Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 12:59AM

Another record observing month

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June 2008 was a personal record month, with the most storm chase days and highest number of quality photo captures in any single month in my entire career. And now August is about to become a record for just the opposite reasons. I have not embarked on a single out-of-town chase this month so far, with only two brief storm chasing attempts within the city of Charleston on the 3rd and the 5th. Both storm events were at daybreak, just after sunrise when long exposures were impossible - and only involved a quick circuit to the Fort Hill and Capitol spots. As a result, I have not captured a single frame on my DSLR of a storm this month. In fact only have four digital photo folders (for end-of-day memory card offloads) on my storage drive this month, compared to 10 for July and 33 for June.

So, here are the numbers for August of 2008, using the June format for comparison:

August 2008 Stats

  • Storm days: 2
  • Individual chases: 2 (both in-town)
  • Total storm-related digital photo files: 0
  • Total "keeper" images: 0
  • Mileage: 14 (two in-town storms)
  • Shortest chase: 7 miles
  • Longest chase: 7 miles
So this August has been the leanest storm season month (April through August) for me in 12 years. I have to go back to 1996 to find a spring-summer season where I had a quieter month (I only have a couple of negatives/prints of lightning from the entire '96 season). Back then I was living in my Montgomery apartment while on a summer work crew in between college semesters at WVU Tech. Montgomery is farther into the mountains than Charleston is, and therefore sees less storms. Not only that, but in that town, the 'horizon' if you'd call it that, is about 40 to 50 degrees up, with the terrain blocking the view of any lightning farther than a mile away (no wonder I didn't see anything that summer).

Come to think of it, observing or not, I have not been out of the Charleston area at all for this entire month (aside from going to work in Teays Valley), which is also a first in a very long time. I never did any photography outings either - including my intended New River Gorge day last week due to all of the sky-mangling cirrus from Fay. With all of the tropical activity ramping up down south, crisp blue skies may be hard to come by for a while around here. At the very least I've been keeping demand for gasoline down (until I started driving to the office, I guess).

All in all, after a month like June, I can't complain. I'll gladly accept a lean month like this if it means I can still get a June 2008 every once in a while. The fall severe weather season is also coming up, and I'm not ruling out a hurricane trip, particularly if the Carolinas get a landfall. Even if fall is a bust, winter will be here before we know it - along with its usual subjects of interest. Until then, it's a continuation of the daily routine.

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