Monday, December 21, 2009

Xmas Snowpocalypse?

Yea, not for this area.

All eyes are on the major winter storm that will be taking shape in the coming days. Again though, it should be pretty boring around here. Current indications are it will take a similar track as the last one. Whoop-de-frickin-do.

I debated if I want to even try and contact stations who may be interested in purchasing a stream. Said screw it. It would cost me 250+ dollars to chase the damn thing into IA or even further. There is not much profit margin to be had.

If 2009 would stop anal raping me I could actually get a chance to make an impact out there. Oh well. Lately I've just been working on the website, adding allot of content. I want to try and get most of my previous content up before chase season 2010, that way when it begins I can focus on real time updates and not have to worry about adding old stuff. Ive done so much with it, but still feel as if ill never be close to finished. Oh well. It keeps me busy.

I might get some bumper stickers made for my site as well. Some chasers probably wont approve of this. I could care less. Theyre mostly for friends and family who are proud of me and interested in what I do. I think too many chasers worry about what the others are doing rather than themselves. More of them need to spend less time on the PC monitoring the happenings on the internet and more time out getting laid. It might cheer them up a bit.

Probably wont update till the new year unless something interesting happens.

That being said, everyone have an awesome xmas and a great new year! Good riddance to 2009!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Great Blizzard of 2009 - A Chicagoans Perspective.

December 8th and 9th 2009. A massive blizzard paralyzes parts of the nation. The storm deepens to near record lows [currently sitting at 976mb over Lake Huron.] In its wake...closed interstates and stranded automobiles. Men all over the Midwest getting a good workout from shoveling their wives cars out of the driveway.

The storm didn't just affect the Midwest though, damaging thunderstorms roared across the deep south, and even parts of Pennsylvania. The Rockie Mountain ski areas received over 50 inches of snow in spots. Parts of New Mexico and Texas were hammered with high winds, some as high as 135mph in the Guadalupe pass! Dust storms created worse driving conditions than the blizzard.

Wow what a in Chicago...we too were affected. As I write this it is 10pm on Wednesday, December 9th. I have survived...time to survey the outside world.

Open the massive snow drift peaks. If we get another snow soon Mt Everest might have to bow down.

However me being the prepared man I made sure to bundle up with my super winter survival gear. I manage to trudge through the mountainous terrain of doom so I can survey my know, with all these reports of people having their cars buried and having to dig out...I wanted to see what I was in for.

That will be most difficult indeed. Peoples Facebook statuses near where I live had comments all day about how brutal the snow and wind was and how their cars couldn't handle it. Im so glad I drive a 4x4 with all terrain tires for such brutal snow.

Then something catches my attention...the deepest wind blown snowdrift of them all.

To hell with rulers, massive snowfalls, and especially drifts like this call for tape measures!

WTF...ok...I guess I over estimated a bit, its easy to get carried away in extreme situations...lets go lower.

Yes...I survived...all thanks to my trusty super winter survival snow gear!

By this point though I am starting to feel fatigued and decide I must make a dash towards my shelter, which truly looks wonderful amidst the beautiful winter scenery.

I am now safe and warming up with a tall can of my favorite brew.

Chicagoans really know how to pull through extreme events let me tell you, we get it bad around here!!! What really worries me is we probably have about 10 more events of this magnitude before the year is over, and with such chaos during this one...I fear for mankind.

So there you have it. The great blizzard of 2009 as seen from the perspective of a resident on the southwest side of Chicago.

Next please...

Monday, December 7, 2009

CTV + Big Winter Storm?

Yesterday I finally made the switch to CTV. I had been debating on it for awhile and finally bit the bullet and I'm glad I did. Their setup is so simple and easy and actually works flawlessly on my older laptop. TVNs setup involved multiple applications and caused my machine to constantly crash and freeze up. So I definitely look forward to streaming with CTV, Ive also seen what goes on behind the scenes and their customer service is great and they really look out for each other. I like that in a company.

It wasn't a personal decision, people have been pressuring me to switch over for months. I don't give in to pressure and I don't do stuff to please others or "be with everybody else." I do what works best for me regardless of whos involved.

I had many many requests for people to view my stream last year and unfortunately because it always crashed I had to tell them sorry. That will not be the case next season!!! So be ready!

Now onto the weather, like a hawk I have been watching this upcoming system. I always love when a system shows up many days out and verifies, because then I can throw it in all my critics faces. I get scoffed at often for watching models predict storms further out. Although it looks like the brunt of this storm is going to miss Chicago [go figure] and favor areas west of here. The low will track pretty much over the city it looks like. Im not expecting a whole lot of action around here.

With this system comes a debate on whether or not to actually go on a blizzard chase. I wasn't even considering it but some newer chasers reached out to me and said if I drove they'd pay for gas and whatnot. I might take them up on that offer since it would cut costs. Plus it'll give me a chance to test the stream in the field and make my debut, and hey ya never know...I could end up getting something interesting and getting it shown on TV and perhaps finally make a sale and get paid for what I love to do.

Also, we had our first measurable snow of the winter 09-10 season early this morning. About a month late. 2009 continues to defy what is considered the norm and prove that in the world of weather nothing is normal.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Chasercon Here I Come.

Finally booked all my stuff for the convention this coming February.

I'm looking forward to it. Ive decided to take the train there. Its cheaper than flying or driving. Plus Ive got all the free time in the world to travel so the lengthy trip wont bother me at all. I've never ridden an Amtrak train and Ive always wanted to take a cross country train trip so this will be a good chance to get that experience in!

Looking forward to seeing everyone again, and meeting some new faces as well. Ive never went simply because I didn't want to use time off work. Time that could be used for actual chasing. Since Im not currently working, that is no longer an issue.

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Meet N Greet

The meet and greet was fun and pretty much what I expected.

The public turnout wasn't all that high. I'd say probably 30-40 people over the course of the 5 hours. We did have a nice chaser turnout though, and at the very least its always nice to get together with fellow chasers to share stories and just BS.

The store did generate some good sales though as a result of people stopping by, I don't want to disclose the exact number, but it was in the thousands of dollars.

I had a few requests for business cards, one by a teacher who wants me to give a presentation to his class. A mother came by with her 5-6yr old son who absolutely loved what we had to show. He had a digital camera and recorded everything while he narrated. He took pics with all the vehicles and when his mom said it was time to go he protested. Most of the other guests were people who stopped by to check out some photos, share a story or 2 and then were gone after 5 minutes. I gave away photo prints to all of the kids.

Being able to reach out to the community in that way was nice, and it was rewarding to see how happy the kids were. Helping people save was a nice touch too, especially in this economy, if our event helped generate sales than that is definitely a good thing.

The weather was a limiting factor, quite breezy and pretty chilly. It is November though...we talked about setting up a similar event when its warmer out...but with warmer weather comes the possibility of a chase, and thus harder for us to commit. We were also setup in the corner of the parking lot, so allot of people simply just didn't notice us. I think a setup closer to the front of the store would have increased turn out some.

The important thing was reaching out and making some more contacts. I'm still a nobody in the chasing world so for me to think this would be a huge event is foolish. Its all about starting out small, reaching out to the local community and getting yourself known. I look forward to potentially doing more of these.

On the weather front - the goofus isnt showing any real snow here for awhile and that makes me happy. Bring on the el nino mild and dry winter!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Local Best Buy Meet-n-Greet!

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This Sunday, November 15th! Come on out and meet Me, Danny, Skip and other local chasers! Time of the event is 10am - 3pm. The location is shown below.

424 Randall Rd
South Elgin, IL 60177

This is an experimental idea that Matt came up with. The idea behind it is to show off the technology used to track storms to hopefully promote sales at the store.

Oh, and did I mention there will be a special 1 day only chance to save up to 15% on electronic purchases?! Well there is!

So I'm looking forward to the event. It will either be a really fun time where people can come out, ask questions, share stories and save on a purchase...or we will be sitting under a tent for 5hrs looking like fools as people go about their business. It will also be a good chance for me to promote myself and my site as well. You can't get known unless you market yourself and this is a good place to start.

I'm sure some will have choice opinions on the matter and quite frankly I could care less. This is what I want to do and how I want do it. End of story. Chasing is my life - I want to be known for it.

Current weather forecasts don't favor the event much. Seasonal temps which all are used to wont be the issue but it looks like it might be pretty windy with a slight chance of rain. So hopefully 2009 wont continue to screw me and we will get the nicer end of the forecast.

