STORM CHASING LOG.
Mr.Weatherbee has been invited along as an embedded reporter to record and report his findings of the three storm chasers. Mr. Weatherbee will file his report when time permits, availability of internet connections and of course some severe weather to report.
We have added another picture page. To view Click here
Tornado slams GM Plant, Norman Oklahoma. Pictures
May 14 Local 1.50pm.
By the time you read this our trip will have come to an end. It was decided at 8am local time this morning that the chances of severe weather occuring in our area had dimminished. The general concensus was to return to Ontario.
Total kilometeres covered since we left Ontario on May 1st is 6,822. By the time we arrive in Ontario we expect the total kilometeres covered will be 8500.
A slight diversion this morning took us to Wakita where we toured the Twister Museum. Wakita has a population of 500 people. Hollywood chose Wakita out of 5 other small rural towns in Oklahoma to make its famous movie Twister.
The picture below is of one of the Dorothy's that was used in the movie and was thrown in the path of the tornado to measure wind velocity etc. The museum purchased Dorothy for $800.US. Hollywood purchased homes from the residents of the town and after tearing them down rebuilt them to their own design, so in the movie they could be used in the scene where the tornado struck the town tearing everything apart.
Received word last night that Mr. Weatherbee has safely arrived back in Dufferin County. We understand that when Mr. Weatherbee was asked how he managed to fly so far, he replied "I clicked my heels together three times and said there is no place like home".
May 13 Local 8am.
Going to Dodge City, Kansas. This may be our last chance to see more severe weather. We are meeting up with va3 tvs Ron Gravelle and va3gtk. George kronusis who are experienced chasers and we therefore hope to reap the benefit of their experience.
Two local amateurs paid us a visit at the camp grounds last night. One of them runs A.P.R.S. and has folowed our trip.
The pictures below were taken one half mile from where we stayed over night in Choctaw.
May 13 Local 8.30. Just met up with George and Ron and were told of slight change in plan. We will be heading a little further east in the area of Wichita.
May 13 Local 10.33pm.
Things looked promising today but lost day time heating. Very tired from all the driving so will cut this one short.
Heading to northern Oklahoma city tomorrow which may be our last chance to see any more severe weather on this trip. Friday looks a good day for severe weather in Texas but to far for us to travel at this late stage of our trip.
May 11 Local 10am.
One thing I forgot to mention last week was that when we came across an area with extreme tornado damage we met two ladies who had come all the way from Florida and worked for the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the good news story was that they had rescued a cat and dog from a tornado damaged home and saw both animals re-united with their owners and both ladies really felt rewarded.
We woke up to a beautiful sunny morning with a temperature in the low 60's. It is expected to reach mid 70's later today.
We are now back in Choctaw at the same KOA we were at a week ago. The owners of the KOA told us that a tornado struck the area two days ago. Tornado sirens went off and everyone in the park came to the KOA office where I am typing to days log and took shelter. In the middle of the sirens going off a mobile recreation vehicle arrived to check in. They were quickly rushed in side and at that time the winds picked up and a vortex went directly overhead. On route to the KOA this morning we saw damage strewn over the median on the interstate and trees levelled. The local repeater we used last night to make contact to Ontario was busy with an emergency net organizing amateurs to be available to go out and asses and assit with damage reports, which reminds me I was about to volunteer last week when we were in Joplin to offer assistance to the local A.R.E.S. who were calling for volunteers to walk the decimated Pierce City. However, severe weather was on the horizon in Central Oklahoma so we had to leave.
I think we will be paying a visit to the National Severe Storm Laboratory in Norman Oklahoma on Monday and then hopefully chase some more severe weather on Tuesday or Wednesday. If there is nothing in the offering for either of these two days we may begin our long trek home.
May 11 Local 5.20pm.
The picture below is of two storm chasers from Ontario. They came very close to being caught up in the tornado and the flying debris last Thursday night.
This afternoon we toured the Choctaw area to survey damage from the tornado that hit the area two days ago.
May 10. Local 9.30am.
Second tornado strikes Oklahoma City in two days. Risk of severe weather in the Oklahoma area again today. Our plan, once the van is back on the road is to stay close to the area until mid-afternoon when the risk of severe weather dimminishes and moves out into the north east section of Oklahoma.
Came out of the garage with a new fuel filter. After readjusting the luggage in the back of the van in order to place the tv. in better view we decided to head east. This was a good decision as severe thunderstorm cells were forming to the south west and heading in a north east direction.
