Storm Chase USA


During the spring seasons of 2015, 2016 and 2017 I have been fortunate enough to be a guest storm chaser on Paul and the storm chasing team.  The tours operate from the beginning of May until the end of June, covering the expansive American Midwest. They have an amazing track record of landing themselves on productive supercells, where lightning, large hailstones and tornadoes are a common sight throughout the tour. I will once again be joining Netweather and Weather Holidays to chase the 2017 Spring Storms.


As of May 2018, my journey through Tornado Alley will be slightly different - chasing in a small team of three. With Adam and Olly as my team-mates, we hope to have a different spin on our usual chase experience. Keep tuned for our adventure... 


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Total Tornado Count: 28


Latest Posts

Beast from the East Meets Storm Emma #2

Posted on 3rd March, 2018

Welcome back to the second part of the cold and snowy town of Yate, albeit a little warmer than it was before (the local weather station is reading the tropical 3.6°C, as opposed to the freezing -4.6°C on Thursday). Thursday night saw blizzard like conditions with the strong winds of Storm Emma mixing with the already cold air brought in from the East. Thankfully, the snow is beginning to thaw, although driving conditions are still a little treacherous (with even the Mall at Cribbs Causeway being shut for the day). No more snow is predicted, but I do think it is going to be another day indoors (although Hannah does keep nagging me to take her to Nando's, so I'll be seeing if they are open later...)


The blizzard-like conditions in Yate as the Beast from the East interacted with Storm Emma

The blizzard-like conditions as Storm Emma interacted with the

Beast from the East


We awoke yesterday to wintery conditions and a significant amount of snow on the ground, which was enough for us to know it was going to be a snow day. We had noticed the interesting snow drifts in our garden, which had left some areas centrally without snow and others a few feet deep. It is the first time I have seen snow drifts like this. The high winds and blizzard like conditions observed over night also seemed a bit too much for our garden gnome!


Snow drifts in the garden, Yate

The snow in our back garden, choosing to ignore the centre of the path, 

drift in the corners (and on the decking) as well as wipe out out gnome!


After a lazy start, a bit of breakfast and plenty of warm coffee, we dressed ourselves to battle the cold conditions and took a stroll.  The snow was coming down lightly, but this snow was almost like tiny, hard ice-pellets - not feeling too dissimilar to small hailstones hitting you. Combining this with the strong winds, it did not make for a pleasant walking experience!  The snow was actually much deeper than it first looked and occasionally walking into areas where it has drifted against a slope did cause us to go knee-deep in the stuff at times. 


Westerleigh Road viaduct in the snowWesterleigh Road viaduct - quite picturesque in the snow


Despite how the weather felt, the snow did make for some brilliant scenery, the Westerleigh Road viaduct looked quite special in these conditions and there were plenty of photo-opportunities. As you can see, the roads were not in great shape - although this road was much better than many of side-roads and streets that we passed.  This is probably due to the presence of the snow plough, the first I've ever seen in this area. The driver kindly let me take a picture! They have done a great job in this awful weather!


South Glocuestershire Council snow plough in the snow


Our walk took us to Westerleigh Common and the "Road-to-Nowhere", a stretch of dual carriageway that was never completed.  It has been used several times as the setting for road scenes in TV shows (such as the BBC hits Broadchurch and Casualty). We didn't stay out too long due to the temperature and also wanting to return home for a drink. I still had time for a few photographs though!


Westerleigh Common in the snow

Westerleigh Common in the snow


The snow around here had frozen along the top, causing slight icy conditions. THe snow did make a satisfying crunch as we walked though. There was also a large lack of snowmen and snowball fights - the snow was very powdery and my attempt to throw a snowball at Hannah resulted in a handful of snow powder being blown straight back into my face - not pleasant (although one for instant karma!) Our walk also allowed us to see some fantastic icicles on some structures - the most impressive being on the porch of this house!


Incredible icicles in Yate

Awesome icicles on the porch of a house in Yate


It wasn't just on houses either - there were some cars that had been abandoned that had some impressive icicles on them too! I think it would take a little more than the car heater to rid this ice in a hurry!


