Saturday, May 29, 2010

Walker-Jefferson Co., AL Storm - 5/28/10










These images were captured near the intersection of Alabama Highway 269 and Walker County Road 61 on the Walker-Jefferson line, south of Gorgas and east of Oakman. These images were made looking west toward a severe thunderstorm that was near Oakman.
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5/28/2010 - Convection in Morgan County, AL

Time lapse of storms that later became severe. These storms developed in Madison County and I followed them through Morgan, Cullman, and Walker, all the way into Jefferson County.



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Friday, May 28, 2010

Storms in North Alabama


2:40 Weather Underground image for Madison/Jackson counties.


UAH Armor Radar at 2:30

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

WeatherBrains Tonight



I am excited to mention that I will be a guest panelist on the WeatherBrains podcast tonight! I have mentioned WeathBrains several times in the past on this blog. It's a great weekly show for anyone who considers themselves a weather enthusiast.

This evening's podcast will also be carried live (for the second time ever) via Ustream at 8:30 CDT.

I hope you can listen.

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Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 10, 2010 Oklahoma Chase



This is the continuation of our chase story that began in a previous post.
We left Tulsa, where we got tangled up in a bunch of detours in downtown. We decided to head west on Highway 51. We wanted to get a bit closer to where storms were probably going to be initiating. After talking with Brett Adair and Greg Nordstrom , we decided to stay off the interstates and turnpikes as much as possible. They pointed out the possibility of those roads being blocked during tornado warnings.

After passing through Stillwater, we arrived at the junction of I-35 and Highway 51. After taking a quick break, we kept a close watch on the radar. The first Oklahoma supercell of the day exploded rapidly to our north in Alfalfa County and a tornado warning was issued at 4:22. We didn't really have time to pursue that one, plus we knew storms would break out further south along the dryline.

Around 4:25 we noticed another storm, just to our northwest and south of the Alfalfa storm was beginning to ramp up. I suggested to John that we should go for it. He wasn't as inclined at first. It appeared to me that it would suck energy away from the Alfalfa storm and cells to the south were slow to develop. My thinking was that we could pursue it and still have time to intercept one later to the south after they started to develop.

John drove us north, through Perry, OK. We stopped just before we got to Hwy 15. John actually made the very wise decision to pull us back south a few hundred yards. My suggestion was further north. Here we saw a wall cloud that produced a few funnels. The inflow was very strong. Gravel was being slung at the truck. John said his truck was shaking. I had a very hard time walking against the wind to get back to the truck. The wall cloud actually passed immediately north of us. We could look up and see it. It was like looking up at a top. It was wider at the top and almost came down to a point in the middle. In the chaos and the severe winds, I didn't capture much good video of the wall cloud as it went over us. It was rotating rapidly. I actually had my glasses blow off, my tripods were blown over, and got pelted by dirt and gravel. Those were the among the strongest inflow winds I have ever experienced. Rick Lipscomb helped with radar guidance and captured some GR2 shots for us.

After getting the equipment in the truck, we decided to follow the storm east on Hwy 15 through Red Rock. In the video you can see that there were several other chasers on this road. We saw some debris and a tornado was reported to the NWS Norman just before 5 p.m., about a mile to our north. We finally stopped just before the highway ended at Sooner Lake. There we witnessed an amazing inflow cloud. It looked like a cylinder of clouds feeding into the supercell. Some of that was captured on video but the video doesn't really do it justice. Again, even where we were, the inflow winds were very strong. Then we saw what looked like a possible tornado in the vicinity of Sooner Lake, to our east. What appeared to be a debris cloud formed near the surface and gradually filled in upward toward the base of the cloud. If you look closely at the photos, it appeared to have multiple streaks that might have been separate areas of vorticity. Sadly, I captured very little video of that, but there are a few good pictures.

