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Planning the Journey Down

We're almost there! We're aiming to leave early Monday morning. Here's our tentative route for Monday:

  • Leave my and Brad's place north of Toronto, Ontario
  • Pick up Greg from his place
  • Head through the Windsor-Detroit border crossing
  • Head south into Ohio where we need to stop and get our internet sorted out
  • From there we're heading southwest through Indiana, Illinois and into Missouri
  • We'll try to make it as far into Missouri as we can then spend the night 

 That will be the first leg of our journey so hopefully it all works out! Models are still showing some promise but when you only have a certain period of time to chase you take what you can get. Who knows, last year was a struggle and we ended up with a really good year for tornadoes and storms. Now back to laundry and packing!

Snow?! What about tornadoes?!

Just over a week until we're off work and free to head down to Tornado Alley. It's an odd one this year, that's for sure. Long range models are iffy, not too much consensus but what's even weirder? There's snow on the ground!

According to the NWS office in Little Rock this is the first time in recorded history that snow accumulation has occurred in May in Arkansas.

I've only been chasing for a few years, this year being my fourth time, so I don't have many years to compare this to. I wonder if any veteran chasers have come across this situation in the past?

I'm just wondering if I have to bring my winter boots storm chasing and if I should out the winter tires back on! Ha!

This weekend Brad and I are putting the finishing touches on the vehicle: installing the laptop stand, making sure all the electronics are working properly, etc.

It's getting close!

2013 Storm Chase Preparations

Preparations beginning a little bit later this year than in previous years that we've chased. There are a few new things for this year ...

New vehicle! I had a ton of engine problems with my last vehicle and had to trade it in due to the problems. Because I had to trade the vehicle in for a different one, we didn't have time to reconstruct the hail guards. We will not be chasing with hail guards this year and will play it safe like we've done in past years and hope for the best!

This year Brad and I will be chasing together once again and joining us in our vehicle will be Greg Stephens, fellow Weather Network meteorologist and veteran storm chaser. Greg has been storm chasing long before Brad and I started and it will be awesome having him along. One of Greg's more memorable tornadoes was the infamous 2010 Campo, Colorado tornado (as seen below in a picture of Greg with the tornado).

Greg posing in front of the 2010 Campo, Colorado tornado.Due to work schedule constraints we aren't as flexible as we would like to be about our chasing dates but hey, you gotta work for a living! We've booked off from the 2nd week of May until about the first week of June which should give us more than enough time to get to Tornado Alley and play around with the storms (if nature cooperates). There's been a lot of negativity slung around about this May's severe weather being ... lack-luster. Though, pattern-wise, this year and last year are very different, last year looked uneventful and well, if you check our last year's blog, photos and video, you'll see it was anything but uneventful!

Yes, the long range models don't look promising but they're just that, long range models and I wouldn't bet money on them. We'll see how the pattern progresses over the next few weeks. The earliest we can leave at this point is May 11.

The plan is to meet up with our regular chase crew: Scott McPartland, Dave Lewison and Mark Robinson and of course hoping to meet up with friends and chasers Daniel Shaw (who is already chasing), Chris Kridler, George Kourounis, Jason Persoff, Robert Balogh and Bill Hark (if I'm forgetting anyone I'm sorry!).

There are many fellow Canadian chasers heading down as well so hopefully we'll have a chance to meet up with them as well. Tornado Alley is really a big "class reunion" for most storm chasers and I'm excited to get out there to see you all.

The electronics have all been installed in the vehicle. We just need to install the laptop mount and a camera mount and the vehicle is ready to go! Getting excited!



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