Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Hurricane Season 2016 Begins (6/7)

The tropical Atlantic is off to an early jump start with 3 named systems as of June 7, 2016 (with two before the official start of the season). Busy or not, always have a plan for these systems. In the image below, the view of the upper level (sheared) center of tropical storm Colin can be seen while overflying the storm between Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Chicago, Illinois aboard a Boeing 737 at an altitude of at least 35,000 feet during the late afternoon of June 6, 2016.



Be sure to check back my section on Atlantic TROPICAL WEATHER often to see what’s going on in the Atlantic / Eastern Pacific basin as well as any attempts on tropical chases in 2016! You can jump right to that section by clicking the link for it below...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/tropics.htm

Main Chase Trip On May 21-28 (5/30)

My main "expedition" style chase from May 21 through May 28 is completed - And was one of my best chase trips in my storm chasing career! A full chase log, with over 15 tornadoes documented, is now available in the STORM CHASING section of this web-site under MIDWEST 2016 for this and many more chases in 2016.



You can also click the link below to jump right to the section for storm chasing in 2016 in the central USA...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2016.htm

OK Tornadic Violence / Chase May 6-9 (5/10)

Just wrapped up yet another chase trip to the Central USA plains from May 6 to May 9, 2016. Tornadoes and supercells were observed on May 7 and 8 in Colorado and Kansas / Oklahoma! In the image below, both the visible satellite and radar image (base reflectivity) is shown for the violent tornadic supercell that occurred north of Sulphur, Oklahoma during the afternoon of May 9. I was NOT chasing this storm (unfortunately) because I had to head back to Chicago that day (travel day) for work the next morning.

The impressive radar presentation (right image) of this storm shows an extremely powerful mesocyclone (velocity is the upper-right inset, and correlation-coefficient in the lower-right inset - Prominently showing the grey-blue "debris" ball) as this storm was producing a potentially violent wedge tornado. The satellite image to the left shows the supercells in Oklahoma firing along the dryline (annotated), including the one in the radar images (circled). Impressive to say the least!



Please check my chase logs in the STORM CHASING section of this web-site under MIDWEST 2016 for this and many more chases in 2016. You can also click the link below to jump right to the section for storm chasing in 2016 in the central USA...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2016.htm

Storm Chase Trip Apr 25-28 (4/28)

Another chase trip to the Central USA plains was done from April 25 to 28, 2016. Two tornadoes were observed in two of three severe thunderstorms in Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. Please check my chase logs in the STORM CHASING section of this web-site under MIDWEST 2016 for this and many more chases in 2016.



You can also click the link below to jump right to the section for storm chasing in 2016 in the central USA...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2016.htm

Successful Chase Trip Apr 14-17 (4/17)

A great chase trip to the Central USA plains was done from April 14 to 17, 2016. This included a flight into Denver, Colorado and a trip into the TX / OK panhandles where 4 tornadoes and a Colorado snowstorm were observed! Please check my chase logs in the STORM CHASING section of this web-site under MIDWEST 2016 for this and many more chases in 2016.



You can also click the link below to jump right to the section for storm chasing in 2016 in the central USA...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2016.htm

First Major Storm Chase In 2016 (3/15)

The first major storm chase was done on March 15, 2016 in west-central Illinois from near Carthage to Peoria. Three tornadoes were observed with two supercell storms intercepted during the late afternoon. This marks the start of the 2016 chase season logs for this web-site in the Midwest / Central USA. Please check my chase logs in the STORM CHASING section of this web-site under MIDWEST 2016 for this and many more chases in 2016.



You can also click the link below to jump right to the section for storm chasing in 2016 in the central USA...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2016.htm

Vietnam Pictures Coming Soon (3/12)

VN Place Holder Here - Coming Soon!

