Monday, May 26, 2008

May 25 2008

DAY 1 MAY 25, 2008

Well, today was going to be another day we would depart for tornado alley. This year, it was Ron Gravelle, Jack Kertzie, Ben Fuller, Pam Gregory, my sister Rita and I. It was going to be Rita's first tornado alley chase trip.

We left Ron's shortly after 8 am and were on our way south through Detroit, towards St. Louis, Missouri where we would spend our first night.

We, of course, had to have our omens on the way down, a yearly tradition. This time, I spotted 3 dust devils in a field on our right. Near Indianapolis, we stopped for a Chinese buffet dinner, "Chow-chow" as Ron calls it. Rita had the best fortune cookie fortune, which unfortunately I forget what it said at the moment, but it was another one of those omens. On our way west through Illinois, tornadic storms were firing up in Iowa, and another storm to our southwest. The anvil blow off on that storm was quite long, approximately 100 miles away. I noted a small patch of mammatus.

We couldn't intercept those today if we were going to want to get into position in central Kansas tomorrow. SPC has a moderate risk highlighted for central Kansas, with a 45% hatched area. Supercells along an MCS were expected to form, along with the possibility of strong tornadoes. We are hoping that the dryline will bulge out and interact with the outflow boundaries from tonight's system, near the triple point tomorrow. Low level shear would be present in the warm moist airmass.

As we approached St. Louis, storms were firing up to our north, south and west. Rita wanted to get a picture of the St. Louis arc, so Ron pulled over off the interstate to stop for pictures. Rita did manage to get her first lightning shots, hand held mind you, but nonetheless it was a lightning shot. We continued on to our hotel as the squall line neared us. Soon enough the rain came down really heavy. We had a few close CG strikes.

Trying to navigate in a big city is quite hard to do with all the highways and offramps... plus they don't warn you ahead of time which exit we needed to take to get to another interstate. It just gets confusing sometimes, and we would end up going on the interstate the other way, so I had to keep changing the route plan. We finally pulled in at the Quality Inn close to 11 pm CDT. Tomorrow we are headed towards Salina, Kansas.

Sorry that the APRS has stopped working since leaving Detroit... I don't know what happened but I will let Ron and Jack know tomorrow morning.

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