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Dan's Blog: Storm Chasing, St. Louis Photography, Travels and More

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
20 Years on the Web
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This is an index of my most recent posts, in chronological order. You can also subscribe to the Blog RSS/XML feed or view the post archives page.

Latest Blog Posts Index:

November 6:
St. Louis skyline with fall colors >>

The observation deck of the Compton Hill water tower (at Grand Avenue and I-44 in St. Louis) is open only twice a month, meaning there is only one chance per year to capture this view of the St. Louis skyline with the peak fall foliage of The Gate and Lafayette Square neighborhoods

St. Louis skyline with fall colors

Read full post >>

September 24:
September 16 funnel and supercells in southern Illinois >>

Like many Midwest chase days, this one was a "sleeper" in which the potential does not become evident until the last minute. Read full post >>

September 10:
September 9 Illinois supercells, close lightning and likely tornado >>

I witnessed a likely tornado near Irvington, great storm structure, and the closest lightning strikes I've experienced in many years.

September 9 supercells

Read full post >>

September 2:
Miracles and the 'black hole' of naturalism >>

I have read/heard a common theme among strict naturalists: a complete rejection of the supernatural is required in order to remain rational, and there must be a natural explanation behind every apparent supernatural event. Read full post >>

August 27:
4 days of southern Illinois/STL metro storms, August 24-27, 2016 >>

This post's title may be a bit premature, as our string of daily storms may not be finished. But since I have the day off today, I figured I'd go ahead and post some of the sights from the past four events.

3 days of southern Illinois storms, August 24-26, 2016

Read full post >>

August 13:
July to mid-August 2016 storm chasing roundup >>

Here is a roundup of the few times I have been able to get out and shoot during the past month.

July to mid-August 2016 storm chasing roundup

Read full post >>

August 5:
Ending up in pictures and videos with tornadoes >>

I'm not one for selfies (neither during storm chases nor in everyday life), so I have very little in the way of photos and video to show myself participating in my favorite activity. This season, however, there were a good number of times I ended up in a scene with a great tornado, thanks to other storm chasers nearby. Read full post >>

July 8:
Dodge City, Kansas tornado life cycle panoramas >>

I recently finished assembling these panoramic composite photos showing the life cycles of the first two major tornadoes at Dodge City on May 24.

Tornado life cycle panorama 1

Tornado life cycle panorama 2

Read full post >>

June 30:
Kansas, you've got a Grand Canyon, a Victoria Falls, a Mount Everest - and people from all over the world that love you >>

Year after year, people journey from all over the world to see a natural wonder they can only see here.

Read full post >>

June 22:
Pontiac and Troy Grove, Illinois tornadoes and lightning barrage - June 22, 2016 >>

I witnessed a tornado after dark at Pontiac, IL and several supercells in northern Illinois.

Read full post >>

June 17:
Are likes, shares and retweets the "credit lines" of social media corporations? >>

As I reflect on years of doing the work and spending the money to produce content for this site and for my social media accounts, I've started to question the current conventions of online content distribution/consumption on social media. Read full post >>

June 15:
Great Plains 2016 storm chasing season epilogue & recap >>

The annual summer ridge looks to have arrived over the central USA, bringing 2016's spring peak tornado season to a close. And what a season it was! This was my best one to date: an all-time season-total high of 15 tornadoes covering every shape and size and every rating from EF0 to EF4.


Read full post >>

May 31:
Numerous incredible tornadoes at Dodge City, Kansas - May 24, 2016 >>

DODGE CITY, KS - The longer I've been storm chasing (now in my 23rd season), the higher the bar gets for an event to rank in my top ten. So, it's saying something that May 24, 2016 is my new Number 1.

Read full post >>

May 27:
15 high-resolution photos show this rare and incredible week in the Plains >>

I arrived home from my crazy Plains storm chasing trip at 2AM Friday morning, intending to immediately start some much-needed rest. However, that plan changed when I decided to get the first look at my DSLR images on my desktop computer's large monitor.