If any new important info arises I will be sure to post it - until then I look forward to meeting whoever comes out!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Much I hate Danny

Ok I dont...he just asked me what Im blogging about and that was my response...

Currently driving back from OKC with Ben and Danny. I really enjoyed the trip. The main purpose of the trip was to get out there and meet allot of the big name faces that I have chatted with over the years. That goal was accomplished. Its nice to be able to put the faces along with all the online babble. I had a really good time at Steves house with everyone! Hopefully it will happen again.

The weather fest was fun. It was cool to see the main building where allot of the nations weater stuff goes down. Especially the SPC. Ive never actually visited the OKC area - only driven through it on my way to the target area. I really liked the area and how everything was laid out. I definitely belong down there.

That being said I need to try and find a way to make that happen. With all the free time in the world I need to really focus on what I can do as a chaser and a person to make things better and to help myself become successful.

Saw some very very very distant lightning from storms moving south out of Kansas but I think it is now the time where I mentally prepare myself to not see any storms until late February which is typically when Chicago gets its first thunder and lightning. Its going to be a long winter but Ive got lots of projects to keep me busy.

First and foremost - the promo at a local best Buy in Elgin! I will post more details once Im home.

On a side note: Ben adopted Steves cat and it just took a shit so the whole truck smells like ass - plus the 3 of us just ate jack-n-the-box so Id say this truck is at a level 4 biohazard at the moment.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Oklahoma Bound

I will be heading down there for the National Weather festival.

I'm looking forward to the trip, to meet some new faces and big names within the field. The added bonus will be getting away from the dismal weather which 2009 has been constantly delivering the midwest it seems.

Since my time off hasn't allowed me to actually go out and chase, I figure networking and sort of marketing myself is the next best way to go. I've taken a couple days off from working on my site to give my brain a rest. As I've stated many times I am a total tech tard and it takes time for me to wrap my mind around some of this stuff. I am pleased to say I'm making progress though. Too bad "self educated" doesn't hold any weight on a job resume. Which IMO is stupid.

People who teach themselves often do so with a greater desire to learn as opposed to those who are force fed it every day. One thing I hated about school was being forced to take classes that had nothing to do with my major [when I went.] I don't like the idea of them trying to force me to be a well rounded individual. I accomplished that on my own.

Anyways, Im looking forward to trip. Hopefully it will storm down there but all indications point to sunny warm weather...darn. Is it any wonder I belong there and not here.

OH, DUH...speaking of marketing. I will be participating in a promo at a local Best Buy, presumably on Nov 15th but the date has yet to be confirmed. The funny thing is, technology is the main angle to promote sales at the store. I am the least technologically advanced chaser out there...but Ive got enough flare to attract people I guess. More details on that to come.

I also ordered a laptop mount for the truck finally. I'm moving up in the world.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Big Fall Storm Brewing?

Like many I have been glued to the models watching, waiting and hoping this whopper of a storm comes to life as currently shown.

Well, maybe not the 12Z as it shifted the main area of interest to the east, but I think this run is a bit too fast with things. If ridging in the east develops in the wake of a midweek storm I would think that should keep this system from rocketing into Ohio by 0z Sat.

I wont get into it too much because the models are still bouncing the timing and location all over the place. What has been consistent though is the showing of a very powerful storm system with the potential for a multi day widespread severe weather threat. I do believe all modes will be possible. Tornado threat is conditional based on instability. It wont take much, with a system like this I think 750j/kg is all wed need.

I will take any chase right now though, I have no problems driving a couple hours for a raging, evil looking squall line that mows the forest with an 80mph gust front. Whatever I can get to build up my stock video library. Straight line wind footage can be just as, and sometimes more intense than tornado footage.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fall Colors 2009

Storm chasing as a whole has several tangent areas of interests that go along with it. One of those would be photography. I enjoy photography, but it is probably the tangent area I'm least educated in. Furthermore I do not own a fancy camera, just your basic Sony all purpose digital camera, the kind that fits in your pocket.

Nevertheless, being off work has allowed me to explore some new venues with my free time. I decided to venture to the local forest preserves and shoot the fall scene for the first time. I enjoyed it. It was a nice fall day with temps around 70. The sky was a bit hazy so good sky/tree contrast wasn't going to happen...but tomorrow will begin 3 days of rain, wind and hopefully thunderstorms. We're at peak now and the incoming system will likely shred the trees of what little they have left. It was a bit breezy too which made some macro shots a little difficult.

Unless I find an insane deal I likely wont be acquiring a more professional type camera anytime soon. I would love to have one though, and start learning the tricks of the trade, but for now as always, I make do with what Ive got. I have many other things chase related to purchase before a nice still camera.

Here are some photos.

Perhaps it was the hazy sky but the colors weren't all that vibrant with the exception of a few trees. I went fishing in northern MI last week and I remember seeing amazing colors up there along the interstate. I should have shot the colors up there. I'm no foliage expert but it was pretty dry and cool here for most of autumn with the exception of the last week. I think that has lead to a duller-than normal year. Brown and down is the saying Ive heard. Typical of 2009 I guess.

Its always fun to experiment with new things though. I love and enjoy everything about the outdoors. At the very least it was nice to be out on a beautiful fall day.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Denver Balloon Boy and Storm Chasers

When I got word of the whole balloon boy incident I thought the whole thing was a hoax. Turns out that might be legit. Also once I learned the builder was a "storm chaser" I knew all the bullshit would start about chasers and their reputations. I wont even get into the debate about it. I never even heard of Richard Heene until then. I remember a thread on ST about a storm chasing episode of wife swap a while back...but I don't watch that crap, chasing related or not.

Regardless, I am not worried about my reputation being ruined and I wish others would stop. If people DO judge, and there always will be some that do...oh well. Maybe an increasingly negative Image will keep the whords of uneducated wanna-bes from spending their allowance on a new I-phone to go out chasing with.

In the end, I chase when where and how I want and could care less what someone thinks about it. I tend to have a zero tolerance for human ignorance, so if someone presents themselves as an uneducated, biased, cynical member of the public with snark remarks it just makes it that much easier for me to ignore them and continue on my way. I think allot of chasers need to stop worrying about this...or maybe I need to start caring what people think of me? Nah.

Enough about that though. Storm Chasers starts tonight. Im pretty sure the first episode will be about the Roll, OK tornadoes from April 26th of this year. That episode will hurt to watch as it will remind me of missing those very same tornadoes by only a couple of minutes. If you want to know why go to my site and read the chase log. Basically it came down to too many chasers in one car and conflicting opinions.

Speaking of my site. Ive begun to go back to the old chase logs and clean them up. Back in the day all I used to document chases was my Myspace blog so they're written poorly and have a ton of swearing and internet slang in there. When I launched my site earlier this year I just copied them over. They need to be fixed. 2006 is done and now 2007 is next.

Looking at the longer range GFS and seeing the same damn thing - highly amplified west coast ridge and east coast trough is finally beginning to kill my optimism that there will be at least one more chase in this crappy 2009 year. Oh well.

Oh well, time to order the pizza and get ready to head to Dannys house where Im sure we'll have an amusing time drowning our sorrows and bitching about the busted Roll day.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

2 Weeks

This is my second week of being jobless. So far its been mostly enjoyable. Ive gone on a couple fishing/camping trips, reconnected with the outdoors as well as spent some longer nights with friends. As a whole Ive felt my stress come down allot lately. Im not as irritable and my body is starting to get back to a somewhat normal sleep schedule.

Ive been looking around for side work of course, to bring in some extra spending cash. My resume isn't complete yet so I wont be sending that out anytime soon. Honestly, as long as I can support myself I see no reason to immerse myself back into a lifestyle I loathe.

Ive been tweeking my site and learning some new things since then as well. I do plan to "whore" myself out there a little more. So those who are frequent visitors to my sites/blogs may notice some changes.

The big downfall of all this comes from that bitch in the sky. Of course this would fall on me on what is probably the most boring year weather wise I can remember in a long time. All Ive ever wanted was the opportunity to chase wherever whenever, and now Ive got it and this bitch has us locked in a constant east coast trough/NW flow pattern of complete boring-ness. Go figure.

Oh well, still lots to do to keep myself busy in the meantime.

