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Storm Chase Blog 2007

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March 16th, 2007---: Well it's certainly been a while since this page has been updated. But the time has finally come, our storm chase 2007 plans have now begun! We kicked it off by heading down to the Florida Keys for a small chaser get together from March 2nd to the 5th. Jim Leonard hosted the shin dig, and a good time was had by all. Dave Lewison, along with myself and my girlfriend Cecelia joined Jim at his place for food, laughs, and tons of chaser video! Bill Hark, Mike Theiss, Brad Reiley, Michael Laca, and Chris Kridler along with her husband George were also in attendance. I've posted some pics on my New Photos page, check them out! Oh, and there's one picture in there that might look strange (you'll know it when you see it...lol). Anyway, that is a picture of Dave trying to feed a chicken at the Blue Heaven Bar & Grill in Key West. More chase 2007 updates will be coming soon, so check back often.

April 13th, 2007---: Another month has gone by, and still no signs of spring! At least not here in New York City. We're stuck in a nasty pattern as of late, and temperatures remain well below normal for this time of year. But, chase preparations continue regardless! Next weekend I will be taking a trip up to Dave's place to do some maintenence on the hail guards, as well as wiring back up the radios in my truck. Our friend Mark Robinson from Toronto will be meeting up with us as well for this. It's just another reminder that chase season is rapidly approaching. As far as a tentative departure date? Who knows....it's anyone's guess right now. Sometime between May 1st and June 1st...lol. This all will depend on when we see a good pattern setting up for severe weather. More updates coming soon.

April 29th, 2007---: As it stands right now, it's possible that Dave and I will be leaving for the plains this coming Friday the 4th. While several forecast models have been doing the old flip flop these past few days, things are looking up for an active period of severe weather starting this coming weekend. There's still plenty of time for things to change, but right now....we're planning for a Friday departure. It's always right around this time of year that our stomach's get tied in knots...lol. Do we go? Do we stay put?, etc, etc, etc. But, that's all part of the total experience. More updates will follow soon!

May 2nd, 2007---: After pulling our hair out for the past few days trying to decide whether to pull the trigger on this trip now or not, Dave and I have finally made the decision to go for it. As it stands right now, things look great for chasing on Saturday in Kansas, and Sunday, Monday & possibly Tuesday might be decent as well. That along with another trough forecast to move into the plains around the 12th helped make this decision. So what next? Well, tons and tons of preparations have to be completed by tonight. Dave due to a prior engagement cannot be at my place until around 11pm tomorrow evening, so right now it's looking like a midnight tomorrow night departure. We usually do the all night drive anyway, so it's not that big of a deal. But, I will have to stay up all night tonight so I can sleep most of the day tomorrow. This way I'll be good to go for the night driving. Then, on Friday morning when I'm out of gas, Dave can take over. Check back over the coming days for daily updates and pics!!

May 6th, 2007---: What a marathon drive that was! Dave and I drove straight from NYC, to Great Bend, KS. where surprisingly, our target area had not changed much from the night before. We met up with George Kourounis, and quickly set up the truck for the chase. Our target storm ended up being the same storm that caused all the damage, and unfortunately...some fatalities in the Greensburg, KS area. We approached the storm from the east on route 54/400, but with it being after dark, we didn't think it would be safe to continue. After hearing the report of a mile wide wedge on the ground, I'm glad we made that decision! We drove back to Pratt where we got one of the last rooms at the Econo Lodge. Later that night, there was in influx of people from Greensburg that were displaced by the storm. From what we understand, no more hotel rooms can be gotten, they're all booked for the next several days in that area.

We awoke the next morning to find that the SPC had issued a High Risk for most of Central Kansas. I can't remember the last time I was out chasing during a high risk day. But, high risk..usually means BUST CHASE! lol....It's almost the kiss of death when you see a high risk, usually storms just end up lining out, and what you're left with is a huge squall line with little tornado potential. Yesterday however, this was not the case. Dave and I started the day in Pratt, KS and as it turned out, Jason Pollite, a good chaser friend of ours was staying at the same motel as us. We hung around in Pratt for several hours gathering data when we finally made the decision to head a bit north and west to try and intercept storms that were firing up to our southwest. The storms were moving at 45 MPH yesterday, so keeping up with them was a very difficult task to say the least! To make a very long story short...lol, Dave and I intercepted several brief tornadoes near the towns of Stafford, KS & Great Bend, KS. Just trying to stay ahead of these things wiped us out. We literally were able to stop for like a minute at the most, before we had to get back on the road again to reposition. That was the story of the day, we were constantly repositioning. No time to set up tripods and whatnot, just shoot video for a minute, and then head on down the road. All in all though, it was a very good day and I will post pictures as soon as I can. Today, there is a moderate risk area out for Central Kansas once again. However, with all the overnight convection....this is bound to affect things, and forecasting today will be difficult. More updates to come!!

