Day 20 - Expensive Rain

23 June 2010

Last night we fortunately made quite a dent into our journey across Nebraska, so only had four and a half hours left to drive this morning to reach our northern Missouri destination. The highest risk area was in fact around Michigan but this was an unrealistic drive away and would have meant us driving through the night. Missouri was still within a 'slight' rather than 'moderate' risk area so it was still worth a gamble. I found the drive this morning incredibly hard, even on a drip feed of red bull. I think the last two nights sleep in the back of the car were starting to take their toll, but at least this way it enabled us to make an early start.Our thoughts of playing it nearer to home was also backed up by our allies on the UK Weatherworld forums. UK Weatherworld is an English website devoted to all things weather related and the forums have provided us with a place to chat to those who were also planning trips out here. We'd actually met a couple of them beforehand at various conferences we'd attended and have kept in touch since. A few weeks back our paths coincided and we caught up to have a few beers in a motel we'd all ended up at after being on the same storms. These guys left last week, but have been following our daily pursuits, giving advice from back in the UK. We're even classed as the last chase team out here and they are tracking us via GPS. It's great to feel part of a community of severe weather nuts!On entering Missouri, we intercepted some nice young cells that had sprung up in Kansas city and were slowly edging their way across the border into Missouri. This was just what we had been hoping for. Unfortunately the areas of best wind shear were in fact much further north, so it was most likely that as these cells progressed further north east, following the line of the weak cold front that was entering the area, this is where they would be in their prime. However, as mentioned this was an unrealistic target, so our only option was to sit on these cells in their early stages further south and hope for an early performance. It wasn't a complete impossibility; the lack of wind shear may work in our favour by slowing the cells down a little so they didn't run away from us. To give them credit they were quite rumbley and belted out a few good cloud to ground forks of lightning, but they also had a lot of rain. In fact, I don't think we've driven through such persistent rain as this.We held our position down south, grabbed some coffees and did our best to urge them on, but it was becoming a little like a really rainy day in Engalnd. We sat in the car a little longer, Tim finished off his coffee, I threw mine away as it smelt of turnips (don't know why, but it really did) and we perused the models for tomorrow. It didn't look too great anywhere, but if there was a chance it was going to be back in Colorado,  600 miles back to our west, where we had been a few days ago. We decided to cut our losses and start our journey back there. If we went now, we might make it half way there by midnight with the chance of getting a motel. So we filled the tank up, again, and drove off through the now light drizzle, back toward Colorado.That rain cost us a small fortune in gas, over a day's driving and an accidental near speeding fine for Timbo (but the cop let him off with a warning; the limit on the I70 is 70, not 82, oops!). In hindsight, would we repeat this behaviour based on an identical run of the models? Of course yes! Because next time that illusive tornado may touch down before our eyes. That's what this game is all about. And on the plus side, our car got a good clean!

SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Wed June 2010

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Wed June 2010

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