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Chase Day 2 - West Kansas & SW Nebraska (May 18)

What a long day! I'll keep this one short for now because I'm exhausted. I'll edit pictures and videos tomorrow (if I get a chance).

We started off in Garden City, Kansas and drove our way all the way up to Ogallala, Nebraska. From there we waited for storms to come to us. One storm held some promise and we followed it north to the Lake Mcconaughy State Recreation Area in Nebraska and watched the storm for a bit. It was very high based and only slight rotation but was still nice to watch. The storms continued north and we didn't want to keep following - not because we weren't interested - but it would put us out of position for tomorrow's chase. Tomorrow's target is split to parts of Nebraska or Oklahoma. At the moment we're favouring Oklahoma based on some of the newer models. We'll have to wait and see what the morning models hold.

Took some great pictures today so I'll try to edit them and get them up as soon as possible. Here's a preview of some of the shots I got today:

In the meantime ... sleeeeeep!

Goodnight from Hays, Kansas.

Chase Day 1 - Western Kansas & Eastern Colorado (May 17)

Today was our first chase day and it was not a bust! We started off the day in Garden City, Kansas and from there headed to Tribune, Kansas where we hung out waiting for storms to initiate. It was hot and we honestly did not expect much to occur. A few "blips" showed up on radar so we headed west into Colorado towards Sheridan Lake then south to Bristol, Colorado. It was there along the 385 near Bristol that we got a view of our storm. It was very high based with very little rotation to it. It had an ok rain core, no hail really to speak of and then we saw it: a little spin up outside the rain core. We got a gustnado! It was way off in the field and unfortunately the video didn't turn out. Here's a map of our root today:

We followed the storm some more and pulled down a road to shoot some of it when we saw ... Zombie Dog! That is what we've named him. He didn't look like a zombie, he was kinda cute, but his eyes were almost completely white. He chased our vehicle up and down the road ... I kinda miss him now.

Moving on ... A few more storms popped up around the area but they were basically scraps. The one good thing was the storms were putting on a great lightning show. After chasing the scraps to get some lightning, we headed back to Garden City, Kansas where we're staying for the night. We're pouring over new model data now to decide our strategy for tomorrow. Considering we expect nothing today, it was a real treat and a great practice run for us.

Here are some photographs from today. To see the rest of the photographs visit the album here: Chase Day 1.

After letting it render through the night here is the highlight video from the chase:

Also, Brad is working on a forecast blog for us tomorrow, check it out here: Brad's Blog.

Travel Day 2 - Missouri to Kansas (May 16)

We got on the road early this morning and made it across the I-70 west through Kansas City and into the state of Kansas. From there we travelled through Topeka, Salina then down to Dodge City where we intended on spending the night. We made a rookie mistake and all the hotels in the entire town were booked. We called hotels in the nearby town of Garden City and the only availability was in a pricier hotel. So we made the 45 minute drive from Dodge City to Garden City to spend the night.

Here are some pictures from the journey down ...

To see more photos visit my Photography page. 

Also Brad is in the process of writing up a forecast blog for our chase day tomorrow (May 17). It never looked like a gang-busters day but there is some potential so we're going to head out chasing tomorrow. It seems as though our target area for tomorrow isn't far from where we're staying tonight which means more sleep! To check out Brad's forecast discussion go to his blog. The Storm Prediction Center has our "target" area in a "See Text" so they're thinking is the potential is low for storms as well. We knew tomorrow didn't scream "TORNADOES" but we're down here and we'll try for whatever we can.

Here's a video highlighting our journey down ...

For more videos visit Severe Weather Diaries on Youtube or my videos page on the website: Videos.

Travel Day 1 - Ontario to Missouri (May 15)

Going to keep this post short because we're all exhausted after the long drive. We travelled from Toronto, Ontario to St. Charles, Missouri. We wanted to make it further but we were delayed by a ton of construction. We're having problems with our Verizon hotspot. We get a signal from it but there's no connectivity. Going to try and get it working tonight because it's pretty essentially. We still have GPS and HAM radio, but we definitely need to get the internet sorted out by tomorrow.

If we get internet going I'll try and post more from the road. Today was fairly dull, mostly just driving, driving, driving ... We did run into quite a few people who were excited about the hail guards. 

I've saved GPS data of our trip down but I'm unable to get it up on the site tonight. Our route today was basically Toronto to the border at Detroit, Michigan, west through Michigan to just past Ann Arbour then headed south through Indiana, through Illinois and now here we are in Missouri.

Goodnight from St. Charles, Missouri, central time!

Time to Go ... Almost

We've delayed as long as we could. This year is proving to be quite the anomaly with respect to climate and weather. Below normal severe weather in the United States is basically our biggest challenge. Though this spells good news to those ravaged by tornadoes, rain, hail, lightning and wind every year, it spells disaster for storm chasers.

This upcoming week holds a couple of days with marginal potential. Our chase group has to be back by June 4 so we've decided to leave this week regardless of how amazing or terrible this week is just so we can get a solid 2 - 3 weeks of chasing in. So like I said before, there are a couple of days that hold some potential for severe weather. We will be leaving early Tuesday morning and begin our drive to Tornado Alley. It looks as though we will be chasing without some of our fellow chase friends for about a week. They fortunately have a bit more flexibility with work and other commitments that they can be out longer into June. 

Leading up to this trip we did all the right things - from a climate standpoint. We booked off almost the entire month of May and first week of June thinking: this guarantees us some storms. But not every year can be an active year and unfortunately 2012 has, so far, shaped up to be dull. Not to say that there weren't some large events this year because there have been. That being said, we're not nearly as close to the number of tornadoes the U.S. normally sees by this time in May.

So we'll head down Tuesday morning and begin our chase journey. The ensembles are holding some promise towards the end of May so we're hoping for that to pan out. For a detailed and in depth discussion on the forecasting, check out Brad's blog - he's pretty much the brains of this operation. He details all the issues and outlooks of this season.

Also, if you have the chance, check out The Weather Network's news at :13 and :43 past each hour. They've been airing a story today on our hail guards on the chase vehicle. Hopefully you can check it out. I'll try to get a copy of it and get it up on the website as soon as I can. In the mean time, check out the pictures I've uploaded of the hail guards (Hail Guards gallery) or check out the slide show below:

So keep checking back! Hopefully we'll have some great storm pictures, videos and stories to share with you in the coming weeks.