Happy New Year 2016 (1/11)

Another year is upon us as we enter 2016. Winter is in full swing up north, which is not a surprise, until you look in the far eastern North Atlantic. Hurricane "Alex" formed on January 13 and moved into the Azores a day later packing winds over 80 MPH.



Hurricanes in the Atlantic basin in January are extremely rare, but can happen given the right conditions. Happy new year to all.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

First Major Winter Storm In Midwest (11/21)

The first major snow storm (named "Bella" by TWC) affected the Midwestern USA mainly on November 21, 2015. This storm dumped up to 16 inches of snow over a rather narrow path, with my area in the NW Chicago suburbs being close to the maximum swath of this storm.



This was a heavy and wet snowfall that made for a very pretty winter scene, with many trees flocked with the wet snow (left). In the center is the lakefront in Chicago, battered by large waves from the storm. However, this was away (a mere 20 miles) from the snow swath, and notice there is not even a dusting of snow there! Meanwhile, back in the northwest suburbs (right picture), a bench is deeply covered in the "white stuff" after the storm.

Last Storm Chase Of 2015 (11/11)

The last chase of 2015 for me was a local chase in Iowa southeast of Des Moines on November 11, 2015. This was a small chase with a possible rain wrapped tornado observed near Hiteman, Iowa. You can see more details about this chase in my STORM CHASING section of my website under MIDWEST 2015.



You can also click the link below to jump right to the section for storm chasing in 2015 in the central USA...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2015.htm

Hurricane Season 2015 Winding Down (11/10)

The Atlantic season will end on November 30, 2015 on a rather quiet note (with no activity as of 11/10). Once again, no major hurricanes affected the mainland USA, with Florida (as well as the rest of the USA) going over a FULL DECADE since a major hurricane strike (winds 111 MPH and higher). The strongest storm in the Atlantic was Joaquin (left image), reaching strong category 4 status in early October 2015, but did not affect any land. The Pacific basin painted a much more grim and violent picture.



With hurricane Patricia (center) in late October being the most powerful tropical system ever observed in the W Hemisphere with sustained winds over 205 MPH (later weakening to 160 MPH before hitting a sparsely populated area of the Mexican coast). A barrage of typhoons also affected the Asian / western Pacific region, such as the near annular storm pictured to the right off Taiwan in late September 2015.

Independence Boogie Near Rochelle IL (7/3)

The annual Independence Boogie is held each year near Rochelle, Illinois at the Chicago Skydiving Center. This year was the first time I attended the event, and it was a blast. Many people attended and aircraft to skydive from ranged from a Skyvan and Otter to a helicopter and hot air balloon.



Be sure to check out my section on SKYDIVING on this web site, as some video of both the raft and balloon jump is featured for this event! You can also jump to the skydiving section by clicking the link for it below...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/skydive.htm

Storm Chasing In Illinois (6/22)

Storm chase season for Spring of 2015 is slowly winding down as we are now officially into Summer 2015. The storm chasing operations led to a successful chase season for the most part (especially in the very start and very end of the season)! The image below was taken near Illinois City, IL on June 22, 2015 and shows a cyclic HP supercell storm producing its second tornado.



Keep up with storm chasing 2015 and many other chases by checking out the STORM CHASING section of my website under MIDWEST 2015. You can also click the link below to jump right to the section for storm chasing in 2015 in the central USA...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2015.htm

Violent-Start To 2015 Chase Season (4/9)

Storm chase season is upon us as we are officially in spring 2015. A major tornado intercept was done in Illinois on April 9 at the conclusion of a mini chase trip in Kansas on April 8. The image below is from the deadly and violent (EF-4 strength on the enhanced Fujita scale with winds near 200 MPH) wedge tornado that struck two small towns north of Rochelle, Illinois late on April 9, 2015, killing two people and injuring dozens others.



