The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
-Psalm 19:1

Do you know that God controls the clouds and makes his lightning flash?
-Job 37:15

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Storm Chasing Dew Style in South Georgia... the Dewvoid is dead!!!

This was written by Alabama Mike to me. All true...

Dew HERSELF witnessed a few wall clouds and a funnel cloud. She reported that to the NWS Tallahassee but they issued no tornado warning as far as I could tell. They dropped the ball by not using her report.

Finally, there is irrefutable scientific evidence that the Dewvoid was a myth and it happened in her own county...
Mike also had a great account of my chase on the team blog from the radar perspective. Awesome, Mike! Thanks! Meso Mike emailed a storm report that was related to the rotating wall cloud I saw:
Based on that report's lat/long, I might be returning to a powerless house. Anyways, on with my story...

It was my lunch hour, and I asked bf if he would be interested in going out and shooting some lightning on the squall line that was coming through, so we got set up in a decent-sized sod field, well to the east of the approaching squall and waited for the lightning to start flashing, while we ate sandwiches. A few frequent flashes (none of which caught) preceded a heavy downpour with ferocious wind. Luckily, we were chasing in a Jeep (yes, yes, I know I just preached all about how we shouldn't do that... but we did it anyway, so :OP), so when the water covered the dirt road access back to the highway, we just went bogging through that. (Gotta love a Jeep for the off-road chasing opportunities. My minivan would have been stuck there...)

Yes, in south Georgia you get John Deere tractors in your chase pics. It was while we were bogging out of there, headed back to the office that I got the call from Alabama Mike "DID YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE UNDER A TORNADO WARNING?!" Uh... no! (Remember that I forgot my weather radio today... bad storm chaser) So, a quick about-face and we were chasing a tornado warned cell, where a tornado had been spotted by a trained spotter in the southern part of my county.
This is what that area to my south looked like... (where I estimate that cell was) So, bf and I were headed east on Highway 84, trying to get ahead of the tornadic supercell, which we could see to our southwest. We were awaiting the opportunity to make a southward turn for an intercept opportunity. Finally, that chance arrived. We turned south on Highway 129 and headed for some action... but along the way had to stop and take a picture of the doppler radar site that I have come to rely upon. (How cool is that, getting a picture of your actual radar during your chase?!) We were driving steadily south, and we saw the storm was racing along to the east, but appeared to be dissipating. Mike suggested an east turn early on along the way, but my gut told me to keep going south. With the way these storms were flying by, we never would have caught up to that one, and the next one was right behind it, so if we journeyed south... it would come to us, theoretically. Mike seemed to agree with that line of thinking, but soon we came to another east/west decision. Alabama Mike and I talked through options and we jointly decided that we should head west toward a cell that looked powerful with some signs of rotation that was three counties over at that point, and we planned for an intercept in Valdosta up by Highway 84. We were traveling west on Highway 94, racing (not speeding, just hurrying along...;OP) toward a potentially tornadic supercell. Yeehaw! Finally, we hit a perimeter road in Valdosta that cuts from Highway 94 over to Highway 84, but there it was. We were just in time for the main event, so we pulled into the center median on a bridge on that road (where two sheriff's deputies--seperately--stopped with lights to check on us, one asking us to move to a safer viewing spot--deeper into the storm with less visibility... ok, Einstein... I think not!). So, we were watching this monster roll by about 5 miles to the north, when suddenly... this wall cloud descends from the cloud base, beautiful wall cloud, showing definite rotation. I was on the phone with Alabama Mike at the time, and I had to go to call it in to the guys... Spotter duty, don't you know? Parks... who didn't issue a warning... on my trained spotted rotating wall cloud (lol, I wrote eye wall, intially... is it cane season already???). :OP Whatever, Parks! That same cell produced wind damage in Thomasville and in Hahira, probably at the time I was calling it in (more on that to come)... Well, after getting off the phone with Parks, who didn't issue a warning (did I mention that?) and I both saw the funnel drop from it and pop back up. I am still digging through the video, to see if I can find it... (Update: I found that tonight..., and let me say that my video capability on the camera I have stinks big time!!! I am actually about to get one of Rick's reject video cameras, for a great deal, so that should help. Thanks, Rick!) Anyways, as a warning, this video accidentally contained a wordy dird. Sorry, I guess my language gets a little less than PG when faced with exciting weather... It's hard to make out, and I have no editing software (another thing to add to my list) to enhance the sharpness, etc., but I promise, a funnel cloud descended for a few seconds and popped back up and dipped again, before a wall of rain from another approaching cell covered us in a blanket of torrential downpour, and I did not feel comfortable being in that mess because I figured we shouldn't play with rain wrapped rotation, so we headed back east to get ahead of it again, and we were riding parallel with it because when Alabama Mike suggested we turn north, we traveled about 5 miles up a tree covered windy dirt road before we came out RIGHT UNDER a rotating wall cloud!!!! Then, I was trying my hardest to convince bf to turn us around and get us the heck out of there because we were in DANGER!!! He reluctantly did without anything dropping on us... whew.... (we have talked about this, and he said that he promises that the next time we end up under a rotating wall cloud, he will get us out of there faster--he was just excited. lol. At least, we survived to tell about it. Thank God.) and we decided to just let it pass on by so we could both get back to what we needed to be doing... work. Mike indicated that the cell lost its umph, and time was working against us. So we stopped and watched it roll on by... until it started to pour on us, a cold pounding rain. Awesome chase! Great intercept! Off to pain and torture!!!



