Thursday, December 3, 2009

Chasers & the Off-Season Blues

...And so... Another night of storm tracking and crazy anecdotes from various other storm chasers and meteorologists ensued online last night... Another like many more before it. Late nights. Radar returns, and some alcohol and whaddya get?!

Yep...yet more drunk, clever, or not so clever smart ass and dirty/rude remarks from myself and my peers about another 09 non-event which was "over forecast" by the NWS!? iOho! (In OUR "Humble" Opinions anyway)

The only difference was, this particular event was in early December...On the SE portion of the CONUS of all places!
Meteorological WINTER has begun....

Just when we are all thoroughly infected with SDS, and in pronounced pessimistic moods that "we are gonna be 09ed again!".
We chasers and meteorologists/students etc are all very critical and condescending to our fellow "peers" @ the NWC/SPC at this time, as most of our predictions have been right all year whereas theirs have been somewhat "over-forecast" in many cases. (Or so we like to think).

There is evidence in this community that some of us really DO think were all that!...or perhaps we ARE really that bitter after being 09ed over and over again. Maybe its some of both.
But let it be said there are those among us chasers who frequently "over-forecast" too.

While I wish I could often share their "optimism" for want of a better word, I cannot help but go with my own stubbornness and go completely with MY OWN forecasts! Typical!! I am known for my stubbornness, and pessimism, I'm famous for it!

But I hate being disappointed, so I generally don't set myself up for that! I hate to bust!
My forecasts for meso scale events have been pessimistic throughout this year I will admit that...BUT: They have been very close to the mark...MOST times this year.
I am surprised at this...I am fairly new to this!

By no means did I ever expect to get correct forecasts this early on in my chasing career...No way!!
Or...perhaps my pessimism is what lucked me out decide!

This is me, being completely honest.

(However, there have actually been a few times where I have been surprised and been proved wrong, too and some great set ups have happened in NE, and KS and I have underestimated chase potential!! It happens to us all.)

I am not trying to blow my own trumpet here, but my findings are based on trends/obs and also bearing in mind we are smack bang in the middle of an El Nino year.
Call me pessimistic if you want, but it is what it is.

Yes I said it again... I am pessimistic!

.... Another squall line with small/no hail and damaging wind gusts....that will fail in strength and size and turn into stratiform precip by the time it reaches *insert state line/location here* Usually Indiana...Goddamn it!!! August 4th anyone? *cough* DERECHO *cough*.

Just how do I know we won't see snow of any significance in the lower GL region til at least Jan 2010! ? Lord only knows. Perhaps its just a hunch...I am no long-range forecaster!
But heeeyy lookie! There's SNOW IN FREEKIN DALLAS TX as I write this.

Anyway what I am getting at here is I realize more than most people, that the meteorological community has its good, bad, and downright ugly.
By my own admission, I am sometimes good, sometimes bad, and when I have had a few drinks I can open my mouth and get downright f**kin ugly!

C'mon...Its 09 and while I am intoxicated I get a little, let's say, erm...frustrated!
I believe most chasers...particularly my Great Lakes region counterparts...will understand my frustration!


Ok...Now before you all jump in my shit and give me hell, I am also a very observant person. If I am proved wrong on a certain issue, or subject, I do not obliterate it with snide remarks.
I am open to constructive criticism. I welcome it, because I want to learn, and gain knowledge. While I am a little on the proud side and generally don't go looking for help on a meteorological issue I run into, when the help is offered to me, I always welcome and embrace it.

It is just the way I am made. Love it or hate it!

So far in my short chasing career, I feel I have learned a hell of a lot since being here in the US of A. I am very happy about that. I am proud of that, and I am so much more passionate about the weather now, compared to what I was.
I have always been fascinated with it since the Great Storm of Oct 1987 in the SE of England when we were plunged into complete blackness with winds gusting up to 125mph, and debris smacking the side of the house @ 2.30am.
Yes, I was a little scared. But my main emotion that long night was one of awe and wonder at the power of these hurricane-force winds! I found it strangely beautiful! Mother Nature showed up with her wrath that night. I will NEVER forget it.

I don't mean to go off topic here.