A full chase log is available for this chase and others to come for 2015 in the STORM CHASING section of my website under MIDWEST 2015. You can also click the link below to jump right to the section for this chase trip to the central USA...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2015.htm

New Year 2015 And Storm Chaser Convention (2/15)

It's a new year and I have been extremely busy working up here in the Chicago area for over a year now. I apologize for the lack of updates. The storm chaser convention in Denver, or "ChaserCon", was attended in February 13th until the 15th this year.



More information on this yearly event can be seen in the STORM CHASING EVENTS section of my web site. You can also clicking the link provided for it below...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/picnic15.htm

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Jim Leonard Passes Away (11/3)

On November 3, 2014 at the age of 64. He passed away peacefully (with his sister and best friend / chase partner Mike Theiss beside him) after a long battle with cancer and ataxia (a degenerative neurological condition). Jim was one of the most influential and inspiring people known to the chasing community. He has pioneered typhoon and hurricane chasing, as well as mastering tornado alley's storms for many years.



Many of us storm chasers knew about him, and many of us were lucky enough to meet him. In the images above, you can see him hosting his annual storm / hurricane chasing get-together and BBQ in the Florida keys in 2009 and 2010 among many other times (mastering the "grill" as well)! He will not be forgotten and certainly has inspired many ... And now he can be on EVERY storm!

Please take some time to visit my STORM CHASING EVENTS section of my web site, as you can see him in many of those areas. You can jump to these sections by clicking the link for 2009 below...

http://www.sky-chaser.com/picnic09.htm

Or by visiting the link for events in 2010 below as well......

http://www.sky-chaser.com/picnic10.htm

Hurricane Gonzalo Hits Bermuda (10/17)

Hurricane "Gonzalo" was a powerful hurricane that reached category-4 strength over the tropical north Atlantic in mid October 2014, with sustained winds of 145 MPH. The rather quiet Atlantic season came to life with this storm, which affected Antigua and eventually Bermuda, with the storm eye passing right over the island during the night of October 17 as a strong category 2 storm.



I did NOT chase this storm, but watched the amazing path, with the two images above (IR satellite to the left, and Bermuda radar reflectivity to the right) showing the island of Bermuda (also circled) in the core / eye of the hurricane for some time. Damage was mainly to power poles, signs, and trees on the island - With no deaths, which was very fortunate.

Aerobatics In Extra 300L (10/5)

See a real interesting flight I took on an Extra 300L aerobatic plane at Gauntlet Warbirds in Sugar Grove, IL in early October 2014. This is one of the premiere aerobatic aircraft introduced into this country from Germany in the 1990's.



More about this flight and many others can be seen in the FLYING section of my web site. You can jump right to a video of this flight via the link for it below.

http://www.sky-chaser.com/flygwvid.htm

Thursday, August 07, 2014

Hurricane "Arthur" NC Chase (7/4)

Hurricane "Arthur" was the first named storm of the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season. The storm was intercepted in North Carolina from the Morehead City / Atlantic Beach area late on July 3 then again before dawn on the outer banks south of Nags Head, NC. The storm was a category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 MPH. This was also the first hurricane chase since 2012.



I now have a full chase log for this intercept, and it is available in the STORM CHASING section of my site (in the tropical cyclone section). You can jump right to the chase log via the link for it below.

http://www.sky-chaser.com/arthur14.htm

A video of this hurricane chase is also available and can be viewed in the log for this chase, or you can jump right to it via the link.

http://www.sky-chaser.com/ar14vid.htm

Nebraska "Twin" Tornadoes (6/16)

The true and brutal "violence" of weather in the Central United States made its ugly mark on June 16, 2014 near Pilger, Nebraska with a series of multiple tornadoes (some violent). Please pray for all who were affected by this recent disaster. The image below shows two violent tornadoes close to one another, each of similar size and intensity, with lightning and a destroyed farmstead in the foreground.


A chase trip was done from June 13 to June 17, with chases in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and most importantly, Nebraska. A full chase log for this trip can be viewed at the link for it below!

