Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Storm Chasing Madness!

So here's a few more pictures from the Mississippi folder. I used to be a driver on the Mississippi State University storm chase group. I spent 2 summers driving all the fuck over the greater portion of middle America trying to help a bunch of weather nerds see a tornado.

Storm Chasing was a worthy experience, I'm glad I did it. If you get the chance, I'd suggest going at least 1 time. I can't say that I would volunteer to do it again though. Its really boring. REALLY boring.

The lead professor described it like this "its like war, its hours and hours of total boredom followed by 5 minutes that will scare the shit out of you".

While I can't relate much to being in a warzone, I would say though that the rest is pretty accurate. Here's a short day in the life:

-Wake up a 9:30 am (yeah, you get to sleep late, because storms really don't get enough energy until about 4-6 pm, thats when they start to fire off).
-Review the weather outlook.
-Learn that where you actually need to be positioned for the best chase is about 400 miles away in the panhandle of Texas
-drive 400 miles as fast as you can.
-review weather outlook and current radar
-Drive anout 250 miles north to reposition yourself
-Drive 100 miles around to a good storm
-Park the car, pull out your wind meters and cameras, marvel at the winds, the clouds, the lightning, hope that a funnel will descend from wall cloud
-Drive 50 miles back in front of storm, repeat previous, do this until the sun goes down or another, more favorable storm comes along
-review the weather report for the next day
-Drive 300 miles to get into position for the next day

Best moment:

having a cocky student yell "we're all gonna die!" like a little bitch after listening to him talk about how bad-ass he was all day.

Worst moment:

Driving a passenger van of 8 students away from an oncoming storm with sustained 70 mph winds. crazy.

here's a massive wall cloud that was surreal - it was spinning like a top, like someone was slowly binding up cotton candy on a stick in one of those machines at the fair. shortly after this picture was taken we all had to drive away (see above).

60 mph sustained wind self portrait!!!!!!

One of the best looking storms we saw, the sun was setting just west of the southern tip of this supercell. pretty cool.

These kids lived in Piedmont, Oklahoma. Their entire town just lost all its power due to a wind-wrapped tornado that no one could see (partially because of the rain, but also the sun had just set). They wanted to see the Baron radar and weather equipment we had in one of the vans. The little girl in the front was pretty scared the whole time (rightfully so!) I always liked this picture because of the little girl's face.

I don't have many more good pictures of the storm chase. I spent 90% of the time driving, and I'm also a terrible photographer.

No comments: