Friday, August 19, 2011


Greetings from the Boro,

First off I'm under the weather (bout of bronchitis) and there's been some shit I've been reading for the past week I felt the need to throw my two cents in on plus it gives me the opportunity to blow off some much needed steam because I'm REAL pissed off right now.

First up the Indiana State Fair tragedy; sadly one more person died from the stage collapse Saturday night making the total deaths at 6. Now what has me angry about that event was it could have been prevented had fair officials did their job upon notification of the severe thunderstorm warning and evacuated the fairgrounds until the storm had passed (even if it meant postponing the Sugarland concert). The governor's only explanation as to what happened was it was a "freak act of god"..........BULL FUCKING SHIT!!!!!!!!!! A tornado forming out of nowhere and hitting the fairground and lifting back up before NWS meteorologists catch it in time can be defined as a freak act of god the gust front that caused the tragedy could be seen on radar and fair officials had 26 minutes lead time more than enough time to evacuate yet the only PA announcement given in regards to the severe weather was where to go IF the concert got stopped followed by we will try to get Sugarland on the stage in a few minutes. Now I've heard the saying people are responsible for themselves the past week, but lets be honest here people aren't just going to up and leave an event they paid money for (even if severe weather is in the forecast) if they feel there isn't the need and the PA announcer informing them the show will go on gave them the idea everything was okay. Better safe than sorry in the future.

Next up the scandal that has unfolded at the University of Miami; this makes me sick especially if the allegations are true. I'd give anything ANY FUCKING THING to have my college education paid for, have my books paid for, a roof over my head, and provided with an allowance so I'm able to eat while getting my degree, and these peckerwoods at The U are fucking it up because of greed, lust, envy, and any other deadly sin you can think of. Of course it's not just the players at fault here the academic booster who orchestrated these alleged violations (stemming from paying players, providing prostitutes, paying for rims for cars among a few of the alleged violations) is in prison for orchestrating a ponzi scheme for christ sakes and there were talks that some coaches knew what was going on as well. NCAA, if these allegations are true or if even 20% of these allegations occurring while Miami was on probation grow some fucking balls and lay down the hammer. Talk is cheap Mark Emmert, failing to follow by your words of using the Death Penalty as a deterrent to programs that don't want to follow the rules makes you a hippo-crate and it will ignite a shitstorm throughout the NCAA and will give SMU every right to sue your ass because what SMU did to get the Death Penalty in the late 80s fails to compare to the charges against Miami.

Last but not least Facebook; okay the more and more I log on to FB the more and more I feel they should allow patients in mental hospitals across the country do FB because they're status updates seemed to be the most intelligent. I do my best not to air my dirty laundry on social network sites yet there are asshats out there who use FB as their own little diary (okay seriously if you don't give a shit about what's going on in my life what makes you think I care about your own problems). All FB has become is a breathing ground for drama and I'm sick and tired of it; plus you have security issues that leaves your profile vulnerable to hackers and viruses not to mention annoying tagging games that jam up my email with notifications "so and so has commented on a post you were tagged in" and now it seems like it's now a breathing ground for self appointed grammar cops to bully those into putting the language skills they learned in school in to use (okay words get misspelled get the fuck over it). I don't even look at the home page anymore I go straight to my profile and I will occasionally check out the profiles of my closest friends because I know they have their heads on their shoulders straight.

Okay rant over; wow I feel like a new man a more mellow man, plus the afrin helped big time.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Sibling Reunion 14 Years In The Making

Greetings from the Boro,

A rare blog that nothing to do with chasing or weather so sit back and enjoy the ride; two weeks from Saturday I will attend a family reunion......more like a family union. My older half-sister Tracy will make a trip to Tennessee to attend her mother's wedding, this will be the first time I get to see her and I'm not going to lie there may be some tears being shed from this Sasquatch of a man.