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2014.htm

For a video of the incredible Nebraska chase for June 16, please check out the link below.

http://www.sky-chaser.com/m15vid1.htm

Friday, July 11, 2014

Moderate-Risk "Mini" Chase (6/4)

Another chase trip was done again for a moderate to high risk "spot" chase in Nebraska mainly on June 3, with a departure from Chicago on June 2 and return June 4. Some HP supercells and a couple weak tornadoes were observed using my own chase vehicle for this trip. The chase log is also available in my STORM CHASING section of this site (under MIDWEST 2014).

Please click the link Below for more information on the chase details for June 2-4, 2014!

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2014.htm

Shortened Chase "Expedition" (5/23)

Chase "expedition" 2014 was originally scheduled from May 18 through June 1, 2014 but was cut short as of May 23. The pattern was more active during this period with supercells and a couple small tornadoes observed in and around Colorado. I used my own chase vehicle for this trip, and a full chase log is now available in my STORM CHASING section of this site (under MIDWEST 2014).

Please click the link Below for more information on the chase details for May 18-23, 2014!

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2014.htm

Storm Chase Trip Completed (4/28)

From April 25 through April 28, I was storm chasing in the Central USA / US Great Plains and flew out of Chicago to Kansas City. I was chasing mainly in Oklahoma and Kansas on Saturday April 26 with a cap bust (no storms formed anywhere outside of limited areas in Texas) and Sunday April 27 being a failed moderate to high-risk chase day in Missouri and Arkansas (bad positioning and later bad terrain). A violent tornado did form in Arkansas and caused death and destruction there in the early evening of the 27th (Mayflower, Arkansas) ... God bless the victims there. I returned to Chicago late Monday morning on April 28.

Please click the link Below for more information on the chase details for April 25-28, 2014!

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2014.htm

First Storm Chases (4/3 & 4/12)

The first storm chase of 2014 was done on April 3, 2014 in central Missouri with an HP supercell storm intercepted. Another chase in Illinois and Iowa was done April 12 with giant hail observed.


The full chase reports are currently available for April 3 and 12 for 2014 in the STORM CHASING section of my web site (the section is MIDWEST 2014 and has been updated during chases throughout 2014). Please click the link Below for more information on the first chase in Missouri for April 3, 2014!

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2014.htm

Please click the link Below for more information on the Illinois and Iowa "mini" chase for April 12, 2014!

http://www.sky-chaser.com/mwcl2014.htm

Thursday, March 27, 2014

St Patricks Day In Chicago (3/10)

Saint Patricks day was a blast in the Windy City with good weather (between snow storms it was about 35 degrees) and a great party of Irish and non-Irish folks alike! The tradition is to dye the Chicago River bright green as everyone can walk the streets toting a green beer and enjoying the parade and celebrations.


Saint Patricks Day is a MUST for anyone in the Windy City at that time of the year!

ChaserCon 2014 (2/16)

The yearly Storm Chaser Convention (ChaserCon) went very well in mid February 2014 with an impressive turnout of nearly 500 storm chasers. The yearly event was as good as it gets, and included a snowmobiling trip to the mountains and a special tribute to Tim and Paul Samaras and Carl Young.


More pictures of this event will be available once I get caught up.

Chicago Job And Polar Vortex (1/6)

Early January 2014 was a brutally cold period from the upper Midwest to the NE USA - Especially around the first week of January 2014. Once again, similar to 2008, I am working on a computer contract in the windy city of Chicago, and had the excitement of driving right into the worst of the weather on January 5 between Indianapolis and Chicago! A few days after was followed by some of the coldest temperatures in 20+ years, approaching -20 below in Chicago. A blizzard (with winds gusting to 50 MPH and nearly 2 feet of snow) also preceded this vicious cold wave. I barely made the trip from Indy to Chicago as I-65 was shut down for 2 days after I barely made my way through (middle picture below was a common sight).


