Biggest fear in 2004 chases....

And your biggest fear of 2004 chases?



Personally my biggest fear of 2004 was near Danville on 12th may( Kansas-Harper County) in a confusion moment under the supercell: internet connection with the laptop didn't work, and since I and my chase partner were in late, decided to drove into the core of the supercell to arrive before under the meso ( we were north of the supercell). After hail with softball size we arrived not far from the enormous rotating wall cloud and the night was very dark: at that moment, after the hail, we were so confused and we couldn't understand where the tornado was! Radio said that there was a large tornado on the ground near Danville ( and we were in Danville!) and the tornado was very dangerous because it was night and it was wrapped around by rain...We didn't see it because it was night and we were too near at the precipitation core in front of the tornado and hardly in front of the massive meso ( big mistake!!!!!!) but we felt it very near. What I can say? HP supercell are too difficult to chase...Then if you arrive in late :lol:
 
Mine would probably be June 12 south of Mulvane. During a small portion of the famous white tornado, I hit the red "pause/record" button to pause while I climbed out of the truck to run across the road and get a better shot around the trees. Once the tornado ended, we ran back across the road, jumped in the truck, and raced towards the house that had just been obliterated in front of us. Help was already there by the time we found the house (well, foundation, there was no house left) so we turned back to go to the chase. In all the previous confusion, for a while, I didn't know if I'd been on pause or record during the tornado, because I'd hit the button a few times. Fortunately, I'd recorded when I wanted to and paused when I wanted to. However, when I watched the playback the vry first time, I discovered that I had briefly hit "pause" during the Mulvane tornado as I was getting out of the truck (having forgot I did this) and for a brief second I thought I had missed the entire sequence of it hitting the house and roping out.

As far as scared for my safety, that happened on the same day, same tornado. I was standing outside, right next to the truck, videotaping the first tornado near Mulvane. I had my vidcam plugged into the truck's cig lighter adapter. A CG struck right across the road from us, and as it did, I felt a shock through my vidcam, from a small surge that was obviously running through the cig adapter/connector wire. On the video, you can see where my vidcam died for a split second as the charge went through it (and me). It looks like I made a small, quick edit that eliminated about a half-second of raw footage, but it IS the raw footage. I wonder if the strike didn't actually hit the truck itelf, but I suspect if that was the case I wouldn't be typing this now. That Mulvane storm is the only time in my chase career where I've stayed inside a parked vehicle to tape a tornado due to fear of lightning; normally I'm immune to this fear. I guess a small taste of what it's like was all I needed, LOL :wink:
 
Probably coming back to my car April 18 in ne NE with the tow truck driver. What a night that was. Just about got into a fight with a CRAZY drunk farmer with Randy Chamberlain who helped me out with a ride to town. The farmer got more and more crazy till he was in our face with it. So we leave and head to town for a tow truck. Finally after a bit of a wait he shows up and I ride back out there with him. He too evidently had been drinking as I could smell it bigtime. As we drove down the dark road by the farmhouse I told him it's entirely possible this farmer nearby is aiming at us with a deer rifle right now. The farmer was all crazed cause I guess it happens all the time right there where it turns into a minimum maintenance road. Like I was enjoying myself in the rain not seeing the damn sign that said it was going to turn to utter slime.

Hydroplaning south of Burwell was scarry too. Nearly being stuck again June 10 north of Ogallala was spooky. That can be a bad thing. You're chasing a storm just to your wnw and it's moving ne and there are no shoulders. They are wet and your car is rearwheel drive. There was one place to pull over, but I quickly found out it was slime/mud and kept the car "rolling" to get back onto the highway before being stuck and bout hit a sign. It was then that I gave up on that storm for a better road network. And finally, June 11 Ft. Dodge IA second tornado. The road was a gravel road and was fine when I got on it. I was about 3-4 miles onto it east of the highway recording the tornado just to the north, within a mile. It completely wraps in rain so I back up to turn around, but notice that traction seems goofy now. I got it rolling as it rained harder and harder. At 30mph I couldn't hardly step on the gas without spinning the tires. Couldn't believe I got out of there. Time for a new car.
 
