Storm Chasing Tours 2011

Storm Chasing Adventures

The second of my storm chasing holidays started in Oklahoma City on the 5th June, I met the group at the Wingate Inn after hanging out with my friends Jakob and Christian for the day. There were 19 guests and 5 staff members all ready for some tornado chasing..

We had our Orientation and were soon ready to hit the road, the forecast for the following day was showing storms way up in Montana, more than 900 miles away.

We had a long way to go but there was a chance of some severe storms in eastern Colorado that evening.

Our First full chase day found us in western South Dakota, by early afternoon we were waiting around by the railroad while we decided to go east or west.

We decided to head East into South Dakota as this would end us in a better area for the following day. We soon caught up with a nice looking storm and followed it into the evening for some nice sunset and lightning displays. The storm was severe but not enough for any tornadoes or tornado pictures.

Our second full day was spent in North Dakota, we had lunch in a small town called Dawson where we also found some cool old farms and cars to hang out taking pics of.

By the afternoon storms started to develop and we were soon chasing after the cell closest to us. The storm was never very intense but did give a great show while it kicked up lots of dust, I got plenty of great storm pictures and storm chasing video from inside the van.

By sunset the storm was about done, the low light turned the stormy skies into the most beautiful sunset.

The next day sucked so much that I have no pictures to show for it. We left North Dakota and headed south, the forecast for the day was looking very good on the weather graphics so hopes were high. On our way south we passed up some storms to our east, partly because we had trouble leaving to highway due to the flooding in the area, the forecast to our south later that day was looking like the place to be. We drove for over 600 miles before finally reaching Kansas, by early evening no storms had developed within our reach and we wound up with nothing. We were pretty gutted and all headed for an early dinner. Days like this are hard to take but all very normal in the life of a storm chaser, nature does what it wants, when it wants even when all the forecast data says otherwise.

Our fourth day ended up being quite frustration also although we didn’t end up with nothing like the previous day.

The forecast for the day was very good so once again we had high hopes. We waited around in eastern Kansas where stuff was expected to go nuts by the afternoon, it was hot and humid so we spent some of the afternoon hanging by an old church.

Time was passing quickly and nothing was happening, I started to feel a little nervous again. By late afternoon some storms quickly developed to our east so we raced after them, the storms were looking amazing from a distance.

We soon caught up with our target storm as it was looking very promising but as soon as we got under the base it died.

We raced towards other storms to try and salvage the day but it was too late, the sun had set. We headed to get some food, I found a hill looking over the highway were I managed to get this final shot for the day.

Our Fith day turned out pretty good, we were right in our target area for that day so had plenty of time hang out and have some fun. We found an old abandoned farm we were able to explore for some time.

Storms soon went up to our east so we raced after them, we had a great time following the storms and had a great lightning display as the storms moved into Missouri in the evening.

We were now on our final day of the tour in Eastern Kansas. Our target for the afternoon was in south west Kansas and the Oklahoma Panhandle, not too far from were we spent the night. We left in no hurry that morning after some doughnuts for breakfast and stopped for a long lunch in Greensburg, Kansas. By the time we had finished lunch storms had started to develop early in Colorado, we hit the road and continued west. Soon the new storms were looking great on radar and had severe and tornado warnings on them. This would have been great if we had not been a three hour drive away. For a while I felt like we were going to miss all the action but I knew all I could do is sit tight.

After about an hour of driving a tiny blip showed up on the radar only 30 miles to our south west, we immediately headed that way hoping for the best. We were on the blip in no time and it had already turned into a nice looking supercell thunderstorm. It was looking good for tornado chasers today.

Cell 2

While we were on our target storm we could see an incredible storm exploding to our south east.

The storm started off high based without much shape to the base before it started to develop into a beast of a storm before our eyes.

We continued to follow the storm east as it continued to evolve into the most amazing supercell.

The storm had incredibly intense inflow winds, trucks were pulling over on the road so they would not blow over.

We watched the storm as the sunset before heading to a better position for some lightning.

The lightning display that evening was phenomenal, we found a clear spot with no rain where we were surrounded by storms in every direction.

We arrived back at our hotel late that night in Oklahoma, once the rain stopped I headed out to try for one last Lightning shot. I came back with one.

The next morning we headed back to the Winngate Inn in Oklahoma City and said our goodbyes. It had been one of the greatest weeks of my life and  it was sad to say goodbye to such a great group of people, I just cant wait for the time I will be chasing again.