Storm Chasing memories. Quote from W0LBG

Every now and then doing a google search can give you a blast from the past. Right now all my strom chasing pages are down, and since I now live in Idaho… They aren’t a huge priority. If you read my last post you know my Ham Radio call sign just changed from KD7EVS to W7ATC. I was searching the net for references to KD7EVS so that I could change them. Most of these sites are forums and such. But I found this little gem…

Let me set the scene:

While I was attending Iowa State University I got alot of opportunity to storm chase. Probably a little too much time chasing and not enough time in class. But that’s another story.

Anyway I was chasing and working with SKYWARN via the Des Moines Office of the National Weather Service. Let me say, the forcasters in the office there and the Hams that ran the SKYWARN net from DMX, top notch folks. If I had my choice to chase anywhere in the country it’d be with the folks from central Iowa. One night we had a cell pop up in Nebraska, the only one on the scope. I watched it for hours before it got anwhere close. It was a classic supercell and it was so pretty on radar. You could easily see the rotation on the doppler wind profile. I really wish I could find a radar loop of that storm. Just before dark it started getting close to our warning area. I was talking on the ham radio and W0LBG was on. I mentioned that I was about to go chase and if offered to come along.

There is a rule about always having a chase partner someone to keep an eye on the clouds and run the radio while you’re driving. As much as that rule is important during the day time, it’s even more important at night. As much as I preach that rule I don’t always stick to it during the day. At night though, on an active chase, I always have someone shotgun.

I picked him up and we started to preposition southeast of Ames. We were sitting in church parking lot with a Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy.  We were both looking toward the storm and then we saw a funnel just over a hill. We called it in and then headed out as the NWS issued the Tornado warning. I wanted to get a bit south of the storm and closer. Once we got closer it took a jaunt to the north and we had to backtrack. Once we got back to Ames we pulled off in a parking lot to get a feel of the storm. One of the better night views of a mesocylone I’ve seen, but couldn’t really see under it.
As soon as the storm was over Ames we hopped on 30 again with the plan take I-35 north to get back infront of the storm. If the storm didn’t speed up we’d be just southeast of the core. If I was to slow due to traffic on the interstate or the storm sped up, we’d have to stop on the interstate as the core crossed. Sorry, I’m not to fond of core punching.

Any time I take new people with me I give them a short safty speech. Among the things I mention is anytime they are uncomfortable with something, let me know. I forgot to have that speech with him.

I didn’t have my ‘cockpit voice recorder’ on for some reason so I can’t remember exactly what was said on my end but…

We were headed under the bell of a mesocyclone. When we were on the entrance ramp to I35 north I was taking the turn a little fast, accelerating to interstate speeds… Jonathan rather quickly reached up for the passenger hand hold. I ofcourse thought that was a little funny, smiled and said something like ‘Sorry should have warned you or asked you if you handle and trust my driving.
Jonathan responded with one of my favorite statements. You had to be there to get the full effect and his emphasis.
“Hey, I’m letting you drive me into a Mesocyclone, I trust you, if I can trust your to drive me into the path of a storm… I can handle your driving”
— (Jonathan) W0LBG

I had used to have this on the main page of one of my chase sites. I had forgotten about that, but found it on his site (he was quoting my site) while searching for my callsign.

Hmm, fun times. I’d love to be chasing a good supercell right now. These whimpy storms we get in Idaho aren’t much worth chasing. An occasional gust front, downburst or straightline winds… but rarely any organization to speak of.

This entry was posted in Ham Radio.