There was a strong cell that could produce a tornado in Pauls City, south west of our position in Norman Oklahoma. In order to intersect this cell we travelled 120 miles to Henryetta where we thought it would cross I40.
On approaching Henryetta weather radio issued a tornado warning for the town of Eufalla south west of our current position which meant we were finally ahead of the storm after travelling for two hours. Weather radio confirmed a spotter had seen a touch down in Eufalla. The next town to be impacted was Whitefield and we had 20 minutes to get into position.
The skies blackened and heavy rain fell accompanied by golf ball size hail.[Ron was so pleased to see golf balls] It was difficult to estimate surface winds but the tree limbs were bending. We knew we had to punch through the precipitation and get on the south side of the storm. After punching through the skies cleared and we parked to look back on the storm. Although a tornado warning had been issued for this area andand a confirmed touch down had been reported, we did not see any rotation or funnell cloudes.
This cell was travelling at 50 mph. and went on to north of Fort Smith some 50 miles to our east. We realized that this cell was travelling far to fast for us to catch. We therfore stopped at the side of the road and re-grouped. It was decide to head back west to find a place to stay for the night. We are now just outside the gates of Tinker Air force Base Oklahoma City where we will be staying until the next round of severe weather outbreak which is expected on Tuesday.
It was great to talk to all our friends back in Ontario through Amateur Radio tonight. We really appreciate your interest. A special thank you to our American amateur radio friends for all their help in establishing communication links to enable us to contact family and friends in Ontario. A big thanks to Sean, ve3oz for setting up Echolink and giving me a crash course in its operation before I left Ontario.
We do have a lead on Mr. Weatherbee. We understand there is a real Buzz to the North.
Happy Mothers day to Rita, Corrie and Lee, and Scotts Mom Elaine.
May 9 Local 8.38pm.
Van trouble. We will not be on A.P.R.S. until sometime again on Saturday. We are in a Motel in Norman Oklahoma 30 miles south of the Tinker Airbase where a tornado hit the town of More yesterday afternoon. We were able to get a glimps of the damage when we came by on Interstate 35.
Tornado confirmed on the ground in Oklahoma City at 10pm some 20 miles away moving at 30mph. away from us in a north east direction. Watching live coverage on the Weather Chanell.
RIPLEYS BEELIEVE IT OR NOT!! Hail caught by Ron and Scott out of the motel window just moments ago.
May 8 Local 10.30am.
Big decision. Where to go today. After spending two hours on the internet this morning looking at all the weather discussions for Kansas, Missiouri and Arkansas we have again decided to stay in the area but move a little to the north west to Pittsburgh.
The town of Carl Junction population of 2500 has been severely damaged. We have just driven through this town on our way to Pittsburgh and I could not see a property that had not been damaged. Hydro lines down accross the road. People that had them were running on generators. The town was a buzz with activity of cleaning up. Owing to downed hydro lines we were not able to get close to a church with a collapsed roof. The damage I saw reminded me of Amaranth St. Grand Valley in the 1985 tornado only 10 times worse.
Most of the older homes in Carl Junction that have been totalled are of frame structure. The recently built homes [subdivisions] seemingly have withstood the tornado wrath, except that many have had their roofs lifted off.
We sat for about two hours in Parsons when a tornado warning was issued for Greenwood a county to the west of us. Bear in mind that some of the counties are very large stretching as much as 150 miles from one side to the other. Therefore, it may take two hours or more to get into the general path.
At about 6pm we heard of a confirmed touch down in Iola which tornado was heading north east of us but still 75 to 100 miles away and no definite roads to reach the area. The chase was on.
The chase begins with Scott behind the wheel abiding by ALL traffic regulations, reading gps, reading maps, blood pressure over the limit, putting fires out in the cigerrete lighter and telling Ron and I to listen and copy down all the weather radio information and in the middle of all of this Paul's cell phone goes off. It was Rita. After not being seen on the A.P.R.S. map for 5 hours and again hearing of all the tornados in our area, Rita was concerned [Pauls wife] and after reassuring her I was not in any danger I promised to call back later.
We were also listening to the local FM station a report was given that Oswega KS. one of the last towns in the path of the tornado and we were only 30 miles from this town. Chase lights are on, gps booted up and cameras ready. North east of Parsons we see trees begin to sway, heavy rain, lightening and the rear Anvil was appearing in the light of dusk.
