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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fully Instrumented Wicked Witch!

This afternoon after a couple of bad launches yesterday I was able to get my newly modified Wicked Witch into the air and recording video, GPS and Weather data. This brings together all the elements into one small package that I want to launch into tornadoes for the 2010 season.

Here you can see the temperature, relative humidity, pressure and altitude graph. The temperature drops as it gets exposed to being outside after being in the car. The pressure drops as the altitude increases, then it reverses during landing approach. The RH rises during the flight and then spikes as the plane hits the snow on landing ( the large jump on the right).

Here is the GPS track. The flight was approximately 8 mins long and 8.2 kM traveled. A second GPS will allow me to find the craft after it is tossed by the tornado and ends up in a farm field out in Tornado Alley!

WX data logger: 5 sec updates. 2 hr 45 min record time.
Video: 720 x 480. 30fps. 1 hr record time.
GPS: 1 sec updates.

Check out this video by John Hallen!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rhino Lined 2009 Outback Chase Vehicle

After being sidelined by the baseball hail of the June 5th, 2009 La Grange, WY tornado and seeing the video from the Discovery Channel's Smash Lab tests of Rhino Linings against dynamite blasts I decided to Rhino Line my brand new 2009 Subaru Outback. Scott Pfeffer of Rhino Linings of Golden did an awesome job! I could not be happier with the results and next storm season I will be testing against the biggest hail I can find! Glass will be bulletproofed with double layers of laminate. Check out this video below:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

TVNs RC Superhauler

TVN and Radiance Technologies RC Superhauler featured in last Sunday's Discovery Storm Chasers Episode 6 is a 30k system consisting of the following components:

First you have a 12 foot wingspan custom built airframe, RC radio and transmitter (2.4 GHz) with power booster and a 2-stroke (maybe 4) gas engine.

Second there's at least two cameras on the plane itself. One is a belly mounted swivel camera with radio downlink to the support truck and the second is a Contour HD helmet cam mounted to the tail. The plane has GPS waypoint navagation that can fly a preprogrammed path and then return to it's launch point and circle until the pilot picks it up and lands it. Eight of the probes record temp, pressure and dewpoint for later download (radioing these real-time to the truck at 900Mhz would be a better solution with no loss of data if the probe is lost). Two of the probes carry Contour HD cams as well. The problem with probe cams is they can not be pointed and swivel with the parachute. A better solution is to have control of the camera pan/tilt and zoom at all times. All ten probes radio back their GPS location to the support truck (900Mhz) for tracking and later pickup hopefully in accessible farm fields.

Third, you have the support truck with oversized camper shell. Radio downlink equipment for the belly cam video and probe tracking. There is a flat screen monitor in the cab for displaying the downlinked video. This video display allows for First Person View or FPV flying - this is where you pilot the plane by watching the monitor alone and works well when the plane is very small when viewed from the ground.

I have essentially the same gear as above with some key differences that match my slightly different goals for past years and going into 2010 but that is it in a nutshell. We are just on the cusp of what can be done with RC aircraft, both fixed wing and rotary wing craft and with electronics becoming smaller and cheaper every day - once the FAA clears the way, expect to see a lot more in this area.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Subie chase vehicle hardening

Working on filling all the dents before mondays complete Rhino lining of the entire exterioir.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Featured Tornado of the Week - March 28, 2007 Beaver, OK

March 28, 2007 - Beaver and Lipscomb county Tornadoes
Tornado #1: Rated ef - 2 (max winds 110 - 137 mph)
Path length: 22 miles max
Width: 150 yards
Tornado began: 7:28 pm ... ended at 7:53 pm
2 fatalities / 0 injuries
The tornado originated in northern Lipscomb county between Booker and Darrouzett ... about 6 miles south of the Beaver / Lipscomb county line at 7:28 pm. the tornado moved northward and entered beaver county at 7:39 pm. damage occurred on a farmstead about 1 mile into beaver county severely damaging several outbuildings and a grain bin. Little or no damage occurred to the home. The tornado continued north, briefly became a large multi vortex tornado ... and then consolidated into one large funnel ... snapping power poles and large trees. The tornado struck and destroyed a single family home about9 miles north of the lipscomb / beaver county line at 7:50 pm ... where two fatalities occurred. It appeared that the couple killed in the tornado did seek refuge in their small bathroom, which was destroyed. In addition to the small home ... a storage barn was destroyed and two vehicles were moved as much as 20 yards. A horse trailer was destroyed as it bounced and rolled for approximately 50 yards. The tornado continued moving north for approximately another 6 or 7 miles ... damaging only power poles ... fences ... and trees before it lifted.