Most of the chaser drama has settled for now, thankfully. I still cant believe how much betrayal, back-talking, side choosing and cliquey-ness there is within our little community. I guess thats just the world we live in.

I plan to attend chaser-con in February so that will be a neat experience. More on that at a later time. Might be a couple local gatherings too.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Offensive ST thread

The thread going on ST about "offensive" content reminds me of one of my favorite scenes from the move Clerks. I would post it there but it wouldn't last long enough for everyone to see it. Not that many people come here anyways.

I dunno, Ive always have a problem with people who get so easily offended. Ive never reported a single post or thread on that site and probably never will. If someone says something I don't like I simply ignore it. If the same person/s do it, then I know they are someone I will never get along with in person.

The world really does need to lighten up.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Job loss and CTV

Well I am now officially unemployed. I was never really happy there so I take it as a blessing in disguise. Im not sure where I will head next. The corporate office world is not for me.

Of course I want to succeed in chasing more than anything, but we all know how hard that is. Still, I am a believer that if you want something bad enough, you will get it. Others have done it and so can I. They're no different than me. If the passion and drive is there, results will come.

Also, I have been thinking of switching streaming services to CTV. Back during that whole streaming war I was contacted by TVN and invited to join, since they reached out to me I accepted.

The biggest problem is I was never a man with allot of money and thus I am a very low tech operation. The TVN stream setup does not work well with my older laptop, it requires me to have about 3 different applications running and it just does not work. The CTV setup is a simple, one application streaming setup [or so Ive been led to believe.] That is the main driving force behind my decision.

This has NOTHING to do with personal relationships with anyone. I don't play those games. I don't care who is with what service and I never suck up to anyone. I choose what works best for ME. So far TVNs service has not worked for me and its time to seek other options. Ive fiddled, faddled and fuddled with it for countless hours. I was able to get it working back in April FINALLY, only I didn't have a camera mount and the duct tape bungee cord solution only worked so well.

I get the camera mount, fire up the stream on the next chase and BAM all the applications crash and It will not work and to this day it still wont. Ugh.

I haven't made a final decision though...its just something Ive been thinking about. I need to succeed at this and in order to do that I need to be up with the times, and use the means that Im able to get for myself. If I had the money Id have all the latest and greatest gear capable of...whatever it can do...but I I have to make do with what I have.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Allow me to bitch for a moment.

I love to talk weather. Everything and anything. I dont care when or where. This includes things I see when I check longer range models.

One thing I cannot stand though - is everytime I point something out I get some smartass know it all saying "haha why are you even looking that far out, dont you know it cant be trusted?" On Facebook, storm track, spotter chat...wherever.

Of course I know that you twat. The mere fact I am *somewhat* model savvy means I ALREADY KNOW THIS. You dont need to step on your high horse and shoot me down.

I point these things out in hopes someone will chime in with their thoughts and input - but I guess in the world of SPC leeches who want it all layed out nice and easy for them thats too much to ask.

Perhaps Im a bit more fascinated with watching how models perform and how the patterns evolve from run to run. To see what shows up far out and what actually happens. Maybe others just want to be told the good stuff the easy way without having to put some thought into it...but I guess thats not me.

Comparing and contrasting has helped me learn.

My train of thought just got de-railed by a smoking hot girl that just walked by so Ill get to the point.

The next time I point something out on a long range run, save yourself the keystrokes and dont point that out to me...of course I realize by me typing this blog Ive now opened myself up to a world of sarcastic replies in which said poster will be like "har har y r u looking that far out tee hee har har *snort*"...but thats just how the world works.

*gets off soap box and grabs a beer*

*make that 2 beers*

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Damn me and my big mouth

Spoke too soon.

I just had to mention I see signs of hope because the last series of runs since then have all shown the same crap. East coast trough with polar airmass trying to invade the midwest. 2009 = FTL

Oh well, at least my White Sox just won despite a horrible call by an umpire which could have cost them the game.

29 days without a storm here and counting...


Monday, September 14, 2009



Lately I have been really unmotivated to get anything done in regards to all my weather related "obligations." There is allot to do but a combination of factors has had me in lazy mode lately...typing this blog is an attempt to snap me out of it.

The biggest factor would be the lack of weather around here...seriously. We've been locked in High pressure patterns before but this is damn ridiculous. We're going to shatter an old record here in Chicago in regards to consecutive days with easterly flow. Old record being 15 and if current forecasts verify it will be 22! We are 2 weeks into September and there has been a pathetic .03" of rain....let alone storms, its been since Aug 19th! So with no interesting weather to talk about, activity drops. Its not just here but nationwide. Other than flooding rains in TX all is pretty quiet.

The other is I'm preparing for the big life change that is ahead of me. In 16 days I will be released from my prison of the past 5 years. The biggest burden to my life and my chasing will be lifted off my shoulders. All is not song and dance though, Im not foolish, I still know I will have to find a way to cover my responsibilities, but Ive got a few things lined up and some ideas, those plus unemployment should keep me secure for the time being, so right now I'm not too worried.

One thing I have started doing again is checking model runs day after day for signs of some fall chasing. The latest GFS runs have begun to show some hope towards the end of the period. Nothing that screams tornado outbreak yet but the past few runs have begun to place troughiness and SW flow where it should be. So its time to start paying attention. Of course though, the end of the period would be Sept 28th - Oct 4th which is the ONE WEEK out of the next year I do not want an active pattern. Sept 30th is my last day of work [cant miss that!] and the following 4 days I'm supposed to go camping with friends to reconnect with the outdoors.

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By adumbftw

Something to keep an eye on there! I would very much like a pattern change as I'm sure we all would! Fingers crossed.

Much more to talk about but I will save that for another update. I have to try and write more often too, I've neglected the frequent updates which is something I hate because I end up trying to cram everything into one and then I end up typing a novel - which noone wants to really read.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Here Comes Fall!

Should I be excited? I dont know...typically fall brings with it a mini season of chasing. One can expect at least 1 good setup to offer some nice supercells and tornadoes. However, it is 2009 and with that being said, I shouldnt get my hopes up too high.

The GFS lately has been showing a more troughy type pattern developing around Labor Day. Originally with a big, persistent west coast trough providing many active chase days. However it is ill timed for me so I was hoping a trend towards the Euro would occur with the Euro also showing a trough pattern but keeping it further north and not as progressive. As of right now it looks like the GFS is coming in line with this and I am happy.

This could be the start of an active fall pattern. We need to break down this constant NW flow - east coast trough pattern if we are to have a good fall. So to see GFS bringing in multiple troughs along the US/CA border is a good sign that a more permanent transition is about to take place. The pattern needs to change on a global scale if we want a good fall. One trough for a few days would be nice, but a general global shift to keep them recurring would be better!

Ive been thinking allot lately about ways to improve my website. Im an idiot when it comes to computers and technology. One thing I dont like so much about chasing is that if you wish to become successful and put yourself out there you must understand the latest and greatest technology and become savvy with learning it. Ive never been good at that and its been slow but Ive been making it happen.

One thing I want to change is the home page of the site. Updating it takes a bit of time and I would like more of a blogger type feed to be displayed so rather than me logging into my site builder and changing things there I could simply do a quick post on the blogger type site and have the feed show up on the homepage. That is pretty common on allot of chaser sites and for good reason.

I also need to think of a nice way to display photos on the site. Like have a thumbnail slideshow where you can click on a particular photo and have a zoomed up caption appear along with the individual picture would be nice. So Ill be investigating that as well.

With my last day of work now a month away - people are telling me Im going to be bored. I disagree, theres allot for me to learn and do which will keep myself busy.

SDS may be extreme this year if we dont get some local storms soon. This has been one of the calmest years I can remember, however the storms we DID get were pretty severe which is a tradeoff I guess. I would rather have some garden storms every other night than 2 severe storms all year though. The basic elements of a storm - thunder and lighting - are enough to keep me happy when it comes to local storms.

Looking forward to what fall has to offer! See some of you in the field should the opportunity present itself!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Time Lapse

I finally taught myself how to make time lapse videos the other day. First piece was from a chase last week to southern WI. Second piece was this one:

So far Ive enjoyed it. I will probably work on a few more from footage Ive taken over the years.

For now through Im finally putting together a stock footage CD. Nothing too fancy but I figured its about time I step up my game if I wish to be successful. My mentality all the long has been to let people come to me and find me. I realized though that there are some chasers who haven't even been out there for a year becoming better known than me, with far less impressive stuff simply because they whore themselves out.