After our adventures in Noble County, we decided to go south as mentioned before. By this time, storms had erupted to our south and the Oklahoma City metro area was getting slammed by several tornadoes. John said that the only way we could get in position for another possible intercept was to go back through Tulsa. Due to traffic, detours, and slow toll booths, it was obvious that this would make it difficult, at best, to get into position. We went through a couple of toll booths. Those workers were slow as Christmas! We also went through an "unmanned" toll booth on an entrance ramp that demanded exact change. We scoured John's truck for what seemed to be an eternity before we decided to go on through without paying. There was no other option! Maybe he hasn't gotten a ticket in the mail yet! John did some excellent driving. We got caught in a traffic jam in Tulsa, and somehow he was able to get off the Turnpike and maneuver his way through some city streets to get us out of town. At that point I thought we were almost done. Brett Adair and Jennifer New were keeping John and I aware, via phone, of the amazing storms to our south.

With Jennifer's help with road and storm position information, we decided to keep going south on the Muskogee Turnpike towards I-4o. It was a bit dramatic, to say the least. There was a strong area of rotation and we didn't have much time to spare to get in position safely. We went for it and thanks to Jennifer's level headed guidance and John's good driving (he had already been driving about 14 out of the previous 18 hours) we got into position for our second intercept.
We stopped in the parking lot of Charlie's Chicken, on Exit 287, at the intersection of I-40 and Hwy 100 in Webber's Falls, OK. There we saw two separate wall clouds and an amazing display of cloud to ground lightning. All of that is on the video. After the weather show, we met the very nice owners of the restaurant, Butch and Sharon Cox. They offered us a wonderful free meal of fried chicken fingers, cole slaw, and mashed potatoes and gravy. They had closed the store. They were super nice. I told them that we Alabamians pride ourselves on hospitality, but that I have never seen it better than they showed.

John and I had considered driving all the way back, but by this point we knew it wasn't an option. We stopped at the Interstate Hotel. John fell asleep while uploading a video. I posted some pictures on Facebook and had a hard time coming down off an adrenaline rush. Finally, at 12:55 a.m., I crashed.

A great day. I want to go back!
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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oklahoma Chase Videos, 5/10/10

5/10/10 Noble Co., OK Wall Cloud Time Lapse
This video was made some time between 4:30 and 5 p.m. CDT just north of Perry and west of Red Rock, Oklahoma.




5/10/10 Amazing Inflow Winds Near Red Rock, OK

John Brown and I followed this storm from west to east and by the time we passed Red Rock (Noble County), OK, we came upon some very strong inflow winds. The same storm had earlier blasted us with estimated infow of over 60 mph.




5/10/10 Webber's Falls, Oklahoma Supercell

This video was made near the intersection of the Highway 150 and Interstate 40 in Webber's Falls, Muskogee County, Oklahoma. The video is edited to make the lightning strikes closer together than they appeared in real time, but not by much! This is the same cell that earlier produced tornadoes along the I-40 corridor back towards Oklahoma City.



Finally, here is a link to some of my favorite photos of these two storms.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

5/10/10 Ongoing Chase Notes

SPC Day Two Outlook had parts of KS and OK under a moderate risk.

Left Huntsville at 11:10. It was 57F.

Met John Brown at Cullman at 12:10. Headed west on Hwy 278.

Multimedia forecast from Norman, OK NWS........ http://bit.ly/4xDFz9 #fb

At 1 John and I agreed that if The SPC Day One outlook is reduced to slight (which we didn't really expect), we are turning around and going home.

One second late, my Twitter feed said, "SPC issues HIGH Risk for Monday... details momentarily..." ...REGIONAL TORNADO OUTBREAK AND LONG-TRACK STRONG TO VIOLENT TORNADOES BECOMING LIKELY IN ERN OK AND SE KS...

Messaged with Greg Nordstrom. Will try to meet up with him and others with him in the afternoon.

Entered Mississippi at 2 a.m. Lots of rain to our west.

Talked to Brett Adair at 3 a.m. He gave us some good driving tips for Oklahoma. Ran into some rain at this time, about 60 miles outside of Memphis.

John got us all the way to 150 miles from Little Rock. I'm about to take the wheel now at 4:40 and give him a break. I wish I had slept better. I'm good to go for now, though. Making good time.

