Yea, Ive seen to have blown lots of good chase opportunities lately. There have been several gorgeous tornadoes in MN this past week and I never even made an effort to even try and think about maybe wanting to see if I can perhaps chase. Alas though, I dont feel angry or any "SDS" about it...I guess thats what having an amazing season will do. Still though, I really would have like to been there for some of them.
Only a handful of chasers chase this time of year and the odds of getting something unique are greater, however one of the problems with tornadoes this time of year is what has always made me not want to chase them. They are needles in haystacks. The fact is allot of these summer setups all look the very same, at least to me and my moderate forecasting skills. Its hard to justify having the funds to run out great distances this time of year when every day looks similar. You can have the same setup 8 days in a row, and only 1 or 2 with tornadoes. Often times these come down to last minute mesoscale details which by the time I am able to pick out, its too late to make it to the target area in time. Damn this living location of mine! I never imagined the main 2010 season would be as active as it was and thus I exhausted all my chase funds early...lesson learned.
Unfortunately I am not one of these chasers whos rich parents can help fund my chasing. I do everything on my own and the fact of the matter is I am still not making enough money at the moment. What money I do have coming in is going to paying off the expenses of the active chasing I did from March - June. My chase partners help with gas but what they dont help with is the vehicle maintenance from the intense abuse I put it through, especially since I have driven 26 out of 27 chases this year. I chose to do it that way though. I don't really like being the passenger.
Speaking of March, April and May...I wouldn't even bother with those months if I knew June/July/August would be like this every year. Thats the other thing about it, the northern plains tornado season is never a sure things. In 08 and 09 it was practically non existent, this year just happens to be a year where it is very active.
Hopefully I can recover some chase funds soon to go after things in the coming months. I still hope for some local chases. Other than June 5th, IL has had a relatively quiet tornado season but there have been plenty of bow echoes and MCSs to mess around with. Those types of things I like to just sit at home and let them hit me. Especially knowing if they do anything significant I can make a media sale without putting up any cost up front. Its been a great year for local storms though so I can't complain there.
I keep a "thunderstorm log" of all the days with storms at home [yea, Im a huge nerd] and so far I have around 30 entries. Last year there was a measly 20 the entire year...stupid 2009.
I sort of get a kick out of watching spotter network on any given day there are storms around here. Allot of new names and aspiring spotters/chasers zipping around after garbage crap storms. Ahhh I remember those days...the days where I would wait for a storm...any storm to be in progress and just drive around it not knowing what the hell I was doing...luckily back then noone could track and laugh at me.
The problem I see is a serious increase in bogus reports. Yesterdays MCS came with a whopping 6 funnel cloud reports. No tornadic signatures on radar whatsoever, the storm rolls over me and I see lots of pointy, scuddy lowerings which explains the false reports. Not to mention some of those spotters bombard our beloved Tom Skilling with these "funnel" pictures...to which there is NOTHING resembling a funnel in...but alas, such is chasing and spotting these days.
Anyways, back to the point. I've sat out some good chase days and missed some good storms, but I wont be sitting out much longer! I see some chasers have donation buttons on their websites...I wonder if people actually donate...I should try it. Even a dollar can get me a value meal on the road!