May 6, 2005: Trip dates set, still watching model data
It looks like everyone's trip schedule is finally as 'set in stone' as it's going to be. With storm observing, it is almost impossible to plan anything ahead of time, so this is a pretty decent accomplishment! My brother Matt (raleighskyline.com, pittsburghskyline.com) and I will be leaving Charleston either late on the 13th or early on the 14th, with stops in Louisville and St. Louis for some city skyline photography. We may be able to add Kansas City to that list on the 14th or 15th, depending on the severe weather setup in the Plains.
From there, here's the plan: We'll be meeting up with Kurt Hulst from Grand Rapids, Michigan (midweststorm observers.com) and Nick Grillo from Detroit, Michigan (midwestchase.com). Kurt and Nick will be on our team until the 20th. On the 20th, William Coyle from Virginia Beach, Virginia (valightning.com) and Fabian Guerra from Chicago, Illinois will be riding with us until the end of the month. We'll hopefully be teaming up with several other vehicles along the way (as we did last year), including those of Dave Crowley and Justin Teague from Tulsa, Oklahoma (stormguy.com); and Mark Sefried from Morton, Illinois (vortexhunter.com). In all, we usually end up in a two to four-vehicle convoy with anywhere from 8 to 15 storm observers total. At any rate, having four storm observers in my car during the entire trip will help everyone cope with the exorbitant gas prices that will likely worsen in late May.
As far as the forecast goes, the severe weather opportunities for our trip are still too uncertain to make a call at this point in time. Currently the Plains region is finally experiencing a pattern shift, with severe weather already occuring Friday and continuing until at least early next week. However, the long-range models are hinting at some downtime for us at the start of our trip next weekend. It's not time to get anxious, though - springtime weather in the Plains is very volatile and subject to change within days. The models, therefore, have a hard time pinning down these patterns. We'll just have to wait - which is the hardest part. We should know more about the prospects for our trip by Wednesday. If things are clear and sunny, our plan is to use the downtime to tour a few midwestern cities (Dallas, Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Chicago, Omaha, etc) to do some urban skyline photography.
In the meantime, the Jotto desk should get here Monday, at which time I'll make the final installations/modifications to the car. Less than one week away . . . we're definately ready.
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