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Monday, April 30, 2007

Day 1 filming at Roger Hills House

The Cosmospace crew is here at Roger Hills house and we are filming opening shots for their Dream Vision tornado production to air in Japan on May 22nd. Michael and I are here waiting for our turn in front of the cameras.

Mileage: 130

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

2007-04-24 Report

Deploying probes with Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, Tony Laubach and Jon VanDeGrift on this chase. What great adventure and excitement we had as we get in nice and close!







Rapidly rotating wall cloud as we approach the area from the north around Sterling, KS.


Tornado passes almost right over the top of us. The ground circulation hits Tim's HITPR probe 50 yards behind us!


Tornado continues to our east.


Funnel aloft continues as we pursue to get into position for another deploy.


Funnel continues.


RFD winds rake this farmhouse.


Dirt blasts the farm for about 30 seconds and then moves on. Roger Hill and the Cosmospace group, whom I will be deploying probes for next week are just down the road from here. The DOW and TIV were also deploying on this storm. A very exciting chase indeed!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Towers going up south of Medicine Lodge

Nice low level flow, Tds in the upper 60s and towers going up all around us.

Successful probe deployment today!

Today we had a very close encounter with a weak but photogenic tornado south of Sterling, KS in which Tim Samaras successfully deployed his HITPR probe. The DOW.and.TIV where also on the tornado. It was a very nice white cone with a fairly vigorous circulation on the ground!

In Pratte, KS

Checking data and getting ready for what looks like a big day in KS ans OK. Today we are chasing again with Tim Samaras deploying his media probe and one HITPR atmospheric probe. I'll be riding again in Tim's van with his son Paul as we do fielding for the National Geographic Channel.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Caught a tornado in Protection, KS

Tonight we caught a rope tornado near Protection in south central KS. It was on the ground for maybe five minutes. There was a huge chaser convergence as I'm sure many of the chasers were following the TIV and the DOW. Special treat for me as I am riding and driving Tim Samara's van.

Garden City KS

Chasing with Tim Samaras, Tony Laubach, Jon VandeGrift and Tims son. Cell going up to our south right now, we have crossed the dryline.

Epic Tornado day for Eastern Colorado!


SPC has come out with the Day 1 outlook now expecting the warm sector and surface flow back into Limon, CO! Moderate risk and 15% hatched tornado all the way to Denver. All Denver chasers "Fake your Death to Get Out East Today!"
...SIGNIFICANT SEVERE WEATHER EVENT IS EXPECTED ACROSS PARTS OF THE CENTRAL AND SOUTHERN HIGH PLAINS LATE THIS AFTERNOON AND TONIGHT...
THE UKMET AND GFS MODELS ARE ALL SLOWER PLACING THIS FEATURE FROM A LOW BETWEEN PUB AND DEN THEN SEWD/SWD THROUGH THE CENTRAL PARTS OF THE OK/TX PANHANDLE WHICH IS THE PREFERRED LOCATION AT THIS TIME.
THE LOW/MID LEVEL SHEAR PROFILE INCREASING 0-3KM HELICITY TO AROUND 325 M2/S2 AND 0-1 KM HELICITY TO NEAR 150 M2/S2 SUFFICIENT MESOCYCLONE/TORNADO DEVELOPMENT NEAR THE CO/KS BORDER INTO SWRN KS. THERE ARE INDICATIONS THAT A FEW DAMAGING TORNADOES COULD OCCUR WITH THESE STORMS GIVEN THE SUFFICIENT 0-1KM SHEAR AND LCL/LFC HEIGHTS BETWEEN 1000 AND 1500 M.

Eric's Video: April 21st, 2007

Hey guys,
Since I can't seem to edit any of the storm reports, I'm just going to add this video as it's own post. Also had to put it on Google Video rather than Youtube due to length. Not much else to say than what has already been said in the report, so enjoy!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

2007-04-21 Report


A large upper level low pressure system (cut-off low) was positioned over Arizona
providing Southerly flow in the upper levels. This is why the general storm motion was from south to north.

Surface winds were from the southeast providing moisture up to the dryline along the TX/NM border.

Moisture was not as plentiful as on March 28, 2007 which may be the reason for fewer tornadoes this day.