I didn't find out about her until I was 14 years old when my other sister Amanda told me about her through letters they wrote to each other (to this day I don't even know how Amanda found out about her). Tracy was one of four children from my father which to me was shocking because until I found out about her, I thought Amanda was was only sibling (she's my only full sister). Amanda told me everything she knew about her through her letters from Tracy; she was 18 at the time (1997) and already had one son Nathan from a man who was in the military. They were living in Jacksonville, NC where she still lives today; the news about her being my sister made my day and I wanted to do everything I could to get to know her myself and eventually meet her, but of course life wouldn't be life without a few speed bumps.

Amanda and Tracy did keep in touch for years afterwards, but around 2001 it seemed as though she disappeared. In the coming years after a life changing incident involving yours truly, I got to reunite with my father's side of the family and eventually found out about David my brother and my oldest sister Ruthie (sadly the marriage between my mom and dad was a brutal one and they divorced while she was pregnant with me, it left such a bitter taste in her mouth she did everything she could to distant Amanda and me from our dad's side because they didn't necessarily had a clean cut reputation in Crossville). Only my Uncle Ralph knew about Tracy and her mother no one else knew about her which to me felt kind of odd. Years passed wondering what she was up to, was she still alive? It was killing me on the inside because of how family oriented of guy I am. One cold dreary day in February of last year I received a text message from Amanda that came out of the blue, she texted me Tracy's phone number they were talking again.

The first time I called up I nearly threw up that's how nervous I was how was she going to react when the voice she hears from the other line was her baby brother (5 years prior Amanda and my other sister Ruthie met up and from what Amanda told me she didn't seem too thrilled about our existence). Her reaction wasn't along the lines of OMG!!!!! THIS IS MY BROTHER she was laid back and somewhat nervous herself (which made me feel comfortable). We got to talking and instantly we bonded; like me she never knew our dad in fact she was put up for adoption at a young age going from foster home to foster home growing up in New Jersey before moving to North Carolina. She also explained to me why she stop getting in touch with my other sister which broke my heart and left me with some rage (I'm not going into detail but her ex-husband better pray to god I don't get my hands on him), in that time she had another son name Thomas (he's nicknamed Bubba). The more we talked the more and more we bonded because folks........we could easily be twins if she wasn't 4 years older than me ;-). Like me she loves rock and metal, hardly drinks but when she does she wants to get shitfaced, and she loves severe weather especially storm chasing (awesome combination when her baby bro is a chaser himself). I shared with her stories about chasing, she told me she watches Storm Chasers with a passion (okay I lied about there being no chasing reference in this blog get over it).

She met Amanda that March and she later got to know the rest of the family through phone contacts, but my busy work schedule made it impossible for me to go see her. I made attempts to make a trip to see her but shit happened that killed any opportunity; when she told me she was making what would be her one and only trip to Tennessee in two weeks I did everything I could to make sure we get to see each other. It almost never happened though as she was $100 short of reserving the rental car needed for the trip; I ditched work early to wire her the money she needed to make sure that come the 23rd we will get to see each other eye to eye.

Fourteen years I waited to tell her face to face how much I love her and that she has family that will stick with her through and through, the 23rd cannot come soon enough but the wait will be well worth it.

My Sister Tracy Michelle Bryan

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Christen Thee "Twisted Metal Chasers"

Greetings from the Boro,

Got new chase partners for next year and hopefully if fall goes apeshit like spring did the rest of this year; Jesse Hines (originally from Nebraska but moved to Tennessee for work and school, he's an MTSU student and a diesel mechanic), Ashley Poling (a cartographer from NW Indiana who was majoring in Meterology at Valparaiso University before switching majors), and Chris Selby (a pharmacy technician at Wal-Mart and guitarist for Oblivion Myth) are my new partners and this blog is dedicated to them.

I met Jes and Ash at our chaser parties, they've known each other from TVN's forum which they are a member of. I knew Chris back in high school but he like everyone else from high school I lost contact with him until recently when he began noticing some of my chases (he's wanted to go storm chasing but didn't know anyone in the Middle Tennessee area that did it). The four of us have yet to chase together although we hope to in the very near future; Jes, Ash, and I did chase last Sunday and not since my vacation did I have fun chasing (I was held back because of my personality, you know being "unprofessional").

