Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Stormy Wednesday

A humid airmass across the UK, along with patchy June sunshine, an approaching upper trough, and various convergence zones, has allowed numerous showers and thunderstorms to develop across England and Wales, specifically from Wales to E Anglia. With some orographic assistance, central Wales has seen the most numerous lightning strikes.

With the steep low-level lapse rates, any vorticity along convergence zones/outflow boundaries could well get ingested and spun up into a brief funnel or weak tornado. To that end I have issued, on behalf of TORRO, a convective discussion - see here.

So, if you see a funnel/tornado, let me know!

Thursday, 4 June 2009


We're back home now safely - the trip was fun, and although we didn't see any tornadoes, we saw some great storms, and had a laugh along the way!


Just a note to say we got home OK yesterday - spent today sleeping and recovering from the jet lag!

It was a great trip - although the storms were not the type we were after generally, we still saw quite a few storms, and had a laugh along the way!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

At the airport

Now at Denver Int Airport - just waiting around for our flight now. Brief excitement a few seconds ago as screams echoed out across the concourse - a woman screaming, "Get him off me!" - it really sounded like someone was being stabbed to death. However, it was actually someone being cuffed by the cops, perhaps on suspicion of nicking something from a shop.

Still, it did sound horrific for a second, and most people sat in the eating area where we are got up for a look. Helen has just returned (it wasn't her being nicked), and heard nothing!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Time to go home!


We're just about to leave our motel in N Platte, NE, for the final push to Denver, and our flight home!

North Platte


We're now in North Platte, Nebraska. Although it's 1.34am, we're still up, sorting out our cases ready for the flight back home tomorrow.

A decent last day's chasing

Our initial target of Hebron, Nebraska, worked out rather nicely. Storms fired to our south, in Kansas, in some very hot and unstable air. Mid-level cloud had suppressed convection around our area, but the clouds moved away. A storm quickly developed just to our SW, and before it had even started precipitating it was rumbling away. We spole with Rocky R and Charles E from Cloud 9 tours.

We let this develop, and then once it started precipitating, we headed into it to briefly sample the core. There was some pea sized hail in there.

We then headed back to the east, and started seeing the Vortex 2 armada passing us. After a while, we got into a good spot, with the original storm to our west (having briefly shown some nice structure). The storms to our south were pushing a strong gust front up from the south, and this was beginning to cut into our storm's updraught. This looked very pretty, and for a brief time I wondered whether we might get a brief spin up during the cell merger, but this was not to be. The storms were pumping out CG lightning every 20 seconds or so, to our SW.

After 15 mins or so, the approaching rain/hail core forced us to head east, although it overtook us around the town of Fairbury. Some pea to marble size hail fell, with frequent lightning, and it was pretty dark.

We then headed north, and got out of the storms, before turning east. We paused for a quick break in Crete, before moving to the east and letting the core move over. This brought fairly strong winds and torrential rain, as well as some close CGs.

We then booked our motel rooms for the night, in North Platte, and are now heading west on I-80. There are still 191 miles to go! Then there's another 230 -ish miles to do tomorrow, to Denver. However, we don't have to be there until 5pm or so.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Last chase day ahead!

Morning! We're still in Lincoln, NE - the storms kept going past 3am local time, so plenty of coffee required this morning!

We look to be in a reasonably good place for today's action - we need to be along or just north of a stationary front, and this seems to be fairly close by.

Matt has taken some great lightning shots, including a number yesterday.

See his Flikr page

Ian has also taken some great shots:

Partial success!

Well our punt on Nebraska partially paid off - we got some nice storms, and they were severe warned for a time. High based storms were the order of the day, and they were highly tilteds/sheared, and perhaps supercellular for a time.

We headed east to follow them (after checking into our motel in Lincoln, Nebraska), and ended up just over the border in Iowa. We parked up and watched various storms develop very close by and then move away to the ENE. These produced some very nice lightning.

We eventually headed back towards Lincoln, but a new line of storms developed to our north, spewing out almost constant lightning. We stopped and watched these for a while.

