Live Geo-referenced Storm Chaser Video. First in the Field Aerial Live Streaming and Aerial Storm Intercepts. High Resolution Level II Radar Data. Severe Weather Forecasts and Reports by Storm Chasers/Severe Weather Videographers Verne, Michael and Eric Carlson. For live stream and video licensing contact us at: vernecarlson@hotmail.com

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Friday, September 29, 2006

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Latest image from Verne's mobile picture phone at Kathleens cross country meet

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Saturday Oct 7 - Sunday Oct 8th

The system I highlighted below becomes cutoff and stalls a bit over the s CA coast. This now pushes the the chase potential to the weekend and allows better return flow to get into place ahead of the low. Will be keeping an eye on Oct 7th and 8th now.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Weds Oct 4th next possible chase day?



Decent theta E air being pulled up around a surface low in w KS and a little upper air support. It's a long ways off but it's shown up on two days GFS runs now so I'll be watching. Could be our next chase potential day.

Marginal setup for Weds Oct 4th - need to keep an eye on this one for central KS.

7NEWS Weather Seminar: BIG Weather!!


The date and time is set for the Big Weather Imax show that 7 News and us local chasers will be putting on, mark your calendars!

Big Weather Imax show!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Extreme Tornadoes available on eBay!






Announcing "Extreme Tornadoes" available on eBay. I have compiled all my best tornado video into one DVD including:
May 10, 2004 Cedar Point, CO
April 10, 2005 Trego County, KS
June 9, 2005 Trego Center, KS
May 7, 2006 Garden City, KS
May 23, 2006 South Dakota
and the amazing Sept 16, 2006 South Dakota tornadoes!

This DVD brings approximately 1 hour of pure tornado excitement!

Extreme Tornadoes available on eBay

Monday, September 18, 2006

Tornado video on Denver's 7 tonight



7 news video

Thanks to Tony Laubach for hooking us up and Chris Spears for the great tour of Denver's 7 station tonight! It was great meeting Richard Ortner and all the fine folks at the station. Here's the video they showed tonight from our South Dakota storm chase.





Here we are on the set!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Intense Tornado Encounter in SD!




Supercell thunderstorm forms from blue sky to anvil in less than an hour. McCook county goes severe warned before the first tops or radar show on wxworx, something I have never seen before. This thing is beautiful as we rapidly approach from the east on I-90!

4:10pm CDT - Touchdown! Tornado #1 forms south of I-90 just west of Sioux Falls, SD near the town of Salem. Near other known SD towns - Manchester, Spencer, and Woonsocket

Tornado exhibits a helical motion on the ground, it's not going left, it's not going right - it's just getting larger - it's coming right at us!

We flee east on I-90 about a mile where the tornado crosses right over the overpass where we just were! Timing Michael's video showed that the overpass was hit ~1:40 minutes after we left!

Tornado crosses I-90, a semi-tractortrailer was tossed, no injuries.



Tornado crosses I-90, a semi-tractortrailer was tossed, no injuries. You can hear the roar - sounds like a steady waterfall, not too loud but definately noticable.



What's left of the cotton wood trees, leaves and small twigs fall all around us!

Tornado passes in the field north of us only 50-100 yards away! That's the KELO-land TV chase car next to us. The MN chasers also come out of the circulation and drive by. Cars are turning around in the grass median as they come around the corner and see what's coming thier way! At this point the tornado is rated a borderline F3, it is scouring the ground down to the dirt!

Tornado #1 quickly moves north away from us and losses strength. This tornado remained on the ground for 20 minutes and traveled and impressive 12 miles!

4:30pm CDT - Tornado #1 ropes out as the meso begins to look like it will become a large wedge, had it stayed on the warm front I believe it could have been much stronger.

A sobering site from the air as you can see where the ground has been scoured by the tornado when it was passing in the field in front of us!

4:54pm CDT - Tornado #2 touches down northeast of Colton, SD and hits a farmstead, we later learn that thankfully no one was home.

Debris is swirled into the air high above the cottonwood trees.

