Here is my archived 2006 Storm Chase with Virginia Tech. First, a photo of the team, even though this was a photo taken right before we all went our separate ways in Blacksburg, VA.

Dave Carroll (instructor)
Lorenza Cooper Jr. (VT)
Jacob Carley (UNC-A)
Brittany Livingston (PCHS)
Kevin Myatt (Roanoke Times)
David Ramsaur (UNC-A)
Allison Toney (VT)
Paula Flinchum (PCHS)
Amy Harless (UNC-A)
Seth Price (VT/NMT)
Stephanie Taylor (PCHS)
Beth Owens (NRCC)

I didn’t have as many pictures of the vehicles this year. We had two vans, both of which were Ford Freestars. One vehicle had Yaesu FT-857D (for HF on non-chase days), Yaesu FT-7800, Yaesu VX-7R, Icom 281H (ARPS) to Tiny Trak3 and Garmin Etrex, Radio Shack Pro95 Scanner, CB, Weather Radio, laptop with Verizon wireless service, 2 FRS radios (front and back), and the second one had CB, Radio Shack Scanner, Weather Radio, FRS radio (relay between chase vehicles), laptop with Verizon wireless service.

Sunday, 5/14/2006

Today was surprising. We ended up loading up the vans and headed east right away for NC. Our first stop to check the latest satellite and radar was in Danville, VA. While waiting, I snapped a few shots of a train passing by:

After that, we headed south into North Carolina. A few cumulus towers go up not too far from Raleigh, NC.

A little farther along, we saw some rising cloud tags, and saw stormy skies ahead.

Once we drove around for a bit, we ended up chasing in downtown Raleigh, which is crazy. Never chase in an urban area. We kept getting stuck in traffic and at red lights, but we did see a nice wall cloud and funnel. I did not get a picture of the funnel, but here is what I took from downtown Raleigh.

After getting stuck in traffic, we got caught in some rain. My camera focused on the windshield instead of the storm in front of us. After a while, we saw a rainbow as well. We eventually called it a night in Rocky Mount, NC.

Monday, 5/15/2006

Today was a travel day. Our destination was Lebanon, TN. The highlight of the trip was the Beanpot Restaurant in TN.

Tuesday, 5/16/2006

Today was mostly a travel day. We left Lebanon, TN and headed west. We chased a small pulse storm in the bootheel of MO.

Also, we passed through the damage paths of Caruthersville, MO and Marmaduke, AR. These towns took a direct hit from an F3 back on April 2.

[Edit: I think all of these photos are from Caruthersville, MO. You don’t realize how terrible this is until you see it first hand. I took a few photos, but mostly as a reference point- what an average small town looks like after a tornado. There were blocks and blocks of this in both towns, and it is an emotionally draining sight.

As storm chasers, you are occasionally faced with the reality of a damaged area. This becomes a true questioning of your philosophy and of the science you are observing. There is nothing you can do, and whether you spent the day hoping to see tornadoes or not had exactly no influence on whether a tornado formed. Nobody wishes to see a tornado affect people- but wishing doesn’t make them form, or make them go away.]

Wednesday, 5/17/2006

Today was quite a lucky day. Despite low expectations from the SPC and most of the other chasers in the country, we did quite well.

These storms appeared not too far from Maroa, IL. We had the rare opportunity to see three wall clouds and hang out near them for several hours.

After making lemonade with the lemons given by the forecast, we spent the night in Decatur, IL. Even the jet contrails had mammatus on them that day!

Thursday, 5/18/2006

Travel day, no photos or journal entries.

Friday, 5/19/2006 at 12:42 CDT

Light ACCAS ahead on US-60 W.

Friday, 5/19/2006 at 12:58 CDT

Today looks to be a bust unless we really do have the 6400 J/kg CAPE shown in the RUC model. Both low level and deep layer shear is good, helicity is up and I would expect moderate CAPE values. We were originally hoping for a shortwave in the jetstream to cycle through, but now it looks to arrive after dark, so we are hoping for a different trigger.

We spent the night in Miner, MO. We also ate at the Lambert’s Cafe, where they throw rolls at you when you want more bread!

Friday, 5/19/2006 at 16:23 CDT

BUST! All accus, no towering cumulus. We spent most of the afternoon at Duckett’s Fuel Center in Poplar Bluffs, MO. I did manage to talk to Belgium and a bunch of states in a county hunter’s net.

