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Storm Chase Blog 2015

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September 9th, 2015---: August 2015 was a very busy one for me, with two separate trips down to South Florida. The goal, as usual, was to document storms...and wow did we get storms! Especially during the 2nd trip which took place between August 25th and September 1st. More so, I had the opportunity to document them from the ground, from a boat, AND from the air! The latter is chronicled in detail with a 10 minute video which is now up on my "Storm Chasing Videos" page! My friend Mark Robinson, who has a show on The Weather Network in Canada called "Storm Hunters" asked me if I would like to join him in South Florida to help out with the filming of one of the episodes of his show, which focused on Florida weather. We stayed at my friend Tim Millar's place in Pembroke Pines, and Tim (who is a pilot) chartered a Cessna 172 for us, and flew us around thunderstorms over the Miami Beach area! It was an amazing experience to say the least. On top of that, we were dealing with the remnants of what was once Tropical Storm Erika, and those remnants brought strong thunderstorms through our area during the last few days of the trip. All of this totalled almost non-stop thunderstorms and lightning for us. So be sure to head on over to my Storm Chasing Videos page to check out all my latest videos. In other weather news, a strong El Nino is contributing to what will most likely be another calm hurricane season. At least from the standpoint of land fall threats. We have been getting storms developing out there in the tropical Atlantic, but they are being ripped apart by strong than normal shear. Which is pretty typical in El Nino years. I won't let my guard down just yet however. There are still several weeks to go yet, before the hurricane season really begins to wind down.

June 11th, 2015---: New photos taken during my 2015 storm chase trip to Tornado Alley have been added to the "New Photos" section of my Photo Gallery. Be sure to check them out! I'm still editing and sorting out all the footage and stills that I shot while on the road this year, and hopefully will have all that wrapped up by this weekend. My next photography related trip will be in August, when I take my yearly trip back down to Fort Lauderdale, FL! Hoping to shoot several timelapse lightning sequences while I'm down there! Hurricane season is also upon us, but overall we're not expecting too much activity once again this year. That does not mean however that there won't be any land falling hurricanes, it just means that the Atlantic most likely will see below normal activity. Either way, I'll be watching and waiting.

June 2nd, 2015---: Storm Chase 2015 is now complete, and what a year it was! Here are some stats below:

Total Miles Driven: 8200
Tornadoes Documented: 6
Blue Sky Busts: 1
Avg Chase Day Mileage: 416, Max: 544, Min: 259

We departed NYC on the morning of May 13th, and drove to Columbus, OH where we set up for the night. The following day, Dave Lewison, Stephen Barabas and myself drove from Columbus, OH to Concordia, KS. That day along we drove almost 900 miles! Over the course of the next 2 1/2 weeks we found ourselves chasing in Nebraska, Colorado, and Oklahoma, but by far the state we spent the most time in was Texas. All the tornadoes we saw on this trip were in Texas. The first one was a small rope tornado on May 18th that only lasted about 30 seconds near Pecos, TX. And the others were near the town of Canadian, TX on May 27th. On that day we saw 5 tornadoes, and numerous funnel clouds just north of town. What an incredible chase day this was, by far a top 5 chase day for me! In between all of this, we witnessed and documented many amazing supercell thunderstorms, lightning displays, and flash flooding. Flash flooding was another threat that normally, we don't have to contend with too much when out chasing, but not this year. Texas and Oklahoma have experienced historic rains during the month of May, and several locations saw over a years worth of rain, in just that month alone! On the way back from a chase in Texas, while en route to our hotel, we almost drove right into a flash flood that had literally covered the entire roadway in front of us! Thankfully my headlights reflected off the water bright enough to warn us of the immediate danger and we were able to stop in time. Torrents of water were cascading over the fallen trees on either side of the road, needless to say, we were all thankful that we didn't drive into that!

Now, storms aside there are many other things that both Dave and I enjoy about chasing out on the Plains. The traveling, the food, the adventure, and most of all...getting together with great friends that many times we only get to see once a year. Our great Canadian chaser friends Brad Rousseau, Dayna Rousseau, Matt Grinter, Mark Robinson and Jaclyn Whittal joined us once again out in Tornado Alley, and we all had an amazing time chasing together. Tons of laughs were had, and to me, that's a big part of what storm chasing is all about. All in all it was a 10 out of 10. So, with all that said, if you're interested in checking out some of my videos from my latest trip, head on over to my Storm Chasing Videos section! Photos will be posted soon as well in my Photo Gallery, so be sure to check back next week for that!