July 13th was a very frustrating, and very scary day at some moments. The first occuring after we got word of the Roanoke F4 tornado on the ground in our supercell. We got stuck in the town of Bloomington, IL as the supercell overtook us. Basically, the fear was caused by the fact that we were stuck in traffic with the sirens blaring in town, with high winds tearing branches from trees and throwning them into the car, along with golfball sized hail...all the while, for all we know, that massive tornado is just behind the next building. This was the first time I'd actually felt fear overtake me during a chase. I dont know if its on the video, but at one point I did say to my chase partner, Dave..."Can you tell im a little nervous???" as I was tapping my foot anxiously, as well as tapping my fingers together. I could tell he was scared too...as normal hes a pretty profane person...but, I've never heard someone let so much profanity fly as he did during this sequence. Ill worn you, if you do end up viewing my chase video this year...the July 13th segment is definetly R rated.

Anyways...after that, a few hours later...once again we are inside the core of this thing driving down a not so good country road. In the heavy rains, we couldnt see a whole lot, and probably should have been going a LITTLE slower...but, suddenly the road took a 90 degree turn, and we didnt. We flew off the road, across the ditch, which luckily wasnt too steep, and into a soy bean field. Dave kept the car moving, whipped the steering wheel around as we turn a 270 degree turn, and slide back onto the road and back on our way. The wierd thing was...that, through this entire event, neither of us said ONE thing until about a mile down the road when I said...'well, that kinda sucked" Was just odd that while we're flying off the road, we didnt make a sound...
 
Definitely May 22nd for me. Started driving north toward the Hallam mesocyclone just north of Firth (after dark). The RFD hit us and small pieces of insulation and other small debris began to fall like snow all around us. Wind gusts were near 70 mph. I believe the tornado was beginning to shrink (relative term), allowing the debris to settle. Scariest chasing moment ever for me.

Gabe
 
I will throw in 5/22 as well. Most everyone knows what happened to me that day so I will spare the explaination.

Surgical removal of seat material from the rear end is expensive! :oops:
 
That Mulvane storm is the only time in my chase career where I've stayed inside a parked vehicle to tape a tornado due to fear of lightning; normally I'm immune to this fear. I guess a small taste of what it's like was all I needed, LOL :wink:

If anyone saw the avatar Shane had for a while of him videotaping out the car window, Graham took that pic that day while we were parked and he was shooting out the window of Graham's truck. Now THAT is an action shot for ya! :lol:
 
For me it was probably when driving through northeastern Louisiana on the way back from intercepting Ivan. As I was driving along I started hearing this "flipflipflipflipflipflipflip" - the exact same noise I've heard before when I had a flat...not something I wanted to deal with 8 hours from home. So I pulled over and checked my tires - they were all fine. The source of the noise was a loose piece of paper hanging from the passenger door, flapping against the car.
 
I'm going with Andrew on this one. I was in the vicinity of him on July 13 and I got a little jumpy. My moment was coming into El Paso, IL. I had missed the F4, but the weather radio was still going nuts. "Spotters reported large tornado on the ground, towns in the path: El Paso." Visibility was low and the sky was GREEN, with golfballs hammering the car, and sirens wailing. It was a combination of the sky's hue and not being able to get a bearing on where in the storm I was, pretty freaky.

Another good one this year was May 20. We got caught behind a training line near Dekalb, IL after busting trying to intercept severe warned cells near Rockford. The sky was an ugly orange brown color. It seemed as if the whole world was sepia toned. Visibility was low with the driving rain and suddenly I found that the ground was gone and the corn fields were rushing past under the car. We got caught in a flash flood with dirt clods and other crap from the fields flowing under us at pretty good speeds. I thought for sure we were going to lose the car on that one. I couldn't tell where the road was but I could estimate using the power lines and a few cars further up the highyway. Somehow we made it through and I found the nearest interstate ramp to prevent that from happening again. Pay attention to flash flood warnings!
 
