Sunday, October 17, 2010
Slowly waking up from a short sleeping period, May 19th 2010 was in store for big things. The forecast models resembled a beautiful westward tilted stacked low pressure system drawing in plenty of moisture for the state of Oklahoma. The boundary setup west to east parallel to I-40 early in the afternoon, would bring a promising severe weather outbreak.
With the intention of chasing with Brad Duncan, he would be busy for the afternoon which put me solo once again for today's setup. I liked initiation to begin in between Clinton & Weatherford, OK.
The cumulus field is always pleasing to the eye knowing moisture was in place and all was needed was the dryline to get one of these exploding. Sitting around Weatherford, the first supercell of the day to dominate most of the afternoon would begin just NNE of Elk City and Clinton.
I began driving north of Weatherford to get a better view of the now tornado warned supercell, but I wanted to chase in the south where later would be more development near I-35 starting near Chickasha. This was my target forecast.
I knew the area up north was just as prominate for tornadic development, but I also knew the entire spotter network population would be chasing this first supercell of the day. I watched as it looked to have what I thought gone HP and producing a nice shelf cloud.
The minute I got back on the road to go south back to I-40 to head SE, I saw a multitude of chasers driving north to intercept this tornado producing supercell. It is at this point, I become bitter and sweet. Something wasn't settling well with me for the first time I realized that there were more chasers than I could ever imagine. I was here, but I was just there. Passion and love for chasing got turned off. I kept driving south hopefully to catch a developing supercell in my target with the hopes there would not be a gazillion chasers.
I reached El Reno and began working my way south towards Chickasha. I parked out in the plains dirt road on highway 152 to wait.
I sat there, and realized my feeling of being out here were for the wrong intentions. I really wanted to see a tornado since 50 million chasers just scored on tornadoes up on the north cell. I kept focus and just enjoyed
the hot humid air of Oklahoma. Towers were shooting up southern Oklahoma moving northeast towards Oklahoma City. I shot down south to got on the SE side of developing cell #2.
There was rapid motion in the base above as in the background a clear slot gathering up the falling rain and began wrapping up the energy developing a mini meso with a wall cloud. I watched this for a little while in Chickasha waiting to get back on it as it would continue to move NE towards I-35.
At this point, I hadn't seen a large crowd of chasers until I started getting on the storms tail I was consumed by thousands of vehicles all trying to punch through the blinding RFD that was beginning to form. I was dissappointed cause I got behind and wasn't going to drive blindly just to get east of the cell.
I became very bitter and just fell apart at the end of this chase. Physically, emotionally, and spiritually I reached a moment I don't ever want to experience again. This chase ended and I went straight to get some Sonic.
I parked out in a field to watch the sunset illuminate the cells firing parallel I-35putting rest to this chase.
I would say that I learned a lot about myself in my career of chasing storms.
Friday, October 15, 2010
May 18th 2010, waking up with the intention of chasing in Colorado mostly, this would be a day to accept being at the wrong places at the wrong time happen. Going solo,I would be targeting potential of development along the front range starting where the DVCZ would set up nicely along the Palmer Divide and front range. Leaving Greeley, CO late afternoon, I began driving south Kersey road working my way south to I-70 into Bennett, CO. Arriving in Bennett, upper level clouds were slowly dissipating giving clearing for daytime heating along the front range. The first cell to punch through over Denver would try hard to survive only to end up falling apart until moving NNW to NNE up into Fort Collins and Greeley. I watched the cell billowing and produce a promising wall cloud early in its mature stage until outflowing giving off teaser scud clouds.
Prior to leaving, I had every intention of also working my way to Oklahoma to set up for the next day's chase opportunity. So I needed to begin heading in that direction since it would be a long drive. While driving east on I-70 cells in the east developed along a line of convergence all the way south of Limon, CO into Texas.
A supercell on radar was making its way near Lamar, CO moving NNE giving off tornado warnings. Another cell along this line became severe with tornado warning moving towards Burlington, CO which was my chance to at least get on one tornadic supercell for the day. Meanwhile, while watching radar, I noticed back at home tornado reports were being reported all around west and north of Greeley. This hurt! The conditions were perfect for tornadoes there I knew, I just had hoped there wouldn't be potential. FAIL. I could only keep driving towards Oklahoma or better yet
Burlington, CO just to enjoy something along the way. Watching the cell moving north I could see the hail core. So I drove a little south of Burlington 385 to get hit by some quarter to nickel sized hail.
This along with heavy rain gave beautiful coloring as the sun tried to beam through the clouds giving an orange coloring. At this point, the sun was setting and I still
had a long haul to Elk City, OK.
That night while driving I would drive through a bow echo spawned from the supercell coming from Lamar, CO moving into KS. Driving south on 83 towards Hill City, KS, it was a heck of a lightning show with wind gusts! After a little rainfall, onwards towards Liberal, KS, I was coming up onto another tornadic supercell and I could see the intense outflow it was producing while driving south towards this thing as the supercell was moving from west to eastern Kansas. I had to stop to let it pass, so that I could continue southwards. I got out to pee in the outflow
intense winds came from the supercell. The coolest moment though was when I was sitting in my car looking out to see the base meso cluttered into the anvil as a split anvil bolt went from the ground upwards to the anvil. I so wished I had my camera to film the moment. Dead battery. Of course. My only film I had was from my laptop filming my reactions.
As it finally passed, I was able to make my way through the Oklahoma panhandle into the Texas panhandle into Perryton. This will be a moment to recon. Coming into Perryton there was a massive heavy rain flooding the main streets. This would be where my windshield wiper would began to crumble on the driver's side. Perfect. I slowly creep through the flooded streets with my helmet intact to look out the window while driving. I stopped at the familiar gas station to fill up what could be a long night's drive in heavy rain going into Oklahoma. Recon. The rain
begins to let up and starts to put down CGs west of Perryton.
I got my radar running loops, LOADING, outside as I'm filling up my gas tank a loud crack bang flash puts out the city lights for Perryton. Meanwhile, I got just enough gas to get to the next town cause the gas pumps were dead. I got back in my car and realized this is not good. I looked on radar and saw there was a developing tornadic supercell heading towards Perryton, I was in position! Ummmm....wait, I was in the path. I immediately got the wiper to work just for a little bit to get me on my way
south towards Canadian, TX. I get back on the road and face the nastiest wash out blasted by the supercell I was punching in the face. God had my back cause there was another truck that I could follow. It worked out great, than as I reached Canadian I was south of the cell, behind me was a mesocyclone lit up by the CC's illuminating the supercell passing NE Canadian, TX. At this time it was close to 3AM and I was exhausted with another hour or so to Elk City, OK.
Arrival close to 5AMish Elk City, OK. Sleep sounded beautiful. 4 total storms was enough for me in one long day :)