Icy car abandoned in Yate

Icicles on a frozen car in Yate


Our return home nearly over, we decided to pop into the near by convenience store so I could pick up some beers. In the short time that we were in there, another snow shower came, this time much heavier than the day before.  Rushing back across to our house, I managed to quickly stop off to take a few photographs before warming up with some hot drinks (Rocket-Fuel Coffee for me and a hot chocolate with marshmallows for Hannah). We didn't seem to move from the sofa then until we went to bed. 


Sleds, Snow and Wind in Yate

Sleds, heavier snow and wind blowing snow from the rooftops along Shire Way, Yate


We woke to snow on the ground this morning, although it is thawing very quickly. No more snow is really expected here and with the temperature a good 9°C warmer than it was Thursday and yesterday, the signs that spring is on its way are beginning to show.  As much as this severe weather event has been interesting to experience, I'll be much happier when the temperatures rise further and hopefully see more of the sun!


Until the next weather event...(let's hope there are things to talk about before the end of May...), stay safe  (and keep warm!)



Beast from the East Meets Storm Emma #1

Posted on 1st March, 2018

Greetings from the freezing town of Yate, where my thermometer currently shows the toasty temperature of -4.6°C (and a "Feels Like" of -13°C, due to the wind chill). There is also a mild dusting of snow on the ground from the frequent snow showers. 


Netweather Rainfall Radar at 8:40 on March 1st 2018

The cold weather mixes with the cold, giving us some light snow at 8:40 this morning. This is

the calm before the storm.


It's been a while again since posting a blog post (something I must have gotten out of the habit of doing) and using the combination of a quieter work diary and the massive weather event that the UK is experiencing to try and make amends! I'm also writing as my girlfriend Hannah is out in work and I'm just hoping she can get back ok before the worst of the weather is expected.


The view from my window in Yate, United Kingdom

The view of the dusting outside of my home office today at 8:50 am


The UK has had a cold spell, correctly predicted by the Global Forecasting System (of which many forecasters may have initially scoffed at)...but the cold weather from the East has made its way across to the UK. The South East and Northern parts of England have already seen substantial snowfall and, as usual, the snow has failed to make a full appearance here in Bristol. That said, this cold weather is due to meet the low pressure system, known as Storm Emma, this afternoon and further chaos due to the weather is predicted in our area. Unusually, we are under an Amber Warning for snow and ice in this area, which means we need to make preparations for severe weather.  Our warning can be seen below (Credit: The UK Met Office).


Amber Warning for South West UK

The Met Office Amber Warning for South West UK where I am based


The weather isn't just going to affect our region either, with multiple weather warnings in place across the UK. There are two red warnings also in effect, with central Scotland and even other parts of the South West of England and Wales with the "Take Action" Red Warning in effect. The media will be very interesting to review over the next few days and hopefully people will heed to warnings to minimise loss of life. I include an image from the UK Met Office showing all the warnings in effect.


The UK Weather Warnings

All UK Weather Warnings for March 1st 2018




It has also been noted that the weather does like to draw shapes with its varying intensities (it's that or the people who draw the warnings on the map like to get creative!). Scotland has its very own Nessie warning! This is not the only time where us weather geeks have spotted shapes in the forecasts, with the Storm Prediction Centre also drawing odd-shaped areas of danger! 


I'm not hugely aware of any wild dinosaurs running around this weekend but I the "Beast from the East" now has form (even if it does lack a face!)


So that is the current update on the Beast from the East/Storm Emma - I hope to keep this blog updated with changes - even if nobody reads it - for personal record!


Keep warm, stay safe and enjoy the views of the winter wonderland!




Planning for Storm Chase USA 2018: Off Tour

Posted on 10th January, 2018

On Friday 5th January, Storm Chase USA 2018: Off Tour was officially discussed and initial plans on dates, times and other details slowly came in to play. Olly and Adam arrived at my house in Yate for an evening of storms - both discussing, watching videos of and sharing stories of the chases we had been on.


Despite knowing Olly for a few years and Adam for just over a year, we have not yet chased together.  Both Adam and I have only ever chased on a tour group, but Olly has had some experience of chasing in a small team.  With this in mind, we feel it will be a pretty interesting dynamic this year!


