Monday, January 26, 2009

Torn or Tornado?

I am feeling so torn at the moment... on deciding on how to spend my two weeks vacation time off work.

A couple months ago, I had originally decided to go chasing with my friend in May. It's what I looked forward to ever since I went down to the alley for the first time in 2006. It was the second driest year since 1988, but we managed to see some of the best storms we have ever witnessed including the May 31st hybrid/haboob type storm in CO/KS and the isolated classic tornadic supercell on June 5th in SD.

Rumor has it that this year's season will be dry because right now, there is hardly any moisture on the plains, especially in the panhandles. Some were worried about the lack of moisture depth. Yet some others mention that there will be trouble on the plains this year... after quite an active season last year, I think there could be some great opportunities this year... but then again I hate long term forecasting because weather patterns change. What I found with 2008 was that although it was quite active, there were a lot of hidden tornadoes... HP was a big thing that season. I hope that maybe with the lack of moisture this year, there might be more classic isolated storms offering high contrasted tornadoes. That is the photo op I've been waiting for... I am sure all chasers are waiting for that opportunity.

Anyways... to the point. I planned to go down again during the first two weeks of May with my chase buddies. Just recently my BFF from high school invited my sister and I to go up with them to Manitoulin Island to spend two weeks at a lake front rental cottage. Here's the catch. I only get two weeks paid vacation from work. It's not easy for me to take extra time off because my job is quite important for the business. So now you can see why I am torn.

Do I take the chance and skip out on this year's chasing and miss a possible good tornado photo op? Or will the plains give me nothing but a sunburn? I love my BFF dearly, we are very close. We've been friends for over 10 years now! She is well aware of my tornado chasing obsession though. I just don't want to disapoint her... I would love to go up with them in the summer, but tornado season is limited. Seeing a beautiful tornado is almost like a once in a lifetime opportunity. Heck, storm chasing is my life. I fear the day that I would never be able to chase again.

Ever since I went down in 2006, it's like the plains have been calling my name. I only go for two weeks each year, but that place kinda feels like home to me in a way; I call it my second home. There's just something about that place I love... the openess, the interesting kind folks you meet on the road, the scenery, the storms, the endless big skies..... ok I think I just answered my own question... tornado alley here I come.