Email me at midwesternmeso (AT) hotmail [DOT] com

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

Beatrice Tornado 2006

On April 15th, 2006, Darin and I chased with Garry Wellman and his friend. We trailed a developing storm from near Marysville KS to just south of Beatrice, NE. We were just south of BIE when we called up Scott Kampas who wanted us to meet up with him. Well, we missed our turn and decided we wanted to let this thing develop more as storm motions were quick this day. Bad idea. We were using wxworx that day (which was Garry's) and it was not showing the warnings for some reason, and my weather radio wasn't getting reception either. Needless to say, we could see the tornado when we were at the junction of US 77 and 41 highway, but it was far away. At about the time we were there, Scott called us to tell us about the cone tornado!! Frustrating to say the least...we moved to just west of Sterling, NE where precip started to fill in to block our view, but we could see the motion through it. We would then ditch that storm and head south where we would intercept an F-0 near Savannah MO near dusk. The two times we had data that year (4/15 and 9/21) we screwed up and saw funnels and distant/rain-wrapped tornadoes. But on days we didn't, 3/12, 3/30, 4/6 we saw tornadoes. Go figure. 9/21 was close to producing north of Salina, I have seen on other chasers websites that it did touch, but we didn't see it (and happened to be standing right next to Jon Davies by chance!). We were sitting in Ellis county watching the storm which did the NW jog on the "cold core" day, instead of being one county over in Russell where Dave Ewoldt, Simon Brewer and Andy Fischer intercepted a nice tornado. SPC didn't even have a 2 percent risk area for this area that day, and were more concerned with SE OK which they issued a moderate for...and nothing fired until after dark. No respect for the cold core I guess!

Anyways, in this video below, shot by I assume a local can see the guy filming the gust front as a large tornado is present probably no further than 1 mile away (at 3:52 in). I wonder if he ever saw it? He keeps filming the gust front over and over.

Here's a contrast enhanced video capture:

And the original....

The damage path.....our location was 1 m. west of Sterling NE.

And my pic:

Monday, January 28, 2008

Our Storm Chasing in 2007 Timelapsed

I only have Pinnacle 10 and it only allows 5x sped up, so I had to upload fast forwarding and got a lot of artifact garbage in there. Hopefully I can get a better video editing program, to where I don't have to use crappy fonts as well. Chase days are 4/21, 5/4, 5/5, and 5/22.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Interesting Hits Today!

I've noticed quite a few hits today on my blog, with an amusing referring URL from a private group.

Just remember, Chuck, I only have a problem with a tiny fraction of your fellow members, (for the "Darwinism" remarks) including yourself. It's never too late to "approach" things differently and to help educate those (especially with your priceless knowledge) who are interested in the hobby, especially youth. Redirecting your anger or frustrations you have with certain chasers, into positive actions and contributions yourself, especially, could benefit more than just storm chasers.

But who am I to say, right? I'm just a post-Twister era chaser, who lacks the PhD in atmospheric science and have no credibility, nor should my opinion ever be taken seriously, for that matter. I am far from perfection, not even close, but at the end of the day, when I sit back and think about what I have contributed to those around me for that specific day, I have no trouble sleeping knowing that I gave it my absolute best. Can you?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Separating color within a photo

EDIT: Blogger doesn't like vertical photos obviously, so they constrain it more than it should be. Click on it to view the correct size.

I learned a neat trick in Photoshop yesterday, that I have always wanted to know how to do, but thought it was too hard. It's about as easy as Photoshop gets. If you are familiar with it, open the photo you want, duplicate the layer (so it's the same photo twice), go to Image> Adjustments, Desaturate. Do this to both images. On your new layer (not your background pic), simply use the History brush on your tool bar, and brush in the colored area you want. If you go outside the lines, no worries, the eraser tool will clean it back up with the black and white.

Once you get the majority of it in, you can zoom in and do it pixel by pixel if needed. Then simply flatten the image, and you're done.