Jason, Olly and Adam

2018 Team: (left to right) me, Olly and Adam


Prior to the meet up, I finally managed to get around to sourcing a flight. Taking Olly's advice, I booked with Norwegian, which is the first time I have flown with them. From reviews and what I have seen on their website, I am looking forward to seeing how this compares with our tradition flights with British Airways. Last year I wasn't too impressed with either BA flight, with a different plane used for the route, missing half my seat due to another passenger sitting on half of mine and the climate of the plane not to it's usual standards... Norweigian are also much less expensive, already saving me approximately £250 on last year's flights - and near on £350 the current prices now...


Our evening consisted of a few beers, pizza and snacks (oh and for Adam, gin...lots of gin!), whilst we discussed driving options, timings, equipment, insurance and a whole host of other bits and bobs. We then entered the world of Netflix and watched a few Tornado Hunters episodes (the Pilger episode with twin EF4 tornadoes looked incredible...)


Eventually I changed from Netflix to YouTube and showed the lads the footage from the Dodge City Chase and the Bennington Chase days in 2016, by far the most memorable days in my experiences in the MidWest - both for different reasons!


My footage of the Dodge City Chase


We hope to have more days like Dodge City! Seeming we are chasing off tour, I do feel we may see more blue sky than storm, but we are giving it a go anyway! We finished off our evening by watching Tornado Titans, who provide excellent videos on storm anatomy and advice regarding storms. We gained a few valuable tips before resorting to random YouTube videos (including Molly Schuyler and her feat of eating three 72oz steaks with trimming in 20 has to be seen to be believed...). We ended the meeting and slept soon after.


I hope to be posting a little more actively in the upcoming months. I'll be limited by my work life and storms that we see, but hope to capture some really good content to share this year. 


Until then, enjoy the above footage!



Storm Talks in November

Posted on 19th December, 2017

The last time we spoke, I was preparing a talk to give at the Rotary Club of Chippenham and Wiltshire Vale.  This was going to be my first talk about the adventures I have been part of during Netweather and Weather Holidays' Storm Chase USA holidays and to be frank, I was very anxious about it.


It took place on November 20th at the Angel Hotel in Chippenham. I arrived and sat in the bar awaiting to see if I could find someone from the Rotary Club. I was ridiculously early, but soon enough many members arrived and I was able to set up the slideshow. Unfortunately my laptop is quite ancient now (pre-dating my graduation from university!) and a few last minute alterations were required so that my laptop could handle the presentation.


One of the many slides used for the Storm Talk

One of my slides for the Rotary Storm Talk


The talk was well received (or so I have been told) and may have inspired a few people to look into chasing the MidWest in the future. It also gave me confidence to work towards the talk to 67th Kingswood/1st Mangotsfield Beavers on the Wednesday of the week.  Now this talk was different - mainly focusing on the different types of weather and the symbols used to indicate the weather. It was also different giving a talk to a much younger audience. Again, I heard it was well received and would be happy to provide this talk to other groups in the future.



A very close and captivated young audience!


Christmas brings a lull in work and the organising of activities storm-related. I meet with Olly and Andy early in the new year - which should provide more excitement for the upcoming storm chase. 


Until then, 





6 Months to Go!

Posted on 20th November, 2017

In 6 month's time, I will hopefully be chasing my first storm of the 2018 chase season in Tornado Alley. There has been a few changes to the chase plans for next year (more below) and as per usual, the 6 month countdown means that the excitement begins once again.



It's been a fair couple of months since my last post on the "Post-Chase Blues", so I thought it was time to sit down and write an update of the upcoming storm chase currently being planned for 2018. The delays in posting have been a mix of being very busy with work, having an increased social calendar (being in a relationship does take the availability away from you - but I'm not complaining!) as well as moving home (back to my hometown of Yate).


The plan for 2018 is to team up with regular chaser Oliver Ewers (check out some of his great storm footage on YouTube) and chaser Adam Simpkins (again - some of his great photography and footage can be found on both Facebook and YouTube).  I have opted to go independently of a tour group this year - mainly because I would like to chase myself and not feel like a storm tourist.  I have watched Paul and his team at Netweather closely and have learned a great deal from their expertise and really want to know if I can put that learning into action, whilst allowing other storm enthusiasts to be able to experience one of their tours. 


