Tuesday, April 25, 2006

First two of the season.

After work today, I decided to go ahead and chase, since the storms were so close to Stillwater. I stayed with the large storm that moved east along the southern border of Payne county. I saw several good inflow regions, maybe a wall cloud or two, but as it went past Cushing, the base got higher. I took a quick look at data, and the cape values to it's NE weren't too impressive. I had told Becky I would try to get to our studio by 7:30, and there was a cell SW of OKC that would be moving into some great air, so I headed to OKC.
I got to the studio at about 7:15, looked at some data there, and the cell, now over El Reno, was impressive. I headed W on NW 50th, and as soon as I got on the street, I could see a backlit tornado directly to my W, which I later learned was tracking through the El Reno airport. I then jogged S 1 mile, and headed W on Route 66 towards Yukon. As I travelled, I could see a second tornado to my WSW. Just as I was entering Yukon, I just happened to meet up with Steve Bluford and Kelly Baker in Steve's CR-V. Imagine their suprise seeing me pull up next to them in a Chevy Caprice. We paired up and headed to the W of Yukon, where we set up and shot some tripoded video. We got a great wall cloud out of it, and it looked like it could drop another torn, but it didn't, and wouldn't go on to produce any more before it broke up over N OKC (good thing too, as it moved over more populated areas).
All in all, an exciting day.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Life goes on.

Well, I recovered this weekend, which was good, because it was a busy weekend. I'm already looking for another probe, and am liking a few white ones I've found. For now I am fixing my eclipse to drive, which will suck for gas, but will be fun. This kills my solo chasing for a while.
What really sucks is the fact that I had just gotten the probe to the point I wanted it for solo chasing. Last weekend I had finished moving the radios and building a laptop mount so i could put the passenger seat back in, and more easily access them. I had also just finished replacing the CV joints, so it was back to good mechanical condition. I had also just renewed the tag last week, doh. That'll teach me to do everything I need to get done.
It's all transferrable, custom mounts and all, so no huge loss there. Since I'm sticking with the probe, I can also just transfer the middle console which I had to cut on a little to get the 2M radio in. Oh well, all in good time.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Alas, storm probe #2 is no more...

I now know what a crash test dummy feels like.

I also got to test the laptop mount in a crash situation. Damn, I hurt. Everything's good w/ me though, got a clean bill o' health from a doc. Had seatbelt on and airbag did it's job. Just an abrasion from the airbag on forearm and a bruised chest. Seeing as how it was a highway accident, at 60 mph+ (driver in front was going maybe 25-30), the mount and laptop didn't stand much of a chance. The airbags didn't do them in, although the dash did. Amazingly, the laptop only lost the display, which is totally trashed, in lots o little pieces. I have the base hooked up to an external monitor, and it works. We'll see if it's salvagable (have to find a new shell, display, and keyboard). Keyboard is functional, but a few keys (f4 & enter) are kinda messed up, but work. The passenger's airbag deployed with enough force to cause the hinged flap on it to fly up and smash the windshield. There are two distinct shatter points from the corners of the flap. That's a hell of a lot of force, considering the flap weighs less than a pound. So probe #1 hit the high milage mark of 300k, #2 dies at 190k with a crash (I just fixed everything on it too...), and I will be out looking for #3. Found another 96 with 75k on it, may have to go have a look see. Tired, going to bed. Pics of damage can be found here.
P.S. No, I was not looking at the laptop, it just happened to be up there from earlier... It was determined to be my fault by the trooper, but I'll tell the story later... In my opinion, it was the lady in the minivan's fault. (She's the one with the 6-8 month old in the front seat in my photos! No the baby did not get hurt as she did not sustain a direct hit.)