Ashley came up with a nickname for our group "Twisted Metal Chasers" (it fits our personalities we chase twisters and we love heavy metal music). I'm not big on group names in chasing however to me it shows unity and that it's not a one man show among three other people (any streaming from this day forth shall have our group name along with our names, I'm still stringing through Kendra Reed and KDRMedia but any sale of footage shall be split evenly between us).

You'll be hearing more from them in the near future as I plan on sharing my blogsite with them that way whatever they have they want to get off their chest through blogging they don't have to go through the hassle of creating their own blog page.

Friday, June 10, 2011

What The Summer Has In Store.......

Greetings from the Boro,

With my chase season for the most part over (I had plans to chase up north but a sudden expense has derailed those plans) it's time for life to return to normal or as normal as can be for me.

I will admit my 2011 chase season while fun burnt me out big time; I made some new friends in the chase community some of whom adopted me into their close knit family, but I also lost some friends well so called friends (a true friend doesn't make you pay for his friendship or make you change who you are because he's embarrassed to be seen with you in public).

I don't know what kind of summer I'll be having, but since everyone I talk to is doing their own thing I might as well follow suit. Maybe do some fishing, barbecues, or getting reaccquainted with my friends and family outside the chase community. Whatever it is I plan on doing I just tend on relaxing and enjoy this down period until the secondary tornado season occurs in the Fall.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chasecation 2011 Part II (My Week In North Richland Hills)

(Continued from Part I)

Okay I made this a two part blog for a reason, I wanted to concentrate on the May 24th outbreak and combining it with the non chase days would have thrown anyone who reads this off subject for a bit.

My arrival at the Ft. Worth bus terminal wasn't without any drama (Greyhound lost my boss' gym bag which had my clothes, toiletries, and 5 packs of cigarettes in it; it wasn't until that Saturday before I was able to retrieve it), the drama aside I was greeted by Bridget who gave me a big hug and after explaining to one of the workers at the terminal about my gym bag we left the building were I met Shane and we were on our way to their apartment (Bridge had shot me a text the night before explaining to me that we would be in chase mode by the time I arrived, so that left no time whatsoever to wait around for the bus that had my gym bag). At the apart I met Bridge's brother Tim (her brother is an awesome guy he shared some of his experiences and plays a killer guitar, all and all a pretty laid back guy) who was staying with them after moving down from Massachusetts. Now since part II is covering my week down outside of our chases I'm gonna fast forward to Wednesday and beyond.

The hospitality Brother Shane and Sister Bridge shared with me in itself was one of the key highlights from my trip, before my trip I rarely ate more than two meals a day the whole week down we pigged out on sub sandwiches, hot dogs, tacos, pizza, and of course the celebratory steak dinner (after our tornado grabs on the 24th) for lunch and dinner (my idea of comfort food folks). Shane did have to work during the day and Bridge was doing her school work as well so it wasn't until Shane got home that the party got going. Most of my money while down there went toward gas for our chases and beer and soda plus some snack food like chips and candy (not to mention souvenir shot glasses for my boss).

There were also some fun times after having a few beers; that Wednesday night after our steak dinner we all had a craving for chocolate (Shane wanted Kit Kats I wanted Reeses Cups) so Bridge, Tim and I went to Wal-Greens which was up the road from their apartment for a candy run. No sooner did we cross the street (Wal-Greens was on the other side of the street) a NRH cop pulled up with his lights blaring, the first thought that went through our heads was what the fuck did we do (now keep in mind I drunk a lot of beer that night and had a pretty good buzz going, it was one of those "I swear to drunk occifer I'm not god" type moments were I'd be spending the night in the local jail had I done anything that would have warranted the need of a field sobriety test). The cop got out the squad car and asked us a few questions then proceeded to check our IDs (Bridget left hers at the apartment), after everything checked out the cop asked us what we were doing out so late at night in which Bridge told the cop that we were a bunch of storm chasers out on a chocolate run. The cop then proceeded into telling us about how he appreciates the work of chasers and how they help out communities during critical times of severe weather (win for the chaser community) and he let us on our way telling us be careful and good luck in the future in which we grabbed our candy at the store and hauled ass back to the apartment.

