Monday, February 23, 2015

Did a Virginia storm chasing presentation to a Virginia Tech Survey of Meteorology class this morning. It's always fun to talk about chasing storms here in the Old Dominion, but it's especially fun talking to a meteorology class.

During these presentations I always show this video clip of a June 2011 hail storm I got caught in:
video
Fortunately the hail size didn't get large enough to crack the windshield, but I definitely was not prepared for this cell that blew up literally over my head. (Chasemobile has a few dimples from this storm.)

Oh, and talking chasing always helps dispel the late winter blahs!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mid-winter instability

In the spring and summer I would be rather blah about this SPC graphic:
But in mid-February with cold air in place and with even colder air due in behind an approaching Arctic front this could be an interesting event. With snow squalls predicted the text to this SPC Day 1 outlook mentions low-topped convection and sporadic lightning this afternoon. 

I don't think I'll pull a "Jim Cantore" if we have lightning and thunder but it would be a neat thing!

Sunday, February 08, 2015

February chasing in Virginia is rare...but it does happen

February is always difficult for us storm chasers here in Virginia. It has usually been several months since the last chase and spring chasing may or may not kick off in March. But there are rare opportunities to get out and shake off the dust when an early season setup looks decent.

Here is a photo from a Feb 4th 2006 chase in the Richmond vicinity under an SPC Slight Risk that contained a 2-5% tornado risk:
This lowering just north of the I-295 corridor led us into rural areas north of the metro area between I-95 and U.S. Rte 301. Other than a pretty sunset we didn't see any more detail than what this photo shows but it was a chase!

This photo is from Feb 28th 2011:
This chase, taken near Lignum just of VA Rte 3,  actually occurred under a tornado watch. Cloud depths weren't enough for lightning and the most active part of squall this line headed north into areas I couldn't easily follow. I did continue east on Rte 3, stopping several times and winding up in Essex county on U.S. Rte 17 as the front blew thru.

So there is (faint) hope for chasing in February...but I know better than to count on one. Still, most years hold at least one March chase so maybe the season's kickoff isn't far off!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Virginia Tech Stormchase Google Hangouts series

One of my distractions from winter weather has been the series of Google Plus Hangouts I've hosted regarding past Virginia Tech Stormchase trips. Up until last night's session the previous ones had featured all student panelists. But since this latest session was focused on the second 2013 trip - which included the infamous El Reno tornado - I decided that this particular Hangout required a unique panel. Thus the all star cast included trip leaders Dave Carroll, Jen Henderson, Dane Webster, and Kevin Myatt.

This being the fifth in this series of @Hokiestorm Hangout discussions it came off almost bug-free as I've acquired more experience as the moderator and "chief button pusher" for the effort. The content was very interesting as the discussion was from the trip leaders' perspectives (vice the students). Dave's insights are always worth paying attention to given his 20+ years of chasing expertise and the others all provided valuable inputs regarding the process of watching the students develop as chasers.

There was also a brief mention of the 2015 Stormchase trips that will occur in late May into June. Talking about chasing also keeps SDS (supercell deprivation syndrome) at bay!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

2014 Virginia Stormchase account published

...and it's done. (Whew!) I just finished publishing the 2014 chase account in six separate Notes on the Virginia Storm Chasing Facebook page. The amount of editing required to "fix" the transition from a text document to a FB Note is intense and I can't guarantee I caught all the errors. But it's out there now and I am turning my focus to other things now.

Enjoy!!