Yesterday’s chase started like any other –
-Met at Justin Teague’s house
-Waited on everyone to get there
-Watched Justin and a couple other chasers “chase” his two hounds down the street
-Packed a couple of vehicles with equipment
-Loaded up all the people
With a target of Buffalo, OK, Matt Patterson and I set out to western Oklahoma with hopes of a decent day since it appears yesterday will end up being the last chase day until spring. All models the night before were solid and a slight chance of a tornado was not out of the question.
About 10 miles east of Enid, OK we hear a quiet “thump” and the front drivers-side tire goes flat instantly. We change the tire and head on in to Enid for a fix.
Turns out, there was a fairly large bolt lodged in the tire and it was ruined. Matt bought a new tire and we were on the road again.At the Lowe’s in Enid, we met up with Chuck (I’m taking a Caribbean cruise during hurricane season) Allison and we shared a few thoughts on what to do since meso analysis was not supportive of tornadoes out west at that time.
10 miles NW of Enid we shot a detached meso for some time-lapse video and as we were about to move west toward Buffalo we saw a new MD come out from SPC. It was colored as if they were considering a torn ww and they mentioned rotating storms and possible isolated tornadoes. Problem is, the MD was for and area well east of our target. There was a pocket of good Helicity, 2000 CAPE and -5 LI’s so we went for it via sticking with our detached meso-related storm which was moving NE.
We chased this mess back to I-35 and made another check of the RUC since internet was back online. The area to the NW of Enid (where we were an hour and a half before) looked really good and off we went, back down I-35 and then 412 west to Enid.
All along the way I was kicking myself for not sticking with my original forecast (which would have put us in front of the massive supercell that everyone else was able to get on). I have to admit though, if something were to go up in that MD area, Matt, Chuck Allison and I would have owned it!
We arrived back in Enid and, interestingly, back in the Lowe’s parking lot to evaluate the situation as we were about 1 hour away from sundown. The huge supercell was just east of Buffalo at that point and impossible to intercept in the daylight.
Would anything pop near Enid where some truly good air was present?
---that was the question.
We all got out of the jeep to stretch our legs (still in the Lowe’s parking lot) and Matt noticed the very same tire we had replaced earlier that day was low.
We jetted across the street to a filling station and, upon adding air, learned there was something in the tire and it was leaking AGAIN!
Wal-Mart was our best bet for something that would be open for business at 6:30pm so off we went. Now, something everyone should know about me is: when I have equipment problems on a chase, I go all out – it apparently rubbed off on Matt yesterday…
The “mechanic” at Wally-World came out after fixing the flat and said:
“In 11-yers of doin this type a work, I ain’t never seen no screw in a tire that was lodged in thare head-first.”
The silly screw was in the tire head first!!! What the hell!
Upon hearing that news and realizing the sun had set and the chase was over, a trip to Arby’s for dinner and a video editing session was in order. Matt and I sent some video up to a couple folks courtesy of the Ramada Inn’s speed internet connection…
All in all, it was a very frustrating end to 2005 but still par for the course. I look forward to the break from all the miles, the hotel rooms, the gas prices, the equipment failure and the lack of tornadoes. I will miss severe weather, don’t get me wrong… I am burnt out though and it is time to relax and enjoy the cooler weather and upcoming holidays.