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                   Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2019 Great Plains chase trip #1 - March 22-24

By DAN ROBINSON
Storm Chaser/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Chasing
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Chase expedition #1 to the Great Plains is on the books!

I had been anxious for some good lightning to get some experience shooting with a new high-speed video camera I'd purchased for this season (I'm not at liberty to reveal exact camera I'm using at the moment, but stay tuned for a later writeup). March in the Midwest up to this point had been disappointing in that department, with only one meager severe weather day on the books. The rest of the month did not show a lot of promise on long-range models for thunderstorms, much less ones that might be great lightning producers. Meanwhile, a system moving through the Plains would bring several severe weather days there - and the prospects for good lightning were near-certain on at least one of them. So, I departed on Thursday for a uncharacteristic "lightning-centered" Plains chase expedition to the Texas Panhandle and Oklahoma. There was a slight tornado threat on Friday and Saturday, so I would keep my eyes open for that potential - but my main focus was getting some quality lightning.

The storms came through in that department, namely the ones in the Texas Panhandle around Amarillo. Thanks to the NWS office in Amarillo confirming the tornado near Vega, I can officially count that one and be "on the board" for this year. I still have some progress to make to dial in the workflow and settings of the high speed camera, which is turning out to be a very challenging and difficult process from start to finish. I'm happy with this trip's success, enough to publish a Youtube video that - Lord willing - will be first in a long series.

Here are links to the three chase days of this system. Although the third and last day was right here at home, I always include them as part of an expedition if it's part of the same system I chased in the Plains.

Day 1: St. Louis to Shamrock, Texas

The first day of 2019 Great Plains chase expedition travel was on Thursday, March 21. I left St. Louis before noon, heading down I-44 to Oklahoma City, then west on I-40 to the chaser-familiar town of Shamrock for the night.

Day 2: March 22: Tornado, lightning and hail in the Texas Panhandle

Day 3: March 23: Supercell in Oklahoma City

March 24: Supercell near Chester, IL

This Youtube video covers the high-speed captures at 1,500 frames per second:

Plains Chase Expedition #2 >

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