Adam, Oliver and Jason

The team next year (left to right) Adam, Oliver and Jason (Credit: Adam Simpkins)


I have had some mixed feelings about next year, with a change of life circumstance that has made me a little more wary of safety.  I am sure we will be fine as I usually have this concern each year, but once out there I generally feel safe (unless there is nearby lightning, whereby I then hide in the car!!!)


This week also sparks off excitement as I will be delivering two talks about my experiences whilst chasing storms; with tonight being at Chippenham Wiltshire Vale Rotary Club and Wednesday's talk at the 1st Mangotsfield Beavers.  It should be a great experience - as well as raise awareness of extreme weather in other parts of the world. 


As I need to prepare for tonight's talk, I had best be off - but hopefully now I am settled in the new home (and have an Internet connection!), blog posts should be more frequent!


Until the next post,



Post-Chase Blues

Posted on 24th June, 2017

The post chase blues can be horrible. It can make you feel irritable and crabby, with a huge element of misery upon hearing people seeing a tornado or supercell when you're returning back to your normal day job. 


They arise from the sheer difference in lifestyle and way of living. The few weeks leading up to the chase are filled with excitement, anticipation of what you will see and experience and grouped with the relief that a break from normality is around the corner. You get to meet up with old friends and new friends alike - build lasting friendships bonded by the dangers and perils you experience as lightning rains down on you at all angles and hailstones write-off your windscreen. You are surrounded by people all day, every day. Having a great time and experiencing new things (even if the new thing is trying the 3 burger-meats in one, topped with a questionable relish). You basically eat, chase, sleep and repeat for 10-11 days - never knowing where you will rock up that evening. 


Burger from the Garage, Norman

Everything about home is different to the chase, even the ridiculous lunches


Then home hits. A relatively safe environment, with loving friends and family (without them right now it would be a little tricky! - they are very much appreciated). You see others living out their hobby, posting lightning pictures and recounting tales of tornado interceptions - living the lifestyle that you love, whilst having to work hard to pay for your next trip (which seems longer than a year away...) and to work off your belly that has developed from the lack of real exercise and the bombardment of calories and fats that every USA mouthful provides. It's a culture shock! It makes you feel sad!


Sad to be back

Post chase do we beat them?


This was the third year that I've battled through them. This year has been better as I have a girlfriend to keep me company (previous years of being single and living alone made the blues much worse!). I've found better ways of coping this year.  So for those returning from the States this weekend from the last week of feasible chasing, here are a few tips on beating the Post Chase Blues:


1) Enjoy your captures. Be it video, photo or stories.  You took them. You experienced them and they will bring a smile to your face. Just don't go through them all too soon! Make them last!


Enjoy your content!

Enjoy your content - relive your memories!


2) Wean yourself off of the junk food. Seriously I went cold turkey this year and started really craving a burger. Craving to the point that I felt sick.  Try throwing in some healthier alternatives as you go as well - your body will appreciate them.


Monte Cristo Sandwich..the most unhealthy sandwich in Dallas

This is not long-term health food. Slowly ween away from this and on to an 

apple or something!


3) Increase your activity slowly. Remember. 10-11 days sat in a car and eating rubbish isn't good for you, or your fitness. Don't expect to come home and be able to run a marathon - build it up slowly to avoid injury. But do exercise...we are all probably carrying a little more Burger King than we need right now!


Jason bin bag racing

Exercise - be it running or bin bag racing, do some! But build up slowly!


4) Family and friends. Mostly they will be pleased to see you. Spend time with them. Tell them about your adventures. Let them tell you about their adventures too!  They will make you feel better about not being out there chasing still. Trust me!


My family and friends have been a great help since being back


5) Take social media breaks. If you're missing chasing, the last thing you want is an update from Reed Timmer yelling that he is a small distance away from an EF4 tornado after losing his windshield to hail. That is the last thing you want.


Darn social media - I don't want to know about your tornado today...


6) Avoid the SPC Convective Outlook like the plague. Sure, it's natural on tour to see what the SPC are saying. But whatever the's nigh on impossible to chase it from the UK (unless you feel up for virtual chasing...)


Give it a rest...for a bit. This is unchaseable from the UK. Trust me, i

t hurts seeing this when I am in Bristol


7) Plan the occasional virtual chase. Usually this is good towards the end of the blues and you have had a few weeks to recover from them. Allow yourself to monitor the SPC and social media and get your chase on. 