We eventully got back to Lincoln, and this line of storms weakened. However, as I type this, a new line has developed to our north - out of our north facing motel window, lightning is almost constantly flickering!

This image shows our position (in the red circle), and the line of storms to our north, just a few mins ago.

Sunday, 31 May 2009

Heading for Nebraska

We've been pulling our hair out this morning trying to decide on whether to head NW into S Dakota, where there is relatively good moisture, and strong surface convergence - or SSW towards SE or Central S Nebraska, where the chance of storms is much lower, but the parameters suggest that should something develop here, it would be isolated, severe, and bring the risk of a tornado.

After much deliberation and chart watching, we've opted for the Nebraska target. This is partly because there was a consensus that missing a tornadic supercell would be more gutting than missing some high based supercells! However, I'm sure that if/when storms develop in S Dakota, we'll still be annoyed! Oh well - the perils of storm chasing!

Tomorrow is our last chase day, and at this stage, SE Nebraska looks like the best area, so if nothing else, at least we should end up in a reasonable spot by the end of today.



We drove from Salina, Kansas, to Sioux City, Iowa, today - this is in readiness for a risk of severe storms on Sunday.


Saturday, 30 May 2009

Not a sausage!

The long drive from Amarillo to Kansas was fruitless as far as catching storms was concerned, although we have now positioned ourselves for possible chases in the closing days of the trip.

We covered around 560 miles today, heading north and then north-east from Amarillo, to Liberal, KS...and then north to Oakley. We then headed towards Hill City, as there were some cumulus off to our east which looked marginally promising for a time. Realising that nothing was going to come of them, we booked into the Sleep Inn at Salina whilst on the move. We then headed south to Hays (which brought back memories of the spectacular chases we had last year, when based in that city), before heading east on I-70 to Salina. We've had dinner at Applebees.

Tomorrow, we will attempt to chase again - perhaps either far eastern Kansas, or across the border in Missouri.

Friday, 29 May 2009

Heading north!

Good morning! It's 10.15am CDT and we're on highway 287 north out of Amarillo...we're heading towards Nebraska in the hope of seeing some LP supercells. This is quite a long drive so it's heads down and away!

Steak steak steak!!!

Well, we hauled ourselves all the way to Amarillo earlier this evening, and got to the Big Texan before closing time. Helen and I got ourselves onto the Big Texan webcam, and Gareth and Claire on the nightshift at work saw us on the webcam, and grabbed a picture (below!).
I've also put a few of Helen's weather pictures from the holiday so far below.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

One more thing...

I should add that as I type this we're driving past the 2nd biggest wind farm in the world, near Sweetwater, TX. The 1st biggest one is just down the road too!

Oh yeah, and Helen has come up with a better name for the post about the cat mess...."A room with a poo"!

Off to Amarillo again!

We've spent the day SE of Big Spring looking at a couple of OK storms, although they weren't especially good - some nice boiling cumulus though, and a bit of lightning.

We've decided to head to Amarillo now, and hopefully we'll get there in time to be able to eat at the Big Texan. If anyone's up in the middle of the night UK time, then have a look for us on the webcam at!

Just an afterthought...

Wondering what could possibly add to our already surreal and disturbing evening in Big Spring, I made the schoolboy error of opening my bedside table drawer. Inside I found what can be seen in the picture below - a half-used tube of vaginal cream, and a syringe. Lovely stuff. Please click on the image to get the full glory.

Petrified cat shit

The title of this thread isn't some kind slight on how we might feel if confronted by a major tornado (the chances of this seem very slim anyway this year!). No - this refers to the delights which we found in our motel (the so-called Quality Inn of Big Spring, Texas - remember this name - don't ever stay there!). Add to this the fact that the door is too small for its hole, the curtain is hanging at an odd angle, and that this is a town of freaks (indeed, enough to rival Pitminster, in Somerset). The carpet doesn't look like it's been hoovered either.

The poo was hiding behind the settee, like some kind of frightened pet (perhaps it was such a pet which laid the cable in the first place).