Back on topic. I know many of us in the chaser community criticize the SPC forecasters on many occasions. It is something that will obviously continue season in...season out.
No ones gonna be able to change that.

However we must ALSO remember they are the ones who went through school and got degrees and Ph D's in meteorology, and worked their asses off to get where they are today.
We must accept that. They do their job as they must...because after all they are NOT there to forecast on the whims of us chasers who are chomping at the bit for a good set up-that we must do OURSELVES.
My only wish is that more of us LEARN how to do this effectively without relying on the SPC's convective outlooks!
That way then we may have room to criticize!

(I will save this particular rant for another day...besides you have heard it all before, right?!).

The SPC forecasters are there because they have to exercise caution. They are looking out for the public at large...NOT the chasers so much! We would do good to remember that!

I know we like to point and laugh, and inflate our own egos. Hell I been guilty of that since I was able to walk and talk, I have been called out on it over and over. And thats ok!
At the end of the day, I can't change me, and I won't change me. So we won't go there.

I can get rude and offensive and also very sarcastic...and these traits show up big time when there is a mass of busted forecasts going around, even my own!
I have a very strange sense of humor, and some people will never ever get it. Furthermore I don't intend to change or morph it to fit their requirements anytime soon!

The chaser community has a knack of bringing out the best (or worst) in me. I don't know why. But I am not complaining! I luvs you all! LOL!

Its all good!

I'm outta here, to go look at some more storm porn...

Over and out...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Blog on the Fritz and Hurricane Ida

I am referring to Blogger, which apparently you cant sign into unless your google account (WTF) is associated with it. Hello...I have Yahoo, and that is what I have always used to sign in to make posts and edit my Blog.

After much p*ssing around I have managed to get in here to make this post, this is for the most part really a test post, but I am (was) planning on adding to the blog in the very near future...(providing I am able to log back in here.) If not, then it looks as though you wont be hearing from me in a while, which is a shame, as I have a few updates to put in here.

I really DONT feel like making a new blog altogether, as a) I dont have the time, and b) my Facebook was recently raped by a hacker, which meant I had to make a brand new one, and re-add all my friends again, (some probably still think I deleted them, and as a consequence havent accepted my request), but hey...whatever. Obviously not that much of a friend if thats your assumption...

Anyway, Other news, I have been spending the morning tracking what WAS HURRICANE Ida. She is now a Tropical Storm. The next few days will tell if/when she gets back out on the water and re-intensifies. If she does, and she gets as far as the GOM, she will be the first (and only) Tropical system to affect the US in 2009.

I will be watching closely, as I am in the mood for a Hurricane Intercept...

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Storm chase 08/19/09 Covington, Indiana

For much of the day I had been feeling somewhat pessimistic about todays set up. I had expected all the decent storms to fire up way out west, not even so much here in IN.

I believed I wasn't going to be able to get a chase in at all today. The set up was not looking strong enough to warrant me going that far out, never mind the gas tank situation. I spent the majority of the day back and forth with some of my chase buddies online, pessimistic about the whole thing. It was pretty obvious to some of them I was extremely fed up and was indeed suffering quite the case of SDS!!

I got back from being out with Gary and his work friends from a work lunch, and got back online, and tracked the weather, and followed changing patterns on the RUC, and watched in amazement as things began to look progressively more favorable further east of the original target areas.

Oh sweet. Maybe I might get some chasing in after all! Oh yes this would be absolutely sweet!!!

Everything had begun trending further to the east than I had anticipated, and lo and behold - The MCD pointed toward a severe t-stm risk with tornado possibilities in western central and northern IN as well as IL.

I had been following the news of tornadoes in MN earlier that day, so I thought...Maybe...Just maybe!
The atmosphere was beginning to look rife for it! I began to get extremely excited. I was getting pumped up to take chase. I wished to be on the hunt again...

I text Gary who was on his way home at this time and he agreed we should chase this set up! We will get some awesome structure/shelf cloud shots if nothing else! We still have several daylight hours yet. So Gary made it home by 5pm and we were on the road by 5.05pm.

As I often am, on a chase, I was silent with anticipation and hope as we began to surge up I74 west.
I am hunting down the power and beauty of Mother Nature once more. Such a thrilling prospect.