8) Meet-ups. You've formed a bond with many chasers. Stay in touch. Give them the support from the post-chase blues that they may be feeling too. Meet up! I've met up with Olly and Adam since being back and we give each other the boosts we need to keep going...and it is the other chasers that will encourage you to ditch the blues and get excited for the chase next's now less than 11 months away...


Chaser meet-ups, recount and relive your memories! (Photo Credit: Adam Simpkins)

What are your tips on beating the post-chase blues?  Feel free to comment below. 




Day 10: Misery in Missouri

Posted on 2nd June, 2017

I can only apologise for the delay in writing my final blog post relating to the 2017 Netweather Tour 2 stom chase - the last day did kind of feel a little flat and with the HUGE distance we had covered in the space of a day (coupled with the late finish) did mean I was too exhausted and had no time to publish the last day's chase. But fear not, I am home now and recovering from mild jet-lag, so have some time to pull together some memories of the chase day!


After a great night's sleep in the Red Roof Inn in Park City (Wichita), we were well recovered for the drive to east Kansas for the marginal risk that was forecast for the area.  Conditions were once again poor for tornadoes, but we were hoping to see some structure, a bit of hail and some great lightning.  The storm risk was welcomed after a fair few down days and we hoped for some final memories to be created before we had the long slog south and for our return flights. 


Back seat chasers - Ian, Lee and Jason

Back-seat chasers - Ian, Lee and Jason


Emporia in eastern Kansas was our first stop - where we indulged in top quality food and on-site produced beer at Radius Brewing Company.  The venue was quite close to our target area and as such we could enjoy a decent sit-down meal (as opposed to a grab-and-go fast food lunch).  Radius Brewing Company is a microbrewery, which produces its own beer, as well as a top-notch restaurant, serving high quality food. I enjoyed a pint of William Allen wheat ale that helped wash down a superb "Meat Eater" pizza (with extra jalapeños). I have to say, it was one of the best meals had all tour!


A refreshing pint of William Allen Wheat Ale


Being so close to the target area meant a little time could be spent relaxing before initiation. Initiation did not take long however, and we soon started heading east towards some early storms. We aimed to stop off in Neosho Rapids to await development and for Paul to plot the next move. Unfortunately the residents and the town sheriff was there to ask if we were lost...and also pretty much escort us away from town. It was a little creepy and I don't think we will be going through there again...


Thankfully, things were looking better on the storm front and the chase resumed. The storms were slowly intensifying, but still not supercells. It wasn't long before a close CG struck the roadside beside us (dazzling as it was so close) and an almost instantaneous rumble of thunder. The storms were also precipitating nicely. 


Wall of rain from a close storm

Heavy rain towards our east


The storm closest to us continues to rain CGs, many close around us. We are pretty certain one strike had hit a radio mast in front of us, as well as one hitting the trees nearby. The storms continued east and it wasn't long before we had crossed the state line and entered Missouri.  We immediately entered the town of Drexel, which seemed a classic, small American town.


Drexel, the view from my car seat

Driving through Drexel, Missouri


A little further down the road, we parked up and watched the storm pass over. We had saw plenty of lightning passing over and even some large raindrops as the storm passed over. Sadly, I stayed in the car for most of our time in Missouri as the pollen count was through the roof, triggering some severe hayfever! With my swollen eyes and red nose, I must have looked like I had been in the losing corner of a boxing match...


Lightning in Drexel


Our storm continued to travel slightly south east, so we made tracks to travel south and through Amsterdam, Missouri, to watch the storm.  My memory is again a little clouded on exactly what was going on here as my hayfever really kicked up whilst waiting at this location. All I do remember is a nearby resident shooting some sort of air gun in our general direction... and a few close CGs...


Stormy skies in Amsterdam

Stormy skies in Amsterdam


As much as we wanted to continue watching the storm progress, our time was limited as we would need to be on our way back towards Dallas, as a fellow chaser had an early flight the following day. We were a good 490-odd miles from the destination (yes...and that works out to be just shy of 8 hours drive in a car). We set off from the storm around 6pm and aimed for Ardmore, Oklahoma to split the journey to reduce it either side of the much needed evening rest. 