April 20th, 2015---: Another month has flown by, and here we are just a few short weeks away from the beginning of yet another chase trip to Tornado Alley! Looking over my website recently it's hard to believe how fast time is going by. I spent a few hours reading over past blog entries of mine and the memories of those chases, now many years ago are still fresh in my mind. I'm hoping that this years chase will be a successful one, but above all else, a safe one for everyone! This past weekend I went back up to Dave's place in Poughkeepsie, NY to finish up work on prepping my Xterra for this years trip. We added another layer of wire mesh to our windshield guard, and also removed the Lexan from the rear window hail guard, in favor of two layers of wire mesh. While Lexan is certainly stronger overall, once it began to rain, I would lose all visibility out the rear window. This was something that bothered both Dave and I for many years now, so we decided to go with wire mesh instead, and now we won't have any issues with visibility. And, with two layers of mesh, it will be PLENTY strong! We also swapped out my slightly damaged driver side mirror, in favor of a new one, and will keep the old one as a spare just in case this one gets damaged in large hail. Photos of this years preparations are now up in the Photo Galley under the "New Photos" section. Check them out!

March 24th, 2015---: Spring is FINALLY here!! Well, technically speaking anyways. It sure as hell doesn't feel like Spring. As a matter of fact, the weather here in NYC, and the northeast USA as a whole has been well below average for weeks upon weeks now! February was our 3rd coldest on record, and March hasn't been much better. Temperatures are still well below normal in the eastern US, and that trend looks to continue for at least another week to ten days. We will have a slight warm up mid-week, but by this coming weekend, temperatures will fall back to well below normal levels once again. Ok, enough of that. So, regardless of what the weather has been like lately here, it's still almost April, and that means Storm Chase 2015 is almost here! I'll be heading up to Dave Lewison's place in Poughkeepsie, NY this coming Saturday, March 28th to begin our vehicle preparations. This year we will be adding two new things to my Nissan Xterra. After losing the glass in my driver side mirror in a hail storm last year near the town of Sterling City, Tx we decided that hail protection for those side mirrors were in order. We're still tossing around ideas for this, but will come up with something solid this weekend I'm sure. We will also be adding a second layer of wire mesh to our windshield hail guard, and have also opted for wire mesh for the rear hail guard as well. Since 2006 we have been using Lexan for the rear guard, but the problem as always been that as soon as it begins to rain, we lose all visibility out the back window due to the Lexan getting caked in mud, and having no way to clean it off while in motion. So, by adding two layers of wire mesh to the rear guard, we solve that problem! The two layers of mesh will be more than strong enough to protect my rear glass from large hail, and we'll be able to see out that window now. A win win situation!

Right now we're still planning on leaving sometime after May 10th, as is usually the case. Our gut is telling us that this could in fact be another delayed storm season out on the Plains due to the brutal, and extended cold we've been experiencing in much of the US once again this winter. The extended cold last year resulted in a lack luster severe weather season out on the Plains, will we see something similar again this Spring? Well that's anyone's guess this far out. But we are expecting another below normal tornado count this season, and a below normal severe weather season as a whole. That doesn't mean there won't be some notable events this year, but it could mean that those events will be few and far between. We'll see how it all shakes out over the coming weeks, but in the meantime, our chase preparations will continue as planned!

January 11th, 2015---: We're just into the new year, but I've already got a great chase under my belt. Well, it was more of an intercept than a chase really. Dave Lewison, Steven Barabas, and myself traveled up to the Watertown, NY area to document the incredible lake effect snows up there. Up to 5 feet of accumulations fell in parts of that area! Literally more snow than I have ever seen all at once in my life. It was a great experience, and one that I would love to repeat if another opportunity presents itself. I was very impressed at how well they are up there at keeping the roads clear. Even though the snow at times was falling at a rate of several inches an hour, those snow plows were out in full force, and overall we didn't have too much trouble getting around! Even the secondary roads were in pretty good shape all things considered. Several new videos are now up on my Storm Chasing Videos page, and new photos have been added to my photo gallery, under the "New York Weather & Storm Photos" section. Be sure to check them out!

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