There is no other rush like it as I head out on a storm chase, this is the best feeling I know! Dark storminess begins to loom in the distant west, and my excitement levels go up a notch. What, I wonder is enclosed in this beautiful dark ominous cover? What beautiful storm awaits me there?
I have to meet it, I need to see. We continued to drive toward the storm. My anticipation continued to grow... So much I wanted to be back in the presence of another storm.

Soon enough I was greeted with the beautiful gift of a gorgeous and sumptuous shelf cloud. So long I had waited for this moment or so it felt. It was beautiful.

Finally we came to a stop on an intersection in some corn fields. I jumped out of the car to sample this beautiful yet menacing wonder, and the sound of Covingtons tornado sirens blaring in the distance... and very soon beneath this awesome shelf cloud, GC and intra-cloud lightning began to emanate.

What a beautiful gift, this was to me.
I stood and watched for many moments as the shelf began to reach our location, and then roll over us.

As it did so, the gust front winds began to blast us, whipping sand and dust at me, at 70mph.
Oh it felt so good. So strong, It could have easily picked me up and taken me with it.It felt awesome. I loved this feeling...such power surrounding and embracing me, the rush was so awesome, I wanted it to last forever, as I continued to watch the lightning strike the ground ahead of me.

I wanted to remain with this storm for as long as I could.

Soon, after the gust front came through, the rain appeared north of us, and the lightning closer. On this note we retreated back to the safety of the vehicle, knowing the risk of lightning, while I find it so beautiful and enchanting, and my want to stand out in the rain and get a good soaking, I knew it would be too dangerous.

We sat in the car and watched the rain curtain north of us flank the entire horizon. I turned to look southward, and noticed the very same thing happening...the precipitation curtain was defined by the brightness, where the sun would have been, above the storm. Although we were well and truly underneath the storms dark cover, we still didn't have rain upon us. However I could have sworn there was rotation in the turbulent cloud mass above us, which was now pea soup green. Oh it was beautiful.

I was ready to see a tornado!

Soon we were engulfed by rain. A wall of water closed in around us, so we began to drive, with the intention of heading north east to parallell this storm, and perhaps get out in front of it again. We criss crossed the roads in the cornfields engulfed in rain shafts that blew this way and that...the corn blew violently this way then that way, as did the trees, as we went.

I looked out of the side window, and could have sworn I could see more rotation up above me, as the rain swirled all around, I wished I could have been out in the elements to sample this!

Soon, we came upon HWY 41, which ultimately took us to I74. We headed back out due east and came out in front of the storm again, the wonderful shelf cloud ominous in my wing mirror this time!

At about this time, Nowcasters were reporting to me that there was a funnel cloud sighting in Lafayette!
My radar was down again, so I had no way of reading this storm apart from what was going on around me.

Such a rush, being in the unknown.

Another one of my Nowcasters informed me she had seen rotation on radar very close to my location (Nr I74) at that time.

I, however did not see a tornado...

We came upon Crawfordsville, where we had enough time for restroom break and Subway for dinner to eat on the run. While we were in Subway, Gary ordered food while I went back outside to watch the storm roll in the way it had in Covington.

I was ready to sample the storm again...I pushed the door to get back outside, and it was damn near impossible. The winds were up high again, blowing me around, this time it wasn't as intense, but the Subway staff were ready to hunker down!

By this time although it still looked beautiful, my storm had begun to weaken. I wanted one more chance to dance with it tonight...

...So we drove further east again to catch one more sample... Several miles later we found a spot and jumped out and were greeted by blasting winds one last time. Still the pea soup color swirled above our heads, still convective enough for me to want more time with the storm.

This is my heaven, my bliss. Such a whole feeling when the shelf rolled over me one last time. Beautiful lightning, and booming thunder.

Thank you, Mother Nature for giving today, I said silently, as I watched the surrounding trees sway in the wind, and the rain begin its march eastward.