Not wanting the night porter to spend his evening with nothing to do, I decided to take the turnout down to him, neatly wrapped in toilet roll. He seemed slightly less than delighted with my offering, although he did pop it behind the counter - I'm assuming he is intending to take it up with the manager - indeed, I fully intend to get either a large discount or not pay at all...if I do have to pay, I might have to leave a tip of my own (obviously the whole log would be going too far).

Actually, I should add that we came down to W Texas as there's a chance of the odd storm tomorrow, although whether we'll want to hang around here long enough to see one is a different matter!!

When we came out of Denny's, where we ate dinner, our car was covered in ladybirds....this is an odd place.

Time to log off now (from the computer I mean).

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Nice storms!


Well we headed south towards a developing storm west of Fort Worth. It gave us some hail close to 1 inch in diameter, but loads of locals were stopping under overpasses, which is just ridiculous - you just can't go around stopping in the middle of the Interstate in heavy rain/hail - it's much more dangerous than just driving along. It just shouldn't be done.

Anyway, after a rather lively drive around Fort Worth we headed north towards another cell which moved over Decatur (a bit annoying as this was our earlier target!). However, this storm was moving from the south, which was quite odd really. We got amazing shots/video of the backside of the storm at sunset, which I'll try to post soon. After this, we headed to our motel at Decatur - our room has a jacuzzi in it! I switched on the pumps just to see what would happen with no water in, but it shot a load over water all over the mirrors surrounding it!

Anyway, there are some more storms to our west which are hopefully going to move through soon so I'm off outside for a look!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

N Texas

Hi all,

WE're currently heading SE from Wichita Falls, Texas. There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms for this area today - a cold front is moving down from the NW later on, but before that, convergence close to a small area of low pressure/weak boundary in this area, along with high instability and marginal shear should allow scattered thunderstorms, perhaps severe, to develop this afternoon/evening.

Later on, as the cold front approaches, storms may increase in coverage. We're hopefull of getting a reasonable storm today.

Still in Childress

Hi all,

Well, today was something of a let-down, although we always knew it was marginal. A cell popped to our west, and we intercepted it, but it soon died out.

I've got onto the Spotternetwork now, so you should be able to track our position at

Tomorrow looks like either N Texas or S Oklahoma - there is a lot of activity to our north at the moment (we've just popped out to have a look, and the lightning is pretty much continuous, about 60 miles to our north!). This stuff is likely to leave outflow boundaries lying around, so we'll be on the look out for them tomorrow, as they often serve as a focus for renewed thunderstorm development.

Fellow UK chaser Vicky Redwood is staying in the same motel, a couple of doors down, so we've just had a quick chin-wag with her.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Chance of storms today in TX

Hi all,

We're in Childress, Texas, at the moment - shortly we'll be heading out to intercept a small chance of supercells west or south-west of here.

Also, hopefully we can get our GPS to show our position - if we can get it working it'll be on Stu Robinson's page here:

Sunday, 24 May 2009

Now in Childress, TX


We've driven down to Childress, TX, from Amarillo, today. We saw a few messy storms on the way - they briefly looked quite nice but due to the non-existant wind shear, they all fell apart quite quickly.

The next couple of days bring slightly better wind shear but it's still marginal.

Anyway, this is some brief HD video of lightning the other day (22nd May). Click through to YouTube and watch it in HD by clicking the HD button - might take a while to load on a slow connection though.


Hello - we've made it to Amarillo safe and well - got here about 1.30am CDT. Going to bed now!

Saturday, 23 May 2009

Is this the way to Amarillo?!

We've just left Limon, Colorado, and are now en route to Amarillo, Texas. It's only 330 miles away, all the way on US route 287! Some strong coffee and a Twix is what I'm on at the moment, to get us through the evening! Message again when we get there.

Denver cyclone

Hi all,

We're hanging around the Limon-Denver area today to try and pick up storms forming around the Denver Cyclone - there's a small chance of weak tornadoes too, formed from surface convergence. You never know!

At Limon

Hi all,

We're at Limon now - ate dinner at Denny's this evening.