Further on what we thought was scud cloud approaching was indeed the Beaver Tail which went over the top of our vehicle. [we were definatly not pleased with our position] A large Skud cloud about 100 yards away from our position rose up out of the field to join the Beaver Tail and by this time we were in complete darkness and the chase was off due to safety.
Todays pictures are of the Miller property, the family we visited a few days ago. Note the basement picture. It was in this area of the house that the Millers took shelter. After watching the tornado move accross their fields towards them decided to head for cover. Mrs. Miller told us that by the time they got to the basement, layed on the floor and placed a mattress over them the tornado struck.
May 6th. Local 11.33am.
Thanks once again to all those folks that are sending us emails. We do our best to answer them all. If you would like to drop us a line we can be found at either: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are following us on A.P.R.S. you will see we are once again heading for Joplin Missouri where severe weather is expected to break out today and over the next few days. We believe that the areas of north central Arkansas, south west Missouri or south east corner of Kansas are the places to watch for once again. Current conditions. Sky overcast with sunny breaks. Temperature 81F. Radio weather alert just went off 1.49 local and issued tornado watch for Crawford county, the county we left this morning. Have to deal with business. Will check back later.
May 7 Local 7.30am.
We were not able to get back to the log yesterday owing to chasing all afternoon all along the state line of Missiouri and Kansas. Although weather radio issued 226 tornado watches and warnings we were unable to catch a siting.
At 6.30pm. we tried to enter a town called Stockton but were stopped by the local police. The town had been demolished by a tornado three days earlier. Also on our chasing yesterday we were able to get glimpses of damaged homes and barns and people beginning the clean up and get their lives back together.
Today will be a laundry day as there does not appear to be anything severe in our area.
On our way back to Joplin we surveyed areas of tornado damage. The pictures are of a F5 tornado damage which occurred three days ago 35 miles north of Joplin. We talked to the Miller family[ owners of the property] who were more than willing to share their horrific account of the moments before the tornado struck. We have their story on video.
Listening to NOAA weather radio and doing the log while Ron and Scott are at the laundry. Forecast for tomorrow is another round of severe storms and again on Saturday. I think we will be in this area until the weekend.
All equipment is working well and have seen the messages that the boys in Dufferin and Wellington have sent via. APRS. Taking todays downtime to re-charge all batteries and to check equipment. Scott did an oil change the morning we left. This morning we did our 5000km. oil change at Wallmart. If anyone from Wallmart reads this page we are looking for sponsorship!!.
May 5th Local 2.28.
Left Missouri at 11.30am this morning after returning emails and telephone calls ensuring everyone we were safe.
The next potential for severe weather is for Tuesday in Arkansas so we are heading in that general direction.
We have today loaded a couple of pictures on the page re storm damage that we came across yesterday. If they are taking to long to load, please drop an email to advise.
Throughout our travels today we are learning of more damage and fatalities, especially in Pierce City MO. Nine confirmed dead and many others missing. This town was one county north east where we stayed for the night. It is our understanding that most of the homes and business's have been completely demolished. This tornado is the tornado we followed on May 4th. which hit the house and barn above.
An interesting observation from one of the local people is that they did not have any advance warning but yet we knew by listening to weather radio and local am broadcast station two hours prior to the event. We can only speculate that because of the frequency of tornados in the area people become non chalante.
We are still searching for Mr. Weatherbee and putting up reward posters at every truck stop. We miss our reporting mascot.
MAY 4 2.47 Local.MOBILE REPORT.
Tornado watches issued for North Eastern Oklahoma and we are heading towards Broken Arrow. This area received damage from Tornadoes last Thursday, the day we left Ontario.
Temperature is 85f. and very humid. Skywarn, equivelent to Canwarn is up and operating.
Stopping at the side of the road on route 75 to allow Scott VE3IPE to download latest radar information. Temperature now sitting at 88f and winds at 25mp/h
Ron is driving well, Scott navigating better than Ron and Scott is also acting as internet officer and I am in the back seat, as communication control manager.
May 4. 4.09 Local. TORNADO WARNING ISSUED. CHASING.
Filed 4.30pm. Local. Just came through 69mp/h winds. Half inch hail with torrential downpours. Pulled off to the side of road where we encountered a new chase friend, Phil who seemingly would have followed us to the end of the earth but decided to peel off after two states.
Came through that cell without any damage to vehicle.
Filed 6.30pm. Local. Heading towards Joplin Missouri with Phil the storm chaser in tow. He has been following us for the past two hours. Phil does not have a chase vehicle with him but monitors AM broadcast stations and does very well and is very knowledgable.
