rifle range in OKC.
We decided to try our aim with a Glock 22 semi automatic, a Magnum 44 and an AK-47. Our accuracy turned out to be pretty good surprising shooting all three was a first for most of us. How come our shooting party consisted of 4 Brits, 2 Australians, a Canadian and a Swiss?. Probably because we can't just walk in off the street to try this at home!
Afterwards we headed to the memorial of the OKC bombing in 1995 to pay our respects.
MAY 7 2010
Today was a relocation day to get into position for the storm potential on Sunday and next week. We headed south from Kansas back to Oklahoma.
It is kind of nice to unwind after a lot of travel over the past few days.
MAY 6 2010
We had to continue west to intercept the storms in N central Kansas, but were unlikely to reach the 2% tornado risk area that had been forecast. However this eventually was ungraded to 5% across the N of the state. The issue we had though was the strong capping inversion that was most likely to restrict any storm initiation until after sunset. This proved to be the case as we waited all day for the storms to fire.
Eventually after sunset an isolated supercell formed and we intercepted this tornado warned storm from the south at Council Grove, We were careful to stay out of the core of rain and 2.25 inch hail that had been reported, and witnessed some nice lightning and a great structure before the storm began to fall apart. We then headed to Emporia for the night.
MAY 5 2010
Today was a really frustrating day, the storms just N of Indianapolis took time to fire up and when they did they just lined out into fast moving clusters that we disorganised and fast moving so really difficult to chase.
It wasn't long before the decision was made to leave this craptastic setup and head back west for the normality of Tornado Alley....a long drive to get to tomorrow's new target area of E Kansas, but we made it as far as St Louis Missouri by midnight and will continue east today for some good storms hopefully.
MAY 4 2010
Today was a travel day to get into position for some storms in the Indiana area tomorrow. This is now way east of Tornado Alley and the farthest east we have been so far on a chase. Still it's a state we haven't visited before, so we will see what happens, you gotta go where the storms are and this is the only storm in town.
Today was also our chase friend Nathan's birthday, so we took the time when we got to Indianapolis to celebrate.
MAY 3 2010
We didn't have high hopes for today, but we headed east on Interstate 70 to intercept the slight storm risk that was forecast along the Missouri / Illinois border.
We were to be rewarded as a severe thunderstorm watch box was issued in Illinois. The storm looked interesting visually and looked even better on radar. It contained alot of hail of up to golf ball in size. We pursued it to the town of Godfrey sheltering under some trees to let the core hit us, we watched as leaves were shredded in the strong hail core.
We then continued to pursue it, but it was hard to keep up on the slippery hail covered roads as it was moving away from us so quickly that we decided to abandon the chase as the storm was beginning to die.
MAY 2 2010
Today there was a marginal risk of storms in the Kansas area, so we drove north to intercept a few cells that had some potential.
We tracked them east towards Missouri and visually one began to look interesting but lacked moisture with a low dew point, and was very high based. The best we hoped to get from this was a good lightning show, but it soon began to wither and die.
In Kansas City, MO we decided to call the chase off and head for dinner which was to be my fav of restaurants the Olive Garden.
Later on last night a cell popped up here to produce a nice lightning display, a good end to the day.
MAY 1 2010
We left home at 6am for the airport, for our 3 scheduled flights to OKC..
London-Atlanta, Atlanta-Memphis, Memphis-OKC. Well I guess we had to be grateful to get out of blighty at all, after the eruption of the volcano in Iceland (don't ask me to spell it!).
We got to Memphis hoping to have enough time to have a JD in Tennessee, but no such luck.
The SPC had issued a high risk for today in Arkansas/Mississippi, and although were weren't able to chase these storms, we at least got to experience the turbulence as we flew west past them.
We got to Oklahoma just after 9 that's 3am UK time....a long day, time for sleep.
APRIL 30 2010
Ok, so chase prep is almost complete, camera....check, batteries charged.... check, flight out of UK? Well volcano permitting, and tornadoes? We will have to wait and see. That’s the beauty of this passion you never know what's gonna happen.
Time to drive down to Ian's place ready to get the taxi from there in the morning where we will meet Cheryl and Peter at the airport (well hopefully!), but for now time to indulge in the chase ritual of watching Twister whilst checking I haven't left anything at home. Of course I have....please not the passport or Olive Garden gift card!.