June 30, 2012 End of Season Chase Update
Golly gee, my previous official chase update was WAY back on May 17. I have been remiss on the web site chase updates.
I finished up my chase tour work for Tempest Tours about a week ago, and returned home to SoCal on June 26. This chase season was rather unusual, with plenty of ups and downs. What did not come down very often for me were tornadoes —- my luck with those this spring was absolutely pathetic. I managed to intercept numerous wonderful supercells, but tornadoes were very, very few while I was chasing. In fact, you might say that there was a dearth of tornadoes on the 44 days that I was chasing. Go on, say it. The half dozen or so tornadoes that I saw were weak and brief. The big tornado days this spring were few, and occurred when I was not chasing! Or chasing in the wrong state!
Please do not hesitate to allow the tears to flow freely for me.
Speaking of tears, tears of joy were shed on June 11 in north TX, as I was viewing a spectacular severe storm and lightning display while listening (on the i-phone radio app) to the L.A. Kings WIN the STANLEY CUP!! After 45 years of waiting and frustration, they finally did it! As it happened, this occurred only a few hours after I found out via voice-mail, while waiting for the van to be repaired in excessive heat and humidity, that I had been one of hundreds of employees laid off from Albertsons. Talk about a yo-yo day of emotion! In case you were wondering, I have been a Kings fan since they came into existence, when I was 9. The joy associated with the Kings victory easily overwhelmed any lingering consternation related to the job and the van.
Now that I am home and have time to relax and recover, especially with one fewer job, I can get to work on the chase accounts and images from the previous 9 or 10 weeks. Check back from time to time this summer as the new stuff gets posted. I’ll likely work from end (late June) to start (late April).
My previous two chase updates this season covered chases through May 17th. Here is a brief summary of chases since then.
May 18—very pretty quasi-Mothership supercell north of Ogallala, NE; followed by lighting display at dusk over Lake McConaughy
May 19—drove just west and south past the strong updrafts which would produce the mini-tornado fest in south-central KS. With a target of western OK in mind, we wound up with a couple of big supercells near Taloga and west of Weatherford, OK.
May 20—watched a storm croak south of Guthrie, TX, just in time to get into position for the annular eclipse at Jayton, TX
May 21—two tornadoes, one in NM and one in TX; but the structure at Adrian, TX, stole the show!
May 22—ho-hum weak convection Boise City to Elkhart
May 23—marvelous supercell from about Haswell, CO to the CO/KS border at dusk
May 24—ho-hum non-severe cells around Emporia, KS, pretty sunset behind convection
May 25—back in OKC between T3 and T4 and no chase — naturally, biggest tornado day of the month occurs on the Plains, in central KS (Russell and LaCrosse), a little too far from OKC for us to consider. This day kind of sums up my luck with tornadoes this year.
May 26—weak convection and lightning in west KS
May 27—bit of a linear, fast-moving mess from Hays to Red Cloud…wound up on a decent cell west of Smith Center which was clobbered by a suicide cell.
May 28—big, bad, mostly outflowing severe storms Crowell to Seymour to Breckenridge, TX…fun day!
May 29—wild Kingfisher to Piedmont, OK supercell that tornadoed briefly…insane structure
May 30—probably the worst bust of the season for me —- targeted nw OK, got on junk in the eastern TX PH, and missed the big supercells that were moving se from about Childress to Paducah and beyond
May 31—very pretty and entertaining supercell from Balmorhea to Fort Davis and Marfa
June 1—briefly intriguing supercell in the no-road land west of Channing, TX
June 2 to 9, end of T4, drove a Tempest van to DEN, flew to OKC, drove my vehicle from OKC to DEN, flew home to L.A., worked a couple of shifts at the AP, flew back to DEN for Tour 6
June 10—not entirely uninteresting, marginally strong cells near Green, KS (north of Manhattan), start of T6
June 11—beautiful severe storm and lightning near Bowie, TX
June 12—Amazing mothership structure, House to Melrose, NM
June 13—bored with weak, stationary storm west of Raton and positioned to Stratton, CO
June 14—severe outflow-fest Norton to Phillipsburg, KS
June 15—strong cells Oelrichs to Pine Ridge, SD—angry Indian intercept day
June 16—back to DEN, end of T6, cleaned vans, etc.
June 17—start of T7, excruciatingly long drive to se SD…in time to see weak convection die north of Yankton
June 18—no convection until after sunset, distant lightning display in severe storms from Orient, SD (south of Faulkton)
June 19—impressive storm tower near Montevideo, MN, struggled after going up quickly just before sunset
June 20—non-severe squall line in nw Iowa
June 21—positioned back to the west at Valentine
June 22—very impressive structure and a weak tornado with a supercell from Lodgepole to Chappell, NE
June 23—nothing much to chase on the High Plains, so we saw the IMAX tornado movie in DEN and roomed in the Rockies at Keystone Ski Resort
June 24—returned to DEN for the end of T7
June 25 and 26—drove home in leisurely fashion
Another chase season in the books! Thank you to my friends and fellow tour guides with Tempest Tours, and thank you to all of the guests on my tours this spring.