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

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Chasing safely

Well, we all see videos and hear stories of chasers who got a little too close (or perhaps way too darn close!), and it seems that all chasers, no matter how good, end up getting a little too close for comfort at least once in their chase career. Generally storm chasing can be quite safe, if you're doing it in wide open areas where you can see for miles and miles, stay positioned in the safe viewing area with regard to the storm, but occasionally, data transmission problems related to wireless connections, poorly timed decisions, insufficient education and a serious passion for "getting the storm" can cloud judgment (pun intended). There can be a serious amount of adrenalin involved in a chase, and if you misjudge storm motion, or if you hit road option difficulties, or if you just want to get a little bit closer, or maybe just happen to see such and such storm presenting on radar better than the one you're on, or happen to get stuck behind a log truck... storm chasers have ended up in some precarious situations that could have been harmful to their lives. It happens. If they live to tell about it, it can go on to serve as a valuable lesson and wake up call about the power of Ma Nature and what these vicious beasts of storms are capable of... Here is the story of my friend, Ken, in Texas, who is a storm chaser who got caught in the danger zone, and hopes that his sharing the episode will help others to make wiser decisions than he made those days. Ken's Story. Thanks, Ken, for using your lessons to educate others to help keep everyone safe out there.

My situation occurred on February 26, 2008. First off, in south Georgia, chasing is quite dangerous for a few reasons, 1. there is a limited viewing distance. Most views are obscured by rather large pine trees and lots of them. There aren't many large open areas to view from. 2. Most of our supercells are HP (high precipitation), and so if a funnel drops and reaches the ground, it's much more difficult to see, being obscured by the rain... Anyways, my wonderful groom (bf at the time) and I were getting data support from Alabama Mike, who did put us in line for viewing a few funnel clouds. After that passed and fizzled, Mike guided us toward another developing storm. I tried to stay ever-mindful of the sky, but with constant turns and trees, it was difficult. Here's the chase account: 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!!!!
Seriously! We were under the rotating wall cloud, right there in tornado-genesis-ville. We were fortunate that nothing bad happened. Apparently, the storm was a lot faster than his radar... Always, keep your eyes to the sky.

Outside of that, I had a beautiful tower yesterday with magnificent crepuscular rays as the cumulus towers exploded into the evening sky.Have a great day!!


  1. Interesting stuff and nice piccies XXX Don

  2. That first image is just incredible. Dangrous stuff but I envy the the thrill.

  3. Oh my gosh, you have some amazing photos here!


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