Tag: wedge

15 Jul

May 31, 2013 – The El Reno EF-5

stratosigma / Blog, Storm Chasing / / Comments

My first real storm chase was May 10, 2010. I had decided that winter to read everything I could about severe weather and figured I’d give it a shot on my own. In retrospect, it may have been a better idea to learn from someone with experience, but nevertheless I jumped in feet first and on my first storm chase caught the tornado near Wakita, Oklahoma. I still remember standing outside my car on Oklahoma Route 11a about 1.25 miles north of highway 11 watching this spinning bowl spawn vortex after vortex in the distance. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to realize that tornado was headed right for where I was standing. I still remember turning east onto highway 11 as the winds picked up and wind driven rain was blasting my car. After the fact, I realized this was probably the rear flanking downdraft, but at the time I wasn’t sure. My adrenaline was pumping and I was very anxious to get the hell out of there. Traffic on the highway wasn’t helping with my planned expedient escape. Eventually, the wind subsided as the trail of cars progressed east and the tornado carried on to our north. I still remember the first time I stopped after the escape and my hands were shaking, probably a mix of adrenaline and gripping the steering wheel, but I was on edge after that. Since that day in Grant County, I’ve been on over 100 storm chases and I haven’t been that nervous on any of them until El Reno.
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22 May

May 22, 2010 – Bowdle, SD

stratosigma / Blog, Storm Chasing / / Comments

After a dismal outing in Wyoming the prior day, I was hoping today would be better.  I felt I was in decent position as storms were a possibility north and south of Valentine, NE.  The common rule of thumb is “when in doubt, go south” meaning if you’re not sure where the best play is for the day, head for the southern end of it.  What I was worried about on the south play was the pretty stout cap that was over Nebraska that I was concerned any storms would form at all.  The cap was looking pretty moderate in South Dakota as well, but not quite as strong.  I also spoke with another chaser and his concern was the cap as well, but we both independently made the decision to head north into South Dakota.  It would pay off big time.
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