Storm in the distance

Looking back at the storm - what a beautiful sight


The journey to Ardmore was pretty heavy going, but we had many sights on our way back. A great sunset to our west, as well as many towns on the way back that carried significant history. One of the most notable was the ghost town of Picher, Oklahoma,which was severely undermined for over a century and subject to collapse at any time. Further catastrophe in the town was due to the mining that had contaminated the water supply and subsequently many became ill. If this still wasn't enough, the town was also hit by an EF4 in 2008, destroying 150 homes. 


We stopped off in Tulsa, Oklahoma, for dinner (we enjoyed our last Braums of the tour!) and a comfort break before piling on the extra miles to Ardmore, where we stayed in a sub-par Super 8 for the night. 


After only a few hours sleep, we hit the road again and made way for Dallas, saying goodbye to fellow chasers and welcoming Tour 3 to the stage. Although gutted to not be still out there with them, I am pleased to be home - catching up with my girlfriend, Hannah (who surprised me by meeting me at Heathrow), as well as my friends and family. 


Thank you for following the blog during my time with Tour 2 Netweather Storm Chase USA. I hope you had as much time following it as I did writing it.  I'll continue to update with notable storms and virtual chases over the year and I hope to return to Tornado Alley next year for Chase 2018...although that is yet to be confirmed!


Until my next post, 



Day 9: Twistex and Twister

Posted on 30th May, 2017

For what may seem to be the last down day of the tour before our penultimate chase tomorrow, it was a down day of all down days. I awoke with a swollen wrist and feared that I may have actually fractured it. I did have some taunts from the team before they saw the swelling and colour difference and the taunts soon dropped away (mum/Hannah - it's MUCH better now and doesn't hurt, is barely swollen and feels fine!).


I finished a great breakfast (waffles and syrup is the best wake up meal ever) and met at 11 am for us to leave. Many of the team were hungover from their trip to the bars last night and missed breakfast, so we had a brunch visit to Jimmy's Egg, which was a breakfast bar right next to the hotel. As I'd eaten, I just went for a tea (something the USA can never get quite right...).


Our journey today was to Wichita, Kansas, to get into position for the marginal risk tomorrow. As it was a down day, we also wanted to make sure we saw some of the storm-chasing sights of tornado alley. Our first start was via El Reno, where we visited the Twistex Memorial.  This memorial is in place for the three, well respected chasers that were killed in the El Reno tornado of May 31st 2013.


The Twistex Memorial

The Twistex Memorial, near El Reno in Oklahoma



It's an important place to visit for any chaser to visit. Tim Samaras, and his team, were considered as one of the safest chasers at the time and were researching these monstrous tornadoes to help save lives in the future. They were unfortunately caught out by the beast that was El Reno, the largest tornado ever recorded. Essentially, no matter how good you think you are, Mother Nature is not a force to be reckoned with and always will hold the trump card. Seeing this is very humbling and reinforces the need to respect nature. 


We spent about 10 minutes marking our respects (and watching a spider jump at Dave) before heading on to Wichita. We still had a small detour to Wakita to make though. For those who like storm chasing because of one particular blockbuster, they will know that this is the town that Twister was based on.


The Wakita Water Tower 


The town of Wakita is really small. I was shocked at how small it was! Our target was the Twister Museum, of which we initially thought was closed. This place was awesome. Twister is the film that inspired my interest in tornadoes many, many years ago and it was pretty surreal being in the town that it was set in, as well as see behind the scenes footage and to see and touch some of the props. I even saw Dorothy I!


Jason and Dorothy


Our journey progressed after buying a commemorative T-shirt of the museum (and it's tribute to Bill Paxton on the back). We were Wichita bound and planned to stay in the Red Roof Hotel there, the very same one that we stayed in on last year's chase. Applebee's was our restaurant for the night, so a good place to recharge and enjoy a social event after a long day of travelling. 


We hope for some supercell development tomorrow, but imagine we will be slacking it off early as we need to be back in Dallas for our return home to UK relatively early on Wednesday. Despite the lack of tornadoes (we have had a few, granted), it is scary thinking that the time of this chase has flown by! Let's hope that the marginal produces a tornado, but...I'd honestly be happy with a bit of structure!

