Tempest Tours: Tour 3 - Base Camp: Oklahoma City
Fly to L.A., Fly to Vegas, Fly to Tucson and finally on to Oklahoma City. Finally I was there and ready.
12 May 2014
So I headed to the base hotel from mine, and waited in the lobby and it wasn't long before you could start to tell who was also there for the same thing. With a few initial introductions done, we were all taken to a small conference room for official introductions and instructions. We met our tour director - William (Bill) Reid and drivers - Bob and Rook as well as all the other guests.
With that we were into it, now the first few days were fairly quiet storm wise, however we still take in a number of sights, cities and towns such as:
- Monument Rocks,
- Joplin, MO - the site of the 2011 EF5 tornado,
- Gorgeous sunsets,
- Awesome abandoned houses in the middle of nowhere,
- Cruising through the Rocky Mountains (complete with snow, which I didn't pack for),
- Incredible scenery and beautiful country towns.
|Chilling reminder that people live with this threat|
21 May 2014
This was the day, it started looking like a significant storm day 4-5 days in advance and the SPC (Storm prediction Center) had put up a small warning area showing 10% chance of tornadoes. The entire group was excited and eager to get going from our hotel in Ogallala, NE towards Denver/Fort Morgan, although it seemed like the entire chasing community had the same idea on the day.
We stopped for around 10-15 minutes in central Aurora, CO to watch what's called a "Tornadic Mesocyclone". When the tornado sirens started wailing, it became real and quite an eerie experience. It's a situation where it becomes real and you realise that people live here and have to live with this situation on a constant basis. Suddenly, instead of you crossing your fingers for a tornado to drop, you cross them and hope that if it does, it's not in the middle of suburbia.
We got a move on and headed out of the direct path of the storm to take in the size and scale of it, I must confess in my storm chasing experience I've never seen a storm with as much "Greenage" as I saw on this day.
|News report from the day, confirming 6 tornadoes|
Our last real chase day, so we headed south through Colorado and into Texas where there was a slight chance of some type of activity. The landscape was much different through Texas, a lot more dry and dusty. The visibility was really low at a couple of points throughout this chase, although there was a pair of gustnadoes while exploring an old abandoned church and also a possible slight tornado (dust cloud leading up to a funnel cloud) however with visibility so low and dust everywhere it was difficult to confirm.
So all in all, I'm counting this as a partial complete as we didn't get that clearly identifiable tornado profile and that iconic shot. An incredible experience that I'll happily repeat to get the shot and to mark Number 11 as complete.
To Be Continued...