Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Monday, June 09, 2008
My chase season ended last week. I'm sure 2008 will be the high water mark of my chase "career" with twenty-five reportable chases (more that were forgettable and won't be documented), ~17,000 miles traveled over four months, and more supercell thunderstorms than in any two seasons put together. Plenty of cool phenomena as well, including tornadoes of every shape and size, cyclic supercells, Dodge City haboobs, lightning and everything else.
I don't count tornadoes anymore because no two chasers count tornadoes the same way and it only creates controversy. Even my closest friends and I disagree on the "count" moments after a chase. And what does it get us anyway? Some will say this means I didn't see many tornadoes this year. Not quite. What it means is I don't care to argue anymore about how many tornadoes can dance on the head of a pin. I'll spend the rest of the summer posting images and updating reports and, if people find those enjoyable, that's good enough for me. I shot over 1000 exposures this spring. It was a great year for photography.
Far more importantly, I chased with a great group of people almost every day, and this year it was more important than ever, I think, because of our friend Eric, who was absent from the road but not a single day from our thoughts or the funny stories we told on the radio. So to Bob Fritchie, Rachael Sigler, Scott Eubanks, Scott Currens, Scott Blair, Derek Deroche, Katie Burtis, Steve Vanderburg, Dave Fick, Paul Stofer, Rob Hall, Al Pietrycha, and others who weren't able to chase but who were with us in spirit, thanks for being great friends and chase companions.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
On June 4, we chased into southwestern Nebraska when the Kansas triple point failed to produce. We initiall chased a storm bound for Kearney, bailed on that for another cell to the west, and found a tor-warned storm near Maywood which emerged from the rain with jaw-dropping, Hollingshead-esque structure. Lucky for me I shot about half this twisting updraft at ISO 1600, so my images should be nice and grainy. Neat Image here I come. I realized the error and corrected in time to shoot some at 100. We'll see. After that we bailed west for the McCook storm, long tor-warned and isolated, which produced golf ball hail for me and baseballs for Deroche, Blair, and Burtis, who sampled the cores of both storms. Most remarkable about the second storm was the insane lightning barrage as it moved through the Nebraska night: a fusillade of cloud-to-cloud, interior and exterior strobing, anvil zits, and multi-forked positive cloud to ground strokes that continued more than an hour. The frequency and duration was astounding; this was the most electrified storm I've ever seen. I shot almost 100 exposures and was pleased with how many of them looked in the preview window.
The next day, June 5, was a high risk bustola in central Kansas. Started in Salina and headed toward Great Bend in time to see the first storm gust out, and repeated that pattern for several storms down the line. Among the day's highlights was a tornado siren wailing to life about thirty feet outside the dining room of Souper Salad in Wichita, Kansas, scaring us back into our cars to check radar. Though we knew the storms all day had shown almost no threat of tornadoes, a siren that nearly splits your eardrums open delivers an instant surge of fear, though as chasers we hear these things all the time. This one was brand new, electronic, and nearly on top of us. Ouch. No, the storm never came close to tornadogenesis. Best shot of the day was supercell #3 southwest of Hutchinson (sp?), a temporary meso and wallcloud I shot (on ISO 100!!) with a field of golden wheat in the foreground. It was such a beautiful scene that I knew a tornado was impossible. I never get tornadoes in those sorts of perfect settings. Then I drove through rain and wind back home.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
I'll keep my options open as long as possible and stay along I-70 until more compelling evidence arrives.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
Monday, June 02, 2008
Sunday, June 01, 2008
2008 is completely out of scale. Holy cow.