Today was a bust. There wasn’t much to work with, but we waited in Poplar Bluffs, MO and waited for the initiation that never really happened for us. Mostly, we just had a neat altocumulus field. We also learned that Lorenza can play most of the Mario theme songs and the carnival theme song on a recorder. YES A RECORDER.

Saturday, 5/20/2006

Travel day, no photos or journal entries.

Sunday, 5/21/2006 at 13:46 MDT

We left Hays, KS and headed up through eastern CO, where the biggest risk is located today. We are headed north on US-385 from Burlington, CO towards I-76. A few towers were going up outside Limon, CO, but they became glaciated quickly. We expect either the CO-NE border, or maybe even southeast Wyoming. I hope we make it into WY, I’ll pick up a new state.

I need to fix the cable from the battery, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon. The Anderson powerpole on the radio end does not always stay connected.

Sunday, 5/21/2006

In Yuma County, CO, we started to run into a storm.

Outside of Yuma, CO, we found quite a few gustnadoes stemming from the outflow of these storms.

We ended up underneath of one of the anvils. These storms weren’t severe until the Nebraska line.

After we crossed into NE, the storms went severe, one with a mesocyclone. We could not see due to the low hills in southwest Nebraska (yes, there are hills in NE) but with such high bases, we weren’t too concerned about a tornado popping up over the hills. We did get a spectacular view of the wall cloud passing over the highway at sunset. After that, it was McCook, NE for the evening.

Monday, 5/22/2006 at 11:39 CDT

We had an active day yesterday, chasing through northeast Colorado and southwest Nebraska. It was all high based, little to no tornado threat, but we did see a few wall clouds at sunset, as well as a few gustnadoes in Yuma and Phillips Counties in NE. We spent the night at the Economy 8 in McCook, NE, which supposedly had internet, but I couldn’t log on.

Monday, 5/22/2006 at 11:14 MDT

I can’t get UIView to track. I have a stereo cable from the Icom to my laptop. I’m not sure what is wrong with it. It could be that I am in a dead spot with no APRS signals, or it could be that something does not work. Also something managed to stop the exhaust fan, and it almost burned out. Not sure why, but it smelled like burning rubber. It might have been the end of a cable tie, which I moved and now it works. I also fixed the powerpole on the battery cable.

According to Goodland NWS, spotter activation will be likely tonight.

I have been so disorganized this year. I need to develop a better radio box for next year. I think jumper coax to the antenna ports is a good idea. A splitter to run two GPS signals from one GPS would be good as well. I think the TravelPlus repeater directory software is a good addition to this year’s chase.

Monday, 5/22/2006

We left McCook, NE and headed back out to Yuma, CO. However, there wasn’t much going on other than a few weak cells. I did get a few shots of developing storms at different times.

While waiting, I took several shots of some blue dragonfiles over a small pond at a park.

Also, I took a photo of a railroad truck driving on the tracks using railroad wheels. It entertained me.

Tuesday, 5/23/2006

We started out in Grand Island, NE and headed north into southern SD. From there, we watched some non-severe cells go up and then traced them west across northern NE. We also met up with N3ARN at a gas station, and this was as close to a chaser convergence as we saw the whole trip. We saw a wall cloud from a bridge over the Missouri River and then chased a few severe cells through SD.

We did hang out under the gust front of an approaching (weakening) cell. Here are some shots of the shelf cloud.

There were several gustnadoes on the leading edge of a storm in SD, some of which were likely to have been the ones reported incorrectly as tornadoes.

Wednesday, 5/24/2006 at 9:53 CDT

We are headed towards IA and maybe IL, WI, or MN. Yesterday, we chased through northern NE and southern SD. We had problems with the road network, the cell phone service, and even our van door. However we did see a few gustnadoes as the gust front of the storm passed over us in SD. There were reports of tornadoes on our storm, but more likely people were reporting the gustnadoes.

Wednesday, 5/24/2006

We have a developing cumulus field.

After chasing some developing towers, we ended up in southern Wisconsin, a new state for me. We get to see a cell rapidly develop and start to rotate. We got caught in the edge of the mesocyclone, as evidenced by the high winds and atomized rain. We were on the edge where the circulation was moving away from us, but it was an intense few seconds.

Thursday, 5/25/2006

Today was a moderate risk. We left Illinois and headed to Terre Haute, IN and reevaluated where to go from there.

We heard a Skywarn spotter report a tornado on the ground, and we were within 5 miles of that point, but Indiana road networks are unforgiving. The tornado moved into a state forest, and we couldn’t see anything. Because the cap was pretty weak, this evolved into a messy line really quickly, and we called it a night. The end of Chase 2006.


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