Here is the radar during the time of the Tulia and Cactus mesos.

Witnessed five (maybe 7) tornadoes today from the storm that formed near Channing, TX moved west of Dumas and then did significant damage north of Dumas in the small town of Cactus, TX. Tornado started as a cone then grew to a large white cone with heavy rain sheets wrapping around it then to a large half mile wedge! At one point we had two tornadoes on the ground, one a long white rope and the other a large wedge with barberpole bands. What a chase day!


Tornado #1 touches down briefly southwest of Channing, TX


Tornado #2 touches down and stays on the ground this time. We shoot west out of Four Way, TX on 354 and rapidly approach the growing cone! As we come over each hill the tornado is growing larger and stronger. The RFD notch is just stunning, almost encompasing the whole meso!


The tornado moves north of us as a large white cone wrapped in rain. The site is jaw dropping!


After driving north on 385 and shooting back east towards Bautista, TX we encounter powerlines across the road, trees down and tricky navigating. I had to drive over a smoldering transformer and stay out of the deep mud. But we make it through to keep chasing the developing wedge out in the distance.


We had to duck the Subaru under the powerlines hanging from the poles down to the road. The White Lincoln Navigator was too high and was stuck at the wires.


A second tornado forms to the southwest of the developing wedge tornado. At this point we have two tornadoes on the ground at the same time! This tornado continued north along our route and we were able to stay with it a long time as it churned up the dirt fields.


Tornado #2 builds into a large wedge. On HW87 where it crossed the road for a second time west of Dumas, TX there are a 1/2 mile and possibly more stretch of power poles down indicating the wedge size.


Here we have the wedge as it crosses HW287 and does significant damage in Etter, Bryden and Cactus, TX. The barber bole striations are strongly rotating from the ground all the way up into the meso. The whole wall cloud is on the ground at this point!


Major damage in Cactus, TX with roofs gone, some homes missing wall sections, debris everywhere on the roads and trucks flipped over. Our hearts go out to the residents that were devistated by this damaging long-track wedge.


Map of tornado paths in Blue, our route in Green.

Arrived in Denver at 1:00am to find both drivers side tires on my car almost flat and leaking air. We had runover powerlines, sheet metal and sheets of plywood so something had punctured the tires but not enough to cause a full blowout.

I have more respect for these wedge beasts now as the last two chases we have documented major damage from multiple wedges in the panhandles of TX and OK.

Here is the NWS page for this day:
http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ama/april21_2007/index.htm

SPC reports page: http://w1.spc.woc.noaa.gov/exper/archive/events/070421/index.html

Mileage: 1150
Motel Stays: 1

Four Way, TX

Had a brief tornado west of Four Way, TX

Conway, TX

We are in Conway, TX waiting for initiation. Cells are building to the south of us now.

In Dumas, TX

We are at the Days Inn motel in Dumas, TX north of Amarillo waiting for initiation. The sky here is broken clouds now with a good stiff southerly surface wind. We are in a good place and have a couple hours to kill before things fire.

Heading south out of Garden City, KS

The three of us are heading south out of Garden City, KS this morning towards the Amarillo, TX area. We are seeing the most favorable parameters to the south and would like to get the backing surface winds around the low in e NM.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Towers up by McCook, NE

Theses cells finally popped but they quickly headed north into NE. We had to leave them behind as the three of us are headed to Garden City, KS for our overnight stay and then tomorrow is the big day!

First cell of the day

first cell of the day starting to go up north of Colby, KS. We are keeping an eye on it.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Saturday April 21st a must chase day!

I've been watching Saturday April 21st on the GFS and now NAM for a while now and it is now on SPCs 3 day outlook. The primary severe area is confined to the high plains much like the March 28th outbreak day where Eric and I scored 6-7 tornadoes from one of the best mesos of the day.
With this setup being well into CO and it being a saturday it's a no brainer that Michael, Eric and I will be out on this one!
With moisture return being the limiting factor for this setup I am definately favoring the sw KS/ OK panhandle area again to get south into the better air.

