RIP 2018 chase season / season summaries

Mar 2, 2004
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Wichita, KS
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It was a transition year for me as I moved from southern Illinois to here in Wichita back in mid-March and while settling into the new job and new life, my chasing was largely restricted to Kansas as part of my new job. Fortunately, the lackluster setups really worked in my favor as I needed the chance to really get settled into the new life here and a lot of chasing would've either hindered all that, or I would've missed a ton of stuff by not getting out. Also being t-boned in mid-May didn't help with things, as it took almost four weeks before I got into a new vehicle thanks to back and forth with insurance (it took over a week before the party at fault sent in their insurance papers).

I missed several of the bigger events here in Kansas, including the screw-up of Tescott and being along the KS/OK border on the day where several decent tornadoes occurred in late May north of Dodge City. Anything out of state was not something I'd say I missed, even as I was near Goodland during the Colorado landspout day.

In all, I did manage three tornadoes, which were all all the ground for what I generously consider a minute between them. Two of those tornadoes were on super low end days where living nearby played a huge role in me salvaging my "seen a tornado every year since 2003" streak. While those naders won't go down in any top 10, I was extremely happy to have them given the year that was presenting itself. I put the Arkansas City print on the wall with the others because it was my first one as a resident of Kansas, and was somewhat photogenic (the most so for me anyway). Largest hail I saw was the day before my crash near Greensburg where I got into 3-inch hail that somehow did NOT take out any windows. Got one several great storms scattered about the spring and summer, so by no means was it quiet in terms of storms, just lack of tornadoes.

It took til October before I crested the 10,000 mile mark on the season, a lot of that due to living here now, but still contributed to my lowest mileage total since the early 2000s. I imagine my new average living here will see that annual total go way down, but still was a measure of how little I got out this year beyond Kansas.

This was not a throw-away season as I was able to get out a lot here in Kansas thanks to my job. But obviously Ma-Nature didn't put on a ton of shows here, and the ones she did I hosed up. My head was in 50,00 other places getting settled, so I wasn't on the top of my game. But I am much more settled, found my rhythm, and hope 2019 perks up a bit for the area. And I'll have saved up some time off come Spring and early summer, so hopefully I will get to play on a few more events back on the high plains this season.

Overall, I give the 2018 season a C+, and that's mostly on me... it would've gone down much higher had I hit one of the bigger Kansas events (I'm a 1 day makes a season kinda guy), but it was my own doing. And limited opportunities presented themselves elsewhere, none of which I didn't/couldn't make. But the + comes from the fact that in a season with limited opportunities, I felt VERY fortunate to have seen what I did and keep my annual streak alive with a brief tornado that did make the wall collection.
 
Jan 10, 2014
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Sheridan, WY
www.kevin-palmer.com
2018 was actually the best year of chasing I've had. I'm lucky to be living in Wyoming with easy access to the Northern Plains. The 2 previous years did not have a lot of local activity outside of a couple big days. But in 2018 I ended up chasing almost every week in May and June, all within 6 hours of home. May 10th was a highlight with some incredible structure in western Nebraska, before I got a little closer than I intended to a rain-wrapped tornado. The rest of the month brought some great lightning and post-storm sunsets.

I didn't feel too bad about missing the Laramie tornado since that was such a fluke. But it did hurt missing 5/27 and 5/28 as that could have been back to back days of amazing twisters. Somehow I have yet to chase any storms in Colorado. But June 28th more than made up for any regrets I had. A cyclic supercell on the MT/SD border with ridiculous structure dropped a total of 8 tornadoes. Although I only saw the last 4 from a distance, the season couldn't have ended on a better note. I also finally got enough time lapse footage to finish a film I had been working on: https://vimeo.com/kevinpalmerphotography/upslopeflow

Here's hoping 2019 is a better season for all. But it would be nice to continue the trend of less deadly twisters.
 

Bobby Little

Supporter
Mar 18, 2013
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eagle, michigan
Newly retired with decent amount of flexibility (much more for 2019) I saved tons of gas/motel money by not chasing 2018. Driving from mid-Michigan, setups either didnt work out at the time or i chose not to chase (smart choice).
That said, i will be out in 2019 chasing, hitting a few concerts, baseball games, drinking beer, eating burgers/food from the suggestions of fellow Stormtrackers from the earlier forums disscussions, and exploring during set up weeks.
Good luck to all in 2019..hope to meet a few fellow chasers this year.
 
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May 1, 2017
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Chicago, IL
2018. was pretty dreadful for me in terms of chase days. Here are my stats:

Chase days: 6 (the worst)
Mileage: 6248 (the worst)

Although number of tornadoes and tornado days are about average, this year was very bad, partly due to my job (i would chase 6/28 in my favorite part of SD and MT for sure, and 12/1 in my home state of IL), partly because of lack of events. What i miss are structure chases and structure photos.

Grumpy cat Iowa was my best state for tornadoes this year, as my experience grows i can fight with this unpredictable state better :)
 
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Aug 4, 2008
203
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Nashville, TN
2018 was terrible for me. I only had a couple of days worth mentioning: Chased a storm near home in Nashville (I think February) and saw a tornado that resulted in a fatality on the TN/KY state line and then in March down in Alabama which resulted in two birdfart tornadoes near Russellville and then monster hail in Cullman. I spent the last week of May and first week of June in Austin, Tx relaxing and cycling.