Today was decidedly different from any other chase day we have had: Bob and three chasers departed for home as a family emergency and other personal matters beckoned them home early. We have never run three vehicles on the trip before, and Bob offered to drive “the probe” and the three chasers back to Blacksburg.
I can relate this event to one of my other passions being a climber: the parting of ways is much like events on a mountain. If a climber or climbers experience some sort of emergency, one of the guides will provide for their safe return. Bob was the guide that made that sacrifice today. His simple reply to the situation: “we are teachers, and this is simply what we do, it is part of the commitment to the students”. With a short goodbye, the probe headed eastbound and part of the chase team was gone. The rest of the chasers packed up their kit, boarded the vans, and once again began the daily analysis routine in search of a target area for the next day. Tonight we find ourselves just south of the Iowa border in St. Joseph Missouri, contemplating severe weather potential tomorrow in Iowa or Nebraska.
With several pieces of the puzzle yet to be resolved, the models began to hint at an increase in severe weather potential once the early morning model runs became available for analysis after lunch today. We will see if that trend continues tomorrow morning. The day was quiet, and the wear and tear of long days on the road are beginning to take a toll on everyone, but the prospect of storms on the horizon keeps us focused despite the weariness. Only time will tell what hand we are dealt in this game of atmospheric poker.