This tornado was rated an F1 and only remained on the ground for 3 minutes.

Score! Our best tornado intercepts ever! Many firsts today:
1) First time hearing the tornado roar!
2) First time having debris fall from the sky on us (small stuff thankfully)!
3) First time seeing damage occur (not a great thing but still a first)

Winner, Winner - Steak Dinner! Here's our crew, Michael, Tony, Jon, Chris, Tom, and Allison


Chris Rozoff and Becca Mazur also made it up to the tornado in time to get some great shots showing structure and the tornado:
Chris Rozoff's report

Here's the official NWS report:
Sept 16, 2006 NWS Report

Here's the tornado reports for the day:
2110 4 SE SALEM MCCOOK SD 4368 9733 (FSD)
2115 5 S SALEM MCCOOK SD 4365 9739 TORNADO WITH DEBRIS SOUTH OF INTERSTATE 90 ON HIGHWAY 81 (FSD)
2118 3 W MONTROSE MCCOOK SD 4370 9724 LARGE TORNADO JUST CROSSED INTERSTATE 90 EAST OF THE CANISTOTA EXIT. (FSD)
2137 4 W CLARK CLARK SD 4488 9782 BRIEF TOUCHDOWN (ABR) 2150 4 N CLARK CLARK SD 4494 9773 BRIEF TOUCHDOWN (ABR)
2153 1 N COLTON MINNEHAHA SD 4380 9693 (FSD)
2157 2 S CHESTER LAKE SD 4387 9693 (FSD)
2205 1 E BROOKINGS BROOKINGS SD 4431 9677 (FSD)
2212 2 NNE KIMBALL BRULE SD 4377 9894 (FSD)
2310 15 S CAVOUR SANBORN SD 4416 9804 (FSD) 0208 4 NE GRETNA SARPY NE 4118 9619 180TH AND HARRISON (OAX)




Yes that's my car on the side of the road in front of the Tornado! Thanks to Brian Stertz for the use of his photo.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Strong tornadoes possible today in w IA/e NE



This is what you like to see in the model runs and wording on the Day 1 for storm chasing. Everyone out there be safe!

...SD/MN/NEB/IA THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH TONIGHT... SATELLITE IMAGERY CONFIRMS THAT GENERALLY CLOUD-FREE SKIES WILL REMAIN IN PLACE OVER THIS AREA TODAY...LEADING TO TEMPERATURES WELL INTO THE 80S AND DEEP MIXING. THIS WILL HELP TO TRANSPORT RICH LOW LEVEL MOISTURE NORTHWARD AND DESTABILIZE AIRMASS /MLCAPE VALUES OF 1500-2500 J/KG/. SUBSIDENCE BEHIND OVERNIGHT SYSTEM WILL TEND TO SUPPRESS DEEP CONVECTION UNTIL EARLY AFTERNOON. THUNDERSTORMS ARE THEN LIKELY TO RAPIDLY DEVELOP FROM THE SURFACE LOW OVER SD INTO PARTS OF EASTERN NEB ALONG TRAILING DRYLINE. FORECAST SOUNDINGS IN THIS REGION SHOW EXTREMELY STRONG LOW AND DEEP LAYER VERTICAL SHEAR PROFILES FAVORABLE FOR SUPERCELLS AND TORNADOES /6KM SHEAR OF 50-70 KNOTS AND 3KM HELICITY OF 300-500 M2/S2/. INITIAL STORMS WILL HAVE THE POTENTIAL FOR VERY LARGE HAIL AND STRONG TORNADOES. ACTIVITY WILL LIKELY REMAIN SUPERCELLULAR AS IT TRACKS ACROSS WESTERN IA AND SOUTHWEST MN...BEFORE EVENTUALLY ORGANIZING INTO A SQUALL LINE AFTER DARK WITH AN ENHANCED THREAT OF DAMAGING WINDS.

