The 2021 Storm Chase


Okay folks, it is that time of the year again. While many uncertainties remain in the weeks and months ahead, we are proceeding with the thought that we will return to the plains in search of storms this spring. As such, the application process must begin!

Here is what we can tell you at this point:

  1. the crew will be smaller (a throwback to trips over a decade ago), as lodging options may be more limited than in the past
  2. there may be two trips (May, early June), this is yet to be determined
  3. all crew members will sign an experiential learning form acknowledging that there will be a somewhat elevated risk even though all possible precautions will be taken
  4. it is unknown at this time whether we will be able to accommodate non-majors, but you can still throw your hat in the ring
  5. if you have any questions, feel free to drop me a line (carrolld@vt.edu)

Here is the link for the application:

https://virginiatech.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_5yYayZFkqB6LD6t

I know that these are very uncertain times for all of us, and while many, many unknowns remain, we can continue to look to the future and in this case, the potential to return to our springtime home in the plains.  In the meantime, play it smart, stay safe, and I look forward to the the time we share on the road in pursuit of storms.

-Dave

Welcome to the 2020 Storm Chase Crew Members!

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Time is closing in fast to the day we depart for the Great Plains.  Welcome to the 2020 version of Hokiestorm!  Over the coming weeks more material will be presented in the build-up toward departure.  In the meantime, enjoy the last few weeks of this “winter” (or rather “non-winter”) as severe season is rapidly approaching.   -Dave

The Storms of 2019

With such a busy pattern during our time in the plains, I had no time to put together any entries into our life of the road during the trip. While the pattern was certainly stormy, in reality it was far from ideal in terms of chasing: too many storms (many days with multiple rounds of storms beginning early in the day), very poor visibility, and widespread flooding/road closures hampered our ability to net much in the way of structure or highly visible tornadoes. Many times we were positioned adjacent to tornado-warned storms and could not even see the base of the storm, let alone any tornado associated with it. We had a great crew and leadership this year whose company I thoroughly enjoyed, and most importantly, we are back home safe and sound.

IMG_2815Severe storm intensifies south of McCook, Nebraska.

McCooktornadoTornado west of McCook, Nebraska. (Drew Shearer photo)

IMG_2828Developing shelf cloud from a severe storm in Oklahoma.

IMG_2840Shelf cloud beginning to bow outward over Oklahoma.

IMG_2833Spectacular shelf cloud from a severe storm in Oklahoma.

IMG_2866Rotating wall cloud before a flat tire ended our chase for the day in Texas.

IMG_2886Our location adjacent to a supercell.

IMG_2885The poor visibility from the radar grab above.

IMG_2894Mammatus over Dimmit, Texas.

IMG_2899Dimmit, Texas pt. 2.

IMG_2900Photographic proof that the vanwich is indeed treasured among our crew in Springfield Colorado.

IMG_2912Hail pounded Springfield Colorado shortly after our lunch stop.

coloradowallRotating wall cloud over Kiowa County, Colorado.

 

Welcome to the 2019 Crew

Two months and we will be headed westward for the 2019 severe season.  I’d like to take the time to welcome everyone on board:  I am looking forward to our time in the plains together!  The 2019 crew list can be found under the corresponding tab at the top of each page.  Logistically, we will be headed out before VT graduation this year (as soon as the last chaser finishes up with exams), and our trip window will run from May 14 through May 30.  A final packing list will be sent out soon, along with a pre-chase dinner meeting with some past chasers to amp everyone up for our departure.  I will leave you with a photo from Dodge City in 2016:  my drivers and leaders are a repeat from 2016, so perhaps they will bring good karma and safe travels in May this year.  Hope to see you on a boundary out there soon.   -Dave

dodgecity

Kansas.

IMG_0569We targeted northern Kansas today as we felt like the wind field would offer up the best chance for rotating storms.  Patience was key, but late in the afternoon a storm fired in the area we were targeting.  The storm exploded near Quinter KS, and we quickly raced under the developing mesocyclone in order to position ourselves just east of the storm (Peter Forister photos above and below).

IMG_0570

Racing east of the intense hail core (visible to the left of the road in the photo above) we pulled off to get a quick look at the storm.  Chris White is shown below hanging out the window taking a photo looking upward directly under the storm.

IMG_0571

We could only stay here for a minute before racing east yet again where we pulled off on a dirt road (near Collyer KS) and were able to view the storm at close range in relative safety.  Inflow into the storm packed leg-stinging grit as it spun up a few funnels, but no debris that we could see was raised at ground level under the funnels.

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On to another day today.