STORM TRACK: May 31, 1986 (Volume 9 Issue 4)

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(Editors note: This is a new series about news which affect storm chasers.)

There is good news for storm chasers as gas prices plummet in the plain states. Prices for regular and unleaded gas have fallen sharply, almost 50 cents a gallon in some places. Average prices in April for regular are 66.9 in Colorado to 72.9 in Texas. Unleaded gas is a few cents higher. Chasers should be aware of cities like Dallas where oil companies are gouging consumers. The editor noticed 99.9 for self serve unleaded at one Dallas station the other day. Prices between Dallas and Denton (30 miles north) are as much as 30 cents a gallon difference.

A lobbying group in Washington D.C. is trying to push through the House and Senate a bill to extend Daylight Savings time through April and October. A list of companies which support the measure was observed recently. Fast food places support the bill because people would buy more hamburgers. Department stores favor it since this would allow an extra hour of shopping in the evening. However, no mention of storm chasers! Regardless, I believe most chasers would favor this bill as it would allow an extra hour of storm chasing during the spring and fall.

A Delta rocket carrying GOES-7 exploded shortly after takeoff on May 3, 1986. GOES-7 was a $57 million, 1000 pound weather satellite that was designed to track and report hurricanes and other severe storms from the African west coast to the eastern U.S. GOES-7 was supposed to replace a weather satellite which became inoperative last year. So, there remains only one eye in the sky, GOES-6. Cross your fingers that this one makes it through the summer. NOAA has said that countless lives and millions of dollars in property damage have been saved since GOES began monitoring the weather in 1980.

A.M. Weather has published a travel directory which is excellent for storm chasers. The directory lists all the television stations and broadcast times of the program throughout the nation. To obtain a copy, write to A.M. Weather, Owings Mills, MD 21117

The National Weather Service welcomes each storm report of severe weather such as tornadoes and large hail. If you have observed severe weather, notify the local weather service as soon as you can. Don't wait to see if the event appears in Storm Data, as it may not be there. Also, information of tornado path length, width, and type of damage is helpful to them. With budget cut backs, many weather service personnel are unable to make a field survey of the damage.

A storm chase manual for serious storm spotters has been written by the editor. The 62 page text contains chapters on Instrumentation, Personnel, Documentation, Thunderstorm Development, Field Strategy, The Tornado, Photography, Forecasting a Chase, Post-Storm Damage Investigation, and much more. The manual has 18 illustrations and 12 black and white photographs. The manual is available from the editor for $10.00 post. paid.