Staying overnight in Missouri Valley, IA



Tonight we are staying overnight in Missouri Valley, IA along I-29 between Sioux City and Omaha. We are right in the dead center of the 10% hatched tornado risk SPC put out for Saturday!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Cell that caused F2 damage

Latest image from Verne's mobile picture phone. This cell went on to produce F2 tornado damage in the town of Surprise, NE (of all places) Our route took us:

Started in Wakeeney, headed north on 283 and then over to 183 through Alma, NE

Then we went through Holdredge to Hastings, NE where we drove past Tim Marshall watching a rapidly rotating tail-end-charlie that came very close to dropping a funnel many times.

We then got up to I-80 where we took the Seward exit and got cored by intense rain on Hw92

We made it into Omaha ahead of the now MCS line, where we had dinner at the Toca Bell.

We watched a flying eagle approach Lincoln so we decided to shoot for that - as soon as we got down infront of it where it could pass by us, it weekened and died off. Watched lightning all night and then bedded down east of Blair, NE (home of Mike H!)

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Latest image from Verne's mobile picture phone

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Latest image from Verne's mobile picture phone big towers by Oakley KS!

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Latest image from Verne's mobile picture phone nice CU field

Birthday Chase!

Hadn't really planned on chasing today although all week long the models have been showing a pretty decent potential for severe storms today. SPC this morning was enough to entice me to take my birthday off and go chasing! Looking at this morning's RUC I have decided to not necessarily go straight up to NE but instead I will go to Wakeeney, KS and check things from there. I am leaning towards sc KS, the forecast Capes are great down there and there is better upper level support from the approaching low over the great basin.

More from down the road!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Looking good for a Saturday Chase to try out the Cams!

From the Omaha, NE HWO:

MOIST AND UNSTABLE AIR COMBINED WITH STRONG SHEAR SATURDAY AFTERNOON WILL PROVIDE THE INGREDIENTS FOR DAMAGING WINDS AND LARGE HAIL WITH THE STRONGER THUNDERSTORMS INTO SATURDAY EVENING. A TORNADO OR TWO ALSO APPEAR POSSIBLE.

From the Hastings, NE HWO:

...DUE TO STRONG WIND SHEAR AND MODERATE INSTABILITY...AN ISOLATED TORNADO OR TWO WILL ALSO BE POSSIBLE. THE BETTER CHANCE FOR SEVERE WEATHER FRIDAY AFTERNOON AND EVENING WILL BE ALONG AND WEST OF HIGHWAY 281...WHILE THE BETTER CHANCE OF SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS ON SATURDAY WILL BE ALONG AND EAST OF HIGHWAY 281.

When in doubt go south?


For saturday I'm seeing two target areas for tornadoes. One is hopelessly far up into MN and northern IA and one is less certain in e KS but more obtainable from Denver. A few days ago Tom Dulong sent out a similar setup day in a past Oct tornado day that showed a number of brief touchdowns nearer the surface low in Wisconsin BUT a greater number of longer lived tornadoes in e KS. If the dryline forcing can overcome the stouter cap over e KS then we may get some good discrete supercells in the area south of Topeka, KS

When in doubt head south!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Potential Chase Saturday Sept 16th


Latest GFS run is showing a trough strengthing on Saturday evening from nc KS into central NE. Most chasers are watching this one closely and there is alot of excitement about this day. This would be my first chase in September and one day after my birthday. A tornado or two would make it a great birthday present.

I get my Yagi antenna in the mail on thursday and have 1 MiniTurtle and 1 PoleCam built, tested and ready to go. Conditions look good to atleast get the cams into some severe weather this weekend!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Tornado PoleCam Prototype


Tonight I completed making a prototype of the Tornado PoleCam. Using a velcro strap and single sided sticky velcro I created the version you see above. Some further ideas I had are to shrinkwrap the camera to the velcro to make it more rain resistant. The wireless security camera I have chosen seems to be pretty tightly sealed so I think that it will do pretty well against it's short life in the storm environment.