>> Original Report Here <<

Friday, October 23, 2009

Featured Tornado of the Week - April 29, 2009 Garden City, KS

April 29, 2009 - Garden City, KS - A monster Supercell thunderstorm spawned five tornadoes and numerous gustnadoes associated with downburst winds Wednesday evening on the 29th of April in the Garden City area. The storm initially was moving east towards Garden City but then took on s...upercell characteristics and turned almost due south. In addition to the tornadoes and high wind, very large hail was also reported with some the size of softballs falling on the back side of the storm.

A dairy farm took a direct hit and even though the tornado did EF1 damage with 100 to 110 mph winds, there was a heavy toll on the cattle as numerous pieces of tin and sheet metal churned through the pins. Much of this debris was carried almost 4 miles. At least 100 head were mortally injured or had to be put down. There was one injury at the dairy when a door flew open injuring a female although not seriously.

There was also EF1 damage done to a several modular homes northwest of Plymell in the Ponderosa addition. One woman was struck in the face by a piece of lumber as it smashed through a window.

All told there were 15 pivot irrigation sprinklers damaged or destroyed.

>> Original report here <<

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Carlson Chasers ranked among the top 100 BlogBurst blogs

Received this today, thanks everyone for reading!

For the 3rd quarter of 2009, your blog ranked among the top 100 BlogBurst blogs in both headline impressions and click throughs posted to our publishers’ sites. Congratulations and thank you!

In appreciation of your efforts to create outstanding content, you’re eligible to receive a cash reward as specified by the BlogBurst Leaderboard Rewards program.

Your blog, Carlson Chasers Blog, is in position #84 on the Leaderboard, making you eligible for a reward

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Potential severe weather outbreak Oct 1st!

Things are shaping up for a potentially big fall severe outbreak on thursday Oct 1! The GFS is showing a negative tilt trough punching into the plains into 2000 J capes. Right now the plan is to head out weds night to Russell and be in place for this event. We've been waiting for a month now for a fall severe episode and this time it looks like it will come together!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Storm Chasers set to air on Oct 18th

Promo video for Episode 1, Season 3 of Storm Chasers on Discovery Channel, airing October 18, 2009 at 10 pm Eastern. Tim Samaras and Twistex(our old team), Sean Casey and the TIV crew, and Reed Timmer, Chris Chittick, and Joel Taylor of new team!) hunt down tornadoes in western Oklahoma during April 2009. Eric's tornado video will likely be part of this episode as we were right there on it! More info at

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Featured Tornado of the Week - Sept 16, 2006 Canistota, SD

September 16, 2006 - Canistota, SD It was exactly 3 years ago today that Michael and I were chasing a two day setup in Kansas and then South Dakota. The first day in Kansas we saw some good supercells with rotation but no tornadoes. We overnighted near Blair, NE for the main show on 9/16. It was the remnants of typhoon Ioke that has wondered around in the pacific and then up by Alaska and on this day was coming into the plains as a trough.

We met up with Chris Collura in Sioux City, IA and hung out for a bit looking at data at a hotel along the interstate when we decided to shoot a bit north towards Sioux Falls, SD. On the way up a lone supercell to our west along I-90 formed and before it was barely a blip on the wxworx system the county went severe warned!

We shot west out of Sioux Falls on I-90 and rapidly approached the developing cell and pulled off at the Canistota exit just in time to see a cone begin to drop from the spinning wall cloud. For what seemed like a good 10 minutes we watched the tornado pass over groves of cottonwood trees and then as it passed there was an empty field there. The tornado was completely pulverizing them into match sticks!

We shot back east on I-90 and watched as the tornado came up to the overpass and then seemed to come down the highway towards us as the stout cylinder above! This was the first and only time I have heard the 'tornado roar'. It sounded like a waterfall with just a hint of a whining sound.

It passed into the field in front of us and roped out into a long snakey tornado and then it was gone..

>> Original Report HERE <<

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Featured Tornado of the Week - April 26, 2009 Roll, OK

April 26, 2009 Roll, OK - tornado #2 of the day from the single supercell that formed in Roger Mills county Oklahoma. This tornado crossed the road in front of Eric and I with an intense RFD blast on the south side of it. It tracked down into a valley where it destroyed an unoccupied mobile home. Literally turned it into white dust before our eyes. The tornado continued to climb the far side of the valley (photo above) and dissipate. No other tornadoes formed from the storm that day.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Discovery Storm Chasers New Season Oct 11th!

It's gonna be awesome!!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Julesburg CO supercell!