ATTM...IT APPEARS THAT STRONG DEEP-LAYER SHEAR AND DEWPOINTS GENERALLY IN THE MID 50S SHOULD SUPPORT THE DEVELOPMENT OF SUPERCELL STORMS FROM THE CENTRAL AND SRN HIGH PLAINS NNEWD ACROSS THE WRN HALF OF NEB AND INTO THE DAKOTAS AND PERHAPS WRN MN. GREATEST THREAT WILL LIKELY EXIST FROM THE TX/OK PANHANDLES NWD ACROSS WRN KS/ERN CO INTO THE WRN HALF OF NEB. IN THESE AREAS...LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WINDS WILL BE POSSIBLE ALONG WITH ISOLATED TORNADOES.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Probe structure almost complete

In the past couple days I painted the probes including a flat black panel on each to reduce glare into the cameras. I have also numbered them based on their channel numbers 1 - 4. One antenna/laptop will be able to access one channel at a time.

Working today with Habitat For Humanity

Taking a day off of work today and working for Habitat for Humanity in north Denver. About 20 of us are here working on two homes putting up the siding, prepping for paint, and painting. SPC has us under a 5 percent hail risk today so after 4:30 I am free to head east from here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Severe potential on the CO plains Weds

NAM is showing a strong 500 mb jet streak nosing into ne CO weds afternoon. Dewpoints are ony in the 40s but if some moisture could make it up here or be enhanced by todays rains we could see some severe east of Denver. I'll be volunteering at Habitat for Humanity that day so I'll have my cameras with me in the car just in case!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Probes primed and eye formed

This weekend I sanded, sealed and primed all the probes. I also cut and formed the 'eye' that the pinhole camera will see out of. The beauty of using a pinhole camera is that it is not affected by rain like a glass window sized for a coventional camera lens. This should make for some spectacular tornado video all the way up to impact.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Inner stiffener rings

This evening I added inner stiffener rings to the undersides of the probes. This completes the main structure of the probes. Next is to nock down any sharp edges and general finishing including painting.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Expendible wireless probes

Great question Eric about whether or not the probes are expendible. My thought is that they should always be retrieved if possible BUT if they cannot be found or you have to leave the area due to road closures or other things out of your control they can be left behind because the main prize - the video is already on yor laptop and not on a tape inside the probe.

Rivetted and epoxied seams

Tonight I rivetted and epoxied the seams of all the cones. First I created the test seam on the right to see if I was happy with the results. Later before painting I will fill and sand flush the seams so that they are as flush as possible.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cone probe metal skins

Tonight I cut and formed 4 metal cone skins plus 1 spare. These are made of sheet steel and are cut from an 18 inch blank and formed to 17 inch dia and are 4 inches tall at the center.

Rough mockup topview

Pinhole camera peeks through top of what will be sheet steel cone probe. Wireless antenna will protrude through top. Simple construction will make them easy to produce and maintain in the field.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Rough mockup of wireless probe

This evening I ordered the radio control aircraft, batteries, chargers and field box. I also created this rough mockup of the layout of the underside of the wireless probes.

Transmitter battery choice #2

Nickel metal Hydride 12v 2000mAh weighing in at 1.05 lbs

Transmitter battery possibility #1

Lead acid 12V 1300mAh weighing in at 1.35 lbs 27.99

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Colorado National Monument

Amanda and I are taking the scenic route back from Fruita, CO today through the Colorado National Monument.

Transmitter/Receiver Packages

This morning I purchased the following:

5 - 3000mW Transmitter
1 - 2000mW Transmitter
1 - 1000mW Transmitter

I asked for the two sellers on eBay (1 jetdeway@yahoo.com) (6 RockyKaBo@HotPoP.com ) to ship as soon as possible since we are on a critical schedule. If they come through then I will give them great feedback marks in eBay as incentive. That's about the best you can do in the eBay system.

My thinking on these transmitters is to have most of them as the largest size/greatest range possible for the cones and then have a couple of the smaller sizes to adapt into the plane. If the 3000mW transmitters turn out to be not much heavier than the 1000 or 2000 then we will just use the 3000 in the plane.