Today I got confirmation that my Yagi antenna is on the way. It is set to arrive on thursday so hopefully I will have everything to try a full field test this weekend!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tornado PoleCam

This weekend I plan to build another version of the wireless Tornado cam. Many of the country roads we chase tornadoes along have telephone poles and fence posts along them. This cam would be sewn into a velcro strap along with it's 9V battery. To deploy I will slap it up as high as I can on the pole and point it towards the approaching tornado. I would hope to get video as long as the velcro holds and the pole is not knocked down!

More pics of the MiniTurtle Tornado Cam



Simplicity is the key here. The MiniTurtle is made from an orange soccer cone and the top of a wiffle ball cemented into place on the top. The off-the-shelf security cam is then mounted inside and powered by a 9 V battery.

MT Field Test #1 Moderate Thunderstorm!


Conditions: Moderate Thunderstorm, Frequent Lightning, Moderate Rain
Estimated Winds: 30kts

This evening I tested the MiniTurtle prototype in a thunderstorm off I-70 east of Denver. Here's what I learned:

Good:
1) Video quality is good during rain, as suspected the small lens size does not bead up with water and obstruct the view.
2) Car engine was running entire time, system running off car inverter power. No noticeable interference.
3) Lightning does NOT break up video signal!

Bad:
1) Camera angle too high, need to adjust lower.

In video #1 I show the turtle viewing a typical storm sky with sunlit towers and dark lowerings:
http://www.stormchaserco.com/20060907_MT_Test1.wmv

In video #2 the turtle is pointed through sunflowers to show the wind motion. At this time there was moderate rain and I was inside my car with the wipers on!
http://www.stormchaserco.com/20060907_MT_Test2.wmv

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Small setback and more MiniTurtle testing

Today I tried to buy a 1.2 Ghz YAGI antenna and could not add the item to my shopping cart online. I called the supplier and was informed that sales of these antennas is now limited to the military! I had noticed earlier that there are none of these antennas available on eBay and was wondering why. So today I decided to switch to the more widespread 2.4 GHz band. This meant buying a 2.4 GHz setup which I got for $75 which includes 2 cameras and a 4 channel receiver. This will allow me to deploy two turtles and point the Yagi at the one with the best view. Systems are widely available with 4 cameras and 4 channels so I may eventually deploy 4 turtles at 100 foot intervals and increase my odds of an intercept.

Tonight I hooked everything up and ran the MiniTurtle out the driveway to a distance of 150 feet where I lost a good signal. This was done through the walls of the house and with the stock 3" receiver whip antenna so with a Yagi I should be able to greatly increase this distance.

Here's the video for the quick test I did from the dining room window:
Close Range Video from Prototype MiniTurtle

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sample video grab from MT (MiniTurtle)

Grabbed this quick image from the MT camera. This gives an idea of the potential resolution that can be obtained. This image is 640 x 480 pixels.

Mini-turtle Tornado Video Probes for 2007


I've been working on a prototype mini-turtle video probe for deploying next year in the path of tornadoes. This morning I completed a first attempt. Borrowing from the great design of Tim Samaras' HITPR probes I have come up with a version that is much smaller, simpler and best of all wireless. This probe will use an off the shelf wireless security camera running off a 9 volt battery which will allow me to put the minimal amount of equipment in harms way and to have all the recording equipment and receiver safe in the car with me. They will be so small and inexpensive that if it cannot be found after the tornado passes then it is no big deal. They are expendible. I will also be able to stream video directly to my laptop as AVI or WMV files so conveivably with a wireless cell phone connection I could stream it to a website in real-time!

In the next few days I will be refining the design by blocking the hole in the top, possibly mounting the camera at a more horizontal angle, etc. I plan to test the maximum transmission distance with the stock receiver antenna and then also plan to purchase a directional YAGI antenna which will greatly boost the range. I will be testing it's wind resistance and rain resistence as well. Another potential benefit of this design is the lack of a windshield and therefore the problem of water beading up on the glass is eliminated. I will have to see if it's possible to get one big drop right on the lens and what that does to the view.

Video: Color, 380 scanlines, NTSC
Transmitter: 9V, 1.2 GHz, 200 mW, 1000 ft range
Receiver: Yagi 1200 MHz antenna, 9V

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