If that sounds selfish then maybe it is...but...this is what I want to do with my life. I work hard and am very passionate about what I do. Time to be more competitive!

As far as the weather goes. We had a nice severe warned storm roll through today. Storms have been largely absent this summer to it was a nice treat. Some light scattered tree damage in the area and some really loud thunder made it a nice treat!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Not really. Its no surprise to anyone, even those outside the weather community that this summer has been cool. According to our local NWS this is indeed the coolest July period on record based on average temperature.

With an average temperature of just 68.8 degrees this year ranks #1. THAT. SUCKS. With it comes a lack of good summer storms around here. We've had storms by definition but they've mostly been thundershowers with weak thunder and no impressive lightning. Summer storms keep me sane, I dont expect to chase this time of year, but I at least like to lay in bed or attempt lightning photos from my bedroom window every now and then when a good storm rolls through.

August statistically is our wettest month, and some of our strongest storms have occurred during that month, especially the last 2 years when we got slammed by an impressive derecho both years. I am holding hopes for a repeat in 2009 but history tells us that most summers this cool dont reverse the trend in August. We'll see though.

I went on my first July chase a couple days ago, I would get funny looks from people when I told them Ive chased in January and February but not July...that changed yesterday. I underestimated the setup and thus chose to work so I missed out on what could have been an awesome hail chase, but oh well. It was nice to at least get out there again.

Maybe well have an active fall??? Who knows...

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thats all she wrote for 09

Well, it looks like the 2009 season is about wrapped up. There will be some isolated chances in the summer, but at this point tornadoes become too isolated to really plan for a chase. The main areas are also way too far to go last minute, the northern plains and even Canada are beautiful, but harder for me to reach from here in Chicago.

There can be some local chases though, as summer time usually puts us here in the midwest at risk for derechos. NW flow events can also happen and weve had some pretty significant tornadoes during the summer on NW flow days.

So, 2009 will go down as a slow and frustrating year for most. I however had a pretty good year, my best yet actually. My new aggressive approach paid off as I broke a few milestones this year including largest hail, first daytime tornado photo as well as a new record tornado count with 5

None of the tornadoes were significant though, and most were from farther away than I would prefer, but a view is a view and Im glad I was able to see the ones I saw.

I also set a new record number of chases with 16

There were allot of weekend opportunities too so I only used 7 days off work to chase. So if next season is active I will have plenty of time stocked piled to use.

It seemed every setup this year only featured one or 2 storms though, so this made the convergences even bigger than ever. I was able to avoid most of it though thanks to the new truck. I expanded the network even more and met some new faces, and made some more friends.

The death ridge in May was the biggest kill for the season, but that emphasizes why I jump on early season setups, I will never bank my whole season off a statistic. I have the best luck in June anyways.

So thats a quick bout of my thoughts on the 2009 season. More will come in the future. I have 4 chase logs still to work on, some site updates to attend to and more. So I guess as far as chase related work goes, the season never ends!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time to wake up!

There has finally been some consistency among the models in regards to breaking down this ridge and an active pattern once the month ends and June begins. The only thing missing is large amounts of shear, but shear can always happen on a local level that models dont always pick up and that doesnt concern me.

Memorial Day, which often in the chaser world is marked with a multi day chase excursion [especially last year where I spent 4 awesome days in the plains] was a nice one. I got a taste of the summer life at my summer home where we drank, fished our asses off and BBQed to the point I couldnt muscle another bite of food. It was a nice break but Im ready to resume the chase!

Actually, I kind of like it this way, as much as I love chasing its really easy to get burnt out from constantly doing it. One doesnt know how hard it is to do all that driving and planning, it really does take allot of effort for those who are dedicated and chase all over the country. So a 2 week break to enjoy some other aspects of life was welcome. Of course I would be singing a different tune if I havent bagged a tornado by now or the models still showed no signs of hope for the future.

However, I never bank on anything and I jump on early season setups to get my fill in. Im a storm chaser not a tornado chaser. I love getting goot pictures and video of weather in action.

All that being said, Im ready for the seasons last breath before the summer pattern sets in!!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

And now we wait

Ask a storm chaser what weather pattern he fears most and the answer will always be "A death ridge, especially in May."

Sure enough...thats what has just happened. Models show this thing lasting all the way into June, hopefully that will change. Ive had some of my best chases in June though so there is still hope for the season as a whole.

If it werent for this past Wednesdays chase I would be in panic mode. The screeching halt to the season will sting less, I was able to get my piece of the pie and bag a pair of tornadoes in Missouri. If you havent read about it, go to my site:

With the death ridge in place though, I can focus on other things. Tweeking the website. Fixing up my truck and getting my bottom of the line equipment to function better. I can also catch up with friends and spend the weekends fishing BBQ and having some beers, all things I neglect heavily during chase season. I would much rather have an active weather pattern right now though, because I know I still have an entire summer to do these things....but I need to see things in a positive light.

Its been a great year so far and Im still way ahead of myself compared to 2005, 6, 7 and 8

Hopefully this prolonged pattern of crap will break down and my patience will be rewarded with a nice long trough setup that can give me a week long chasecation somewhere in the plains, if not over here!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Ok now 13th, 15th and 16th?

OK Tuesday is beginning to look like a sun tan cap bust. Talk about a stout ass cap. Damn. Hate to see setups ruined that way. If it breaks though the rewards may be significant. Right now I wont gamble on it but Ive said that before only to be lured out last minute.

For now I will focus on Wednesday which looks like my home turf has its first real shot at an outbreak this year. The thought of not having to drive 12hrs to the target zone and sacrifice two days off for a good chase setup is turning me on in a way haha.

If Tuesday is a cap bust we might not see crapvection get in the way of things, as often is the case around here. All other ingredients look to be in place. Central Il has some excellent chasing terrain. I think IL would be the best state to chase in terrain wise...we just lack storms.

After Wednesday models are showing something for the plains again on friday so Ive already got that back in my mind. The action would then shift into my region again for the weekend. All in all there are some things Im looking forward too this week.

After this though, models have been consistent with showing a west coast ridge...BAH!!! This will put a huge damper on the remaining season so I need to get out there and bag my tornado now, the season can come to a screeching halt then, and it will sting less. I need one grand prize to remember the year by.

Although even if the ridge does setup, that will keep the chances for a NW flow event around here. There will be smaller setups to play with for sure, but id rather have a big classic May outbreak than a small localized "maybe" type setup anyday.

Just gotta take it 1 day at a time right now. It aint over till its over I always say.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Chasing Tuesday the 12th?!?!

First off people,

I know long range models arent reliable!! Regardless, I still like to look at them and call out what i see to watch how the patterns evolve, it helps me learn and understand current patterns and why a model may be showing what its need to point out to me every single time that what Im observing and mentioning probably wont me...i know!

Now, onto what matters. I like the setup Im seeing for Tuesday. This is looking like a more classic setup, better than anything Ive seen all year IMO. For once we will have a broad target zone. Im sick of these localized 4 county moderate risk setups. It would be fine if the forecast was kept to yourselves but in this day and age every leeching jackass can flock to that area right now...makes me wonder why i even bother trying to forecast on my own. Why work so hard when you dont have to?

Dammit I went off on a tangent again. Back to the weather!!!!! I think this could be a good classic setup if it pans out.

What I like here is we finally have a deep surface low with the GFS bringing it down to perhaps lower than 995mb. That will finally up the forcing and aid in stronger convergence wherever boundaries may setup. There is an obvious dryline extending down from southwestern NE though TX. However right now the cap looks to be really stout with 700s above 15C...that is a thermal nuclear cap for sure. Given the storng forcing from said surface low though, it might be breachable.

However that would be a southern dryline play. There also looks to be somce nice triple point play as well which is the area im considering. Surface winds begin to back around the low and the 500s come in from the WSW and are a bit stronger as well. The cap is a bit weaker here perhaps around 12C. Another thing going for this area is the t/td spread isnt as great. The area along the DL could see surface temps in the 90s with dewpoints perhaps in the mid 60s leading to higher based storms.

The area near the tp wont have this issue as much with lower surface temps and a similar moisture profile, of course finding that tounge of deeper moisture will help. Just took a quick glance at some soundings and the hodos are very large and curve the way they should!