Read full post >>

May 26:
Violent long-lived wedge tornado - Solomon-Abilene, Kansas - May 25 >>

As if 2016's Great Plains trip #3 wasn't crazy enough, Wednesday's originally-thought-marginal setup ends up producing an exceptionally rare tornado - a constantly-violent wedge on the ground for more than 90 minutes from near Bennington to Chapman. I was able to witness two very close passes of this tornado, first at Solomon and then at Abilene. The tornado's roar during the first pass was phenomenal, slowly growing louder with a deep bass sound as the tornado strengthened and passed through wooded areas.

Read full post >>

May 15:
May 8 chase - NW Oklahoma/S Kansas >>

I have embarked on two short Great Plains expeditions already this season, each comprising of only one chase day. Both have been without success. My second trip began on Saturday night, May 7 with a departure on I-70 west into Kansas. I spent a short night at Junction City, then continued down to my target of Pratt/Medicine Lodge by early afternoon on the 8th.

Read full post >>

May 12:
Spring 2016 storms and the Gateway Arch, Part 1 >>

We're about at the midpoint of the spring storm season, and it's been a great one so far for amazing stormy skies over St. Louis and the Gateway Arch!

St. Louis lightning over the Arch

Read full post >>

May 1:
Amazing severe storm clouds over St. Louis, April 30 >>

To be sure, the Great Plains has its moments. But time and time again, it is the Midwest - and specifically St. Louis - that comes through year after year for me in terms of memorable atmospheric displays. Saturday's event was yet another in the series of excellent storm outings I've had in and around this city.

St. Louis sunset storm clouds

Read full post >>

April 29:
Call-out: stop exaggerating storm chaser traffic with Spotter Network screen grabs >>

A common item of anti-chaser propaganda we see on social media is the decrying of storm chaser traffic using widely-zoomed-out Spotter Network screen grabs. The resulting image appears to show a densely-packed, apocalyptic mass of chaser/spotter icons.

Spotter Network screen grab of storm chasers

Read full post >>

April 28:
April 26-27 storm chasing recap - Kansas, Missouri, Illinois >>

I have little motivation to write this post, but here it is anyway. Aside from a few lightning shots on Wednesday evening, I struck out miserably with this latest system.

Lightning at New Baden IL

Read full post >>

April 25:
A derived parameter for storm chaser traffic impacts: the "Chaser Traffic Index" or CTI >>

The subject of storm chaser traffic problems is primarily a perceived menace - always made to sound worse than it actually is, and cited to happen many times more than it actually does. So, I thought it might be helpful to approach this in an objective manner.

Read full post >>

April 23:
Midwest components of Plains tornado events >>

It is common for tornado events in the Great Plains to have lesser-known components in the Midwest region. In nearly half of big Plains tornado days, there were simultaneous tornadic supercells in the Midwest.

Read full post >>

April 20:
Plains storm chase forecast update No. 6: for April 20 >>

Long-range models (GFS and Euro) have been showing a dominant western troughing pattern and in-place deep surface moisture to finally emerge by this weekend.

Read full post >>

April 17:
Evidence disproves claims in Wichita Falls Times Record News spotter/storm chaser articles >>

Wichita Falls readers, I ask that you take note of one characteristic of this post versus the works of Lynn Walker. Which one is providing evidence and factual information: audio recordings, links, references and videos, and which one is posting opinions and nothing else?

Read full post >>

April 13:
Wichita Falls, Texas spotter coordinators shunning critical severe weather reports >>

Do you live in the Wichita Falls, Texas area? You may be in danger the next time life-threatening severe weather impacts your region.

Read full post >>

April 16:
Plains storm chase forecast update No. 6: for April 16 >>

Signals are showing in long-range models (GFS and Euro) for both a dominant western troughing pattern and in-place deep surface moisture to finally emerge by next week.

Read full post >>

April 12:
Plains storm chase forecast update No. 5: for April 12 >>

Our anticipated system is now within a week away, and remarkably, not much has changed from previous model forecasts.