Here are a couple of video grabs of some lightning which we saw today from the storms north-west of here. I'm sure there are some better ones on the tape somewhere but I don't fancy going through all of it at the moment!

I'll get a video of this strike up, and also some of the hail from yesterday (21st) once I find a connection which will allow me to upload to Youtube - this motel's connection doesn't seem to let me.

Nice Colorado storms!

We caught some nice storms W/NW of Limon, west of Deer Trail. Some great CGs and a little bit of structure too! These formed with good convergence with the Denver Cyclone developing.

We're just in Deer Trail at the moment, getting a quick Coke - we're about to head back SE to Limon, where we're booked in for the night. Tomorrow may well be another day just west of Limon, with storms developing around the Palmer Divide, or perhaps just a shade north.

Then after that I think we'll start heading down towards the Texas Panhandle.

Friday, 22 May 2009


Just posting this from a location in Kansas NW of Saint Francis - a line of storms has developed and as we were heading south anyway towards Burlington we've taken a detour into the line. We've had gusty winds, frequent lightning, and hail up to marble size, which briefly covered the road, and torrential rain. The storm is still going on now, with another cell to the west. Time to go and do some more filming!!

Cool and cloudy!

Hello - well, we've spent the day driving around under cool, cloudy skies, in Nebraska. We've taken in the sights of the lake just north of Ogallala (Lake McConaughy). We've also been looking long and hard at the models and trying to formulate some kind of plan of action.

We've decided to head to Burlington, Colorado, for the night. This gives us the option of perhaps heading to Denver for Saturday, for a possible area of storms there, or continuing south to Amarillo, for a chance of storms through the weekend and into the 1st half of next week.

Thursday, 21 May 2009


No, that's not a placename in Nebraska - it's what today has been. Obviously we knew that it was a marginal set-up at best, but it turned out to be generally rubbish. And given the fact that basically the remainder of the of trip, at this stage, looks set to be ridged out with very limited severe weather chances, the feeling in the car is rather low. 

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Arrived in Scottsbulff

We drove from Denver to Scottsbluff today, in anticipation of a slim risk of severe storms tomorrow.

Along the way we caught some weak thunderstorms near Kimball, Nebraska, which afforded some nice CG lightning bolts - here's a video still from one of them.
(click on pics for bigger images - beware, the proper photo files are quite large!)

There were also some nice cloudscapes.

We ate dinner at Chilli's in Scottsbluff - Helen is amassing photographs of each of her dinners (don't ask!) - her Old Timer burger is seen below!

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

On the road!

Hi all,

Well we've now left the motel and are currently heading north on I-25. We're just north of Denver, and the in-car internet is working fine at the moment, although time will tell how well it works away from populated areas!
We're going to Scottsbluff, Nebraska - this is in anticipation of picking up a few storms tomorrow (Weds) - although moisture is very limited, there is a chance of some severe weather, possibly even some high based supercells.
At the moment, we have some nice towering cumulus clouds both to our west (over the Rockies) and to our east (over the Plains). This is a shot taken just seconds ago by my mobile phone!


Well, we've arrived safe, well, but's approx 4am UK time - 9pm US Mountain Time. We've picked up our hire car (Toyota Highlander - a bit of a beast!). On landing we could see a very dark cumulonimbus to our south, and on the journey to the hire car place we saw a number of CG lightnings! It also put on a lovely display of mammatus - Matt got some pics which I'll upload at some point soon. It was a nice start to the holiday! Anyway, off to Applebee's now for some late dinner!

Monday, 18 May 2009


Hi all!

Well we're now sat in Terminal 5 at Heathrow having passed through

Plane leaves @ 1545 all being well

Ta ta for now!

Sent from my iPod

The off!

Hello - well we're all pretty much packed now - just a couple of bits to do and then we'll be heading to Heathrow within the hour! Pattern still looking quite quiet for storms, but there's a chance of a few storms through the week so we'll be making a play for them if we can.

Next stop Denver!

Bye for now!

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Almost time for the off!