All in all I think this setup holds some real potential!! I tossed up my preliminary target map based on what Ive mentioned above. Hopefully once the NAM comes into range it will line up well. Models have sucked horribly this year and I hate to see this go to waste. This is largely based off the 5/8 0Z GFS run on

The GFS has been consistent for a few days with this setup. *keeping fingers crossed*

View Chasing 5-12 in a larger map

Thursday, April 30, 2009


Thats how it looks like May will open. Ive never been fan of zonal flow but it could be worse.

It wont be totally boring though, there does look like there could be some chaseable systems within this. Though these are not ideal setups, if anything it will keep the SPCers at home who wont chase if the day 1 gives a 2% risk. Many times days like these start off as a lower end threat but can evolve greater than expected....or maybe Adam is wishcasting again?

I look forward to the peak of the season but Im already feeling gloomy that it is half over and I havent scored a good tornado yet. I cant complain though, so far 2009 is kicking 2008s ass for me. Ive got tons of good pictures and some wicked hail video. This time last year I had 5 chases with barely any photos and only crappy video. 2008 ended up being my best year yet and so far this year is on track to beat it.

The chase logs from this weekend are up. Check out the site.

For now the chase lull might give me a chance to catch up on some things, work some overtime to get more money for chase gear I desperately need.

Im not looking forward to the May crowds though. I try not to get mad because I know everyone has a right to be there...and I always tell people to follow their passion...but some of these people are SPC chasers that just follow the convoy around. It irks me to see them bag tornadoes with little or no effort...but I cant focus too much on them...I need to worry about me.

My own personal solution was to equip my truck so I can get off the paved roads and down the dirty back roads that these chasers chasing in their pretty little fuel efficient cars wouldnt dare tread down.

This past Saturday it worked. I was able to break away from the convoy, head down a dirt road, stop infront of an amazing stacked plates meso and just sit there for almost 30 minutes just us and the storm...starting into it with thunder and lightning flashing all around. It reminded me of what chasing is about and I seized every second of it.

Sure enough when we got back to paved roads....there was everybody.

Time to get ready to head into the peak. The true monsters of May and June are about to show their faces!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chases 4-25 and 4-26

Full logs will be done by the end of today.

It takes me longer than most because I have to spend a whole day driving home. Then typically I have work early the next morning so it must wait till evening.

Saturday was a great chase. Lots of amazing structure and we got blasted by hail up to tennis ball size. It left some dents on the new chase mobile and made for some sweet video. I was able to keep the swearing down to a minimum for once too. Perhaps Im learning to control myself...I still let a few F-bombs slip though...however those who know me know that a few is pretty damn good. We also saw a nice high based funnel. The video is awesome though. Ive never heard the popcorn like sound from all that gorilla hail smashing into the pavement and breaking up into a bunch of pieces. It was awesome.

Sunday we blew big time. I hate being the driver sometimes because I have multiple people screaming in my ear to go one way or another. Im driving and not monitoring things so I have less of a clue as to whats going on. Long story short we went west instead of north out of sweet water and got on the storm behind it while the north storm went nuts. I mean shit...its a high risk right and all the storms could have gone nuts...generally the southern storm is a better bet but GOOOOOOOOOOoooooooooooooooo figure that was not the case today.

We did score a nice funnel though and had several run ins with quarter hail cores...but when everyone else bags big tornadoes in the same exact areas we are in it stings a bit and suddenly a funnel and hail core lose their excitement level.

I try not to be too mad though. Failure will come from time to time...I think for me the hardest part about it is the fact these were 2009s first photogenic awesome tornadoes. I know the peak of the season isnt here yet but there are never garuntees in the world of weather. If I had already scored at least one tornado this season of that quality it would sting less, because I would be happier knowing I got my piece of the prize.

But alas...I will be out the next chance I get and ready to go after it again! The next time I get conflicting directions from those Im chasing with Im going to take a minute and look at both options myself and make the call rather than just listning to the person whos screaming louder in my ear because he has a map and updated GR3 image. I should have known better. I do know better. I take the blame.

Another aspect which will lessen the blow is the fact the forecast setup crapped out. It was a high risk that screaming tornadic potential. Had storms fired the way we all thought I could have redeemed myself. Had I know there would be 1 tornado producing storm out of the whole linear crapfest I might have opted to play the setup differently...but thats the way chasing is. All you can do is continue to learn.

Anways, Ill post another update once the website is updated.

Id like to congratulate all my chase pals who scored this weekend. Im happy they got some awesome footage and photos.

Friday, April 24, 2009

This weekends chase and a working stream!

Im going to take a trip to Kinkos and print myself out a "Worlds Biggest Idiot" award.

I FINALLY got my stream working. The magic trick that made it work? Hit the start button after going through setup to put it in live mode...who would have thought. The manycam application I mentioned earlier is pure garbage which was another problem I fixed by installing the other supported application...maxcam.

I probably wont have time to put the stream on my website. So those who wish to view it have to go through TVNs main website and find me out of the bunch. Since I Just got it working and Im leaving tonight for a chase I will probably have it run the whole time, to get a feel for any connection issues and whatnot. So no complaining if you tune in and see nothing but asphalt or Danny doing the YES dance.

As for the chase. The stupid GFS has trended towards the NAMs crappier solution now. Pushing the action further away...but at least not totaly killing the chances for a good tornado. Right now the plan will be to head to ICT by hopefully 9am...power nap for a couple hours then head over to somewhere around Buffalo, OK and go from there. Likely finding a hotel in the area Sat night and chasing Sunday in the same areas perhaps a bit more east into the TX.OK panhandles. All of that will be determined as the event unfold of course.

Weather is a bitch...all year weve had these amazing shear setups but no moisture and instability...we finally get the moisture and instability and now all the shear and other parameters are out of whack.....ugh.

Either way Im looking forward to 2 days of good chasing this weekend, at the very least Ill get some more hail and photogenic structure! Good luck to all heading out!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Here it comes

The pattern change I mentioned last week and that has been watched closely by all us weather folk will begin to commence tomorrow. We wont feel it here yet but we could be looking at 80s by Friday and Saturday!

Before I chase log from 4-18-09 is up on my site. It was a fun chase sampling all the different hail cores and I got some of that photogenic structure I love. White shelf backlit by a green core.

Im having a weird issue where my menus wont work...but only on my PC and when I use works on every other persons PC ive talked to with all browsers...Ill never understand technology lol.

Anyways, Im looking forward to some potential chasing Friday and Saturday...maybe even into Sunday and for a time it was thought even into the work week. There are large model differences though, more so than usual. GFS and the NAM though paint a good picture in Kansas for Saturday. Fridays threat could be more warm frontal in nature.

The gulf is about to open wide and spill its generous moisture over a large chunk of the lower 48. This will in turn yeild a large area of potential instability. The key is going to be where all the fronts and boundaries set up...and thats what models are having difficulty doing right now. I think tomorrow they will get a better handle on the pattern once it begins to take shape.

Ill say this though, the thought of dewpoints over 60 is a welcome thought. All the setups this year have been trumped by meager moisture and what could have been big tornado days were mere dust whirl type events that stir up chaser drama. So this time it looks like we have a shot for some bonafied naders!

Anyways, i threw this up on my site as where I think the action will be...with the darker area being my area of main interest right now.

View Chase 4-24-25-09 in a larger map

In other news i FINALLY got my stream working. Like i suspected it was that piece of shit manycam app that kept it from working. I uninstalled that garbage and tried the other app and everything fired right up the first time. However I dont know how to get the damn thing in live mode and thus dont know how to make my stream viewable on the web. There is no check box or anything to switch over the mode. So I will take care of that before the weekend.

Thats all for now. Lets hope this weekend pattern yeilds 2009s first good tube fest!

P.S. Sorry for the wacky font...for some reason the google map changed it and I cant get it to change I said...I never will get technology!!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

At least itll be warmer right?

Terrible tragedy this past Friday with the EF-3 [possibly EF-4] hitting Murhpeesboro, and then the Mena, AR tornado as well before that. Sadly there were casualties in both storms, but surprisingly there werent more. There always seem to be allot of fatalities in this region...and its not like tornadoes are that uncommon. Especially in the past couple years.

Spring for me has pretty much sucked. No storms around these parts, just wave after wave of crappy cold rain, and yet another one heading our way in less than 24hrs.