This has been the summer of the slight risk and 2% tornado for eastern CO and today was no exception. After farting around for awhile around DIA with a line of cells and nickel size hail I saw that a Tornado watch had been issued for the NE panhandle. Keeping my eyes up there, an interesting cell formed south of Kimbal, NE and began to show a flying eagle shape on radar.

I made my way north thru Prospect Valley and up to Roggin on I-76 when the storm began to show a couplet and things were getting interesting. Time to fly! I raced up I-76 and caught the beast with 75,000 feet high towers just west of Julesburg in time to report a large rotating wallcloud that was only a few feet off the ground and so wrapped in rain that if a tornado were back in there it would only be visible by the damage path after!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Funnel of Darkness

Navigating the precarious boundaries where sanity ends and weather begins; FUNNEL OF DARKNESS follows one adventure filmmaker and his team, chasing the American Dream...down Tornado Alley.

The Original five-episode web series FUNNEL OF DARKNESS premieres on Monday, July 27.

Funnel Of Darkness is a comedy series that follows adventure filmmaker Keith Severe (Keith Cecere) and his team of storm chasers (Team Severe) as they tear through America's heartland in a race to capture the best up-close and personal tornado footage the world has ever seen. A modern day storm chasing A-Team, the men that compromise Team Severe are a rag tag lot of storm chasing misfits and rock and roll dreamers.

>> Go to the page here <<

EPISODE 1 - "Team Severe, Come Out and Play!"

The competition is afoot, the girls abound and Team Severe is ready to win. Unfortunately, road holes and an unruly farmer stand between them and glory.

EPISODE 2 - "Severe Weather"

An old nemesis shows her face as Team Severe gets some new storm chasing gear and samples the local flavor of Oklahoma. The perfect storm shot lays just over the horizon, but will the boys get there in time?

EPISODE 3 - "Small Town Freaker Outers"

The weather has gone flat and Team Severe is in desperate need of a Tornado. The only solution is to throw a “storm summoning party” to appease the gods. Hopefully, the gods aren’t easily offended.

EPISODE 4 - "Anarchy in the O.K."

Still desperate for tornadoes and even more desperate for cash Team Severe takes to the stage and rocks out at a local bar. Channeling his spiritual guide, the character Bodhi from the world re-known film “Point Break,” Keith calls upon his troops for one final push to try and win the “Funnel Baggin’ Rally.

EPISODE 5 - "A Shot in the Dark"

With time running out, Team Severe cuts through the night, chasing down the biggest storm of their lives. Will it be enough to win the Funnel Baggin’ Rally? That’s for one crazy cowboy to decide.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Pictures from last night's possible Tornado in west Denver!

Hail damaged vinyl sided house in Wheat Ridge, CO N39 46.69 W105 7.37

Audi that had a tree limb fall on it's back window. N39 46.04 W105 7.24

Garage front taken off by large tree. N39 46.04 W105 7.24

Reflectivity screen grab at 10:25pm MDT.

Velocity screen grab at 10:31pm MDT.

Vertically Integrated Liquid at 10:26pm MDT.

Tree limbs up to 4" diameter down along Ward Road. N39 47.96 W105 8.31

N39 47.96 W105 8.31

These 4 photos were between Kipling and Ward Rd on CR 58. N39 46.71 W105 7.46

News crews filming CR58 road blockage.

Large 40 foot high tree uprooted and across CR58.

Last night's storm tore through the west Denver suburb's with extreme force! I was shooting lightning shots from my deck but the line of storms that moved from Boulder to Castle Rock where so low to the ground that there were absolutely no CGs to capture.

At 10:45pm or so the west most cell went tornado warned so I hopped in the car and headed down to live stream the damage! Above you can see the deep hail drifts and large trees downed.

Friday, July 17, 2009

se CO supercell

Started out with Tony chasing the long-lived supercell from Burlington, CO down to south of Las Animas, CO. Along the way saw numerous cycles of the meso where it tried to produce a tornado. At times the wall cloud was churning on the ground with incredible RFD surges that snapped at least one powerpole mid-height! Encountered baseball hail by Lamar, CO that put a bunch of new nasty dents in my car before 3 of us pulled under a grove of trees and let the car-nage pass! The screen grab below was just one of the cycles that seeme as if something large was on the ground back in under there!

This day started out with only a slight risk to the south and no tornado probs. At the 10:30am SPC update - wow! 5% tornado and 30% hatched hail. Two tornado watches were issued and I took a half day of work off to chase it. Powerline snapped from straight line winds. Never did confirm a tornado on the lifecycle. Still tornado warned at this time. Ran out of roads to chase it!