We finally headed back eastward to the Metro where we knew the storm would ride over us by nightfall, which gave me a great feeling that the possibility of a lightning show in the Coke Lot (My spotting location) would be imminent in an hour or so.
The night was still young...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

07/28/2009-Sweet Lightning Show: Thorntown, IN

NB: ( I Havent been here to update for such a long time, again. This is just because life gets in the way. Anyway, I have taken it upon myself to try and make my blog a little more exciting to read by adding a touch of creative writing to my posts, as having sat there and read through my past entries, I have found them a bit dull, descriptively. I hope this new approach works: You will have to let me know. )


I had been watching some rogue cells on radar in the northern part of the state for a good portion of the afternoon. I was trying to resist the urge to meet them as they didn't really show any signs of moving south.
They seemed to be drifting East without much southern motion, at first, but on a susequent radar check a little later, there were many more cells popping up, tempting me to head north and greet them.

They had grown in size and there were hail core signatures beginning to appear with some of them.

It became too much, the decision to chase was made.We headed I65 north!On route, beautiful cumulonimbus towered overhead, around and above us... Teasing my mind all the way!

(Heading up I74 North)
These were not yet seen on radar, but had my attention anyway, promising me good things would come. Thoughts of impending powerful storms came to me as we continued to travel, thoughts of lightning sweeping the dark sky and hail, with rotating wall clouds... And...The quiet hope and anticipation of an unexpected but unlikely tornado?We continued as the skies in front of us began to darken, but little structure was to be seen!

Not even a shelf cloud, I quickly realized that this maybe bust. One streak of lightning and ten minutes later, we drove through rain! My dissappointment was quite apparent! These promising cells had began to dissipate as they moved slowly south east. We headed south back through Delphi, and began to drive to head for home... I began to think there probably wouldn't be anymore storms tonight...

I looked at the radar, in exasperation, at the green mess that had once been a collection of beautifully shaped dark red images of convection, gazing at me tempting me only an hour before... I then looked at the sky, with its dreary grey overcast rain, and another lump reached my throat-I hate this storm-killing State! I HAVE to move!

We drove back out into the dry airmass which warmed us as we opened the windows once more, and I gazed wistfully at the cumulus that still continued to grace the sky... Warm air rushing into the truck.The radar now showed me a line of cells to the west of the state, in the Crawfordsville area.

( The color of the skies were beautiful, despite the unsuccessful cells in the Delphi area)

...I shouted out "Crawfordsville-can we get there in less than 20 minutes?"My husband/chase partner said "we can try..."

We headed south, then west, and I kept my eyes open and watched the sky....It began to darken once more as the line of cells slowly made their way east...My excitement and anticipation began to build once more, as we drove as fast as we legally could to intercept this now growing cell, which was showing a heavy rain core, and no signs of weakening.

We entered the small town of Thorntown, and a few flashes in the sky brought me positive thoughts that this time I would meet a good storm, I was excited to embrace this darkness...

We drove underneath its dark blanket, and soon, CG began to hit the ground around and ahead of us.
A beautiful and enchanting sight.

Exhilaration filled me, and adrenaline, as we saw the huge shelf cloud coming over the horizon.To me, this is the most beautiful sight in the world. We pulled over onto the side of the road, and stopped the engine,

I wanted to hear the thunder.
The radio was turned off, and the only sound for miles around was a light breeze and rumbling thunder in the distance. It was such a calming sound, yet thrilling at the same time.
The gust front winds began to whip around the cabin and make my hair fly in the warm breeze...
The lightning became much more frequent. The shelf was almost overhead now, and with awe we watched it roll overhead.It may not have been reported as a severe storm, we didn't know.

(The rain filled skies darken, we lose daylight, as the storm closes in right over us)

My cell phone radar had crapped out, as it likes to do when we intercept a storm, and I had not brought the laptop.
This is how I sometimes like to chase. I don't often want to be ensconced in so much of the techy side of chasing. I want to see what nature wants to show me, after my patient searches...

Raw energy from mother nature came crashing around us as the thunder became louder, and the rain began to fall... And OH BOY, the rain FELL.
Quickly we closed the windows. Its Gilgamesh! The curtain of precipitation was like a grey wall that now covered everything that we had seen in front of us, the only other visual element at that time is the CG lightning, flickering all around.
Exhilaration overtook me, as the crack of thunder boomed around the truck cabin.

It was as though we could feel it rumble beneath us! An amazing but unnerving this was followed by another bright CG which hit the ground less than quarter of a mile away from our position!
The storm was right on top of us, and the rain was as strong as it had been when it first began to fall.