Approaching Little Rock on the way OK as the sun rises. Lots of rain in AR. MM188 on I40 at 6am. #arwx #alwx #fb http://myloc.me/6U6bL

Lots of lightning, rain 20 miles east of Little Rock. 6:13 am. #arwx #fb http://tweetphoto.com/21865269

135 mi from OK near Conway, AR. At 6:55. Rain continues. Heavy at times. http://myloc.me/6UdfE

Just passed a place called Toad Suck Park..... http://myloc.me/6Uea3

@simpson3340 With John Brown. He suggested. Glad I decided to do it. So far. Long haul. 2nd thoughts about driving up here for the AR game.

Jason pointed out that we are headed toward where he saw his first tornado in Dustin, OK in 2001.

@simpson3340 Cool. I hope to do the same. I dreamed we saw some.

7:15 Spoke with Jennifer... She reminded me to stay safe but to get her a tornado. May capture me some radar images.

7:45 Texted Rick... He should be able to capture some cool GR3 images for me...or radar support.

8:00 Msg'ed Carrie... She may chase, but if not may capture radar.

Spoke with Greg Nordtrom... He gave me a run down of his current thinking. He says he will have a much better handle in a few hours. Really need to get some breaks in the clouds. Lots of potential. Their ETA for OKC would be around 12:30. He will do some serious mesoanalysis. Will call back later. May be able to get with him and his team, LDCT.

Sounding link from Greg Nordstrom.

From Brett Adair...

9:35 a.m.
Broadcasting live severe weather coverage from Oklahoma... (Broadcasting live at http://ustre.am/KGU) #okwx #fb

9:45 Welcome to Oklahoma... Driving duties given back to John Brown... Quick blog update, look at data, and hopefully a nap coming up.

10 a.m. Current thinking: Stop in Tulsa area, analyze, and get in position....

10:30-12 - Attempted to rest here at the intersection of I40 and the Muskogee Turnpike. Got very little rest. New Day one is out. Very little change. Seeing some clearing to the west on visible sat. Looks like we may head to Tulsa shortly. John indicated that Tulsa has roads fanning out in several directions. I agree. New mesoscale discussion out from SPC. Surface winds are very gusty. Surface dewpoints are now over 60 in South OK. Narrow toung of instabilty will pass through this part of OK later this afternoon. Right now it looks live we could be in for a very volatile situation. Still cool here at the moment, just before 12 Noon.

12:05 p.m. John and I are heading up the Muskogee Turnpike toward Tulsa.... http://bit.ly/ksv6P

1:06 Tornado watch may be issued w/n the hour for North Central OK and S Central KS. http://bit.ly/cmHwKD

1:10
RT @Skilling: 90s just SW, 100+ mph w jet stream wind overhead, 70+ mph S winds just abv the surface, upper 60s dwpt Stunning supercell envi

1:23 Spoke with Greg Nordstrom. They are coming north out of Oklahoma City and are probably going to stop at Guthrie. He mentioned that they may go north from there, depending on how things develop. We are heading in that general direction... West on Hwy 51 out of Tulsa. We discussed the advantages of staying off the turnpikes (lack of exits and possibility that they will be shut down....

1:37 RT @severestudios: New Tornado Watch for KS, OK until 10pm CDT. This is a PDS (Particularly Dangerous Situation) http://bit.ly/se1ut #fb http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/watch/ww0147.html PDS!!!