Read full post >>

April 8:
Plains storm chase forecast update No. 4: for April 8 >>

The models haven't really shown much of a change in the upcoming system indicated for late next week. To recap, a decent shortwave trough is shown ejecting during the Friday-Saturday timeframe, spreading strong southwesterly to southerly upper flow over the Great Plains.

Read full post >>

April 6:
Plains storm chase forecast update No. 3: for April 6 >>

Another brief update to give mention to a trend the long-range models have been indicating for the past couple of days.

Read full post >>

March 26:
Data on the Resurrection, from the experts >>

Here is a good watch for Easter weekend. Consensus among climate scientists is all the rage today, so I thought it would be helpful to point out what the consensus among ancient historians and scholars is regarding the person of Jesus in history.

Read full post >>

March 21:
Plains storm chase forecast update No. 2: for March 21 >>

Just a quick update to talk about the last week or so of March in terms of chasing potential in the Great Plains. As is fairly typical for most of March, we don't yet have any good potential setups announcing themselves on long-range models for the rest of the month.

Read full post >>

March 16:
March 15 supercells, hail and lightning in west-central Illinois >>

Although road troubles cost me a tornado intercept this day, the lightning at the end of the chase redeemed what would have otherwise been a frustrating outing.

Read full post >>

March 9:
2016 chase blog kickoff >>

It's that time of year again! Another meteorological winter is behind us, and for storm chasers, the open roads of the Midwest and Plains will soon be in our sights as the central USA's peak severe weather season ramps up.

Read full post >>

March 7:
February 20-March 6 storm chasing roundup >>

Although we've reached our long-awaited meteorological spring date of March 1, Midwest chasers enter the season with no "Storm Deprivation Syndrome" to speak of, since our winter has had its share of thunderstorms. Here's a roundup of the most interesting events I've covered since my last blog post on February 19th.

Read full post >>

February 19:
Snowplow video compilation for a lean winter season >>

While there have been some big winter storms around the country, my "home turf" has seen relatively few frozen precipitation events. What we have received has been a few dustings of snow - in most areas around here, nothing over 3 or 4 inches. As a result, I haven't captured anything in the way of icy road footage this season.

Read full post >>

February 8:
December 2015 - February 2016 storm chase roundup >>

Winter is no "off-season" for storms and severe weather in the Midwest, and this year is no exception. In fact, this winter season I have more convective thunderstorm/severe weather chases logged than I do snow/icy road events.

Read full post >>

December 31:
The St. Louis flood of December 2015: Videos and Pictures >>

Animated GIF showing the progression of the Meramec River's historic flooding of the Highway 141/Interstate 44 interchange in Valley Park on Monday night (28th), Tuesday (29th) and Wednesday (30th):

Read full post >>

November 14:
Appealing to academic consensus in one field, but rejecting it in another? >>

If you're not a climate scientist, how do you know what to believe about climate change? Who do you go to for reliable information - TV reporters? Politicians? Pastors? Philosophers? Theologians? Pundits on CNN or Fox? Biologists? Sociologists? Airline pilots? Cab drivers? Read full post >>

October 28:
Gateway Arch 50th Anniversary Photos: Gold and Fireworks >>

On Wednesday, the Gateway Arch was illuminated gold to commemorate the 50th anniversary of its completion. A fireworks display was held this past Saturday.

Gateway Arch illuminated gold 1

Read full post >>

September 28:
For small creators, "freebooting" relief may only come from a legislative solution >>

Freebooting isn't a new thing. On Youtube, it's been happening since day one. Any popular video (over, say, 500,000 views) will get repeatedly stolen and re-uploaded to pirating channels, and my most popular videos are no exception. Now if I were a mega-corporation like Viacom, NBC or an Epic Rap Battles of History-sized channel, I would be a shoe-in for Youtube's Content ID system. Content ID automatically scans the Youtube system for videos that match the ones I've already uploaded, automatically flagging them and giving the copyright holder a choice on what to do (like remove the video or claim the ad revenue on it).