The picture is of my niece, Keira, at my sister's wedding in the bay near South Padre Island, TX last June. I used to play with her every day until my sister moved to Denver. She loves Elmo. I miss her a lot! She is now talking and walking around at almost 18 months.

I'll post a tutorial this weekend, maybe, if I get time.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

All the Days of my Life

Not too many songs can make me cry, but David Bowie's "Days" does (Bet you werent' expecting that lol). Such a simple song that I used to hear play on slow nights working at The Home Depot. To me, it's such a sad song, yet happy at the same time. It takes me back to the first day I can remember being conscious of what was going on in the world and up to the present. The struggles, the hard times, the deaths of friends and loved ones, and those special, brief moments in my life where I felt so happy it seemed euphoric. There are so many times I should have probably have passed away and yet I'm still here. Bullets missing me by feet, hitting trees on both sides of me from a drive by shooting, while I was on recess just being a kid in South Texas...only 6 years old. I realized, at that point in time, that the world wasn't what I thought it was and the word "evil" was put into an understandable perspective. I've had numerous other close calls as well since then.

I couldn't remember the time I cried prior to the May 4th weekend, now it seems like a regular thing for me since then. The May 4th Chapter in the Storms of 2007 DVD, will make me lose it every time that song starts playing. That night changed me as a chaser and as a human being. I still can't imagine what those residents still go through to this day and it angers me that people in power are doing so little for them.

The night of May 4th, for months and months, brought mental torture upon myself and a roller coaster ride full of emotions. I couldn't sleep thinking about what more I could have done, then slept all of the time not wanting to remember any of it. Nightmares almost nightly, the same one over and over. I had to seek professional help over it, and it has helped me out quite a bit since then. Talking about it has helped me, with those who are willing to listen. Not a day passes, that I don't think about that night while I'm driving on the highway or out running to school. I have gone over it in my head about 10,000 times, and the only thing I wished more of...was being more prepared for a situation like that. All storm chasers, should be, it's something I never really even thought much about, and wished I would have.

I was always reluctant and swore I'd never report to the NWS ever again after one meteorologist publically bashed chasers in the newspapers, and another "questioned" fellow chasers reports because he/she was on the same storm. Not reporting even hail, isn't an option for me any more. Most NWS mets are professional, courteous and welcome reports. Even if they were skeptical, rude, or hung up the phone on me, I'd still report it.

I've become almost obsessed with becoming a better person each day I wake up and helping others more than I have. The night of May 4th played a big role, but since May of 2006, it has been a personal goal. I used to be completely different, those who have known me over the years, know I was the opposite. I'm glad I've recognized the things that matter most to me in this life, my wrongdoings to those I am close to...although late, and am thankful I am allowed to breathe in this world for as long as I have. My life has been covered with pain and regret, and for the last couple of years, I don't regret anything I've ever done, it's all made me empathize with situations and people, and it has sent me on a quest to become the person I should be.

Storm chasing helped spark this obsession and it's a prime example of why I enjoy those relaxing summer days. Days most would never chase, when weak thunderstorms evolve, and I'm alone in a field, not a soul in sight for miles and miles. It's something that keeps my mental health up to par when things are going well or not going so well. I'd be ok without chasing, it's just something I rather do than other hobbies I guess. Nothing beats those solo days where you just sit in the same spot for an hour or two, and watch the life cycle of a thunderstorm.

I drive by soccer moms and business people day in and day out, people always in a hurry to do something in the metro, and wonder if they've ever witnessed how beautiful mother nature can be. Sometimes it seems so magical on those peaceful mammatus sunsets evenings, loaded with constant anvil crawlers, cg's and a tint the rain leaves on landscapes, enchancing those Western Kansas golden wheatfields in June. They'll probably never get to see breathtaking structure like May 22nd of last year, or even a tornado, and I'm sure a town being destroyed in their own home state was forgotten shortly after they heard about it.