This will give us the best flexibility and a few backup transmitters for spares.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Academy of Model Aeronautics

Today I renewed a 3 month membership with the AMA for $19.95 to provide the following coverage for operation of our model airplane, membership provides for the following:

Liability Coverage for the Operation of Model Aircraft, Boats, Cars, and Rockets
$2,500,000 Comprehensive General Liability Protection for model activities for members, clubs, site owners, and sponsors
$25,000 Accident/Medical Coverage for members
$10,000 Maximum Accidental Death Coverage for members

The plane I will construct will be like the one at the link below, it includes the plane, gas engine and radio and is nearly complete and ready to fly at $379.00 not including shipping. I may try to source this and the field box in Denver to get started earlier on brushing up on my flight skills.

http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0161p?&I=LZ1174** -cut and paste ** to browser at end.

We'll be needing a field box like this to start and operate the plane at $109.00 + shipping:

http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0161p?&I=LZ1117

Tornado Probes and Plane Project April 28th - May 6th

Posted this earlier but will post again here. Got the go ahead this morning from Kaori Mayama of COSMOSPACE of Japan to build and deploy 4 video probes and a radio control airplane into tornadoes. Tony and or Michael may try to come along and possibly even my sister Judy.

Between 1989 an 1996 I flew radio control pattern ship competions and aerobatics so with a little brushing up I should be able to make a decent attempt at getting a bird in the air and headed into the vortex!

Video transmitters and cameras

This morning I went onto eBay and ordered 6 3000mW 1.2 GHz transmitter/receiver sets from a seller in Hong Kong. These are larger than the 10mW transmitters that I have previously tried but they will increase our range from 200m to 3000m. That's 3 kilometers, the actual range I hope to get would be 1 kilometer so that will give us a nice safety margin. Of course, these are larger, heavier and require a 12V battery and so the probe will have to be bigger. I have found 12V motorcycle batteries at the 4.5x4.5x2.75 inch size so these should work nicely.

These take 3 days to process and then 15 days to ship to the US so it'll be cutting it close on getting these units for the project. I also ordered 8 color pinhole cameras from an outfit in the US so those will be here in time.

The transmitters are the one's below in the link, they have quoted me AU$390 for 6 including shipping so I have asked them to send me the dimensions (since the picture is always vaugue) and to see if they have a faster shipping method:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Wireless-Video-Audio-AV-Camera-Transmitter-3000mW_W0QQitemZ290102417825QQihZ019QQcategoryZ294QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


I ordered 8 of these cameras for $149.99:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=009&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWN%3AIT&viewitem=&item=190099372250&rd=1&rd=1

they have audio as well so we may even be able to get audio and video back. At this point I don't see why not. To mount them in the plane I may attach them directly to a spare servo and hang it out the bottom, that would allow one of the unused channels 5,6 or 7 to be able to rotate the camera in flight!

This is the YAGI antennas we'll use, I already have one myself and Kaori has requested another one, we can use up to 4 of these with 4 laptops at a time:
MINIATURE 10MHZ TO 5.6GHZ 20DB 9 ELEMENT AUDIO/VIDEO YAGI ANTENNA $289.00 + shipping.
http://www.thespystore.com/antennas.htm

Here are the Laptop capture devices we'll use, at $77.00 ea + shipping one for each channel of video:

http://www.bestbuybusiness.com/bbfb/en/US/adirect/bestbuy?cmd=catProductDetail&showAddButton=true&productID=BB10323280&websrc=FRBB10323280

Friday, April 06, 2007

Next chase Friday April 13th?

Let's hope it's not bad luck that the GFS has slowed down our next chaseable system to Friday the 13th! Right now the model is showing a healthy 5ooH speed max rounding into OK and eastern KS. Tds are in place with a nice surface low now over nc KS.

It's a long way off but worth watching as we break out of the current pattern and back into a chaseable one.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

7 News Chaser Blog Preps

This image is for the main column section.

This image is for the "View Bios" section.

Michael, Eric and I have been invited by Mike Nelson of Denver's 7 ABC to join chasers Tim Samaras, Roger Hill and Tony Laubach on the 7 Storm Chasers!

Today I took all of our pictures and have been working on creating the graphics for the Channel 7 website.

The Carlsons', Verne, Michael and Eric

The Carlsons', Verne, Michael and Eric

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