Every year I have at least one scary moment, where a moronic driver attempts to end his and other's lives. Last year, it was driving home from a chase on Highway 9 late at night... probably around midnight. A large pickup truck decided it would be smart to pass a vehicle at the crest of a hill. I approached the crest only to see 4 head lights come over the top! I quickly swerved about a 1/3 off the road as he barely got over in time. It took a few minutes before we realized how close we came to hitting head on at probably over a 120mph differential. Yikes!

This year, we had another close call of idiotic driving on June 12th. Well before we headed south to the Mulvane storm, we were near McPhearon watching some cells sputter out. We were driving throug a small town when half of the county's police showed up to some hooplah. We exited the town on the highway and as we peaked a hill, a police cruiser was passing another vehicle on the upslope. Not as close as the other incident, but still it drew a decent amount of obscenities from me.

Aaron
 
*June 9th, CO. This was just plain stupidity on my part as navigator. An hp was gusting out on us, and the roads on a CO map were changed up a little bit (I put us on a stupid route just to see a two-minute tornado)

Just to see a two-minute tornado? You were in the storm already, why would you consider viewing a tornado a detrement to the chase?

The driver was a little panicked on these gravel roads with hail starting to fall, sped over a sharp hill at 60, and at the bottom was the herd of cows. Lesson learned. don't ever put a pathetic tornado over our safety.

The tornado (and the storm for that matter) had nothing to do with this. A speeding driver on a gravel road will give you a golden oppotunity to f**k up everytime. Storms not required.
 
a

I have two stories to tell. The first was on Aug 9th (I think). It was Chad Lawson, his girl friend Susan, and myself. We were on our way back to OKC from S.W. Kansas driving down hwy 270 between Woodward and Watonga, OK. Chad had me listing to the Doors at 2am and I was serious about to fall a sleep while behind the wheel. Between me only having one eye and Chad’s car not having very bright headlights I couldn’t see very well. All of a sudden I see this BIG black thing about 40 feet in front of us. I had no time to slow down because by the time I saw it and the time it took to register in my half a sleep brain I had already hit it. Now I can’t say it scared me, but it was enough to wake me up. The sad thing is, I couldn’t stop laughing. Not because I had just hit something or the fact that it may have tore Chad’s car up, but the reaction from Chad and Susan. Like I said Chad was jamming out to the Doors and I remember Chad raising up from his seat and his hands grabbing on to the front dash. Susan was rudely awakened by the incident. I don’t think they found it as funny as I did however. We turn around to see what we had hit and it was a big a** porky pine. I didn’t know we had porky pines in Oklahoma. This thing was huge. Sorry Chad had to tell.
The second story is not so funny however. It was April 22 (once again I think). It Shane Adams, Chad Lawson, Jo, Susan and myself. We traveling North on hwy 64 to Haskell, Ok. As we were driving we were very aware of the extensive amount of people on the shoulder of the road. All of a sudden this lady in a white car pulls out right in front of us from the right shoulder and attempts makes a u-turn. Luckily enough she saw us and I saw her as she was about half way into our lane. Shane had called her every name in the book if I recall right. The bad thing is she had two children in her car. I would say probable between the age of 5 and 8. Much to young to be chasing IMO. Anyway that could have been a very bad situation for us and for her and the children.

Mick
 
On May 21st, after waiting out the day in Norfolk and getting a great show around sunset, we were chased back to the Missouri River by the ensuing squall line, with tornado warned "suspicious lowerings" off to our northeast dropping our way. Just a little nerve-wracking more than anything.

On the 22nd, after unknowingly videotaping the 2.5 mile wide Hallam wedge, we got one of the last rooms at the Beatrice, NE Super 8, and took up watch out of our 2nd floor west facing window, with constant tornado warnings and more "suspicious lowerings" to the west. It was good to know that if anything was heading towards us, we were going to see it with enough time to get downstairs.

On the 24th, the damp dirt road took over control of the vehicle for a few hundred feet, and those deep ditches on either side looked even deeper with a beastly core bearing down on us, and a prolific tornado producing mesocyclone just to our west.

