The Final Few

June 19, 2014 at 9:40 PM | Posted in Storm Chasing Vacation 2014 | Leave a comment
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So I’ve been home for few days from my trip and I’ve finally had time to sit down and write about the last few days of my trip.

Thursday was our last chase day in Texas. We waited quite a while for storms to begin. After what felt like several humid and hot hours in a gas station parking lot storms finally erupted. The one we followed seemed to move decently fast, we had to move many times to keep out in front of the rain and hail, it really kicked up the dry dust and dirt.

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Always fun to have a scary looking cloud right above a kiosk of combustibles.

We chased around this storm waiting for it to get some sort of consistent rotation. It had plenty of lowering but then it would fall apart, so no tornadoes on this one for us. As we were chasing we found many a dead zone to not only our data service but to our phone service as well. It was a Verizon free zone. Without data we couldn’t keep our radar updated so Charles had to use his skills to figure out which was the safe route, keeping us out of the hail. We kept driving for a while trying to find someplace to shelter the vehicle from the oncoming storm. There was what looked like a town on the map but was really an abandoned looking neighborhood but no where that could be cover. So we kept driving.
Finally we entered a larger town and there was a store with some carport-like structures out front. I think it was an auto electronics store. We sat there watching the sun set as the storm rolled into town. It was gorgeous, made everything look orange.

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The storm blew in a lot of dirt with its first gust and we tumbled back into the van for a bit. The rain and hail came down, thankfully the hail was not very big. A couple of cars came and went behind us under the other part of the shelter during some of the rougher patches of the storm.

After the sun set and the rain passed us we were given a nice lightning show. It was difficult to capture of course. Also mine were shot through a window because we didn’t want to get out of the car.

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We finally pulled into Brownwood, TX for the night. We found a diner that was still open at 10pm and found there was a hotel next door. (Where I had my decision to wait to the last minute to pack in the morning teach me a lesson because I left my childhood blanket there. Yes, I’m 34 and have a blankie. The hotel said they found it and said they would send it out on Monday. I should call them to make sure…)

The next day was a long day of traveling to get into position for Saturday’s final chase. We travelled from Brownwood, TX to Woodword, OK. Then on Saturday morning we headed up towards Phillipsburg, KS to wait for some storms.
Charles picked a great spot, after a short time waiting, little white clouds started popping up out of nowhere above us. Quickly building into large puffy clouds that started to make towers. We watched a lovely storm take place with a fellow chaser until it was decided to go get to a better viewing position for the storm as it looked like it was getting ready to rotate.
Sure enough a tornado was reported by the other chaser who was on the other side of the storm from us. We looked closer and saw the circulation on the ground. It was difficult to see because we had the rain in front of it. We zoomed toward it and we tried taking pictures as we drove but it was so difficult to see. We lost it behind a hill which we soon found out was a dam that we had to get up and over. By the time we got to a good spot the rain had filled in and we couldn’t tell if the tornado was still in progress.
This is the best picture I took of the tornado. It’s circled so you can see it.

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One nice thing is I played with some filters on my iPad and the Noir filter really brought out some detail.

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If you’d like to see what the tornado looked like behind the rain go to Daniel Shaw’s twitter @DanielShawAu

As far as we saw that storm did not produce again, but it tried on several occasions. Later it had some magnificent structure, that looked just plain bizarre to me.

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As the sun was setting, and we had a 5 hour drive back to Norman, OK still that night, we decided to let the storm go.
I collapsed into my hotel room at 3am,

The next day I flew home. I had a wonderful experience, and I’m quite sure I will be going again. However, it was magnificent to be back home with my husband and my cats.

The next day, Monday, there was amazing and terrifying tornados that went through to the north of Nebraska. I was antsy watching a live stream. I felt weird not going and chasing. The storm that ravaged Pilger, NE spawned 4 tornadoes. It is estimated they were all EF4s. The footage is astounding, if you haven’t seen it, search for it. There were two extremely large tornados right next to each other.
The next night, big tornados ripped through counties north of Pilger and farms and homes were damaged.
The next night big tornados ripped through a South Dakota town.
This is a horrible time for so many people in those towns.
Please consider giving to the Red Cross, or volunteering your time in the clean-up effort.

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