Funny how just a simple David Bowie song on a Sunday morning, can make myself remember everything, even memories I'd had temporarily forgotten...and make me appreciate the little things in life or even the things I do not care for.

I long for that annual spring smell I've sometimes awoken to on a rainy, overcast April morning. That smell..derived from an MCS that has just trekked over 250 miles... on it's nonstop journey overnight, only to surrender to inhibition, as the sun rises. It's just around the corner.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Forgotten Photos of 2007

May 5th 8 mi. west of Pratt, KS. 10 mm.

May 5th, same storm, in Stafford county somewhere. 10 mm (i think)

May 22nd, NE of Colyier KS at 10 mm (wish they made a 2 mm, too close to this thing!)

August 8th, KS/NE border

August 8th Kansas Speedway, KCK

August 8th, North KC

Saturday, January 12, 2008

School, Old Photos, Blog Remodeling, Raising money for Greensburg

I was pretty excited on Friday, when I learned about a GIS program at a community college in the metro here, and I should be getting my certificate by the fall of 2008, and transferring to KU this summer. This is great news, because I can begin interning in my field by this summer. I had no idea this existed, but am ecstatic it does and that I found it. Everything transfers and the head of the program seemed very dedicated and knowledgeable. If KU wouldn't refuse so many of my credit hours, I'd be there right now, but unfortunately I have about 12 hours of my 67 that will not transfer.

I spent years fucking off and am slowly making progress, not selling myself short any longer. Like Tim Robbins said to Morgan Freeman in his letter in the movie Shawshank Redemption (my all time favorite movie, by the way), "...And if you've come this far, maybe you're willing to come a little further." I'm headed to Zihuatenejo. One of my most prized possessions is an autographed, framed script of that movie.

Anyways, I have also remodeled this blog, so it's easier to navigate through 153 entries since 2005. I listed categories for stuff to make it a little simpler. A lot of hits I get these days, are from camera stuff, Greensburg stuff, and a surprising hit for my "Asian massage parlor" entry. I get around 100 hits a week from people looking for cheap sex. Google it, it's on the first page! I also get a lot of hits for Greensburg tornado images, which for some reason, Eric Nguyen's June 10 2004 photo comes up, I need to fix that somehow.

Here is a photo from my solo chase from an amazing shelf cloud in August I forgot about. If I would have had a tripod, things would have been much better/easier.

This last photo is from a storm just south of the KC metro last Monday during the unforeseen outbreak near Springfield Missouri. I nailed that target, mentioning on a friend's myspace, "There will be an EF-3 near Springfield MO on Monday at around 6:45 p.m. CDT. Count on it." If only the models would have showed me that the night before, instead of two nights before. I couldn't justify going even that far in January. Congrats to Lanny Dean and Randy Hicks, who were within 250 yards of a stovepipe.

It's in the early stages, but I have been making contacts with Pratt officials on hosting an event for the Greensburg residents about weather safety, and a thorough breakdown of May 4th, 2007 for those who are interested. Mike Umscheid, Greg Stumpf and Mickey Ptak will be speaking there, and hopefully some others. This should be highly advertised in the weeks to come, and open to the public. We'll also be showing and selling the Storms of 2007 DVD's and all of the money raised (which will be 100 percent of the profits) will be donated directly back to Greensburg. More on this hopefully soon and contact me if you wish to volunteer!!

Sorry if I haven't responded to your emails in the past week or so, I hope to do so this weekend.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Future of Storm Chasing

If you're on as of 9:05 p.m. CDT Sunday January 6th, can check out our new Live Video with a Chatroom here.

Probably take it out on a test run tomorrow, if anything's close. The resolution is small, we might broadcast High Definition later in the year.

I've been sick this past week, but I'll post more tomorrow hopefully.

Contact Me

Contact me @
midwesternmeso AT hotmail (DOT) COM

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