All I want to do is chase. Im so envious of those who live in more active regions. When I can, I will be down there. If i could id pack my shit and leave tonight.

Right now there is nothing to get excited about, im seein what looks like an omega type block on the models later this week, so no dice there. Im hoping for at least just a rumble of thunder tomorrow, but thats not likely either since the damn lows keep wanting to track by the OH river.

Not all is a waste though, I finally got my grille guard installed on the chase vehicle. We had our nicest weekend here since I can remember, and when I say nice I mean temps in the mid to upper 40s with no rain lol.

Im closer to getting my stream up and running with TVN, but technology hates me and of course each time i fix one problem a new one comes up. I really like their setup except for this stupid manycam application that looks like it belongs on a childrens farm animal book...and that is the thing giving me issues. Hopefully this lengthy down spell will see me resolving this issue.

And...temperatures will be springlike for most of the week and into the weekend, so that will be nice, I can enjoy being outside at least. My summer home is supposed to open this weekend but go figure it looks like it might rain with a borderline chase setup around Friday for the plains...might not be significant enough to warrant the effort though.

Its also interesting i havent seen any chaser video from Friday...u know its a bad year when the best video comes from joe public who should be seeking shelter instead of standing on their porch forming a tornado destorying their neighborhood....but i wont get into that right now.


Thursday, April 2, 2009

Blame the sun?

I wonder if I should blame the sun for this crappy pattern we have been stuck in for nearly 2 weeks now. Solar flares are none! It certainly is good evidence for those who believe global temperatures can be affected by solar activity. I know little on the subject, but find it interesting.

As i sit here and type this its 42 degrees and raining, the same scenario has been played out here too long, and will continue to do so. Should I blame the blocking pattern way up north thats keeping the cooler air mass south...the sub tropical jet for parking its ass down near texas....or maybe god just hates me because I havent been to church in like 10 years [not counting weddings and funerals.]

Maybe mother nature is a cranky old bitch....if she were a person shed probably be 500 pounds and is likely a 40 year old virgin. Maybe shes trying to get a piece from old man winter?

Either way...I wont miss this pattern when it ends. These damn cold fronts keep cutting off the gulf...making every setup devoid of moisture and all wind driven shallow convection....oh sure I wouldnt bitch so much if we would at least get some thunder but with the jet hanging down by texas as I mentioned above...the storms track south of here and we get stuck on the cold side...brining possible snow into the mix.

I know I shouldnt complain as others in the country have it far worse...but still. Its spring time...i crave storms and active weather. I can deal with this shit in winter but now its time for nature to deliver.

April shobers bring May supercells....thats what im hoping. Sooner or later this pattern is gonna have to come north...and Ill be waiting.

Hope everyones 09 is off to a good start though. If it werent for 3/23 id probably be in a mental institution by now.

Added some more 2008 logs to the website. Including everyones favorite day, May 23rd...go read about my dumbass getting stuck in the mud and missing the quinter show.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Chase log from 3-23-09

Well it took a couple days but I finally finished the chase log from Monday in Kansas. is where it can be found. It was a very exciting chase and Im glad I went. Its nice to know that no matter what happens, 2009 wont go down with me not seeing any tornadoes. Although I was not really convinced based on what I saw, but so many other chasers confirmed it as well as the NWS office in ICT. I remember watching the rotation and mentioning that I wouldnt be surprised if it reached the ground...but I always like to be able to confirm with my eyes.

The current weather pattern is an active one, allot of severe weather going on down south. I will be watching the weekend and where things set up. Depending on how it comes together, I may head to my brothers house in Frankfort, KY for a weekend chase.

Other than actual chasing things have still been busy. Ive signed on with TVN for streaming, and am trying to get that up and running, as well as working on several projects relating to the chase truck. I ordered all terrain tires for it and today received an email saying they were out of stock and it would be a month before they got more. ugh.

The weather around here looks miserable for nearly a week, hopefully I can use this time to catch up, that is...if I dont chase Saturday.

Congrats to everyone who bagged on Monday. Allot of chasers were out and there were a few instances where I got angry because some ignoramouses blocked the road infront of me by not pulling off into the shoulder, i got them on video for when I feel like making an issue out of it. It almost makes me not look forward to May.

Thats all for now.

Monday, March 16, 2009


For things to pick up again. The weather pattern has been slow and boring, which has been the 2009 season so far. Compared to last year, its very slow to start.

Its not a total loss though, with the break in weather activity Ive been able to get more work done on the website and in other areas. I managed to get some more chase logs up today as well as some other content so feel free to check out

I still haven't chosen a streaming service, to be honest im sick of all the political drama going on about streaming would think a hobby filled with 90% men wouldn't have so much soap opera drama. Oh well.

I attended the advanced spotter training this past weekend like I do every year. I enjoyed the talks and learned a couple new things, also heard about some new technologies too that I may look into.

Even when slow...still busy! The GFS has hinted at a pattern change that may send more active weather our to finish the crunch!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Chase log and record rains.

The first chase log for 2009 can be seen on my website.

In short, storm motions were a bitch today. It was basically a game of pick your embedded sup within a screaming line and hope for the best. Came home with a couple pics though. No complaints though, I had low expectations for the day and wanted to test out the new laptop. The laptop itself works great but I have the same annoying issues with gpsgate and data that Ive always had. So I can rule out laptop malfunction and try and figure it out.

More rainfall records were set this weekend. The March 7-8th thunderstorms put down 3.29" of rain beating out the old March record of 2.52" set back in 1985 on March 3-4. So impressive totals are being reported thats for sure. New single day records have been set too for both the 7th and 8th with 1.27" and 2.02" respectively. Old records were .90 from 1930 and .99 from 1990

Currently watching things for the next potential chase on Tuesday. Again not the prefect setup, but GFS has been consistent for awhile now in showing this feature. It may warrent a half day chase. Afterall, I havent used time off from work since November 5th so I could use a bit of a break, plus winter will return for the next week after a cold front plows through. I might as well go for it. So stay tuned for that.

I can now say the 2009 season has begun!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Official website and first chase of 2009!!!

Well, I mentioned earlier that an official Aerostorms site might be in the making.

I decided to go for it, and have put allot of work into it so here it is.

There is much more to be done. The site will be the main focus for chase logs. This blog will now be mainly used for blog types posts, thoughts, ramblings etc etc.

I will probably still post forecasts here, because updating a forecast on the webpage would take twice as long. I will also post brief chase summarys here...but the bulk of new information will be on the site...since thats what its for!

This blog is better for on the fly type updates. So it will not become dead over here...just less bulky with content.

Thanks to dryline hosting for making this possible. Even a noob like me was able to build something that, in my opinion...looks half way decent. Anyone who isnt web-site savy might want to check them out!

As for tomorrow, I will set out for the first chast of 2009! Not really looking for tornadoes, though there is a change. This is more of an equipment run type chase where Im hoping to come home with some new pictures and maybe some hail or severe wind. 0z NAM looks decent but the 18Z GFS looks like crap. Hoping the NAM pans out for this one. Which is unusual because I tend to side with GFS.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Well, looking outside one wouldn't know it. We got about 2 inches of fresh lake effect on the ground now with some lingering flurries. While today isn't the official start of spring [the equinox] it is considered to be the start of meteorological spring. Daylight savings is in another week, which will provide us with another hour of daylight chasing time.

Looking at the patterns ahead, a few days ago there was hopes for a weekend chase in OK or KS, right now the setup looks less intense. However, some spring like air will move in this way and we will see temps in the 50s for multiple days, perhaps even approaching 60! This will come with some jucier air courtesy of the gulf, and bring the chance for some more local thunderstorms, nothing too impressive severe wise....but a storm is a storm! Longer range GFS shows a potentially active pattern in the making, spring is right on schedule!

As far as all my projects go....phhht. Being sick for over 2 weeks, and hitting road block after road block after road block with the PC stuff, plus shitty weekend weather week after week. Im way behind...but...the new laptop should be here tomorrow or tuesday, the PC re installation discs have arrived, and if I dont chase this weekend, it will be warm enough to hopefully finish the work on the truck. Things should be completed soon.

Also, I purchased my own domain name, and signed up for website hosting at A real Aerostorms site will be in the making, likely not being compelted for quite some time though, I still have a means to blog and document, the active season is just around the corner...and Ive got much more important projects to complete first. It is exciting though, to think about having my own space on the www.

