Tuesday, August 22, 2006

August 2 chase summary

I figured this day would be another day I got to miss out on the action due to work. I haven't chased in Ontario this year yet since I got back from chasing in tornado alley. A tornado warning was issued for Waterloo-Wellington in the early afternoon hours. A tornado was reported in Guelph while I was left high and dry, sweltering in the heat at work. After I got home I learned Dave Szozda, my uncle, went out on a quick chase after the Guelph storm and saw a wall cloud trying to organize. All of this was ahead of a cold front, which was expected to come inland in the evening hours.

I had to quickly charge my battery for the camera, figuring I may need it later. Dave and I chatted about the storms and decided to give it a try after the squall line that was stretching from Owen Sound to past Goderich. I checked the SPC meso analysis page, which indicated CAPE was 5000 J/kg with a lifted index of -7 around the Listowel area which became my target... which wasn't too bad at all. The cold front had plenty of hot humid air to mix in with as well. I realized we were cutting it close to sunset, but I had some hope. The season had about a month left, so I had to take what I could get.

We left at 8:00 pm on hwy 85 towards Listowel. We saw the sun setting the squall line clouds which made for interesting pictures. Once we got to Dorking I noticed a shelf cloud off in the distance. It was a bit hazy yet, but figured we would be in for a good photo opportunity once we neared it. We pulled onto sideroad 15, which is just slightly west of Dorking. The shelf cloud came in and we grabbed video and photos. The wind started to pick up, and cloud-to-ground strikes became more frequent. I attempted to grab daylight lightning pics but found it rather difficult. A nice strike would flash and overexposure the photo, so that is an area that I need to practice on. But some of the photos came out pretty interesting because the clouds were fast moving. The wind was starting to blow dust in the air, which hurt my legs, then the rain came

We started to drive ahead of the storm, but we decided to punch the line and wait out the rain, hoping the rain would stop and we would get some lightning photos from the backside of the storm. The pouring rain came down horizontaly. What a nice relief from the stupid heat we've been having! Several bright CGs struck nearby. Once the rain lightened up, we decided to try taking lightning photos from inside the van. Dave had forgot his tripod, so he had to find a way to sturdy his camera. After a few attempts and once the rain cleared, I threw the camera on the tripod to take proper lightning photos. This is very addicting. There were some nice strikes, but we also had incloud lightning which kinda made it a little more difficult. After a while, the lightning started dying down as the storm was headed eastward, so we called it quits.

We got back at my house in Waterloo at 10:15 pm, with a total chase distance of approx 90 km.