Day 9 - A long, long time ago

09 June 2011

So this post is written at the beginning of our storm chase 2012. The reason for this exceptionally late conclusion to the blog is twofold. First and foremost is my lack of getting round to it, but this stemmed from a lack of motivation, which in turn arose from 8 days of hard chasing, with little reward to show for it. Although we provisionally had freedom to go when we wanted, we chose badly and went for a week dominated by high pressure and not many storms! As a result we had 1alright chase, followed by 6 days of huge distances, largely for the odd bit of lightning or hail. With so much invested in every sense, the last day had a lot riding on it. In the end, as you will read, it was a successful chase (at least in context of the trip), and with the journey that followed on from it, left us exhausted. And so didn't do the blog until we got home...or maybe a few days later or, eventually, 2012 (although at least we'd made notes!)...anyway, I digress. When we awoke the model guidance still looked favourable for some storms, but it was hard to pick a target location. We initially set course for Des Moines, which would provide us with as many options for honing our target as we could hope for. Once we got near we were still hampered by indecision over where to target, so we picked the place whose name was the title of a film that was showing on the plane on the way over (not that we'd watched it!) as this seemed as good a hint as any. We headed for Cedar Rapids and, on arrival, parked up and watched as a cumulus field developed. This was exactly what we were hoping for and indicated the ever important interaction between the two air masses that were going to make some bad weather for us. Now it was a matter of picking the particular puffy little cumulus that was going to turn into something bigger. It was a nervous time as this was truly our last opportunity to see something. After an hour or so we saw some of  them starting to grow taller, a little to our south, so we saddled up. As we headed south we saw a couple of bigger towers going up and adjusted our course accordingly. We stopped to take some shots of these earlier phases as we passed through a town called Strawberry Point. Aptly this town is recognisable from the giant strawberry in the middle of it.

The funny thing about this last, pretty big, storm, is that after driving half the night to get to Kansas, we would find ourselves at its mercy again as we tried to get our flight from Kansas, which was delayed by 5 hours while the storm munched Chicago. So we had a further delay in Chicago while we waited for the next flight to London.

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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Thu June 2011

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Thu June 2011

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