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It’s true: I want to be a storm chaser

15 June 2010 No Comment

Sometimes when a headline is written, it can provide too much of a summary of the subsequent content.  In this case, that is no problem. It’s true.

My first weather-related memories revolve around family trips and vacations in which severe weather either changed our plans or scared the crap out of us. Though I was only 10 years old, I recollect returning to the Iowa family farm from a family vacation only to hit severe ice just about 30 miles from home.

Now that was messed up! In my mind, as long as my dad was driving there was absolutely no possibility of anything going wrong. He has always had my blind faith, and he also always made sure that his family arrived safely. He never failed. Maybe he drank a few Coors beers along the way back in the day, but kids don’t care about that – as long as the driver is doing ok!

When you reflect on how reactions went down regarding weather just 20 or 25 years ago, it was vastly different. Of course, now people can scan their smart phone before and during travel to gauge their path of safety, but just a decade or two ago it was a flight of fancy, particularly in rural areas like where we were located.

My early weather memories revolve around fear (especially when high in the Rocky Mountains), but also around the glory that was 6, 8 and even 10 inches of glorious snow fall. On this day (as I write) , as we are just 5 days away from the summer season, and I pine for the cozy comfort of snow and winter splendor.

Growing up in rural Iowa involved all kinds of huge snow and ice falls and tornado warnings, but we never experienced anything that impacted our land in a notably destructive manner. Just many family trips to hide in the basement, and my dad having to put chains on our tires so we could make it to town as needed.  Plus, you can’t overlook all of those days off of school … though it just made us have to finish school in June as make-up time.

Like most kids in junior high and high school, I was so consumed with other things that I was not as aware of the specter of nature as much during those time – until I reached college. Once I had met and made some good friends in Columbia, MO, we seemed to share the same desire to (among other things) have storm watch parties (set to Grateful Dead music). As crazy as that may seem. So much fun.

I’ve carried my intense desire to experience severe weather to this day, and it revolves around thunderstorms and snow. Can’t get enough of that business. I monitor several different radars when harsh weather strikes, and find it as exciting and fulfilling as when I started. If only I could participate in a trip in late spring with a scientific team to check out the stuff that occurs in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska that TOTALLY blows minds …

So, I was caught off guard tonight when I heard a thunderstorm roll over our property – though the forecast was for clear skies. Turns out it was a spot storm, and the RADAR screen shot I grabbed confirms this. Now …. this is what I call a spot storm! Check it out.

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