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!