Of all the days down there the toughest one for me was last Sunday my last day. All good things had to come to an end, Shane and Bridge are more than friends they're family to me hence the Brother Shane and Sister Bridget. The last two hours at their apartment even though they didn't notice was rough on me (they invited me into their lives and I have since gained a brother and a sister long before I even went down to chase with them and I'll be brutally honest I even felt a tear rolling down my right eye). When it came time for me to leave we said our goodbyes, hugged each other and then proceeded to return to our normal lives (as normal as can be for a chaser who's season has come to a close). It won't be the last time I'll see them though we'll meet up during chases and I'm gonna try my hardest to make it up to Denver for Chasercon next year, but for all it's worth Bro and Sis if you read this blog I want to thank you for a DAMN HELL ASS AWESOME week and hope for an opportunity to do it again. You guys are an awesome bunch and I was and still am honored to help salvage your chase you guys!!!!!!!!

Chasecation 2011 Part I (Chase Log 5/22-24/11)

Outlook: Moderate (5/22-23) High (5/24)

Target Area: North Texas (5/22-23) Central Oklahoma (5/24)

Chase Partners: Shane Adams and Bridget Geaughan

Chasers Encountered: Craig Curlee, Amos Magliocco, Ben Holcomb

Travel Time: N/A

Miles Traveled: N/A

Result: 3 Tornadoes (5/24), Quarter Size Hail (5/24), LP Supercell (5/23), Wall Cloud (5/22)

Well I'm back home after spending a week in the Plains storm chasing with Shane Adams and Bridget Geaughan (they asked me to go chase with them back in February on The Debris offer I'd be a dumbass to decline) and it was a week I'll never forget. I'll go into detail about my week in North Richland Hills in Part II of my blog but I want to concentrate on the chases we went on in Part I particularly May 24th. The first two days we went out we stayed close to home (home for Shane and Bridge) and those two chases ended in a bust (We saw some great storm structures along with one wall cloud and on our first chase got on a tornado warned cell, but no tornadoes).

Now keep in mind this vacation wasn't just to relax, drink beer, and raise hell all over the Lone Star State I came down to chase and to learn from IMO one of the elite chasers out there (Shane doesn't like looking over models that much or make forecast targets but in the end he's always at the right spot). Our first chase was practically an old school chase as in no laptop or GPS (Shane doesn't even use GPS in first place), just a road map and a scanner (the only radar updates we got was through my smartphone). Our second chase on May 23rd was more of an experiment on technology; two weeks prior to my arrival Shane and Bridget were operating as tour guides for Lanny Dean's Extreme Chase Tours and during the tour an accident occurred in which their Sprint wireless broadband card was damaged which meant no data or streaming of their chases. They did put in for a replacement card however they never got it in time, so I came up with a plan to tether internet from my Droid on to their laptop (I did my homework on tethering which included what app I needed to download on to my phone along with the drivers for mine and Bridge's laptop). Upon installing everything needed the tether program worked like a charm thus we had radar updates when needed and I got to test out my stream which was my first stream since switching over to the iMap.....well so we thought (dealt with constant data outages during that chase, it's amazing to see so many fucking dead zones in that part of North Texas we chased in). Now this was a vital thing to do as the next day the SPC was calling for a major tornado outbreak across Southern Kansas all the way down to North Texas in areas along and east of the I-35 corridor (upon going to bed there was a Moderate Risk with a 30% hatched area for tornadoes from Wichita down to near Ardmore).