Hello all - well, in just over 24 hours our flight will leave London Heathrow bound for Denver International Airport. This is my 9th storm chase trip, and Helen's 6th. Matt Clark will be joining us this evening, and we're heading out for some pizza. Ian Miller is coming down from the north-east on an overnight coach tonight, and so will meet us at Heathrow tomorrow.

Unfortunately the charts are not looking that good at the moment for the next few days at least. A big trough is digging in across the eastern USA, and looks like causing a 'cut-off' low to form near Florida by Tuesday. The long and short of this is that quality Gulf moisture is unlikely to spread into the Plains through much of this week...a few upper troughs are likely to cross the northern Plains, pushing a cold front southwards. The lack of good moisture means that any storms which do form are likely to be high based, and non-tornadic. Even so, shear will be reasonable, so a few high-based supercells are possible across the higher terrain of the western Plains, especially in the north. We'll decide on Tuesday morning what the plan is - there are a number of possibilities depending on how the rest of the week is shaping up. They range from heading to Colorado Springs, and ascending Pike's Peak, to heading to Yellowstone, to heading to the northern Plains.

I reckon that the cut-off low in the Gulf probably won't hang around as long as the models suggest - to that end I thing week 2 shows at least some promise of moisture returning to the Plains, and a greater chance of some severe weather. However, this pattern is not looking very good at the moment, and is a very far cry from last year's storm fest!

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Storm chasing soon!

Well, it's just under a week until we jet off to the USA for our annual storm chase. This year, 4 of us are going: Helen Rossington; Ian "Windy" Miller; and Matt Clark. We fly to Denver on Monday 18th May for just over 2 weeks. This blog will detail our chases, etc - pictures and vids will also be posted on here. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

First warm air storms of the year?

Well, we sometimes have to wait until well into May, but it does look like we could see the first of what I would call 'warm air' thunderstorms of the year across parts of the UK overnight tonight and into tomorrow.
Overnight tonight, models do indeed break out precip across south-eastern parts of England, thence advecting/developing it NW'wards into parts of central England and Wales. This appears to be in response to isentropic lifting of 850 hPa high WBPT air atop a relatively cool boundary layer, as the 850 flow increases overnight, and differential thermal advection, as the 850 WBPT increases below fairly cool upper air. Note that this means that we may not see much moving NW from the near continent this evening - rather, it should develop here. There is a reasonable chance of thunder with this too. Shear in the cloud layer is not too high - around 20-25 knots, with a little veering - thus, rotating updraughts seem unlikely, but any stronger cores could bring gusty winds and hail, perhaps to 15 mm diameter or so. 

Tomorrow, this lot should have cleared away to the NW, with sunshine developing across southern and some central parts of England. Somewhat lower 850 WBPT air will move into parts of SE England and E Anglia later in the morning and through the afternoon, meaning storms are unlikely here, or at least, if any develop, they will soon have moved away to the WNW. Further west and north-west, there will still be a moist and unstable airmass in place at peak heating - any storms which initiate seem most likely to do so 
(in the absence of any larger scale low-level forcing mechanism) in regions of small-scale forcing, such as elevated heating over the likes of the North Downs around the Berks/Hants border, or the Berkshire Downs/Salisbury Plain, and then moving NW'wards - others may develop over the Chilterns. Deep layer shear will tend to increase through the afternoon as stronger 500 hPa flow begins to arrive, and will increase further into the evening, reaching around 40 knots. Low-level shear will also tend to increase in the early evening. Given the lack of a major boundary to initiate storms, any which do form could remain fairly discreet. Parts of central southern England, the Midlands, and east Wales have a chance of some severe weather, primarily in the form of strong winds (up to 60 mph) and hail (20-30 mm dia). However, there is also the chance of a tornado or two, especially towards early evening in parts of the Midlands and east Wales. 
The shear is certainly sufficient for organised multicell storms, and these could contain rotating updraughts/supercell type structures, augmenting the severe threat.