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PDS Watch in Oklahoma


URGENT - IMMEDIATE BROADCAST REQUESTED    TORNADO WATCH NUMBER 147    NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK    125 PM CDT MON MAY 10 2010        THE NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER HAS ISSUED A    TORNADO WATCH FOR PORTIONS OF                SOUTH CENTRAL KANSAS           CENTRAL AND WESTERN OKLAHOMA        EFFECTIVE THIS MONDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING FROM 125 PM UNTIL    1000 PM CDT.        ...THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION...        DESTRUCTIVE TORNADOES...LARGE HAIL TO 4 INCHES IN DIAMETER...    THUNDERSTORM WIND GUSTS TO 80 MPH...AND DANGEROUS LIGHTNING ARE    POSSIBLE IN THESE AREAS.        THE TORNADO WATCH AREA IS APPROXIMATELY ALONG AND 95 STATUTE    MILES EAST AND WEST OF A LINE FROM 40 MILES SOUTH SOUTHEAST OF    FORT SILL OKLAHOMA TO 25 MILES NORTH NORTHEAST OF WICHITA KANSAS.     FOR A COMPLETE DEPICTION OF THE WATCH SEE THE ASSOCIATED WATCH    OUTLINE UPDATE (WOUS64 KWNS WOU7).        REMEMBER...A TORNADO WATCH MEANS CONDITIONS ARE FAVORABLE FOR    TORNADOES AND SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS IN AND CLOSE TO THE WATCH    AREA. PERSONS IN THESE AREAS SHOULD BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR    THREATENING WEATHER CONDITIONS AND LISTEN FOR LATER STATEMENTS    AND POSSIBLE WARNINGS.        OTHER WATCH INFORMATION...CONTINUE...WW 146...        DISCUSSION...AN DANGEROUS ENVIRONMENT IS DEVELOPING ACROSS PARTS OF    SOUTHERN KS AND WESTERN/CENTRAL OK THIS AFTERNOON AS AIRMASS RAPIDLY    DESTABILIZES AND UPPER TROUGH APPROACHES.  THUNDERSTORMS ARE    EXPECTED TO INITIALLY DEVELOP ALONG THE SURFACE DRYLINE OVER WESTERN    OK...THEN PROGRESSING EASTWARD THROUGH THE LATE AFTERNOON AND    EVENING.  TORNADIC SUPERCELLS ARE A DISTINCT POSSIBILITY WITH THE    THREAT OF STRONG AND LONG-TRACK TORNADOES.  VERY LARGE HAIL IS ALSO    LIKELY IN THE STRONGER CELLS.        AVIATION...TORNADOES AND A FEW SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS WITH HAIL    SURFACE AND ALOFT TO 4 INCHES. EXTREME TURBULENCE AND SURFACE    WIND GUSTS TO 70 KNOTS. A FEW CUMULONIMBI WITH MAXIMUM TOPS TO    500. MEAN STORM MOTION VECTOR 25045.            ...HART

High Risk Continues


   VALID 101630Z - 111200Z

...THERE IS A HIGH RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER PORTIONS OF SOUTH
CENTRAL/SOUTHEAST KS...AND CENTRAL/NORTHEAST OK THIS AFTERNOON AND
EVENING...

...THERE IS A MDT RISK OF SVR TSTMS SURROUNDING THE HIGH RISK IN
KS...OK...SW MO...AND NW AR...

...THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS FROM CENTRAL/NW TX TO THE
CENTRAL PLAINS AND MID MS VALLEY THROUGH TONIGHT...

...A FEW STRONG AND POTENTIALLY LONG-TRACK TORNADOES...ALONG WITH
VERY LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS...WILL BE POSSIBLE THIS
AFTERNOON/EVENING ACROSS CENTRAL/NE OK AND EXTREME S CENTRAL/SE
KS...

A POWERFUL AND PROGRESSIVE SHORTWAVE TROUGH IS TRACKING RAPIDLY
EASTWARD ACROSS CO/NM THIS MORNING...AND WILL EMERGE INTO THE HIGH
PLAINS BY LATE AFTERNOON. AHEAD OF THIS TROUGH...A BROAD AREA OF
STRONG SOUTHERLY LOW LEVEL WINDS IS TRANSPORTING GULF MOISTURE
QUICKLY NORTHWARD WITH MID 60S SURFACE DEWPOINTS NOW AS FAR NORTH AS
SOUTHERN OK. LOW CLOUDS ARE ALSO ERODING ACROSS OK WHICH WILL
RESULT IN A VERY POTENT SEVERE WEATHER SETUP LATER THIS AFTERNOON.
VIRTUALLY ALL MODEL GUIDANCE IS CONSISTENT IN FORECASTING THE
POTENTIAL FOR A REGIONAL TORNADO AND SEVERE WEATHER OUTBREAK OVER
PORTIONS OF KS/OK.