Scott has just called Environment Canada for confirmation on some super cells. Advised by the one and only Rob Kuhn, severe weather meteorologist who concurrs these cells are worth persuing.
Time filed 6.35 Local. West of Chetopa Kansas. Came accross structual damage.. house windows out, barn roof off, trees down and debris strewn in fields for half a mile.
The windward side of the house not only had a window broken but the entire window and frame had been blown in. This reminded us of our Canwarn training where Phil the forecaster Chadwick had shown us a picture of how each wall gets blown in and away.
When it was decided to curtail activities for the day we stopped to photo what we surmized to be a beaver tail being drawn in to the updraft.
We checked into KOA at Joplin at 7.45 Missouri. North of the city was out of power and the interstate was closed due to debris.
MAY 3rd. 2003
No action today other than driving 500 miles to areas that had potential severe weather and were under tornado watches. We certainly saw a large part of Oklahoma, along with developing Mammatus cloud formation.
Thanks to all that have been sending us email and tracking us on A.P.R.S. Radio coverage is few and far between. Therefore we may dissapear once in a while so don't think we have gone where Dorothy went.
It was great to talk to the boys in Dufferin and Wellington on Echolink.
So far the IRLP system has been rather desolate but will continue to try to link back to ULR.
The temperatures are in the mid 80's and quite humid at times.
We were on the road late last night so decided to stay in a motel and enjoy the comforts of home.
It was four years today, Oklahoma experienced an F6 tornado with winds exceeding 512km/h.
Speaking of high winds, Mr. Weatherbee is no longer with us. He was perched on the headrest of the passenger seat when Ron VA3FAZ opened the window and in a second Mr. Weatherbee was gone. The responability for reporting now rests with Paul VE3PWZ.
MAY 3 9.20AM lOCAL.
Mr. Weatherbee reporting from 30 miles east of Oklahoma.
The three Canadian storm chasers feel fotunate to have arrived in Oklahoma owing to the fact they were turned around by high ranking officials on the US side as they had not completed a Y85 form which dealt with declaration of equipment.
On the Canadain side another high ranking official straightened out the issue by stamping our hands. They thanked him with free BlockBuster video coupons.
They arrived in Oklahoma at 4.30pm. local time on Friday 2nd. May after 28 continuous hours of driving.
VA3FAZ, Ron ran over an already dead deer on interstate 70.
In St Louis the fog was so thick that VE3IPE after being woke up from a deep snoring sleep. He thought he was flying in above the clouds.
After 28 hours of driving the first time the motor was shut off for any period of time, it refused to start. Panic. A satellite link was made to Canadian Tire who put road runner towing into place.
However, VE3PWZ used his slick honey on the issue. Thank goodness for me and my friends the worker bees.
The four of us are now camped at KOA Oklahoma east and will deceminate the forecast for tomorrow by useing our internet connection at our campsite.
The weather forecast looks quite good for the weekend for some severity.
APRS, seems to have worked well from the reports we have been getting from some of you in Ontario.
Received Ewans message re passports prior to leaving canada and also received Terry's packet wnen we were in Oklahoma.
MAY 1st. 2003.
By the time you read this, three crazy Amateur Radio Operators will be on their way to what is known as "Tornado Alley" to chase down tornadoes. VE3IPE Scott, VA3FAZ Ron and VE3PWZ Paul left for Oklahoma on Thursday night 1st. May with a van loaded with lap-tops, radios, a weather station, cell phones, batteries, weather radio and lots of hope.
Depending on weather patterns on the way down some variation on the route may have to be made.
The A.P.R.S. radio will be on most of the time, which will allow those that may be interested to track the journey. For those that are not set up for this mode the chasers can be found by clicking here and type in VE3PWZ-9
A good site for all US. severe weather warnings, radar and satellite is the National Weather Service. click here
It is also intended that contact will be made back home through VE3OZ's Sean's, Echolink. node no.17950 on the frequency of 446.200 with a PL of 157.7 [PLEASE NOTE. No PL required on Sean's system for the next two weeks.] Further, they hope to utilize IRLP, the local node being VE3ORX node no.2700 on the frequency of 444.025 with a PL of 103.5. We will also try and access IRLP through VE3ULR 442.025 the Toronto reflector. VE3ULR. The Toronto node will allow a link to ZAP. Contacts, if any, will be made during the evening hours.
If they are spotted by A.P.R.S. please drop them an email at email@example.com
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