Southeast CO supercell

Viewed from Las Animas. What a beast of a storm. Baseball hail. Tornado warned and wallclouds on the ground for county after county!

Burlington co storm!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Last Chance, CO

LP supercell dropped quarter size hail earlier.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Tornadoes possible in ne CO/se WY today!

Waking up this morning to what looks like another 3 days of slight risks on the high plains with today possibly being the highlight! I will definately be out this afternoon and live streaming the event on iMapTracker.

11am update: upper 60 Tds on the edge of CO with mid 60Tds into e CO. Cap looks breakable around Cheyenne, WY according to RUC. Convective temps of 80 F needed, already at mid 70s here. RUC breaks out precip around Cheyenne, WY at 21z.


Also this is pretty darn cool - on March 7, 2009 I nabbed the first ever georeferenced live stream of a tornado for WDT on our iMapTracker - FULL STORY HERE!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Best Tornadoes of 2009!

April 26, 2009 Crawford, OK

April 26, 2009 Roll, OK

April 29, 2009 Garden City, KS

June 5, 2009 LaGrange, WY

June 11, 2009 Ordway, CO

June 15, 2009 Elbert, CO

2009 Tornadoes: 17
Lifetime Tornadoes: 116

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Sunday, June 21, 2009

Now the focus shifts

Usually when we get to mid June the traditional chase season is over. Looking out over the models it seems that this is the case for the start of summer here. The focus now shifts to lightning shots from the monsoonal flow and the random highplains landspout days that may develop from boundaries setting up out to the east!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Baseball hail north of Yuma, CO!

Just 30 mins ago on live stream! Followed the long lived storm from DIA to almost the NE border yesterday afternoon. It was showing great upper rotation at 102 kts gate-to-gate at times and many times tried to get an RFD notch and a tornado spun up but just did not have that extra factor to get the job done.

Michael, Eric and Dann where also out where we ran into baseball hail on the ground north of Yuma, CO. Michael got his windshield cracked. I managed to keep the new Subie out as I've abused her enough in La Grange, WY this year.

The Aurora, NE tornadoes were absolutely AMAZING! Congrats to all who scored on that storm!

2009 Tornadoes: 17
Lifetime Tornadoes: 116

Meso south of Ft Morgan CO!

Live streaming now - tornado watch in progress!

Monday, June 15, 2009

2009-06-15 Report - Elbert County Tornadoes!

Moderate risk had been issued for Kansas.
A 10% risk of tornadoes as close to CO as Colby, KS. I opted to not leave extremely early this day as I knew I could make the western areas of the target and still get in a half day at the office.

On the way out to Kansas for the moderate risk I kept an eye on a rapidly developing cell over Castle Rock, CO. After gassing up in Limon, CO and talking to Michael on the phone I decided to get some lunch and hang out for a bit - just in case! I could see the storm over Castle Rock on radar and visually I looked rather impressive from the western edge of Limon.19:32z

The storm started showing meso markers on GR3 and 69 GTG on WXWORX. I rushed back northwest on I-70 and headed west on HW86 towards the updraft. My first view of the base revealed the first tornado in the distance! I knew I had something big on the ground already!19:39z

The tornado as I get a good view of it. This is slightly after it's strongest phase. Before this it was an even wider cone! This tornado 9 miles south of Elizabeth was rated an EF-2 by the Pueblo NWS. It had a path length of 4 miles and was 1/4 mile wide at it's peak!19:41z

The tornado begins to elongate as it moves slowly south. 19:44z

Tornado #1 begins it's rope stage. 19:46z

I'm live streaming on TVN iMapTracker as long as the cell phone signal holds! (thanks to Jesse Markham for the screen grabs)

Tornado #1 ropes out. My timings put the tornado on the ground for 12 minutes! 19:49z

Tornado #2 comes into view to my north as a strong cone! It did not hit anything substantial and was rated as EF-0 20:11z

Repositioning again I see what is tornado #3 - although I cannot fully confirm contact with the ground. 20:18z

Tornado #3 on the left with rope tornado #4 beginning to orbit around it as a satellite vortex! 20:19z

Strong rope tornado #4! 20:20z

Tornado #4 twisting to the west at it's contact point! It did not hit anything substantial and was rated as EF-020:21z

The storm moved east and became outflow dominant as it approached Limon. In Limon, CO it dumped marble size hail for a good 20 minutes.

What a fun local tornado chase.. Thanks to Michael for nowcasting!

>> NWS Damage Survey is here <<

The Carlsons', Verne, Michael and Eric

The Carlsons', Verne, Michael and Eric

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