  1. Congratulations! Great chase details! I am sitting under a tornado watch right now until 11:00 pm. It is really storming! There are cells all around us and will be on us all night. I hope I don't wake up in Oz. Oh, and I love the John Deere phenomenon--that's what makes South Georgia so great!

  2. Awesome! Makes me feel better to know that the Dewvoid is a myth. :D Hopefully I will have a few intercepts of my own this season in the Texas Panhandle, if the storm chasing season ever gets here!!

  3. What?! They didnt issue a warning?! Thats what so great about pics and video you can send'em. I love to prove that as spotter we know what we are looking at.

  4. Great day! The Dewvoid is dead...I'm looking forward to more info when you get time!

  5. You go girl!!!! Down with the Dewvoid!! unfortunately the jessvoid remains in tack. Everything went around I got some interesting cloud shots which I will share tomorrow. I look forward to some video of your event.

  6. Annie, I hope you don't end up in Oz... noticed a warning in some of the archive for Pasco County. Jess, that's yours. The John Deere was a riot. Every good chase should include at least one.

    Ken, It was a wonderful chastunity, and it was wonderful to dispell the vicious Dewvoid rumor.

    Rick, I can't wait until I have that new camera, get bf shooting video... mine are terrible on the camera, they won't focus. SO FRUSTRATING!!!

    Mike, I took some pics from the "wind damage" in North Lowndes. I hope to get those up tomorrow.

    Jess, darn a Jessvoid now??? sigh... I can't wait to see your pics. DOWN WITH THE DEWVOID!!! YAHOO! You know how you always complain about your sucky camera... my video is horrible!

  7. Those are the types of lunch breaks everyone should have at work. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun! Cool pics!

  8. I know, Jeff! That lunch break(/annual leave since it was about a 4 1/2 hour lunch with update and all)... will go down in my history as among my best ever! Complete awesomeness!

  9. Great job Dew! Must of been a great thrill to have a weather event go down like that and have the time to chase it. NWS not issuing a warning is amazing to me. Can't wait to see the video.


  10. SCM, Very awesome! It is rare that I do have the perfect opportunity, available time, daytime event... the stars were aligned. This storm was ours! Come to Dewdrop. I don't know... maybe it just didn't look "good enough" on radar (thanks Mike for the radar shots) to support the warning... the video is out there. :O)

  11. Too say that I'm jealous.. would be an understatement! We didn't get anything like that in TLH! Just the typical summer downpour... in Feb. Hmm.

    Next time, I'm finding a way to duck out and go chasing with you!

    Great pictures and it's nice to know that the DewVoid can be defeated! :)

  12. Thanks, Melissa! Anytime you want to chase with me, just come on up!!! I'd be happy to chase with you! Summer downpour in February... LOL! Gotta love this crazy weather, huh?

  13. Great coverage and I like the video. It was pretty cool to watch that with "Riders on the Storm" playing in the background on your blog....

    You shouldn't have said anything about turning north :)

    I am curious to hear the results of the storm surveys...

  14. Thanks, Mike! I bet that would sound cool. How could I leave that part out about Donahue Street?? ;O) I am curious, too. They are welcome to my pics.

  15. Yay, Dew!! A red letter day in American Weather History. The Day the Dewvoid Died! Holy ... cow!

  16. Thanks, Sharp for your enthusiasm! This calls for a celebration, doesn't it?! February 26, from here on out will go down in infamy, as the day the Dewvoid regime fell! No, no cows... ;O)


Dew comment, please...