Day 8: Down Day in Norman

Posted on 29th May, 2017

Despite the slight risk down south of Texas and into Louisiana, Paul called a group meeting at our departure time from Henryetta and gave us a group option on what to do for the day. We could have chased the southern slight risk and then that would be it for the tour (long way down plus nothing more than a thunderstorm over the Gulf of Mexico), take 2 down days and then chase the currently marginal risk in Kansas on Tuesday, or do both (baring in mind that there would be a good 800 mild trip to be done on Monday). The group opted on the 2 down days and the marginal risk in Kansas on Tuesday.


Our down day consisted of a trip from Henryetta up to Norman, not too far from Oklahoma City. We had in fact been to Norman before (last night of the 2016 chase) and it is a great location. 


The Big Bison BurgerThe Big G Buffalo Burger with sweet potato fries


Our lunch was in The Garage in Norman, a cool set up with garage themed wall decor and a bar. There were pinball machines in place, lots of sports on the multiple screens around the place and some great food on the menu. I opted for the Big G Burger, substituting the basic beef patties for bison. The burger was huge! Absolutely massive!  But it definitely tasted good!


On from here, we then checked in to the nearby Days Inn, which felt really strange as we never seem to check in much before 10 pm, so our 2:30-3 pm check in was very out of character. A quick throw around of ideas gave us the activity for the afternoon: Hey Day in Norman. 


Enjoyed a few beers with Nick at Hey Day in Norman


Hey Day is an entertainment complex, which provides a range of activities from bowling to laser tag to mini golf. The group split into two, with some opting for bowling and others opting for mini golf. I decided upon the bowling and we hired a lane in the 21+ section of the building. This upstairs area had a bar, pool table and a privae bowling alley that was strictly for people over 21. It looked great. We had the lane for an hour and the five of us kicked off to try and squeeze in two games each. We also made use of the bar (see above).


Adults only bowling alley

Adults only bowling in Oklahoma


I was absolutely hopeless here. I'm usually an OK-ish bowler but on my first bowl, I hit the ground with bowling ball hard and really hurt my wrist. Not thinking too much of it, I continued and ended up with a really poor score (80 in my first game). Pushing on to the second game, I did get a little better - but unfortunately the wrist was playing up (resulting in me dropping the ball before taking my turn...and even launching one behind me). Still, I pushed on and gained a respectable 108 - saved by a token strike midway through the game. Lee won the overall title and won our congratulations. 


We then took a trip to Walmart to stock up some supplies before getting ready to head out for a night on the town. Ubering over to BJs Restaurant (the very same one as we went to last year) we sat down smartly dressed for a good meal. Unfortunately I was a little off colour due to the stuck with a salad and water). The team then went out to Campus Corner for some drinks and a night out, whilst I retired back to the hotel via Walmart looking for some pain relief and a wrist support. Although still slightly sore and swollen as I write this, it is certainly feeling much better. 


Monday's activities are most likely to be visiting the Twistex Memorial and the Twister Museum...should be interesting to see both of these today!

What a storm we had overnight! After awaiting to see if our hotel was to be crossed by a tornado warned storm (emergency bag packed) we head to bed in relief when the warning was dropped. That relief was short lived when the resulting severe warned thunderstorm passed overhead. I know people at home had a storm last night too...but still think we were in the worst of it here in the US. Strobe lightning, very close and powerful CGs and shotgun thunder gave us the best overnight thunderstorm I think I've seen.


Bed called at about 3:30 am and I was soon out like a light! Sadly up at 8:30 for breakfast for a 10:00 am departure. Everyone seems quite tired today, but we are off to east central Oklahoma for a moderate risk. We expected this to be upgraded to a high risk, although this never ended up happening.


Moderate risk for May 27th 2017

Moderate Risk for May 27th 2017 from the Storm Prediction Centre


First stop on our journey was Wichita, where Paul would decide which of the many storm risks we would follow. We chose one on central eastern Oklahoma. At Wichita, we stopped for a KFC all you can eat buffet. It was a bit grim...and speaking of grim, the dew points were high and the air felt hot and sticky.  At Wichita, Paul made the call to head to the classic triple point set up that was setting up nicely north of Oklahoma City.