Waking up on the morning of the 24th the Moderate Risk was upgraded to a High Risk with a 45% hatched area for tornadoes from Wichita to Oklahoma City and slightly south (can someone say clusterfuck as far as chaser convergence goes); the night before looking at the models Shane looked at North Central Oklahoma as our target area. That changed though when Shane looked at the models that morning indicating that storms would fire up simultaneously causing competition for the moisture and also setting up a scenario of HP supercells which in turn would embed the tornadoes in a thick curtain of rain (Shane compared it to May 10th of last year), so Shane opted to target the Ardmore area as our intial target and if storms fired up further north we'd be in position to go after them (there's two reasons behind this change in his gameplan for one the models showed storm development south of OKC to be more isolated than up north and second, Shane's borrowing his boss' SUV after the Wal-Mart fiasco which meant he had to dodge hail at all cost).

We got on the road shortly after noon for our target area, this is my first trip up to Oklahoma so I was just sitting back enjoying the scenery. We arrived in Oklahoma around 2:00 PM when storms began firing along the dryline north of Ardmore, now if you knew about the 2011 season Shane and Bridget were having add the fact that this was the last chase while I was down....there was a bit of urgency in this chase (Shane even told me this was for the most part their last opportunity for the Spring). We went up north and had gotten on some of the storms when frustration showed it's ugly face; storms to our north became tornadic along with storms to our south, the storms we were on while severe were not becoming tornadic and Shane's fear of another May 10th had came to fruition was storms firing simultaneously to our south while the northern storms were the more isolated cells. To add insult to injury we once again dealt with data outages which not only killed their stream but more importantly left us chasing blind not being able to get radar updates when we needed them (Bridget joked with me about being storm killers especially while they were tour guides and that they've been cursed ever since Wal-Mart destroyed Shane's car; I told her and Shane to keep their heads up that their luck would change once I got down to Texas to chase with them, but even I at that point had a John McEnroe know the YOU CAN'T BE SERIOUS!!!!!!! type of feeling as it looked as though we were in danger of a high risk bust). All the tornadic storms to our north were going too fast to catch them and there was no way we could've gone after the storms to our south w/o core punching them (that involves driving through hail folks and there were reports of golfball to baseball size hail with these storms), hearing reports of a large violent tornado in El-Reno and another large tornado up in Canton added to the frustration. The only hope at that point was for one of the storms were on was to go tornadic, we finally got lucky.

We were on Highway 62/9 going through Blanchard when a tornado warning was issued for Cleveland, Grady, and McClain Counties and that there was a report of a large tornado sighted (we were in Grady County at the time). A little after 5:30 Shane went up the H. E. Bailey Turnpike and had us positioned on top of the overpass south of Newcastle and we sat and waited hoping for a glimpse of this monster. We were positioned east of the storm with our visibility piss poor at best not to mention we were in the inflow of the storm (just hearing the wind outside the window of the SUV was a wicked experience in itself). We were able to get a view of the storm as it was moving northeastward, it was about 3-4 miles away when we began noticing a lowering to the left of this heavy rain curtain and I began noticing what looked like circulation. At around 5:40 PM I began to notice what looked to be the left side of a large EF4 stovepipe tornado....this is a still shot from my video of the tornado (

 After losing the tornado in the rain we moved southeastward on Highway 9 toward another supercell that too had a tornado sighted near Washington, we jump on I-35 and headed southeast towards the town of Goldsby just south of Norman. After negotiating through some small obstacles (mainly the dumbass behind the wheel of a car with a hail guards) we were able to capture what was for me the tornado of the day (

I was in a state of bliss at that point seeing two tornadoes in a span of 30 minutes, and the frustrations of that day disappeared for that brief moment. I was particularly happy with catching the Goldsby tornado, this is the first tornado I could deem photogenic I caught plus I got the feel of being inside of a tornado as the circulation went over us as it about roped out (this was also my first multi-tornado day and this is my first year being able to chase). We chased for another two hours going south and then east pass Lake Murray through Oklahoma's version of the Jungle (yes more jungle chasing for me). We went through the town of Madill noticing some minor wind damage from a tornado warned cell we were on, our chase ended shortly after 8:00 PM near the town of Tishomingo when we decided to head on home and the ride home was somewhat a tense one.