Read full post >>

September 16:
12 years of icy road crash/spinout footage >>

I recently assembled this 20-minute long compilation of bad weather driving footage (mostly from winter weather) comprising every accident/incident (over 60) I've captured on camera since 2003.

Crash footage

Read full post >>

September 10:
Lightning at New Minden, IL - September 10 >>

A very short chase tonight about 25 miles from home yielded some great lightning with a severe storm moving south from I-70 at Greenville, IL to I-64 at Nashville. There was some decent hail indicated on radar, but since the lightning was so good, I didn't allow the core to overtake me. I got some nice bolts at New Minden along Highway 127, all handheld.

New Minden, IL lightning

Read full post >>

August 23:
The mostly-unacknowledged implications of naturalism and atheism, part 2 >>

I've been studying philosophy, religion and ancient history (as a layman) for the past 9 years, and so far, few topics have been as fascinating and exciting to me as naturalism/determinism and free will. There are many arguments for God's existence that I've found compelling, some more than others - but none have been as profound and wide-reaching as the apparent existence of man's free will. Read full post >>

August 16:
Determinism: naturalism's (atheism's) elephant in the room >>

Ask your average New Atheist whether or not they believe in free will, and you'll almost always hear "yes". Most will affirm the human ability - and right - to freely choose what he or she does in life. This is foundational to concepts like good and evil - that is, there is right thing to do and a wrong thing to do, and we have the ability - and responsibility - to consciously choose one or the other. Name any hot-button issue in the news these days, and the New Atheist will always have an opinion on which side is right, which side people should choose and which the law should enforce. Read full post >>

August 15:
Get ready, St. Louis: the total solar eclipse of 2017 will be huge >>

Two years in advance may seem way too soon to start making plans for anything, but the first coast-to-coast total solar eclipse in the USA may be worthy of an exception. On Monday, August 21, 2017, the eclipse's 100-mile wide path of totality will stretch from Oregon to South Carolina, providing for the first time in a generation, a relatively easy opportunity for the entire population of the continental United States to observe such an event. Read full post >>

August 10:
St. Louis severe storms and lightning - August 9, 2015 >>

Sunday's chase was a long one. I went down to Stanton, MO early to observe a bow echo line of severe thunderstorms crossing I-44, but saw nothing impressive. After that, I jumped back into downtown to shoot lightning with the numerous storms that ended up firing in and around the metro area.

St. Louis lightning - August 9

Read full post >>

August 6:
Sunrise-lit shelf cloud; other storm chasing images from July 26 - August 5 >>

Roundup of storm chasing images and video from July 26 to August 5:

Shelf cloud at Pocahontas, IL

Read full post >>

July 25:
"Question Everything" - OK, America, here goes. >>

"Question Everything" isn't just for skeptics anymore. Here are questions that I pose to our country. Read full post >>

July 22:
Storm chase roundup for July 11-19: An active summer! >>

Another largely frustrating, but at times fun, interval of active severe weather affected the Midwest region in the middle of July. Again, our tornado/severe weather season never ends here, so although this was not unexpected, this July has been one of the most active since I've lived here.

Lightning near Litchfield, IL

Read full post >>

July 9:
Tornadic supercell south of St. Louis - July 8 >>

Our tornado season here never ends, but it's somewhat rare to get a nice warm frontal setup this far south in July. The forecast for this day was pretty clear-cut: be on the storm that went up closest to the surface low along the warm front.

Wall cloud at Fults, IL

Read full post >>

July 6:
Additional images from the June 28 St. Louis tornadic supercell >>

A quality chase day like June 28 always yields additional imagery once I have time to go back trhough everything and examine it closely. In this case, that re-examination revealed that I did capture the St. Peters, MO tornado (albeit a low-contrast view), and several additional stackable/stitchable still image sequences.

St. Louis supercell lightning

Read full post >>

June 29:
Tornadoes at Eolia, Missouri and supercells into St. Louis - June 28 >>

After a rough season, it only takes one day to make the year. Sunday was that 2015-reedeming day for me.

Eolia, MO tornado

Read full post >>

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