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:

View Larger Map

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
Image Hosted by

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:

Image Hosted by


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:
Image Hosted by

Became this after only a couple minutes:
Image Hosted by

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:
Image Hosted by

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
Image Hosted by

With decent warming perhaps into the 50s, dewpoints in the upper 40s maybe...probably going to be foggy.
Image Hosted by

Start of an active pattern? GFS wants to bring in another trough right behind it...return of SW flow?
Image Hosted by

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!