To the right, ice clouds - resembling cirrus clouds, are near the ground, causing sundogs and other optical effects. To the left, the true presentation of the term "Polar Vortex" (used by many media firms), can be seen at the 250 MB flow. This is no more than a highly amplified trough, extending southward from the polar vortex (wind flow around each pole on the earth).


The larger picture above shows the more prominent upper-level low (with temperatures nearing -60 C in its core near Hudson Bay) at the 500 MB level! This allows very cold air to surge unusually far south.

Interested in winter weather? Please visit my section for it at the link below.

http://www.sky-chaser.com/winter.htm

Saturday, November 16, 2013

A Break From FaceBook (11/15)

Facebook can be a great place to show and tell, as well has chat and connect with friends. It allows you to share status and post content for many to see ... With 'for many to see' being a nasty 'catch' sometimes. I've made some mistakes on there, showing a little too much emotion at times, and posting some rhetorical comments and joking (and even sarcastic) content. It appears I have offended some people. So I decided to deactivate my Facebook Account for a while (as of November 12, 2013). NO link to any archived information has been provided. I decided to take DOWN the link to the archive, since I learned that Facebook backup posts PRIVATE messages as well - BAD (VERY bad)!

Typhoon "Haiyan" Violence (11/8)

Super typhoon Haiyan carved a path of death and destruction from the central Philippines and into northern Vietnam - With the most devastating effects in Tacloban City and the southeast tip of Samar. About 2,500 people are dead and Tacloban City (with nearly a half a million residents) has been almost completely destroyed after being hit with a massive storm surge and winds gusting around 200 MPH! This is one of the strongest tropical cyclones to make landfall at such intensity. Damage inflicted by the wind alone can be on par to a violent tornado. Afterwards, lack of food and water, as well as massive civilian un-rest, looting, and desperation followed. In the graphic below, three unbelievable satellite and radar (base reflectivity) views of the storm during its first landfall play out. The symmetry (annular, "truck-tire" appearance of the cyclone core area) and intensity (195 MPH winds) make this storm both a terrifying and breathtaking sight.


In the lower part of the image, the main damage inflicted to Tacloban City appears to be disintegration of nearly every structure, including trees (with some trees even showing violent tornado-like damage, such as debarking). How anyone can survive being in something like this is hard to understand (including the group of chasers I know that actually were in the northern part of Tacloban City - Maybe that area of Tacloban City was a bit north of the strongest winds)? Even more alarming was the sense of complacency before the storm. The chase groups there reporting people drinking and playing pool at bars, restaurants still busy, and markets still had all their supplies (no long lines) nor any evacuations. These poor people had no idea what was coming just hours later. All chase teams (iCyclone group, CNN, and Jim Edds) fared OK during the storm, but one member was injured saving the lives of some locals at their battered hotel. All were airlifted out of the area to Cebu City, and eventually made it out of the area. I'm both envy of them, but at the same time, grateful they're OK and hope they don't get mentally perturbed on what they did and / or saw.



The onslaught of typhoons in the western Pacific basin continues. In early November 2013 super typhoon Haiyan (with category-5 winds) blasted its way into the Philippines after skirting just north of the island of Palau, eventually making landfall in Vietnam. Some folks from the iCyclone team (who live in Hong Kong as well as California) and Jim Edds have been intercepting these storms as the tropical Atlantic remains stone-dead. These folks were there for this beast in the Philippines and barely got out afterwards.
Wind shear and dry air were nowhere to be found in the western Pacific in 2013! In the IR satellite image above, super typhoon Haiyan (with at least 190 MPH winds) is just about to make landfall in the Philippines on November 8, 2013. And YES - The arrow points to the location a group of storm chasers in Tacloban City just about when they were to take a direct-hit with the right-quadrant of this storm! This is one of the strongest tropical cyclones to make landfall in history. If the Atlantic remains quiet the next few years, I will have to consider heading out for these storms myself!