Tuesday, July 27, 2010

4 Times the Irony


Thats the number of times my neighborhood has been smacked by damaging severe storms this year. I cannot recall any year that had so many damaging rounds, but then again I never paid as much attention.

Want to know something ironic about that....check out the dates:

June 18th, June 23rd and then July 18th, July 23rd

The definition of irony shows itself in thunderstorm form. It makes me wonder what August 18th and 23rd will have in store for me? Think I am making this up? Behold the proof:

June 18th:

June 23rd:

July 18th:

July 23rd:

All of these events featured damage within 3 blocks of my house. The event of June 23rd was most significant in that it was caused by a tornadic supercell which if you look closely on the radar image you will see the white box which indicates the tornado warning. The rotation passed right over my house and of course, I was not there. Had there been backed winds [winds from the southeast] that day I am certain a tornado could have touched down.

While its fun to  speculate that the dates have some mythical significance I know better. That does not change the fact that it seemingly has been way stormier than normal around here. It is to be expected though seein as how this is the warmest summer in over a decade. We have more 90 degree days this year than we have had in the last 2 combined. With the heat comes the humidty and with that comes the energy to spark these powerful storms.

It also helps that the jet stream this year seems to not have migrated as far north as it could. Leaving us on the southern end of stronger than normal jet streams, so any storm that does form has the ability to tap into that jet and bring those winds down to the surface. Typically in the summer around here we see lazy flow aloft and we get popcorn pulse storms that pop up, dump on ya for 10 minutes and then die, but not this year. With the storms tapping that jet energy they can sustain themselves longer and become severe.

The stronger than normal jet also explains why that despite being so hot an humid this year, we have had no air quality alert or ozone action days. When the jets flow is lazy the air can stagnate. So I guess there is some light in this stormy tunnel right?

The most recent barage of storms on July 23rd brought flooding to this area that I have never seen before. I have lived here my whole life and never have I seen my street completely covered in water higher than the curb and onto the lawn. I have all that documented here on my site: http://www.aerostorms.com/072310-chicago-severe-weather.php

I was also able to get some footage of the extreme weather and damage onto ABCs Good Morning America which was another personal victory for me. How I would love nothing more for than my lifes work to be documenting such events and reporting them to the world. Alas, Ive been living a pipe dream, but its fun when it comes true even for just a day before reality sets back in.

The forecast this Wednesday calls for more severe storms but I think the timing of the FROPA is ill for this area and we will see another south of I-80 type event. We shall see though.

Also makes me wonder what the fall will bring. The northern plains have been extremely active this year and when that jet makes its yearly sag back south in another month, the true insane-o shear will return. I havent looked at the long range GFS in awhile but it did snow a major pattern shift suggesting this explosive pattern could finally come to an end in August...but as always with the weather, we will have to wait and see!

So much more I can write about. More later!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bullseye Bowdle.

By now I am sure you know this exists, but if for some reason all you know of me is through this blog, read on.

The group I have aligned myself with, otherwise known as Convective Addiction has released its first full length DVD titled "Bullseye Bowdle" The DVD centers on the infamous May 22nd 2010 chase. That day a single supercell dropped a family of tornadoes ranging from photogenic trunks, fat cones, drill bits, stout stove pipes to a violent EF-4 wedge. The DVD covers every single tornado [just how many that was I still don't know!] from our multiple angles.

Projects like this were the reason I joined up with CA in the first place. I alone would not have enough footage to make an interesting DVD on the day, but combined with the others there is more than enough to tell one heck of a story. Those who did not chase could contribute by handling the bulk of the project itself, and that saves me time to do other things. Splitting the profits 8 ways isn't the best, but its profits I otherwise wouldn't have on my own. So why complain?

I also think it is something unique we have to offer. Chaser DVDs are all pretty much the same, a summary of key events. No real story. I mean, while the footage can be good, the sad reality is I can get my tornado video fix on youtube, which [along with every damn cell phone having a video camera] has nearly killed the market. So unless a DVD has something more to offer than just tornado footage, why bother? Others might not see it that way but hey, opinions are a dime a dozen these days.

Tornado footage itself used to be the draw. It was rare, mostly unseen and the only way to see for yourself what went down was to purchase a DVD or be lucky enough to catch the news that night. Times have changed and technological advances have new footage popping up almost daily at your fingertips so why spend 20 bucks for something when you don't have to?

However, chasing is quickly gaining in popularity and as much as I hate to say it, is becoming a trend and a fad. With that being said, one has to think of new ways to tap into the financial side of this booming field. I think our group is well aware of this and that is why we are offering a unique style of DVD. The DVD not only has over an hour of good tornado footage but also tells a story, and hopefully will give people more satisfaction when they watch it.

I am proud of the production as it is the first one I have been apart of. I got to see just what a real pain in the ass it is and now know what I need to do to release my own personal DVD hopefully at the end of this year too. I look forward to the challenge. I have several ideas to go about implementing a new style of chaser DVD, and it will take some time to be done right. Before I jump into lumping 10 minutes of this chase and 6 minutes of this chase onto a DVD, I have begun actually writing the DVD. I am not a writer...so my first challenge will be to become one.

That being said, head on over to Convective Addiction and pick yourself up a copy, you will not be disappointed and if you are, beef it up with mother nature and tell her to somehow make a better storm.

The trailer:

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Storm Bubble.

I see it all the time. People always say "The best storms always go north and south of me because of *insert something unique to their area here.*"

The dreaded STORM BUBBLE. Their existence cannot be proven by science, but just like ghosts, many are believers. Take the past 3 days here in Chicago. Multiple rounds of thundery onslaughts, yet not one single one passed over my house. Luckily thunder and lightning can be seen/heard for many miles otherwise I would probably be blogging photos of the local squirrels I just fed my leftover 4th of July fireworks to.

Lets take a look at the evidence from the past 3 days, 7-6-10, 7-7-10 and 7-8-10. My spotter network icon is circled and shows the exact position of my house.

It makes me wonder, hmmm...am I wearing my storm repellent today? The logical mind would laugh at this and realize that storms are completely random and their location is determined by the happenings of the atmosphere and nothing man made. Terrain DOES have some influence on storm development on a larger scale such as the uplsope area in the high plains and the caprock in TX but not on such a small scale.

So how does one explain the seemingly sure existence of the storm bubble?

The fact of the matter is, when watching radar there are millions of other places a storm can hit other than your house. We live on a teeny tiny plot of land on earths general surface. So "north and south" of me are pretty big generalizations. 1 mile south? 10 miles south? 50 miles? 100? It is easy to watch the radar and see where storms are going that aren't hitting you yet are hitting everyone else. If, however, you were to put a pin mark on a radar in one of the locations you think gets hit all the times. You will probably in due time notice that single tiny spot has just as many near misses.

Thus, if seeing storms is so important to you, I suggest setting yourself up in a way where you can watch them easily. A house not surrounded by trees, A house with a 2nd story window facing west or south. A house on top of a hill. Not living so far north. Otherwise, you will be in the bubble you're entire life. Don't fret though, your time will come, because even the biggest bubble pops.