My time of the year is here, its hard to describe the level of excitement Im feeling to get back out there! This will be a good year, I have a new aggressive chase plan, a more capable vehicle, more contacts in the field and hopefully...better functioning equipment.

Cheers to a productive and successful 2009 spring for everyone!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

First local storms of 09


I wasnt expecting much today, but was treated to a fairly stormy afternoon in downtown Chicago, where unfortunately I work.

Wasn't severe by a long shot, but there were some frequent CGs, some good loud thunder to drown out the noises of the city, and even a brief moment of sleet size hail. High winds ruined my umbrella along with many other peoples. Thats a typical sight though, its funny to watch in a cruel sort of way. I was really impressed with the downpour though. It was the kind that happens with the slow moving popcorn storms that form when our dewpoints get into the 70s on a summer day.

Needless to say I was quite pleased to see the sights and hear the sounds I love, a reminder that spring is just around the corner and active chasing will soon begin...although a burst to my spring bubble will arrive in a few hours after the FROPA. This weekend will be back in the upper 20s and low 30s.

I saved an NWS radar screen shot on my PC at work, obviously I cant have GR3 installed on there so its all I can use. Not a bad little storm over the loop for the end of February!
Image Hosted by
By adumbftw

The past few days GFS has shown a couple interesting systems for next week, leading me to believe March would roar in like a lion. Todays runs though are nowhere nearly as impressive, and brings one of the systems well to our south which suggest we could see another snow event. A system in the later part of the work week may give us similar conditions to today. Maybe tomorrow the model will trend back to the more exciting pattern it showed the previous few days...I hope.

I ordered a new [refurbished] laptop, and was told I can use my old 8mm to stream video this year, aside from me still being a little sick...things are looking up.

Time to sit and watch the next batch of rain move in, theres some severe storms in MO and some broken line segments in central IL, perhaps they can make it here, but with loss of heating Im not holding my breath, still fun to watch though.

Edit 8:37pm

Got clipped by the northern end of the line. My house is approx where I put the black dot, kinda hard to judge on this radar but its close enough. Pretty heavy rain persisted about 5 minutes with a few weak flashes of lightning followed by some distant thunder. It beats snow anyday though. Pretty nice to have a day this time of the year with multiple rounds of storms. It will be interesting to see what kind of rain totals come out of this. Radar shot:
Image Hosted by

I cant wait to get my PC fixed, I MISS GR3!!!!!! This PC I ghetto rigged as a temporary replacement runs on Windows 2000 and is too weak to support GR3.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Official Aerostorms Site Coming Soon?


For a long time Ive wanted to get a REAL chase website up and running. Instead of using various blogger type sites such as this, myspace, imageshack and youtube to hold all my chase stuff it would be nice to have an official centralized location that people could get used to rather than me linking them all over the place. has a pretty sweet offer that only lasts till the end of this month so I have been tinkering around with the online site builder demo to see if I want to sign up. Im a dumbass and know almost nothing about building a fancy website using code and whatnot. So I wasnt planning on building a site this year, but with the offer Ive decided to see if its something I should jump on.

Heres what I slapped together in about an hour haha. You have my permission to laugh as well:

I dunno if the link will last or not. Its been a learning experience for me so far, but I think I can get the hang of it. Signing up looks likely just to get the deal, but as far as building and launching the site, that probably wont happen anytime soon especially with all my other projects Im scrambling to finish.

For the past 2 weeks Ive been really sick...all I would do is go to work, come home and sleep. I didn't go out for 2 weeks and didnt do anything around the house besides fill the garbage bags with used of course I fell way behind with everything Ive been trying to do.

Luckily the storm seasons off to a slow start compared to 08. By this time last year I had 2 chases logged. This year = none. Looking at the patterns ahead there is nothing to get excited about either. I guess Im glad since Im not prepared yet. Time to take advantage of mother natures laziness and speed up the crunch.

The two tornado "outbreaks" so far this month have both produced EF-4 tornadoes, and unfortunately, fatalities in each event. Perhaps this is the general trend 09 will take? Not as many outbreaks as 08, but the ones that DO happen will be significant yet localized events. 08 was exceptionally active so to expect another year like that is having the highest of hopes.

I may also be streaming this year too with TVN...something else im looking into, I know nothing about streaming either and I wasnt a huge fan of jumping on that bandwagon, but I got tossed another decent offer for that too. Danny and I might join forces on that so we can utilize multiple video cameras.

Busy times busy times...storm season is just around the corner. I hope everyone is ready rather than in scramble mode like I am. Im excited as hell though and cant wait to get out there!!! I was able to at least enjoy some GR3 action last week, before my stupid laptop decided to crap out on me...AGAIN. Im not too happy about having to dish out a large chunk of cash for a new one...but its time...

Thats all for now.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Feb 10th or May 10th?

I keep forgetting its February...not only were our highs in the 60s today but there is a pretty significant outbreak of tornadoes and severe weather going on in OK and TX. Tornadoes touched down and did damage in Edmond, NW OKC and Admore to name a few. Sadly there are unconfirmed fatality reports. Looks like 09 will feature a significant, deadly, rare February outbreak....just like 08 did.

I regret not deciding to chase this setup, but there were many reasons. Danny Neal and I did an interview with a couple of college students who were doing a project about weather and pop culture. That went well. Ill be anxious to see their final product. Ive also been battling a nasty cough for the past couple days that keeps me up at night so Ive been sleeping allot more during the day. My equipment is not up to par yet, and my laptop [which just got fixed] crashed AGAIN! I think its time to part with it and just buy a new one.

Tomorrow I wont chase. I thought about taking a half day for some squall line fun, but based off recent model runs it looks like all the main threat will be over by noon. I guess one positive in all this is I still have my 28 days for spring. When there is more daylight and even better setups to be played.

Maybe some local thunderstorms to treat me tonight...then its back to winter. Today I got a true taste of spring....I cant wait for it to get here already.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Potential chase on Weds the 11th

Theres been allot of hype in the chaser community about the days ahead. Indeed they do appear quite active. The system I mentioned in my blog on the 1st looks to indeed provide a chase-able setup.

After pouring over the models I would have to make my preliminary target in this area:

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Of course this is based off my local bias. This doesn't mean this is the area that has the best chance for action, its just the area that would work for me given my means.

More detailed explanation and analysis to come later. I just got my laptop back so I need to get it up and running to chase level. Especially if things verify. It may be worth taking a half day of work to go chase some foggy HP rockets to test everything out and curb the SDS before the real action of spring begins.

At the very least, I have some local thunderstorms to look forward to this week.

More to come...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Remembering The Super Tuesday Outbreak of 08

Today is the 1 year anniversary of 2008s largest and deadliest outbreak of tornadoes. It was also my 1st long distance solo chase, since none of my regular chase pals and I saw eye to eye on the setup. For awhile I thought this one had the potential to be big.

In my post on stormtrack I named Jackson, TN as the city I would target. In real life though I didnt want to go that far south, being it the middle of the work week I was trying to make this a 1 day was still February and I wanted the bulk of my days off for spring.

Long story short, I got lured down there anyways once things got going. I arrived in Memphis as tornadoes were reported moving across the airport and into the southern sections of the metro area. I-40 was pure chaos at this point. Debris scattered across the highway traffic crawling. I persued it as best I can along I-40 and noted a series of powerflashes to the north of the highway, the tornado was there, but it was dark and I couldnt see it. Radar shot showing how my spotter network icon was lagging behind my actual GPS position [a common issue i have.]I had Brian Barnes nowcasting for me on the phone and Danny Neal through AIM
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Eventually I fell behind due to so many semi trucks being in my way so I detoured south after some new cells before heading back west to catch an isolated beast ahead of the raging squall line that was located in AR. I made it to the Turrell exit and waited for the beast to come to me. Too bad it was night because the structure would have been incredible:

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Tornados were reported on the ground with the storm, and the hook region was making a B-line right for me. I could see the lowering screaming right at me but could not make out the important features...this:
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Became this after only a couple minutes:
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Needless to say I started to get nervous at this point given what had been happening all day. I could head east to safety but the road I was on curved to the north after about a block and would put me back in the path, so I darted west and chose to ride out the core and sample the hail/wind. By this time the line began to overtake the supercell and it had likely weakened.

