STORM TRACK: January 31, 1986 (Volume 9 Issue 2)
David Keller, a new subscriber from Wisconsin, writes: "I first began chasing a few years ago, while operating the 'McIdas' computer at NASA's marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. A tornado report caused everybody and their friend down the hall to rush in and ask me to display the latest satellite loop for them. Hell, I had work to do! I had not been spending government money collecting volumes of high resolution satellite data gust so a lot of curious visitors could come crowding in to gawk idly at the cloud images. In disgust, I got up and jumped in my car to have a look myself (Of course, I saw very little that first day). - - I chased perhaps 10 more times and a couple of thou- sand miles (I was a solo act and long trips were OK with me) in Alabama and then in my home state of Wisconsin. In May-June of 1985, I went to Oklahoma University to chase. - - - What a sobering experience! I chased with Marty Feely. He is not a meteorologist, but he sure knows the sky. After we saw a tornado near Anadarko (50 miles west of Norman), I wanted to stop for a Cola on the return trip home. It was dark by then, and I personally couldn't see a thing. But, Marty would look out, look around and say 'Keep going.' Later that evening, we learned that one of our colleagues--about 20 miles or twenty minutes be- hind us--had approximately $1,500 worth of damage done to his car by 3" hail! I know that Storm Track emphasizes safety tips. My advice is: Go out with an expert. I am a meteorologist, but I might as well never have seen clouds -compared with what I learned and saw that trip to Oklahoma."
Dave Gallaher, from Alabama, writes about his "first organized chase! I was able to set aside June 3-9 and drove straight into a magnificent Cb southwest of Oklahoma City on the 4th (I think), which dropped a vortex for a few minutes. Even though I had driven all the way from Alabama, I couldn't resist pursuing this storm. I got some good video of the north and northwest structure, however, the RFB was gone by the time I reached the 'business end.' I spent the next several days working a front that became stationary over Texas and Oklahoma and correctly picked a tornadic Cb west of Enid. However, all I was able to video were towers that appeared case-hardened and drop forged. Once again, rotation had ceased by the time I got near. - - - I was especially taken by the friendly and encouraging staff that I encountered at the Oklahoma City, Wichita Falls and Abilene weather service offices. All the personnel were helpful and showed interest in my endeavors, even though I'm an amateur. I was even able to bounce some theoretical thinking off of patient ears at each location. Although I failed to intercept a tornado this trip, the experience alone was worth the endless hours of driving, ... and I'll do better in '86."