All in all, as far as tense moments go, this year was light on the fear and heavy on the excitement.
 
Other than May 12, which I've told to death, one other moment stands out for pucker factor: May 24th near TOP, trying to manage something out of a chase where I'd missed every tornado from three different supercells. I was racing south on 75, corepunching a storm I'd tried to flank on S. Wanamaker Road until I discovered a closure (of course). Tornadoes had been reported on the storm and a warning was active when I heard snippets of my friends on 144.550 talking about the "big wedge" in excited voices. I assumed this must be something coming straight for me and waited in the wind and rain for some sign of doom.

As I emerged from the precip, a large dark column to my east was suspiciously close to the path of the reported circulation, but I never confirmed anything--the day was such a disaster personally that I haven't even done my report yet.
 
[Agree, and I'm agreeing that we made two mistakes (my navigation mistake and his driving mistake). Anyway, the rationale at that point was that we wanted to get out of our situation before getting pounded by potentially large hail. The driver didn't want to dent up his nice car, so he was driving faster than he would have typically driven on a gravel road (not rediculously fast, but too fast for hills that we soon encountered. Yes, you are right, it was a bad mistake. But I definitely forgive him and still trust his general driving ability. (For what it is worth, he managed to save us from harm with his good instinct in tough situations.)

Chris (aka the ocassional dumb-ass)


Chris, I wasn't trying to insult you or your partner - we did the same thing during our May 9, 2003 chase. I was just curious as to wy you didn't seem happy getting the tornado despite the previous problems. I just figured getting the tornado after the difficulties would've "made it better." But I understand where you're coming from now.
 
:shock: Well if you all remember the Fremont County NE Supercell-04, it was very awsome, i never got this close to a SP esp rotatating like no other... well after letting the sp passing a few min like 1-2 i got ahead of it again and sat on a gravel road facing south looking at fremont as its about to get hammered the rain/hail/wind band was jsut speeding east and watchign ti pass premont i was like theres gonna be some damage,,, well i wanted to get into town i though i had avoided the hail.... but as i started driving south on this gravel road into fremont hail was falling small at first but my jaw jsut dropped when it began to get to the baseball/softball sized range.... and when your driving your buddys for escort OLD... your a lil hesitant and after speeding up a bit a softball size of hail smacked the windshield breaking it i was like GET THE **** out of dodge and me an my buddy grant hit an overpass suprisingly and while being stopped there were plenty of other people parked there too... scary in my words.... but the good moment was when i was recording this newer black lexus prb 2003-3004 get its back side get hammered and dented to hell .. his back of the car wasnt all the way covered by the overpass ... glad it wasnt me but it easily could of ....


dan... one word of advice (DONT SPEED) as NE speeding limits are stupid... esp when cops liek to pull ya over for goign over 3-6mph over the limit... yeah even if theres cars doign 70mph passing you on the road they seem to go after you instead?....
 
for me,the thing that get me started in severe wx.
back in 94'sitting in a deer stand while a severe storm came charging through.hail bigger than golf balls,but smaller than baseball size started falling,then the wind came.it was 330 pm and it was pitch black.
during the lightning flashes,you could actually see the pine trees start to rotate.after what seemed like FOREVER,it all died down with fourty minutes.
found out that day that the storm had dropped an F2 four miles from our camp house.
Got my certificate in SkyWarn in 95'and still present with them.
 
3 scary moments here:

May 22nd - After Hallam, we headed south to Beatrice to hang out and wait for Kiesling, when all of the sudden the sirens started blaring and the wx-radio referenced another tornadic storm heading for Beatrice ... it was pitch black by then, but through the lightning it looked like a pretty good mothership just to the west of town. We booked south out of town since we had nowhere to wait it out ... turned out to be no problem, but had my blood pumping for a bit. After Doug and Weathervine and the Twister Sisters all finally headed back to Beatrice, yet another warning was called in town and we just decided to give up and book east toward home, going through some torrential rain and half flooded roadways for an hour. Miserable.

