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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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

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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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!

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!

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!

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!

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

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.

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!

Friday, September 27, 2013

No Hurricanes & My Mom Gone (9/30)

The tropical Atlantic remains a MAJOR and DISGUSTING "disappointment" (from a "chasing" perspective. There were little or NO "Cape Verde" season as we head out of September and into October. Shear and dry air is the norm ... So I ain't got much to say about any hurricane chases this year, and this really is "painful" after losing my mom ...

... My mother, Geraldine Collura, has passed away on Thursday Night, September 12, 2013 at 11:26 PM EDT at age 71. Services will be held at Our Lady of Mercy Church on Military trail in Deerfield Beach, FL on October 3, 2013 (Thursday). She did nothing but put inspiration and guidance throught my childnood up until now. This has been a VERY though month - God bless HER ... And "screw" 'September 2013'!

My Mom Passes Away (9/12)

My mother, Geraldine Collura, has passed away on Thursday Night, September 12, 2013 at 11:26 PM EDT at age 71. Since early June 2010, she fought lung cancer that spread to her brain, causing seizures. She refused any chemotherapy - And radiation / surgery earned her nearly three and a half years of quality time on this planet. During the week of September 1, 2013 she needed chemotherapy as some of the cancer came back. That was the last weekend (after skydiving) when I hugged her and felt a feeling that told me something bad was going to happen ... Leaving in tears. She got a cold later on the following week, and shortly after, on September 6 (that Friday) was in the hospital (North Broward Medical Center in Pompano Beach, FL) with a pneumonia. On Saturday, she slid into a rapid descent with her health, entering a coma and her vitals completely shutting down, starting with the kidneys.

The last words she said was "mom..." (my grandmother). She continued on on life support and had no responses to anything in terms of improvement. Late on Thursday, September 12, she was removed from life support and brought into hospice where she passed away rather quickly, and peacefully, at 11:26 PM local time. This was very difficult - She was the closest person in my life EVER - And now she's gone. I guess God has her in his hands now... I will miss her so much. A memorial web page will be constructed for her as well soon.

TS Andrea (6/6)

The first tropical system of 2013, tropical storm Andrea, was intercepted in NW Florida north of Tampa on June 6, 2013! More information about this chase and many others can be seen in the STORM CHASING section of my web site.

You can go right to the chase log for tropical storm Andrea at the link for it below.

El Reno Violent Tornado Tribute (6/2)

We have lost three fantastic storm chasers and friends of mine and many others - Tim and Paul Samaras, and Carl Young - Perished on Friday, May 31, 2013 in the violent El Reno, Oklahoma tornado while they trying to document it. These three were the cutting-edge of the storm chasing community and our hearts and prayers will always go out to them and their family.


In addition to these three, the El Reno EF-5 tornado claimed more lives in the city itself - This was a dark and tragic day to say the least - With the tornado itself not only rated EF-5 (the strongest on the enhanced Fujita scale of tornadoes), but was an awe inspiring 2.6 miles wide with winds in its core at least 296 MPH! The El Reno, Okhaloma tornado is the widest / largest tornado in US history.

A documentary video of this extreme tornado event, as well as myself being nearly killed in it, has been provided at the link below!

Chase Expedition 2013 (6/2)

My main yearly chase "expedition" trip to the central USA was from May 18 through June 2 for a full 16 days of storm chasing! Storm activity was extremely active during this period in mid-late May!

Be sure to check my STORM CHASING section for MIDWEST 2013 on this site as the chase trip is completed and my log has been updated. You can also go right to that area by clicking the link that is provided below.

Severe Storm Season 2013 (5/9)

The severe weather season of 2013 is upon us and I am getting ready to not only chase local storms in Florida, but head to the Central USA towards late May anticipating an active pattern after a slow start to May 2013!

The picture above shows an anticyclonic funnel cloud, rotating clockwise, over Miami-Dade county in South Florida on the afternoon of May 9, 2013. See my chase logs for 2013 in my STORM CHASING section of this site, plus many others, or jump to the link for it below.

First 2013 Chase (4/10)

The first chase trip of the 2013 season was done from April 6 through the 10 in the central USA. Numerous supercells and some small tornadoes were observed during this trip, especially in Kansas and Colorado from April 7th through the 9th.

A chase log is now ready in my STORM CHASING section of my website under MIDWEST CHASES FOR 2013. A direct link has been provided as well below.

"Niagara Faller" Project (3/23)

This was a rather cool attempt to send a GoPro camera, mounted on a custom designed "platform" that was tethered with a 100' rope for retrieval, over the edge of Niagara Falls in late March of 2013. Two GoPro cameras were used in two attempts, with the first one having its case damaged from water impact, but the second one successfully retrieved (barely) after going over the edge.

A section on this has been provided in my OUTDOORS section of this side, and a link for it has been provided below.
Please visit the LINK BELOW for a POV Video of the camera as it reaches the edge ofg the falls!

ChaserCon 2013 (2/17)

The National Storm Chaser Convention, or "ChaserCon" in Denver, Colorado was again attended during the weekend of February 15-17, after a 2 week trip to California ... This continued to be another fantastic yearly event that brought in storm chasers from all over the US (and beyond) to collaborate in a three-day event in the mile-high city.

You can also jump right to the area for storm chasing events in 2013, including the storm chaser convention, by clicking the link provided for it below ...

Sexual Abuse Is Never OK (1/1/2013)

Happy new year to all ... Do you know that child / sexual abuse is REAL - And January is the month where child abuse occurs the most? This is a horiffic and sad part of many lives unfortunate to have to cope with this, and it's after effects.

This is a BIG problem that goes virtually un-noticed until the unfortunate victim suffers many years later. More on this subject, including MY personal experience with such abuse, can be seen at the link below.