Central Kansas, Hyped up as a 20 year severe storm event, a bust?
The SPC (Storm Prediction Center) issued a high risk for a large chunk of Central Kansas as seen below. A ‘high risk’ is the highest category issued. A public severe weather statement for a major outbreak is made well in advance of the watches being issued.
Myself and my brother Marc decided this would be ‘the day’ of the year, or so we hoped. Everyone was saying the best probabilities were up in South Central Nebraska, but we didn’t think we had enough time to drive up there and still make it back into town at a decent hour. I had to go into work in the morning and couldn’t get out until about 1230 CDT. My co-workers (Dan, Joan, and Mina) did an awesome job of getting me covered so I could take off.
It’s important to note that even though we are considered to be ‘trained spotters’ by the National Weather Service
, we are still amatures and don’t condone chasing in general. If you are interested enough to want to get involved, we encourage you to sign up as an E-Spotter
. This is also how we submit our reports from the field. We are PLA414.
You should also check with your local weather service office for class schedules (usually prior to severe weather season). Attend these classes which are usually held in your local community center and last for only a few hours. They are free to anyone and then you will become one those ‘trained spotters’ you hear about.
We also recommend going on a few chases with one of the professional chase teams prior to going out on your own.
If you do decide that you want to actually go out and chase, please make sure you invest some money in proper equipment. You don’t have to get too fancy, but you need to make sure you also have first aid gear in addition to weather spotting gear. I’ll give everyone a break down and photos of what we are running a little later in this post.
If you’re a HAM radio operator you may also want to join SKYWARN
Our local Kansas City NBC ‘Action News’
affiliate, KSHB Channel 41 (13 on Time Warner), Meteorologists Gary Lezak and Jeremy Nelson asked us to check in with them and leave our cell numbers before we left. Here’s the first blog entry by me before we left on the NBC Action Weather Blog
. I’m username ‘pilotskcx’.
In this topic
you can see when we finally left KC. I must say that all of our local channels do a pretty good job, but the NBC Action Weather
Team, Chief-Gary Lezak and crew; Brett Anthony, Jeremy Nelson, and Jeff Penner are hands down the best. Their blog gets on average well over 200-300 replies on each topic because when they’re not on the air they are talking to their viewers on a regular basis. In my opinion, they are actually doing a great service for all of us with their blog. The weather team has taught everyone alot. Thanks to the entire team and keep up the great work.
Sean Wilson from Blown Away tours
was also on the chase just a little further South with KSHB’s Russ Ptacek. Sean is KSHB’s primary chaser and is considered to be one the best in the business. We had no idea he was in our area until we got back to KC and saw the 10 p.m. news. Now I don’t feel so bad about making the decision to go South from Salina instead of North, where we should have gone to begin with.
We finally got everything loaded up and powered on. We finally departed at 1335 hours CDT. I’ll let the video show you how it went from there. We shot the video in HD 1080i, 5.1 surround, 1920 X 1080 resolution in AVCHD1080i 16 X 9 format, with a cosumer level Sony HDR-SR11. We will upgrade to a broadcast quality cam really soon. I hope the video renders out ok for the web.
These are not the videos of tornadoes on the ground, etc., that everyone’s used to seeing. We didn’t have much materialize to our dismay, so please don’t be disappointed.
Please accept my sincere apologies for my bad narration and mischaracterizations of just about every storm feature.
I forgot how hard it is to navigate, narrate, shoot video, and look outside all at the same time. I think we need Sean Wilson, Gary, or Jeremy to go with us and point out features then quiz us every 10 seconds (hehe), until it’s second nature.
** Warning. Very Large File Sizes, please allow plenty of time for buffering. ** To download ‘right-click’ and ‘save as’
All in all we were happy with the way our vehicle, hardware, and software performed. We had a few hickups with Mobile Threat Net (probably the NWS feed) not refreshing the radar until sometimes 20-30 miniutes later…just as we got on the rotation…which made things really interesting, but no failures thankfully.
There were lot of reports for our area, but we didn’t see anything even close to what was being reported. We think alot of people were getting overly excited and calling 911. A Sheriff’s Deputy and Skywarn member even swore we just went through a tornado…hehe. We told them we didn’t think there was one actually on the ground.
So, even though we didn’t catch any real funnels, the formations we saw were probably worth the trip, especially for our first out of area chase. Maybe it wasn’t a bust after all.
Here’s a quick breakdown of our equipment:
Vehicles: 2008 Jeep Wrangler 4X4 4D Sahara with hard and soft tops. "Only in a Jeep!"
2008 Jeep Grand Cherokee LTD (Hemi) 4X4, Touchscreen-Nav-HDD. Backup Vehicle.
Dell XPS M1730 (World of Warcraft edition
. Marc’s choosing, don’t rail me about it!), 17" widescreen, Intel dual core 2.4 mhz, 2 GB Ram, Vista Home Premium, NVidia GeForce 8700M GT 1 MB VRam, AGEIA PhysX.
Cellular: Apple I-Phones (ATT&T) X 2, Sprint Mobile Broadband (GPS enabled).
Software: Baron-Mobile Threat Net Plus (with XM SAT Responder Service & GPS), SWIFT WX (with GPS), Sony Vegas 8 Platinum.
Video: Sony consumer level HDR-SR11 1080i 60 GB video with 10.2 MP still, Sony Vegas 8 Platinum, tripod.
First Aid: Cintas Soft Trauma kit. Dry chem fire extinguisher.
Pic2: Inside the Wrangler
There’s probably more I forgot.
I hope everyone enjoyed reading about the chase! We were sure tired puppies when we got back. I’ll try and get together an essential weather link page soon.