May 8th, 2007---: Not much has taken place out here since the weekend. We chased a few days back in western Oklahoma (May 6th), but all the storms quickly lined out. We were however treated to a great lightning show near Shamrock, TX so no complaints there! Yesterday we targeted the area south of Wichita Falls, TX...but no storms materialized. We're now in Abilene, Tx and it's possible that Dave and I will head back early since it looks like things are going to shut down for quite a while. If we decide to do this, we'll fly back out and rent a car when things pick back up which would most likely be towards the end of the month. I've posted some pics from this past weekend, visit our "New Photos" section and check them out!!

May 15th, 2007---: Dave and I did the drive back to New York a few days back. Things were looking pretty quiet for the next week or so, and we decided it would be best to head back, and then fly back out and rent a car when the activity picks back up. We're expecting to be out there again within another week or so. More updates to come!! In the meantime, I've posted some pics on our "New Photos" page of the Greensburg, KS tornado aftermath. Dave and I were with Dave Patrick and his wife Kristy doing a damage survey just south of town when we came across some boxes in the middle of a dirt road. It turns out that these boxes were filled with Pop Tarts, about 10 cases of them!! They must of fell off a supply truck, and it was obvious they were meant for the town. We brought the boxes to the check point and were granted full access to the town. Our thoughts go out to all of the residents of Greensburg, seeing the devastation up close will be something I will never forget.

June 4th, 2007---: After pondering over the models for a few days now, things are starting to look interesting for the mid/late week period, and possibly into the weekend. So, Dave and I have decided to head back out to the plains tomorrow for Part 2 of our chase trip! We'll be departing New York tomorrow evening and will fly into Denver on Jet Blue where we'll pick up our rental car, and make some headway before finding a place to grab a few hours of sleep. Then, we'll pick it back up on Wednesday morning and will team up with George Kourounis and Mark Robison. Mike Theiss will be joining us as well, it's definitely looking to be a fun day no matter what happens! Right now, Wednesday has a lot of potential, but with storm movement forecast to be around 40kts, keeping up with any storms that do develop will be extremely difficult. More updates to follow!

June 5th, 2007---: Dave and I are heading out this evening on Jet Blue to Denver, CO. We would of liked to have flown into a city a bit closer to the target area tomorrow, but all the other airlines were WAY too expensive. So, we'll make some headway later tonight, and then we'll continue on tomorrow morning. Check back for more updates!

June 13th, 2007---: Dave and I completed part two of our storm chasing trip this past Monday. No tornadoes were sighted unfortunately this time around, but we did manage to get on 4 seperate tornado warned storms on June 7th in Missouri! Our last day there was quite eventful as well. As Dave and I headed back towards Denver the night before we were set to fly out, we encountered a cluster of cells near McCook, NE.....lots of photos ops were to be had for the next few hours! All in all, we were happy with the trip, despite the lack of tornadoes. We also were able to hook up with our friends George Kourounis and Mark Robinson. George is in the process of shooting another episode of his tv show "Angry Planet" (www.angryplanet.tv) Dave and I got to be a part of this particular episode, and a blast was had by all! A big thanks to Mark and George for the tons of laughs had on this trip! Be sure to check out my latest photo additions which are now up on my "New Photos" page!

August 1st, 2007---: After a quiet July, with the exception of Tropical Storm Chantal that formed on the last day of the month, things are starting to wake up out in the tropical Atlantic. As of writing this, there is a recon mission underway into Invest 99L which is east of the southern most Leeward Islands, there is another area in interest in the Gulf Of Mexico, and finally....a very healthy looking wave that has recently emerged off the west coast of Africa. Ahh, August is here! This year so far is very different than 2006. First and foremost, there is no El Nino in place this time around, the African Dust which plaged the Atlantic throughout the height of hurricane season in 06' has started to wane, and the Atlantic as a whole is starting to moisten up a bit. Time will tell of course if we'll have something to intercept in the coming weeks, but regardless...I've already started my preparations. Yesterday I picked up a new pair of water shoes, along with a Bell Helmet and a safety mask. All things that are neccesary when intercepting a hurricane. Protecting your eyes and head are of utmost importance. I have also purchased an underwater housing for my camera, so this time around I have a bit more flexibility as to where I can shoot video! More updates to follow as we get further into hurricane season! Be sure to check back often..

August 14th, 2007---: Tropical Storm Dean was born today in the Atlantic, and Dean could possibly be a threat to the US in about a week. But first, he'll be a threat to the Leeward Islands, and possibly Puerto Rico where residents are already taking precautions! Dave, Jim and I are in "tracking" mode for the time being and if Dean threatens the US, we'll be there! Right now the official forecast has Dean slowing a bit over the next 24 to 36 hours and some strengthening is anticipated as well. For me, it's time to start going over my check lists!! Check back often for more daily updates!

