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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:

June 16:
Detailed June 12 and 13 Plains chase logs, season epilogue >>

As part of the final post for the season, here are links to the completed final chase reports for the June 12 and 13 chase days during Great Plains expedition #2 for the year. These chase logs contain a detailed account, video, dashcam, photos and GPS logs from each day.

June 12 tornadoes

Read full post >>

June 14:
Great Plains trip #2 preliminary recap >>

As it became increasingly clear that Monday's event (June 12) was going to have high-end tornado potential (and therefore worth the marathon drive), I ended up packing up and leaving Sunday afternoon (June 11) for Plains trip #2 for the season.

June 12 tornadoes

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June 10:
Plains forecast update for June 10 >>

Next Tuesday continues to look impressive enough to tip the scales in favor of Plains trip #2 for the season happening.

Read full post >>

June 5:
Plains forecast update for June 5: A re-awakening? >>

I really had this season written off last week. I even went and did my traditional end-of-season car wash to remove all of the Plains rural road dirt and mud. But the models have been sending a consistent signal for the past several days that we might not be done yet! What should appear this weekend into next week on model output but a nice western trough and several days of good midlevel southwest flow over the Plains.

Read full post >>

June 3:
Storm chasing photo/video roundup for May 20-29 >>

Here is a roundup of some Midwest storm chasing during the last part of May.

St. Louis tower lightning - May 27, 2017

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May 28:
Plains forecast update for May 28: Season over? >>

Most seasons, if by June 1st, a major western trough or at least modest westerly-southwest flow over the Great Plains isn't showing up in the medium-to-long range models, it's a sign that the peak severe weather season may have come and gone.

Read full post >>

May 21:
The Top 5 ways to be known as an idiot storm chaser >>

Here are five guaranteed ways to earn a reputation as an idiot storm chaser

Read full post >>

May 20:
Plains trip #1 recap >>

The first Great Plains chase expedition of 2017 has come to a close - and it was a great trip!

Oklahoma City upward lightning

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May 17:
Day 1: McLean, Texas tornado and large hail >>

After much waffling and agonizing about whether to do a Plains trip this week, on Monday night I finally decided to just go for it.

McLean, Texas tornado - May 16, 2017

Read full post >>

May 15:
Plains forecast update for May 15 >>

Each model run as this week's system approaches has turned worse and worse, introducing numerous problems into the fray for chase prospects. Read full post >>

May 13:
Plains forecast update for May 13: Trip 1 likely >>

It looks like we may finally have setups worthy of the first Plains expedition of the 2017 season, thanks to a couple of shortwaves embedded in a broad-scale western US trough set to move over the Great Plains next week. Read full post >>

May 7:
Becoming a "storm snob": Plains forecast update for May 7 >>

The phenomenal events of last May have pushed me solidly into a new phase of my chasing life, one that many will call that of a "storm snob". Read full post >>

May 6:
Classical liberalism and conservatism: more compatible than we think >>

I have never been interested in politics until last year's election, after which things have become very fascinating to follow. Read full post >>

April 22:
Storm Chaser Traffic and Behavior: Factual Information >>

Factual information and evidence to counter claims of storm chaser traffic problems and inform the public, emergency management, law enforcement, public officials and media reporters.

Storm Chaser Traffic and Behavior: Factual Information

Read full post >>

April 19:
Plains forecast update for April 19 >>

The trend of great-looking systems in the medium-to-long ranges tanking as they come into short-range focus continues. Read full post >>

April 14:
Plains forecast update for April 14 >>

The atmosphere has been playing some tricks on chasers this week, most notably the surprise quality tornado event in the Texas panhandle today (Friday) with less than 10 knots of midlevel flow aloft! Read full post >>

April 11:
April 10 chase log; Plains forecast update for April 11 >>

Despite unidirectional wind profiles, speed shear thanks to a 60-knot midlevel jet overhead coupled with modest instability and a cold front to initiate storms meant it was at least a marginal severe weather chase day in the St. Louis metro on Monday evening.

Venedy, IL storm

Read full post >>

April 9:
April 5 chase log; Plains forecast update for April 9 >>

What appeared to be shaping up as a classic Midwest tornado event on Wednesday the 5th ended up tanking at the last minute, as overnight moisture return failed to bring the 60-degree dewpoint line up north to the warm front.

St. Louis lightning

Read full post >>

March 31:
More thoughts on the risks of driving and storm chasing >>

I have long acknowledged the threat of distracted driving (and the hazards of the roads in general) to storm chasers. In my FAQ item on the dangers of chasing, I've always ranked it as the number 1 risk.

Read full post >>

March 31:
Storm chasing roundup - Missouri/Illinois, March 25-30 >>

The recent systems have largely been letdowns in the Midwest in what has been a horrible week overall for storm chasing community. Here are quick rundowns of my last three chases.

Rolla, MO lightning

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March 27:
Plains forecast update for March 27 >>

The month of March is part of the spring severe weather season, and I am always on alert for opportunities. Although I chase frequently in the Midwest this time of year, I've never actually embarked on a Great Plains storm chasing expedition during the month of March.

Read full post >>

March 9:
The "Violent Tornado Alley" of the southern Midwest >>

Back in 2015, I assembled this map for the 90th anniversary of the Tri-State tornado. Now that another event has occured in this region this year, I decided to revise and expand it to show the remarkable cluster of near-parallel violent (F4 and F5) tornado tracks in the small 30-mile-wide corridor.

Violent Tornado Alley of the southern Midwest

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March 1:
Annual March 1 post; February 28 southern Illinois chase >>

Much like in 2012, we don't need any reminder of the upcoming severe weather season, as the atmosphere is doing that job quite well this year. In 2012, chasers were preparing for the big March 2 outbreak across the Midwest - this year, it's a Midwest outbreak on the last day of February, one day before the start of meteorological spring.

Christopher, Illinois tornado

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February 11:
Storm chasing roundup for January 19-February 8, 2017 >>

An active winter season continues on two fronts in the Midwest: winter thunderstorms and icy roads. Here is a list of the events covered, along with a summary of the photos and videos captured.

New Baden, IL lightning

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January 16:
Winter lightning in the St. Louis metro - January 16, 2017 >>

A day after the ice melted from our prolonged freezing rain event in St. Louis, thunderstorms moved through the metro on Monday evening.

January lightning in New Baden, IL

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January 14:
Icy road footage updates from the first half of 2016-2017 winter >>

It has been a very busy icy road season, which began for me in earnest on December 10 with a trip up to Bloomington, Illinois for light snow.

Icy road footage

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December 19:
High-impact freezing drizzle road icing event in St. Louis - Friday, December 16 >>

Friday's light icing from freezing drizzle in St. Louis ranks as the second most significant road icing event I have witnessed since I started shooting winter weather in 2003.

Tractor-trailer jackknifing

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December 9:
October-November storm chasing/blog catch-up >>

Here's a quick summary of subjects and events from the past couple of months.

St. Louis November lightning

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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 >>

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