Sunday, 5 April 2009


Testing from email

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

More US severe weather

Well, Spring is well and truly here now, so it should come as no suprise to see a series of powerful troughs pushing through the USA, bringing rounds of severe weather. Some of these in recent days have not had huge amounts of Gulf moisture to feast on, meaning fairly low-end severe events. However, on Thursday, such a trough will be accompanied by plenty of moisture, as strong return flow from an open Gulf streams into portions of the south and south-east.

Basically anywhere from around the Mississippi Delta region eastwards, and northwards towards Tennessee is at risk from severe weather as the potent upper trough and associated surface low move through the area. 500-1500 J/Kg of CAPE are expected, along with strong 0-6 and 0-1km shear values - more than sufficient for supercell structures, although given the intense forcing, a fairly complex scenario is expected. Also, surface winds are expected to be a little veered - however, I recall seeing something similar on the Super Tuesday outbreak of Feb 2008, and there were numerous strong tornadoes, and very long-track tornadoes.

The warm front currently looks like lying through central Alabama (E-W, ish!) by around 21z/close to peak heating. Should this occur, low-level helicity would be maximised just ahead of the front. Storms crossing this front would have an enhance chance of producing tornadoes, although could become more elevated as they continue to move NE into the cooler air.

At this stage, although a large area is at risk, I would place the Birmingham - Montgomery - Columbus area of Alabama in the highest risk area for strong tornadoes Thursday afternoon/evening, although anywhere from Mississippi eastwards could be in for a rough ride.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

USA Storm chances - Mon 23rd March

After a fair while without severe weather, the central Plains of the USA look set to receive some on Monday. An approaching upper trough should promote lee cyclogenesis and set the stage for thunderstorms, some severe, on Monday afternoon and evening.

Whilst moisture is not going to be plentiful, there looks like there will be enough for some severe weather. Dewpoints in the 50s F are already across much of Texas and Oklahoma, with 60s dews arriving on the southern Gulf coast. Another 24 hours of return flow should deepen the moist sector. The upper system will serve to steepen lapse rates as it moves in through the day.
The best compromise of ingredients and shear appears to be, to me, over central and northern Oklahoma on Monday afternoon. The dry line looks like stalling through the area, although will be overtaken by the cold front overnight. Supercells seem likely to develop along the dry line and the propogate into the moist sector - WRF seems to indicate the chance of long-lived supercells/supercell clusters through the evening, moving from west-central OK north-eastwards to the OK/KS border around I-35. If chasing, you would want to get ahead of these cells as the cells will be moving quite fast.

High shear-limited moisture set-ups often lead to storms leaning towards the LP end of the spectrum, bringing the risk of large hail and high winds. However, moisture pooling could locally enhance tornado potential. Analysis through the day on Monday will help pin down the regions most at risk.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Speed and things

I'm always amazed at the number of motorists who seemingly fail to 'get' what average speed cameras actually are. I've noted dozens of people braking hard as the pass the first camera, only to speed up again through the road works, and then slow down again at the next one! Confounded baffoons the lot of them!!

And another thing - motorists in Reading seem to have taken it upon themselves to 'tag slow drive' when I'm on the road. Now, I don't want to hammer around everywhere, just doing the standard 30mph through town is perfectly fine. But following some dawdler ambling along at 20mph is just sooo annoying! And just when the offender pulls into a side road, another seems to be 'tagged' and pulls out in front of me! And why does it take so long for people to pull away from traffic lights? Do people see them change so much more slowly than I do?! Doh.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Storm chase review - 29th May 2008 - Nebraska

I thought I'd post a video of the intense supercell which affected portions of south-central Nebraska on May 29th 2008. We started our chase day in Salina, Kansas. The SPC had issued a high risk of severe thunderstorms for parts of Nebraska and Iowa, mentioning the risk of strong, long track tornadoes. Our initial target was Red Cloud, Nebraska. I wanted to pick up the southernmost storm (the 'tail-end Charlie'), as this would have the best moisture amd would be unaffected by other storms.

However, once in Red Cloud, we noted a storm developing to our west, near McCook, Nebraska. We headed west and then north, and made our intercept to the west of Kearney. We had to punch northwards through the RFD, and encountered severe winds south of Odessa. We made it through the RFD and headed eastwards, observing a tornado to the SW of Kearney. We were behind it, and crossed the damage path, noting a house which had been severely damaged. The tornado was still causing damage and power flashes in Kearney.