August 16th, 2007---: Dean has been upgraded to a hurricane, and he's steadily intensifying as we speak! A recon mission was schedualed for this afternoon, so by tonight I would expect the models to have a better handle on Dean's future plans. Nothing ever is written in stone of course, but models usually are a bit more accurate once they've ingested actual data from a recon mission. Many of the models have been pointing towards a Yucatan strike, but I'm not completely sold on this just yet. There's an upper level low near the Bahamas that if stronger than forecast, could affect Dean's future track. A few of the models have already picked up on this possibility and have adjusted their tracks a bit further north. Most notably, the 12Z run of the GFDL, which usually is a very reliable model. The 0Z runs should be out by 11pm this evening, so the 5am update from the NHC should be more accurate (hopefully...lol). Lots can, and will still happen so check back daily for updates! In the meantime, Dave Lewison, Jim Edds and myself are making preparations in the event a US landfall becomes a likelyhood.

August 18th, 2007---: Dean is now a Category 4 hurricane and headed for the island of Jamaica. As of right now Dean looks to hit the island head on, but Jamaica is a small target so he could still miss her to the north, or south. As far as a US threat is concerned, the model consensus has Dean hitting Mexico during the middle of next week. However, the GFDL which I consider to be a very reliable TC model has Dean going through the Yucatan Channel and hitting Texas. Even though that model is the outlier right now, it shouldn't be discounted. Everyone along the Gulf Coast should still be keeping an eye on Dean. For me, preparations are being made in the event Dave and I have to head out of here around the Tuesday timeframe! More updates to follow.....

August 19th, 2007---: Hurricane Dean will move very close to, if not over the island of Jamaica later today. There's definitely a part of me that wishes I could be there, but I've always been a little leery of island intercepts, and the last minute airfares were less than desireable to say the least...lol. But, Jim Edds is there ready for the intercept! As it stands right now, a US landfall is looking less and less likely, but we'll still keep a watchful eye on the future track of Dean regardless.

August 20th, 2007---: Hurricane Dean brushed the south coast of Jamaica yesterday with winds at times over 100MPH! Storm Chaser Jim Edds was there to document the storm, and rode it out safely in Kingston. To view video clips of the storm as it pounded Jamaica, click on the Hurricane Dean Video link below.

Storm Chaser's George Kourounis, Brad Riley & Jim Leonard were also in Jamaica for Dean, and are all safe! Mike Theiss, another good friend and fellow storm chaser intercepted Hurricane Dean on the island of Dominica. Mike is back in Miami now safe and sound.

August 21st, 2007---: Hurricane Dean made landfall very early this morning near Costa Maya, Mexico as a very rare Category 5 storm. This is the first Cat 5 to have made landfall in the Atlantic basin since Andrew in August of 1992. No chaser's that I know personally went after Dean in the Yucatan. Aside from landfall being in the middle of the night, the areas south of Cancun and Cozumel are very desolate...I wouldn't want to ride out a Cat 5 there to be honest. I have heard from George Kourounis, Peter Rowe (George's Producer on Angry Planet) and Jim Leonard and they are scheduled to fly back to Miami this afternoon. Jim Edds will be on the Fox News Network sometime this evening, and will be flying back home to Pensacola, FL tomorrow! Check out our Hurricane Dean Video website for video clips of Dean as he brushed the south coast of Jamaica near Kingston.

August 22nd, 2007---: Hurricane Dean has made his final landfall in Old Mexico this afternoon as a category two hurricane. Dean weakened substantially over the Yucatan, but did manage to regain some of his strength over the Gulf before making his final landfall. However, he was a far cry from the Category 5 monster he once was. And, in chaser news.....Jim Leonard, Jim Edds, George Kourounis and Peter Rowe all made it back safely this afternoon from Jamaica! We're all back in "waiting" mode, and I wouldn't expect this lull in the tropics to last much longer. Stay tuned!

September 6th, 2007---: Watching and waiting. That's what's been going on since Hurricane Felix, which was the second Category Five hurricane to make landfall this season charged inland over Honduras and Nicaragua a few days back. We still have a long way to go, and there is certainly the threat of more hurricanes roaming the Atlantic over the coming month. Stay tuned......In other news, work has begun on the Hurricane Dean DVD which will chronicle Dean's entire life cycle.

October 10th, 2007---: Well here we are in mid October, and still no landfalling hurricanes, well...there was Humberto, but that one caught us all off guard, and I couldn't have justified the expense of traveling down to the Gulf Coast for a minimal Cat One. Looks like 2007 will be another slow year for landfalls. It's not that the season as a whole has been inactive, there have been a good amount of storms that have formed in the Atlantic. Excessive shear seems to be the rule this year, and shear was responsible for ripping apart several potential candidates. That's nature for you. If we finish out this month on a slow note, then it's time to settle in for the long winter ahead. Spring can't come soon enough! lol....

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