Friday, December 4, 2009

Adventures on a Tornado Tour - Part 7

So the Season Finale of Storm Chasers was this past weekend BUT I realized today that I never posted my last entry from my tornado tour since I didn't blog last Thursday night, what with being in a Turkey/Pumpkin-Pie-induced coma and all. So here is my report from the last day of my tour this past Spring . . .

Hope y'all enjoyed the show!!!

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April 26, 2009

We got to sleep in a bit today because we didn't get started until noonish. As we were getting on the road, we listened to the local weather and heard them issue PDS tornado warnings. What does "PDS" stand for, you ask? Particularly Dangerous Situation . . .

I'm sorry - what???

That's never a good sign!! Matt and Dave heard that the National Weather Service had declared Oklahoma high risk for tornadoes. They were excited about it but a little reserved because, apparently, high risk in Oklahoma NEVER pans out. But we kept our fingers crossed and hit the road.

The radars looked CRAZY. Granted, I have NO idea how to read a radar but there were LOTS of little thingies on it. :) Just kidding. You could see lots of storms lined up across Oklahoma - one to the North and like five lined up in the Southwest part of Oklahoma. Matt and Dave made the decision to stay South so that we could increase our chances of seeing a tornado. So the chase was on. It seemed like we chased after several but, in reality, we could have been just repositioning around the same one - it was hard to keep track of that part of it. At one point, we saw a wall cloud and positioned ourselves so that it would pass right over our heads and then we just parked and watched. It went RIGHT over us, allowing us to see the circulation - it was really cool. It was eerily calm and there was a LOT of lightning. The lightning is so cool out there because you can see it hit and then just pulse. It's so amazing to watch. Anyway, the storm passed over us so then we raced to catch up with it. The day went like that - racing and stopping and racing and stopping. We saw some small funnels peek out but nothing ever happened with them. So no tornado for me this time around . . . bummer, huh? Oh well, guess I'll have to go again next year!! :)

We met up with Reed and Chris and their group for dinner. They had made the decision to play the north storm and, wouldn't you know it, they saw a tornado! DANGIT!! Well, I mean - congrats to them but DANGIT FOR US!!! They uploaded it to the website and it was an awesome tornado . . . you need to check it out when you get a chance! Matt and Dave were bummed that they hadn't picked the North storm but how the heck were they supposed to know?! Sticking with the greater number of storms seemed like the best call to me, too, so I still think they did a great job! In the end, it's really just a crap shoot . . . Anyway, our last night together was so much fun and I laughed and laughed and laughed. It was so sad to see it all come to an end!

Even without a tornado, the trip was a TOTAL SUCCESS for me. I really had a great time. The chase experience was really cool and our guides impressed me at every turn with their knowledge of weather and the storms we were chasing. It was not at all unusual for them to say a forecast was wrong and to make their own prediction of what the storm would do or where it would go. And they were right every time! How can you not feel safe in such capable hands!?!? And my fellow tourists were AWESOME - except Shane, of course. :) I love the friendships that I developed with them and with our guides . . . seriously GREAT PEOPLE!!

So I headed home to The Woodlands and got home just in time to get a call from my friend who was stuck in traffic down at Greenspoint and saw a funnel develop right over her.

SON OF A . . .!!!!

She said that she was sitting there and saw it peek out and her car was rocking back and forth!! So it turns out that I could have just donned a bullet-point vest and braved Greenspoint on Monday rather than spending a week chasing in Oklahoma . . . but i think it likely that the gangs of Greenspoint would not have been as patient with me as Matt and Dave. :)

So that's it!! I loved my experience and will definitely do it again . . . some of us are already talking about a reunion tour! So exciting! I highly recommend it - check out Extreme Tornado Tours if you're interested. They are a GREAT group of people!! And DEFINITELY watch the next season of Stormchasers on the Discovery Channel and check their website for videos throughout the season!!