Tag Archives: storm chaser

Nice little hailer!

First day of fall and BAM! I’m out chasing severe weather.

I half heartedly  watched the storms pop up all morning today and I was home sick. I mean really sick. Very sick indeed, kept an eye on things developing and I saw a window of opportunity from a cell I was watching passing over Turner County, SD and it was heading right for me.SP_FSD_200pm Well maybe a little southeast of me but close enough I could rationalize chasing it in my mind. So headed out to intercept in Canton, SD. I have a really close friend that lives and works in Canton so I thought I’d pop in and say hey, I mean what better conditions right? As I approached Canton I could see right away this thing had some hail in it.

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While it wasn’t one of those storms that you drive hundreds of miles for in hopes for a tornado, this was one that if you were close enough it was worth investigating.SP_FSD_230pm

I pulled up to my friends place of business and he was in the back of the shop. I saw me pop in and asked “What brings you here?” I replied “Hail”. After pointing out the front window and showing the storm that was on the way he quickly pulled his truck in the shop with not a moment to spare. Within a minuet or two the hail started coming down. Pretty good stuff too 1.5”. I took off out of there to get out of the core while chatting with Tony Barlow from Keloland all the while hoping I didn’t lose another windshield.DSCF4801DSCF4807

After the storm passed I headed back for home grabbing some shots along the way.

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Putting the CAP on 2010

I was sitting around on this lazy Sunday wanting to blog something and saw a friends comment on Facebook about the arrival of the seagulls. And the thought occurred to me that with the storm season winding down it would be a great opportunity to recap 2010 chase season from my perspective.

I set forth quite a few goals for myself last year and I am happy to say they can be checked off of the to do list.

The chase adventure began early for me this year when on 4/5/2010 Joe Miller and I headed to KS for a nice chase setup. This ended in disaster when it appeared to be a cap bust so we started heading home and the car broke down, and we could see storms fire up, total fail.  Then on 4/22/10 Derek Davis, David Sweet and myself headed to TX for what appeared to be a great set up. Normally I don’t begin until May-June and stick to the Northern Plains. But one of the goals this year was a Southern Plains chase so off to TX we went. This was also Derek’s birthday so the pressure not to bust was high. Scored 3 tornados that day as well as had my car blasted with baseball sized hail that busted my windshield and really banged up the car.

So here is TX 4/22/2010

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The following day on 4/23/10  the trip back to Sioux Falls we chased in NE. Catching strong winds and fantastic lighting in Lincoln but no tornado.

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4/24/10 I chased in IA alone for on hell of a hailer

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4/29/10 Myself and Brent Koops chased a storm in NE that could have produced a long lived tornado as radar looked as though it did. However It was on the reservation and we could not get to it.

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5/22/10 was the next chase and just the date alone will ring in the ears of many as a career chase. Bowdle, SD. I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Next chase out was 6/1/10 and this chase was an epic failure in many ways but for the main reason I allowed myself to get wrapped in the circulation. This absolutely made me crap my pants and for that reason I will never chase alone.

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6/3/10 Mike Vetter and I chase the isolated supercell along the SD NE border. This did not produce a tornado that we saw but was a very beautiful storm.

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Then on 6/17/10 Mike Vetter, John Stone and I found ourselves attending Wedgefest 2010 in and Albert Lea, MN

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Then on 6/25/2010 again Mike Vetter and I find ourselves in Revere, MN one the only view of this tornado

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6/26/2010 we found ourselves in SD and didn’t follow the show to IA but was a great chase non the less

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On 7/23/10 Joe Miller, Greg Rardin, Scott Bennett and I found ourselves near Herrick, SD with another rare tornado view. This was the same day as the Vivian hail.

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The season pretty much ends there with a high level of success in my opinion. 20+ tornados is ok in my book. Did bust 1 more time after this storm on 8/19/10 and that’s not even worth talking about.

Was a fantastic season for me, my chase partners, friends and fans, and want to thanks everyone rode alone watching the live stream, twitter and Facebook feeds. Looking forward to next season. It will be very hard to top this one though.

Why Stop Now! What’s the deal?

So a question was posed to me in an email that basically said “WTF, Where did you go? You haven’t chased crap lately, you just disappeared.”

Well that is partially true. True to the extent that I haven’t chased much but I didn’t disappear. I had a new project start at work that has required a great deal of my time. I also have been hard at work planning for next season and what I will do to fill the void during the winter.

One of the things I do during the off season is pick a skill that I feel hurt me the previous season or one that was weak enough to hurt me.

So here are the things that gave me grief this season.

  1. Reliable  data connection (tethered phone no longer acceptable)
  2. Not having the right paper maps
  3. Shooting/Editing Video

Busted my ass last winter on forecasting and 2010 it paid off in full, plus change. But a lot of my video came out like crap. That was primarily due to not using a tripod but I need to correct that. I enjoy shooting stills the most but the video is what sells.  So that skill needs to be corrected.

Finally, I wanted to spend the remainder of the summer taking vacation and spending time with my family. Which I accomplished.

But I am far from done.

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2009 Chase Season Recap

Well 2009 wasn’t a total bust as far as storms go. I sat out alot of chases that ended in busts, but the ones I did chase provided me the opportunity to show my daughter the ropes. She is now offically a stom nut/chaser. She still has lots to learn as well as myself but another way to stay connected with my family is fantastic. My wife also chased a few times with me and proved to be a useful navigator. Her (wife) only downfall is she is impaitiant and says “If it’s not going to drop a tornado then get in to the purple this is boreing” referring to the large hail core.
This season I also learned alot of things about my current chase partners, some good and some bad but now it’s all on the table. 2009 also gave me the opportunity to meet up with some new people and chase with them.
Robert Brown made the trip down from Washington state to chase on the plains and brought with him fantastic forecasting skills that allowed us to get on the best storms every chase. During his time here it was action packed. Chase day, down day, chase day, down day. That allowed him to see what he came for and also allowed me to show him our beautiful city of Sioux Falls. I also met Derek Davis who himself turned out to be a valuable asset and chase partner. This chase season also included Jennifer Jones from SDPB (South Dakota Public Broadcasting) who interviewed me and rode along on a chase for the Dakota Digest segment on SD Public Broadcasting radio. Also streamed LIVE video of severe weather to a local TV station so the community can see whats happening.
All and all it turned out to be a great season for me and I can’t wait for 2010.