Thursday, June 14, 2007

Pleasant Surprise!

MD issued as we were leaving

Yesterday at lunch I jokingly told the REU group that they better bring their chase gear to work today because it may be our last chase. When Dave Imy and I were working on the Day 2 outlook for today we did not think storms would have the potential to become tornadic due to the lack of mid level support and icky wind shear. Needless to say, today told a different tale. Around lunch time we decided that we would chase for sure as many of the BufKit soundings indicated shear increasing my mid afternoon as well as plenty of instability to feed the storms as they form. We decided to head out around 1:30 P.M. to our target, Watonga, OK, and by the time we got to Watonga we immediately decided that we did not want to go any further west and instead wanted to stick with the outflow boundary from the early morning convection that was moving Southwest with time. A small cell fired along the boundary, but it looked as if it was having trouble becoming rooted in the boundary layer and not accessing all of the available energy that was at the surface. We got on the storm anyway and continued to follow it while we were all yawning due to the crappy outflow that was dominating the HP blob. All of a sudden, and I do mean sudden, the storm decides to get its act together and we see a clear slot come diving in from the west on the storm and great mid level rotation starting to wrap up nicely. This is actually the second time this has happened to me this year and has been quite mysterious. Anyway, a wall cloud quickly formed and spawned a tornado that touched down for about 15 seconds, then lifted. This particular tornado did this routine 2 different times before becoming rain wrapped and out of our visibility. It looked as if it was still on the ground the last we saw, so who knows how long the tornado was actually on the ground...Pictures didn't come out that great due to the very poor lighting, but with a little bit of contrast I was still able to pull off this picture. I took a lot of video from start to end to hopefully I can edit that sometime this week. That's all for now...

Monday, June 11, 2007

National Weather Center

Front of the NWC

First ever operational Doppler Radar
Chase that didn't pan out...

Its been a while since I've posted, but yes I am still alive and well :) The summer is starting off very busy with a lot of small tasks to take care of i.e. id's, parking forms...Apparently the government feels the need to know everything about you and your cousins before they will allow you to perform tasks. Josh and Amanda visited this weekend and helped me ring in my birthday celebrations with the REU crowd. In case you haven't noticed, we feel the need to celebrate and enjoy life a lot ;) It was awesome seeing the looks on their faces when I toured them through the weather center and all of the cool facets of Norman. By the way, if you are ever in Norman, make sure to try the Hideaway restaurant in downtown Norman on Campus Corner. They have awesome pizza! For the most part thus far I have been working on a computer program for Harold Brooks and trying to get it to do what I want it to do. It's a fairly complex program that involves a lot of nested looping and array arguments; aka It's going to take me a while to finish it, but when I am done it will be able to compute several statistical calculations with meteorological variables. Harold has code for a similar program that was coded in FORTRAN, but I only know C++ so therefore I am stuck writing the program from scratch which is definitely a pain, but a great learning experience. I really had no idea how much computer programming comes into play in several meteorology related research projects. Anyway, I am job shadowing Dave Imy at the Storm Prediction Center tomorrow and couldn't be more excited. I finally get to see how the Convective outlooks are made, as well as try my hand at some meso-analysis with the forecasters. Should be interesting!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Red River Valley

Beautiful Mammatus near Lawton, TX
Double Rainbow

Yesterday we got sucked down towards the Red River near Lawton, TX to chase a HP looking blob. I must say we got into the heaviest rain that I have ever seen before! After catching a few shelf cloud pictures, we headed back towards Norman where we able to get great pictures of mammatus and a sweet looking double rainbow! Chase season looks like it is starting to ramp up with a trough setting up over the western conus which will make for an active severe weather period ahead so check back for pics soon!