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...

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