The second experience was in Marysville, Kansas on May 29th. Good grief this still freaks me OUT. We had just finished seeing just about every one of the tornadoes produced near Jamestown/Belleville and so my bro and I were half nuts as it was ... when a storm near Marysville suddenly began rotating as we got close to town. There was this field to the west of town where they've been doing work all summer - but when the wind from this storm hit it, stuff was flying through the air and it got seriously crazy. Our car got hit by a pounding gust of wind and I thought sure it was tornadic ... we were so freaked we tore through Marysville like I was doing a time trial at Indy or something ... people must have thought we had lost our minds.

The last was on May 24th ... we got caught in the RFD of a large tornado near Skidmore, Missouri ... debris was flying around us ... the car was rocking ... and my brother was yelling at me to back the car up ... I knew it had to be RFD because the tornado was smack in front of our car, but it still wigged us out pretty good.

I secretly love these little moments ... it gets me all revved up just thinking about it again ...
 
As Shane said the lightning on June 12th in Mulvane was just plain scary. I don't blame the guy one bit for staying in the vehicle, actually, I think he was the smartest in the group that day. When you watch my video of that day you see the fash/bolt and split second later you hear the crack followed by multiple people wispering $%&@. A few times you even see the video camera jolt from me jumping out of my skin while holding the tripod. Although it was stupid of me standing (well crouching) out there beside my truck I would do it again in a hearbeat to get the photos.

Finially got the thumbnails up (still not happy with some of the colour adjustments but here they are):
http://www.darkskyproductions.com/2004/june12/

Graham Butler
 
Scariest moment had to be accidentally driving over downed power lines following the beast somewhere around Beloit, KS on May 29th. My heart skipped a beat on that one. It was funny watching others do the same thing and freaking out.
 
Scariest moment in 2004... a few moments had my rather spooked.. the May 12 outrunning of an F-2 tornado was pretty freaky, but at the time, I was more consumed with excitment and never had a chance to get really scared. I was also pretty terrified of the hail stones coming from the Attica storm; they sounded like meteors hitting the ground in areas not more than a few feet from me. I cowered in my car for the remainder of the Attica tornado. May 24 behind Amos near Topeka was pretty intense for the same reasons. Hard to nail down the most terrifying moment, so I'll go with those as my top 3 for the year.
 
Scariest moment in 2004... a few moments had my rather spooked.. the May 12 outrunning of an F-2 tornado was pretty freaky, but at the time, I was more consumed with excitment and never had a chance to get really scared. I was also pretty terrified of the hail stones coming from the Attica storm; they sounded like meteors hitting the ground in areas not more than a few feet from me. I cowered in my car for the remainder of the Attica tornado. May 24 behind Amos near Topeka was pretty intense for the same reasons. Hard to nail down the most terrifying moment, so I'll go with those as my top 3 for the year.

I remember that hail a lot :lol:
But I remember also the hail of Dallas County HP supercell (Iowa) on 8th may, that signed the car and didn't leave me drive :shock:
 
My scariest moment occured on my first "across the mississippi" chase from Ohio.

I drove all night to chase Nebraska and Iowa on June 10, 11.

Missed Big Springs tor and chased a few cells around N Platte.

Drove to Iowa for day two and stopped to watch the Ft Dodge cell build before heading N. Was about to give up on the inflow when a little "carrot" funnel formed. The funnel amazed us at it managed to rope out and touch down. Caught the second tornado as it developed about an hour later.

The scary part was looking at the odometer reading of 2,500 miles when I got home and realizing that I would do it all again, and would continue to do it all again for as long as I could manage. I found myself wishing that I had gone to Kansas for day 3 and another 500 miles and a night on the road.

The fear was that I had a new and extemely addictive hobby that would would do F4 damage to any thought of being otherwise productive from April till June of this year, and the next year, and the next, and the next. If we hadn't got lucky on our first chase perhaps I could become a "casual chaser" if there is such a thing as a casual storm chaser.

The fear is that I am hooked. Is there a StormChasers Anonymous ?
 
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