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storm chasing

The Jessica Game

Storm chasers! Road travelers in general! Here is a “fun” game to play while on the road to pass the time maybe. Game credit/co-credit goes to Jason Foster.

The goal of the game is simple: Listen to the entirety of Jessica by The Allman Brothers Band (the 7:28 full version… don’t give me none of that 4:00 crap) without passing any vehicles and without getting passed by any vehicle that is traveling in the same direction as you.

The rules:

– You must be on an interstate (assuming you’re in the United States).
– You must play the entire song to beat the game. The game starts when you start the song and ends when you end the song.
– You cannot adjust your speed up or down for the sole purpose of winning the game. Drive at your normal speed whenever possible.

Difficulty levels:

Normal – Play the full song without passing or getting passed by vehicles traveling in the same direction as you.
Hard – Play the full song without SEEING ANY VEHICLES that are traveling in the same direction as you.
God Mode – Play the full song without seeing ANY VEHICLES TRAVELING IN EITHER DIRECTION.

I personally have beaten the Normal level several times, and I have only beaten the Hard level once or twice. I have yet to beat God Mode.

The storms have gone away

After a banner year of chasecationing out in the Plains for what was the only active two week period this year, things have been very quiet with respect to storms in the Mid-Atlantic. I did go chasing two months ago on June 13th in Virginia, but since then there really hasn’t been anything worth going after within my chaseable area.

Though stability and speed shear may be limited, I am interested in seeing what happens early to mid-week next week as some sort of tropical-enhanced moisture makes it’s way into the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic states. It’s a bit of a long shot at this point, but if there are tropical remnants in the area next week, there could be a good amount of directional shear and forcing to produce some chaseable storms.

As far as this blog, I have been meaning to start updating it more often, as well as add my collection of 2013 images and video to the site and to Flickr. All that stuff has been posted to Twitter, but that’s a lot different from putting everything into an easy-to-navigate album. I just need to get the motivation to do it one of these days. I’ve been toying with the idea of starting my What To Watch Fore(cast)s back up just so I have some regular content again, but keeping to a schedule always makes posting feel more like a chore, especially since there is no real monetary gain coming from it.

Chasing Hurricane Sandy

I will be departing for the New Jersey coast Sunday to chase Hurricane Sandy (or “Frankenstorm” if you wish to call it that). I will probably be chasing with Jason Foster either by caravanning or he will be in my car with me. We plan to be out there until Tuesday evening, with time restrictions bringing us home a bit earlier than we’d like. I doubt we will get a live stream going, but if we do I will post the information for it.

As always, my Twitter account (@MADUSWX) will be the best way to see updates from me. We will be up on Spotter Network as well.

Jason’s Twitter name has changed to @stormitecture (Storm-i-TECTURE is replacing his old company name, Weather Warrior Media).

There will be a significant snow event up in the Appalachians, with 1-2+ feet of snow possible, but unfortunately I do not have the time to make a forecast map.

15 May 2012 Storm Chase – Pictures

UPDATE: Had to postpone processing my video due to getting ready for the chasecation… hopefully I’ll remember to come back to this later.

I will add more screen grabs to this post by Friday (and update this text), but here’s a handful of shots that I’ve gotten so far:

Video and chase log will be up by the end of the weekend!

Storm chasing in 2012

Now that we have turned the corner into 2012, it is time to start getting plans ready for my 2012 Chasecation.

This year will be a lot different, as I have a more flexible looking calendar from mid May to mid June to spend two weeks out in the Great Plains. I really wish I could stay out longer, but I have not been able to save up that much time off. Next year I will have more time to play with, and I might consider skipping a year of chasing to stock up enough time off to do longer chases beyond that.

A lot of things culminated together last year to make it a pretty terrible chase, including dry, hot weather and a fairly tight chase schedule. On top of the improved schedule availability, over the last couple of months the southern Plains have gotten a fair amount of wet weather, which should help the overall weather pattern a little heading into the late spring. It would be ideal to see the wet weather continue in the southern Plains as the drought is still widespread despite the recent rain and snow taking a dent out of it.

For equipment, I have decided to invest in a DSLR camera for this trip. My old consumer-level digital camera has broken, and I do not want to use my cellphone as my primary camera. It will be a nice improvement that will bring all of my equipment up to the “prosumer” level. I do prefer shooting video, and I will use my Canon HG10 for that. While a prosumer-level camcorder, I plan on upgrading to a more professional digital camcorder a few years down the road. Other already-acquired equipment I will have available includes my HP laptop, tripod, Garmin nuvi 1450 (as a backup GPS) and a backup 400w power inverter.

For chase partners, I plan on teaming up with Jason Foster and Ian Livingston again this year (same as 2011). Jason has switched out the 2000 Subaru Legacy with a 2000 Jeep Cherokee, and that will be our chase vehicle if he can get it ready for the Plains in time. I will help him prep the vehicle if he requires assistance. If that fails, we will acquire another vehicle for the trip.

On top of being an excellent driver and navigator, Jason will also provide all of the chaser equipment for the trip, including a laptop stand, GPS and road map software, antennas and a signal booster, power inverter and extra plugs and a satellite internet card. He will also have a dashcam and has the capability to do live streaming.

This year is looking a lot better than last year (couldn’t get much worse, am I right?), and I can’t wait for May to get here!


Jason Foster

Web Site:
Twitter: @weatherwarrior1


Ian Livingston

Web Site:
Twitter: @islivingston

Hurricane Irene – Tracking and Chase Potential

Now that we’re getting within a reasonable amount of forecast accuracy, I figured it’s time to make a post about Irene and my chasing prospects.

The models have been consistently trending east with Irene for the past couple of days, but the most recent runs have inched back west as the synoptic setup out west is getting worked out (which will be the kicker that causes Irene to recurve). Observational model biases indicate that the kicker trough will verify more slowly than what is currently modeled, which would allow Irene to work further west. Right now it’s progged to go through (or just east of) the Outer Banks of North Carolina before making landfall on Long Island and the Northeast. Any more of a westward push would send Irene into the Morehead City, NC area or the Delmarva Peninsula, which will be the two areas that Jason (The Weather Warrior) and I will be targeting. Obviously it will have to come down to a decision of choosing just one of these locations, as timing and road closures would make it very difficult, if not impossible to reposition from one area to the other in time.

The decision to go will have to be made tomorrow, as departure time will likely be early Friday. I have discussed the possibility of Irene coming back west, but there is still a good possibility that it could go further east and miss the Mid-Atlantic or even the Northeast, so the next 24 hours of development will be extremely important in zeroing-in on Irene’s track. Right now I’m slightly above 50% GO for chasing.

As it stands, Irene is a Category 3 Hurricane and is expected to intensify a bit more while in/near the Bahamas, with gradual weakening as it nears the East Coast.