We got ahead of the storm, but it began to weaken somewhat as it got near Grand Island. However, a new cell/mesocyclone quickly developed to the south of the initial storm, and quickly wound up into a beast. We remained ahead of it, and stopped just south of Aurora to observe it. The RFD rapidly approached us from the west - we saw what we thought might be a tornado at the north end of the RFD, and subsequently we've found out that it probably was, as a tornado caused damage just to the north of our location. The RFD also caused severe damage to the garage, with several UK and US chasers in it at the time - their vehicles were damaged too. Thankfully they escaped major injury.

We hurriedly left just before the RFD hit, and thankfully made the decision to head east (if we'd gone north, we'd have had a very close experience with the tornado).

The video below shows the storm approaching the petrol station.

We remained ahead of the storm, although had a pretty close call with the RFD as we headed north to the east of Aurora. We had to take a dirt road north, and this meant we couldn't travel at normal highway speeds. It was a pretty nerve-racking drive, but James kept us on the road, and we beat the RFD.

Matt took a great video of the RFD as we blasted north - see below.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

That's 'ice'!

Weather and its effects never cease to amaze me, which must be a good thing seeing as I'm a meteorologist! This ensures that the job never becomes boring, as there is always some weather somewhere in the world to make you say, "wow".

Cue a winter storm in the Great Lakes region of the USA, and specifically in the state of Michigan. Strong winds pushed ice from Lake Huron into homes on the states eastern shoreline. Now, I'm sure we're all used to a bit of snow and ice, sometimes invading the doormat area of the home when a shoe is not firmly tapped to remove snow before entering the house. But these images from the CNN website are pretty amazing. It would be a rather rude awakening to stroll bleary-eyed into the kitchen in order to get the morning coffee warmed up, only to find yourself up to your neck in ice. Brrrrrr.

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Why does it hurt so?!

The woman (Maya) to the right (well, I say woman - it's actually a computer program's depiction - the software in question is, "My Fitness Coach", on the Wii) has made standing up and sitting down a rather painfull excerise (pun almost intended) today. For last afternoon, I decided to start a fitness regime (long overdue), and turned to this piece of computerised muscle to start the process. In all fairness, it's a pretty good workout - I can tell this by the burning in my upper legs each time I stand up this morning! Even so, this is no bad thing, as it shows I must have been working quite hard - next session probably this evening, if my legs are up to it!

Saturday, 7 March 2009

The tallest ever man?

A discussion today has thrown up the incredible revelation that revered cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew is an incredible 1 mile tall*. This has raised a number of questions about how he goes about daily life, not least the (seemingly ordinary and mundane to us 'shorties') task of sitting down. Well, I can happily reveal the answer. Aggers (as he is known to loyal listeners of Test Match Special, which has nothing to do with ascertaining the best small incendiary device) has 250 hinged joints in his legs, which all collapse in beautiful symphony, allowing him to harmlessly, and effortlessly, glide down to seathood. Having done this, he can purr out the cricket news for hours on end. The small problem of standing up again is equally effortless, as numerous pneumatic devices extend the joints, and Aggers can rise proud into the evening air, the last rays of the setting sun setting him off a treat.

There, you've just learnt something new today.

* estimated height, based on a comparison to Ronnie Corbett.

Friday, 6 March 2009

McNuggets on charge!

I was rather amused to read about the American woman who called 911 because the McDonald's she was purchasing her meal from refused to give her a refund when the realised they didn't have any McNuggets! 'This is an emergency' she is said to have roared, when informed by the police that it was not as such, and that she shouldn't have called 911. This is, of course, true. I could have understood it if it were a double quarterpounder which had gone walkabout, but not the nuggets.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

First post!

Well, here we go! It's been a long time coming but I have now decided to post my occasional rants and thoughts, as well as storm chase reports, into a blog. I don't know whether this will be just a phase, or whether I'll continue to update it, but let's be positive!