While going through Madill we heard reports of a tornadic cell heading straight for North Richland Hills and that Shane and Bridge's apartment was in the path (Bridge got a hold of her brother Tim warning him of the storm and for him to take cover). Fortunately no touchdown was reported in NRH and a sigh of relief was felt in the SUV, and we were treated to an awesome lightning storm on the trip back home.

This day was one of the highlights of my trip bagging two EF4s in a 30 minute span on what was our last day of chasing as the weather calmed down for the remainder of my trip, but the whole week in itself was one I will never forget and one that I will cherish for a long time (more on that in part 2 of my blog).

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Good Friday Tornado Two Years Later

Greetings from the Boro:

This day changed my life, a 16 year old dream came true for me this day and it paved way to keep another dream of mine alive. A lot happened that day even before my encounter with the EF4 that would rip apart the Northern sections of Murfreesboro.

I hardly sleeped the night before as they were forecasting a major tornado outbreak across the Ohio Valley region days before not to mention severe weather was moving through the mid-state in the middle of the night. Around 4:30 AM a tornado warning was issued for Maury County to my southwest one had possibly touched down in Mount Pleasant (it was never confirmed), as it moved northeastward towards M'boro it turned into a gust front that came through with some minor wind damages. They had Murfreesboro in a Moderate Risk, a rather high end Moderate Risk because of the tornado potential (

At around 9:00 AM a tornado watch was issued for West and Middle Tennessee west of the Cumberland Plateau (; at that point staying up most of the night had caught up to me and I dosed off, two hours later my now ex-roommate woke me up being a jerk to me (looking back on it if it wasn't for him I would have slept through the tornado). They upgraded the watch to a PDS Tornado Watch ( as supercells were firing up west of the Nashville Metropolitan Area along the Tennessee River. This was my first ever PDS watch, I knew the watch meant one thing...........long track damaging tornadoes possible in the watch area. There were multiple tornado warnings to the west when I stepped out to a local tobacco shop for a pack of cigarettes when at around 11:45 I heard the outdoor warning siren (located on the campus of Middle Tennessee State) sounding; one of my neighbor's friend who was visiting from out of town asked me what was going on and I told her there were tornado warnings issued and one was just issued for the M'boro area. I ran upstairs to my apartment to see on TV that indeed a tornado warning was issued and that a funnel cloud was sighted east of Franklin (this was not the storm that produced the EF4), I quickly grabbed my camera and weather radio and ran outside (if it was coming my way I want front-row seats).

These were some photos I shot about fifteen minutes before the tornado came through unaware at the time a touchdown occurred about 5-6 miles west of me in the Blackman community

Around 12:30 I ran back to my apartment and my ex-roommate told me it had passed through and the danger was over, no sooner than he said that it started to hail (I'd say the hailstones were the size of quarters nothing too big), I stayed on the first floor of the two story complex until the hail stopped. I ran back out to the church parking lot located in front of my apartment to wait for storm to move through hoping I would get a faint glimpse of this tornado. This was shot about five minutes after the hail came through and as you can see and hear my adrenaline was in high gear....

I had no clue of the seriousness of the situation that was going on about 2-3 miles to my north (a tornado emergency was declared for Murfreesboro and quite frankly I didn't give a it was a tornado in front of me and I'm seeing it not from TV or internet but in person. As it moved away I ran back to my apartment, my neighbors were outside looking for it when I told them it passed to the north and it's wrapped up in rain. The track of this tornado was somewhat unusual as it touched down southwest of town, moved northeastward, then became a right mover, and then making a southeastward turn as it lifted in the Lascassas community. The storm knocked out power at my apartment for four hours along with taking out a few Verizon towers which made it next to impossible for me to get a hold of my mom to tell her about the tornado and that I was ok because I had a feeling this thing did some serious damage and there was gonna be media coverage out the ass on this storm (the area the tornado hit is heavily populated and the size of this beast meant that I was gonna hear about the area between M'boro and Walter Hill was destroyed).