For a good 20 minutes this storm sat on top of us, throwing CG all around us, providing us with a fabulous show...We sat as daylight quickly dissappeared, and contnued to watch this storms beautiful lightning show.

Mesmerized, and extremely happy, I gazed into the dark chasm of the storm, as the thunder roared around us, and the lightning kept on lighting up around us. What a beautiful sight! I could have sat back and watched this all night...I wished so much to get out the truck, and be right inside the storm, but I knew it was far too dangerous, with this much lightning.

It was so tempting, but I told myself no! We contnued to sit in the cabin, as the rain continued to beat the windshield, and the roof, and the thunder contnued to crack and rumble in our presence.
This storm truly wanted to give us a show, it seemed to know that we were enjoying every moment. It seemed to be playing up to that!
Another half an hour passed us by, and the stationary storm cell finally began to abate, and slowly head east. The rain began to die down, yet the lightning and thunder continued to surround us, albeit less frequent.
We began to drive on a bit, as it began to settle down some... Soon the rain was no more, and the cell began to deplete.
We headed south, and stopped for some food, then we picked up the interstate (I 74) back to the Metro, to head for home,
I watched the now rather infrequent distant lightning in the dark skies, miles to our north, on our left, as we drove home, thanking Mother Nature for fullfilling my desire for storms that night...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Other Chasers

I am putting together a list with links to other chasers blogs, So far I have added the ones that I visit regularly. If you would like your chase/wx blog added to my list, or would like to add me to your list, then shoot me an e-mail at:, or

Please include your full name, and the URL of your blog/website.
Something I wrote ages ago:-

I go for miles to find you
On the chase for weeks on end
To be wrapped up in your awesome beauty
And awestruck by your ferocity
Such a beautiful entity
So powerful and frightening
Yet so amazing and beautiful
I chase for miles state after state
Watching the clouds and watching the sky..
I go for weeks if not years without seeing you
But I know my hunting will not always be in vain
I wish to watch you tear across the plains
With your destructive beauty and your fearful wrath
Because while I fear your destruction and deadly winds
Your beauty and power are what draws me to you
I somehow wish I could be picked up by you

And taken on a journey for miles and miles
But I know that is a death wish
As I know no tornado will put me down safely!
Everyone runs from you
I want to run to you.. beautiful tornado..
One day I will see you
Whether I live to tell the tale or no
I'll still chase long days on the highways
Surrounded by burning sun and fields of corn
And prairies that stretch out forever and ever

Wondering if at the end I will find my perfect storm
...And my perfect tornado..
Wondering if I will live to share my experience
With any one other than my self..
Or perhaps just the Tornado..

The only one who will be the last to see me
Under this big dark stormy sky..

...Take me away..

Lucy Blinebury 2008

Remainder of June and July so far...

Have been PAINFULLY slow here in the Great Lakes region. The temps have been somewhat chilly for July, and June, as a whole has been pretty wet. As for severe wx...practiaclly non-existent. A few high elevated T-stms, and lots of precip...

I am guessing the El-Nino pattern has a big part to play in this odd wx situation.
I am really wishing we were back in 2008. That was a BIG year for me, as it was my first in the USA, and the severe wx was plentiful... what was it...30 reported tornadoes in IN last year? Compared to this years paltry 11-12?
I have only seen pea size hail ONCE this summer, so far...

Yeah...very dull and very quiet.
I have been out chasing a couple times, and have gotten on the odd isolated storm, including a random cell in Peoria, IL...but nothing severe, or amazing has happened... So no pics as I havent gotten anything worth photographing.

There is a video or two on my You tube site, of some lightning on I74... but really... not much else going on.

Apart from seeing a VERY faint cold-air funnel cloud this past Sunday. I saw it when I was coming back from purchasing a new camera tripod. It lasted all of about a minute.

Well, I am hoping to get back out west sometime in September. We will see what the Wx brings.
I have some friends coming to visit me from OK, for the Nascar Race, then I am heading to Wisconsin after Ill be busy over the next week or so.

In the meantime... send me some severe wx. Package it and label it to: Svr Wx Girl, Speedway, IN. Thanks :)