Once it passed I could view the storm from the back side. Then in between flashes I saw a very well defined funnel. It was a pefectly shapped symettric trunk, I could not tell if it was all the way to the ground, I turned on the camera and waited for another good flash of lightning but by the time one occured all I could make out was a leftover lumpy funnel:
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I then went back east a bit to a nearby closed gas station to ride out the squall line. The entire line was tornado warned and had the chance to produce a spinup at any moment. A risky move but I had no escape. I rode out the line...and then headed for home. It was about 10pm now and I hadnt realized how far from home I actually went. I made it as far as Effingham before I couldnt hang on anymore. My 1 day chase now turned into 2. I should have just planned for 2 days and went to where I really wanted to target. Oh well.

A historic outbreak that will be remembered and studied for quite some time. About 144 tornado reports and unfortunately around 60 deaths. An event of this magnitude truly is rare for the time of year, and caught many skeptics and the public off guard...but is a sobering reminder that anything is possible when it comes to mother nature.

Jackson, TN was hit by an EF-4 that night. Luckily no fatalities occured there. The footage posted above as well as other footage from this day will be featured on the storms of 2008 dvd, which can be ordered at

09 is off to a very slow start compared to 08...but looking at the pattern ahead, things may get going after this weekend. The time is now to make sure your prepared.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

First chase of 2009 season?!

Probably not...but like many other chasers I have been wishcasting a potential setup that the GFS has been showing the past several days.

Here is a clip from my bulletin cast I posted on Friday Jan 30th:

"tho right now the gulf looks cutoff and the best moisture wont make it out of texas as a high sits over the east once the monday-tuesday storm departs...but the QPF values are imprssive regardless so well see how this one pans out."

That of course is once this potential system reaches here next Tuesday, before that though there are some hopes that it could provide a chaseable setup in the plains. Originally looked to be on a Saturday but the most recent runs have slowed it down. If it were a Saturday I would jump on it, but if its a Sunday or Monday it will take quite a setup to lure me down there this early...such as Feb 5th 2008. I plan to reflect on that chase this Thursday...1 year from the event.

Its nice to have something to keep an eye on though. An active pattern may return once this week is over with. The east coast is gonna get pummeled by a pretty impressive system to start things out. Bombogenisis may actually occur with this one. The bad news is just what I said it was on Friday, this will cut off the gulf and keep the best moisture from streaming north. Typically these early season setups are super mega shear with no instabilty and meager well see.

Locally it could bring us some warm temps, a thaw, and maybe a December 27th 2008 type setup with some local thunderstorms embedded in rain.

Impressive QPF values though
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With decent warming perhaps into the 50s, dewpoints in the upper 40s maybe...probably going to be foggy.
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Start of an active pattern? GFS wants to bring in another trough right behind it...return of SW flow?
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So thats whats goin on with me weather wise. This past weekend I had an adventure to MI with my friends, to make a long story short my truck slid down a snowy hill into a tree and I now have a busted taillight...the irony in that is the fact I bought taillight guards [picture in a blog a few below this one] for stuff like that. I havent installed them because of the constant cold and snow around here and me not having a garage. Talk about irony being a bitch and a half...

Getting my laptop back tomorrow, have to get that reloaded with everything chase related. Ordered parts for my desktop so I will have to get that up to speed again as well. Still have to install everything on the truck along with ordering a new taillight now. So much to do and the clock is ticking...February will be a hectic month.

Almost time my friends!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Thats what things are around here lately. As much as Im not a fan of winterm its easier to get through when its interesting. It started off very active...but much like the storm season of 08 did after june 7th it has come to a screeching halt.

Although thats not true south of here, as parts of the OH valley and southern plains have been getting nuked by a pretty impressive winter storm. These areas have largely escaped the nasty winter weather so I guess it was time for something to swing down that way. We got barely clipped by the system and theres just a dusting out right now. We may add another dusting to that overnight but it looks like we dodged a bullet.

Models give me nothing to be excited about...the worst winter can be:
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Yea...cold. No storm systems either when I check other charts either.

Its not all bad though, without me being occupied so much by live conditions I can focus more on getting my gear ready. The cold however, is putting a big damper on me getting work on the truck done since I dont have a garage. So Im actually hoping for mid 30s this weekend to at least get some small things done. My grille guard [aka ram bars or cow guards] finally arrived!

My PC and laptop both had their hard drives crash, so Ill be ordering new ones and rebuilding those as well. Going to make some modifications to my inspeed anemometer too. I dont like it being so close to the roof, I think the airflow over the vehicle could throw off the measurements to I will be building a longer rod for it to raise it up a foot or so.

The severe season is off to a slow start too. By this time last year I had 1 chase under my belt..a local one too. There were already a few outbreaks by this time last year. One good thing though far...there have been no early season tempations to lure me out and use days off work before the main season begins. Well see what February has to offer. The biggest outbreak of 2008 was Feb 5th...a day I chased. So anything can happen.

Stay warm everyone!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Arctic Assault is Over

Well our major dose of winter has come to an end. It is a balmy 24 degrees outside. Ive always told people that temperatures are a relative feeling. 2 months ago everyone was griping and complaining when they heard temps would be in the 20s. Right now its a different story, people are praising the weather gods. I find the mentality amusing. It should put things into a new perspective for people.

We ended up bottoming out at -18 here in Chicago, the urban heat island effect likely protecting us. Sugar Grove, a suburb about 40 miles to our west bottomed out at -32 and an unofficial thermometer not too far from there recorded a reading of -36 which would tie the states all time lowest reading.

The lowest readings of -18 and windchills of -35 occurred just as I went to work Friday morning, and it was definitely the coldest air Ive ever felt. We havent had a day this cold in 13 years, and 13 years ago I was 13 and likely didn't leave the house. It actually hurt to breathe it in. So I have a new respect for those who live up north and deal with this much more frequently than we do.

A boring, seasonal pattern looks to be in store and we may see another cold surge by next weekend but overall it looks quiet. I want more snow as the growing snowpack around here looks neat.

Anyways, some pictures during the cold snap:

This is how we reserve parking in the city, side streets dont get plowed. It may look funny but its serious around here and people actually have gotten shot over their spaces
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I have my chair too, since the new beast wont fit in my garage
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Snow before the cold...were at I think 41 inches for the year [normal total for an entire year here are 36 so were WAY above average]
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This just LOOKS cold:
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An anvil in the snow...nature is teasing me...
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In my truck on the way to the movies Thursday night. It was -15 a moment before I took the picture. Aw well.
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On the front porch
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Interesting frost pattern on my window.
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Close up:
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Winter around here has been a brutal one thats for sure. Still working to get the beast ready for spring. Lots of work to do still. Got my W2 so im hoping the tax return can get me either a new laptop or an HD video camera. I need a whole bunch more, I have a crappy digi cam, busted laptop, a non-functional mini dvd camcorder, and stuff for the truck. WOO! Itll be tough but I think I can get it done.

Ive been so busy lately that I havent been able to teach myself more about forecasting which is usually what I do in winter. Luckily the chase cases on storm track are giving me an opportunity to excercise my brain.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Getting Ready

For the brutal winter assault this week. Models have backed off on the severity of the cold blast in recent days, but it will still get pretty cold. We could still see a day [perhaps Thursday] where highs wont get above zero.

Not only will it be bitterly cold, but there could be at least 3 rounds of accumulating snow...each with the potential to add 2 or more inches to the snowpack here. Friday night and Saturday morning we picked up about 8 inches here near Midway Airport whereas Ohare reported 12.

Matt and I are spitting out ideas for the hail guards and came up with this preliminary design, none of the measurements are exact of course. I havent had a chance to take detailed measurements especially with this weather. I need a garagae and clean [as well as warm] conditions to work in.

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My original idea was similar only it doesnt involve the support coming from the running boards. It will be something to consider tho. I was thinking a dog cage would make for the inside. They seem pretty sturdy and if it lets quarters fall through its no big deal.

Just take that apart and make it fit. The side window protectors would likely be some sort of plexiglass or clear plastic. The challenge for the other windows is the fact we need to use the doors. So I will explore other options for sure. Once we get a design finalized and exact measurements...they can be put into autocad and then my dad and I can begin to cut and weld the steel.

Projects are under way, still waiting for some parts in the mail and I have some more things to order. All to be done by March 1st.

Stay warm everyone. I will post some pics of our growing snowpack and how far down the thermometer on my porch goes in the coming days.

Countdown till March: 48 days