Tornadic probability

The SPC gave high hopes of seeing a tornado today


The next stop was just north of Cushing, where we stopped for a comfort break. The temperatures were about 95F and the dewpoints were in the mid 70s. The air was was like walking through soup. Paul made reference that the air felt similar to that of the day of the El Reno tornado in 2013. This made me a little apprehensive as El Reno was huge.


Hitting the road again, the next target was Tulsa. We could see storms developing around us and knew that there was a derecho forming in Missouri - something we were keeping well away from. The SPC were throwing out many messages regarding the atmospheric conditions and we had a mesoscale discussion that talked about 6000+ CAPE and a negligible/weakening cap (in layperson - the atmosphere is loaded with more explosive power than you could shake a stick at...and there is someone smoking heavily next to the fuse...). If this goes off, then it's going to go off big time, with the chances of it going off being huge! 


Paul kept a close eye on radar and there were some very strong updrafts to our north east, although unfortunately this became into a very linear system. Linear systems are not what we wanted as they aren't the best at producing tornadoes. This was becoming a little disappointing as we had travelled a huge distance to get here and it was beginning to look like it was for nothing. Then, suddenly, a cell popped up a few miles west of the linear system and started to develop nicely - the chase was back on.


Radar for the day

Keeping watch of the skies... Barons helps keep us safe!


Car 3 radioed in saying that a comfort break was needed before the chase picked up, so we had a quick stop in a garage in Bartlesville. During our stop, the cell appeared to die off - much to the team's frustration. Although some other promising towers were appearing on the horizon, we decided to head towards the linear storms to our east. There were towers around us and we held back a little to see what they were doing before we raced to the other storms, gassing up in a town called Nowata first.


As the cars were flling up, a new cell had literally exploded behind us. Someone had indeed lit the fuse to all that TNT in the atmosphere and explosive convection was taking place. The storm went from nothing to 45000 feet within 5 minutes and from nothing to a severe warned storm in 7 minutes. Some calculations said the updraft speeds were in the region of 50-100 metres per second. This was certainly more like it!


Explosive convection

Some explosive convection over Bartleville


Paul calculated the best place to get to see this cell and we head north. The only problem being is that the landscape had plenty of trees, which meant seeing the base was tricky. However, as we continued north, the trees opened up and we saw the base of this beautiful LP supercell quite clearly. 


LP supercell in Oklahoma

LP supercell in over Bartlesville, Oklahoma


The supercell was slowly travelling towards us, so we hit the road back towards Nowata and chased the storm from the south. In an almost hilarious fashion, the chaser network showed loads of other chasers now ditching the linear storms to the north east and they came racing down to this storm. In order to get into the right position, we initially hook sliced the storm and chased down through some windy roads, trying to avoid large hailstones along the way. We took a few donks, but the windshields survived. 


Chasing over a lake

Chasing over a lake - "We got cows"


This was not great chase territory - we had loads of trees, limited room to manoeuvre and, should anything go wrong, we would have had difficulty returning back due to the huge chaser convergence. At one point, we even crossed over a lake, with water each side. This reminded us so much of the film Twister, where there are twin tornadoes twisting about over the water, either side of the road.


Despite areas of broad rotation, there was little else going on with this storm and, due to chase territory worsening, we thought best not to chase into Arkansas (only 40 miles away at this point) due to even worse chase territory. Paul made the call to turn south again and head towards another cell that had popped up on his radar, just to the south west of Tulsa. We left the explosive storm.


Leaving the storm

Leaving the storm in our wake


We raced towards it, it being only about 60 miles away. It was heading towards us pretty quickly, but as we were heading towards us, it became stuck on an outflow boundary and dropped a tornado. Sadly it wasn't moving, so we were not making great time on it. We booked up a Super 8 in Henryetta, Oklahoma, before making tracks to Chilis in Muskogee for dinner. It had been an incredibly long day and we were already exhausted from the day before. good food, good company and a good night's rest is all we needed to chase the slight risk on Sunday 28th. Thankfully, Henryetta is only 2 hours from target for the storms, so a lie in is due! There was some epic lightning as we head towards Henryetta, which made the 40 or so miles back to the hotel very entertaining.


Sunday may be our last chase day as the risks move too far east to chase and to ensure we can be within reach of Dallas for our return home on Wednesday. Let's hope we get some great storms on Sunday!


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