Chasing Down a Supercell

When it’s May you chase.  During the week of May 22, 2016, a southward dip in the jet stream occurred in the West near Colorado, with favorable thermodynamics advecting northwards and setting the potential for a tornado outbreak. In the early afternoon of May 22, 2016, an Enhanced Risk was issued by the Storm Prediction Center for extreme southwestern Kansas, the Oklahoma Panhandle and northern Texas.  Numerous tornadoes touched down along the dryline that evening, with the strongest tornadoes touching down in Texas.        

Storm Chase Dodge City, Kansas

May 24, 2016 was an epic day storm chasing on the plains. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) had forecasted an enhanced risk for the day and I was ready for another epic day of chasing.  I was in Shamrock, Texas and it seemed like an eternity waiting for the latest forecast model.  I sat and waited, drove around, fueled up, looked at the SPC website, checked the mesoanalysis page, and chatted on messenger in an attempt to figure out where the target area was going to be for the afternoon.…

Storm Chase North Las Vegas

Storm chasing in Vegas during the monsoon season is an exciting time.  Storms roll into the valley and can explode over the city bringing dangerous cloud to ground lightning, hail, massive rain and flash flooding.  Vegas definitely has some great severe weather opportunities to observe and photograph Mother Nature behaving badly.

Storm Chase The Dakotas

The day started in Rapid City, South Dakota and ended 36 hours later in Denver, Colorado.  It was a tough chase day but well worth the lack of sleep and the 1,033 miles of driving.  If I had to remember one thing about this chase day that stood out in my mind, it was my night in Rapid City.  The bed at the Inn and Suites where I had stayed the night was so comfortable.  The morning arrived too quick and the ritual of looking at maps, looking at the…

Storm Chase South Dakota

I had an early morning departure to get to the target area in time.  The target was 647 miles away and after spending the night in a terrible motel, it was not difficult waking up early and getting on the road.  Holy smokes, wrap me in plastic, break out the lysol, spray and pray.  The motel room was bad, but I was tired and needed a place to sleep other than the front seat of Drones.  At this point I had traveled 1,994 miles and I was still on a cloud…

Storm Chasing Oklahoma

The chase started in Elk City, Oklahoma and ended in Goodland, Kansas.   I left Clinton, Oklahoma on May 30th and and drove west to Elk City.  Arriving in Elk City before noon, I decided I needed a day off before the next leg of the journey so I booked a room and relaxed all day.  I was extremely tired of fast food, beating myself up always trying to figure out where the next gas station was located, and of course driving.  Most of the day was spent in the…

Storm Chase Texas

The chase started in Shamrock, Texas and at the end of the day, I would find myself seeing a supercell and getting pummeled by hail, rain, and wind.  I had mixed feelings about what had occurred the day before when I missed a tornado in Canadian, Texas.   I kept thinking about my choice to stay on I-40 direct to Shamrock then north to Canadian.  There was an alternate route but I chose not to take it.  I kept thinking if I would have taken the alternate route, I would have seen…

Storm Chase Canadian Texas

Departing Albuquerque, New Mexico I had a sense of missing Vegas.  The chase rig began to cut out like it was running out of fuel and I wondered if I was really going to make the trip.  The thought of ending the chase before it really started tugged away in my mind.  I was two states away and trying to figure out my next move really consumed my thoughts.  I decided to stop and take a break in Tucumcari, New Mexico.  I refueled the chase rig, grabbed a cup of coffee,…