...SOUTHWEST KS...
INITIAL DEVELOPMENT WILL LIKELY OCCUR EARLY THIS AFTERNOON ALONG THE
DRYLINE OVER SOUTHWEST KS. LOW CLOUDS ARE ERODING FROM THE WEST IN
THIS AREA...LEADING TO A NARROW AXIS OF MODERATE INSTABILITY. LARGE
SCALE FORCING FOR UPWARD MOTION WILL ARRIVE IN THIS AREA
FIRST...WHERE THE CAPPING INVERSION SHOULD BE WEAK. WIND PROFILES
SUGGEST THE POTENTIAL FOR DISCRETE SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF LARGE HAIL
AND TORNADOES. LONGEVITY OF THIS ACTIVITY IS UNCERTAIN AND DEPENDS
ON SPEED OF DESTABILIZATION FARTHER EAST INTO CENTRAL KS.

...SOUTHERN KS/NORTHERN AND CENTRAL OK...
THE PRIMARY CONVECTIVE DEVELOPMENT TODAY IS LIKELY TO BEGIN AROUND
21Z IN NORTH CENTRAL OR POTENTIALLY NORTHWEST OK ALONG THE DRYLINE.
THIS WILL ALSO BE NEAR THE TRIPLE POINT INTERSECTION OF THE DRYLINE
AND RETREATING WARM FRONT. STORMS IN THIS AREA WILL BE IN AN
ENVIRONMENT CHARACTERIZED BY VERY FAVORABLE DEEP LAYER /EFFECTIVE
SHEAR OF 50-75 KNOTS/ AND LOW LEVEL VERTICAL SHEAR /EFFECTIVE SRH OF
250-350 M2/S2/...ALONG WITH AMPLE MOISTURE /DEWPOINTS IN THE UPPER
60S/ AND CAPE /RELATIVELY UNCAPPED MLCAPE OVER 3000 J/KG/. STORMS
SHOULD BECOME RAPIDLY SUPERCELLULAR AND RACE EAST-NORTHEASTWARD
ACROSS SOUTHERN KS AND NORTHERN OK THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND
EVENING. PARAMETERS INDICATE A HIGH POTENTIAL FOR INTENSE
SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF STRONG AND EVEN LONG-TRACK TORNADOES. VERY
LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS ALSO APPEAR LIKELY WITH THE STRONGEST
CELLS.

THE EXTENT OF DEVELOPMENT SOUTHWARD ALONG THE DRYLINE REMAINS A
QUESTION. SOME OF THE 12Z MODEL RUNS ARE MORE AGGRESSIVE IN
SOUTHWARD DEVELOPMENT...SUGGESTING WIDESPREAD COVERAGE OF SEVERE
STORMS COULD BE AS FAR SOUTH AS I-40. HOWEVER...HIGHEST CONFIDENCE
REMAINS OVER THE NORTHERN HALF OF THE HIGH RISK AREA. ANY STORM
THAT FORMS ALONG THE DRYLINE IN OK TODAY WILL POSE A THREAT OF
STRONG TORNADOES AND VERY LARGE HAIL.

SURFACE DRYLINE EXTENDS SOUTHWARD INTO CENTRAL TX...AND MAY PROVIDE
THE FOCUS FOR ISOLATED SEVERE STORMS LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND EARLY
EVENING. LACK OF SUFFICIENT LARGE SCALE FORCING AND A RATHER STRONG
CAPPING INVERSION SUGGEST THAT AREAL COVERAGE OF STORMS WILL BE
QUITE SPARSE.

..HART/SMITH.. 05/10/2010

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

This Week's Active Weather

Here are a few recent pictures I have taken while watching the weather.


4/24/2010 at 4:22 p.m., South of Fayette, AL on Hwy 171.


4/24/2010 at 9:07 p.m. Fultondale, AL, looking north.
There was a significant outbreak of tornadoes in Alabama on April 24.


4/24/2010 Lightning captured from video.


4/27/10 at 4:28 p.m., Tennessee River at Decatur, AL
Strong cool air showers moved across North Alabama on April 27.


5/1/2010 at 5:02 p.m. in Pulaski, Giles Co., TN.


5/1/2010 at 5:14 p.m. in Pulaski, Giles Co., TN
There were a lot of tornado warnings on May 1. This storm was tornado-warned.

Finally, a time lapse video from Pulaski...