When power was restored I turned on the local news to see that my premonition did indeed come true and that the Northern section of Murfreesboro particularly the Tomahawk Trace area and the intersection of Haynes and Sulfur Springs Road were completely destroyed by this EF4 tornado and sadly two people perished in this storm (a young mother and her infant daughter). Reality had set in and my feeling of bliss and accomplishment was replaced with sadness and guilt for the victims of the storm, I got what I wanted and still had a roof over my head while the victims didn't ask for it and some wound up losing love ones over it. I do have to say it was a humbling experience as I learned many lessons from this day and it reignited my love and ambition for storm chasing.

In the two years since the tornado the area hardest hit has been rebuilt, several more sirens were installed so that all points in M'boro could be warned if out and about, and personally for me what was a very turbulent point in my life became much smoother and more enjoyable, hell just today I received a phone call from my best friend in high school whom I haven't talked to in nearly ten years who found me through my storm chasing endevors.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Welcome To The Jungle!!!!!! 3/26/2011 Storm Chase

Greetings from the Boro,

Yesterday was my first real chase (to me a real chase is chasing outside the state of Tennessee) and the end result was a score that will bring forth some discussion in the chase community....the following is a synopsis of yesterday's chase:

Drew Gardonia and I left Murfreesboro around 7:30 AM, we targeted Northern Mississippi around the Tupelo area banking on supercell development with CAPE readings over 2000 J/Kg. Models suggested storm development between the hours of 3-10 PM we arrived into Mississippi around Noon after going through Alabama, we stopped in New Albany, MS just outside of Tupelo and the atmosphere did not look too promising as far as storm development went. After stopping for gas and a restroom break we pulled into a local Pizza Hut for lunch and to look over the models, at the time the air temperature in New Albany was in the low to mid 50s and overcast with intermittent rain. At the time we were eating lunch the SPC upgraded the slight risk area to a moderate risk and a tornado watch had been issued for Central Alabama, Drew called up Wes Carter (a chaser from Manchester, TN about 35 miles SE of the Boro and one of the many awesome chasers in the chase community I've had the honor of meeting either in person or in the chatrooms) who was targeting the Tuscaloosa, AL area, he was telling Drew about storms firing up in the watch area about 100 miles away and that Central Alabama around Tuscaloosa and Birmingham looked prime for tornado development. We were in a bind at that moment the atmosphere around Northern Mississippi was just too stable for any supercell development and it looked like taking our chances there would result in a bust, I called up Jim Sellars (Papa Jim) a 30 plus year vet who was kind enough to give out his number on FB for nowcasts and he recommended Drew and I try to get back into Alabama towards the watch area as the warm front had already went through. After a brief conversation with Drew we decided that our best chance was to meet up with Wes in Central Alabama.

It was a two hour drive back towards the northern edge of the watch area, but we left New Albany around 1:00 and it was still early enough for storm development. We got back into Alabama and around 3:00 we were in bird sight of a cell that would be tornado warned, we were in Lamar County, AL at the time the warning was for Eastern Fayette and Southern Walker Counties. This was a shot of that tornado warned cell as we were moving southeastward on Highway 78 near Carbon Hill.
We couldn't catch up with the storm in time however we stuck around Walker County as a new cell formed near Jasper. The storm never had a warning for it but radar showed the storm forming a hook, Drew and I pulled off the road to get a better view of the storm and were treated to a nice looking structure on the even had a rain free base to it
I was too far away but I did notice some weak rotation in the storm and I believe I even saw a couple of small needle funnels after looking over the video I took. After the storm weakened we came up with a gameplan on the next storm to intercept. It didn't look good as all the action at the time was further east and Drew and I did not want to play catch me if you can with the storms east of us. We were about to call it a day when Drew got a hold of Wes, he informed us about a cell that developed South of Birmingham in a favorable environment about 35 miles away and it could be the storm of the day. The thought of abandoning a chase close by does not sit well with me, Drew asked me if I wanted to go for it my answer was OH YEAH!!!!!!!! it wasn't even 4:00 yet and we thought about turning around and heading back to M'boro at the time.

We headed southbound on I-65 through Birmingham when we got a good view of the growing storm.

We just entered Shelby County around 4:10 when the storm became tornado warned, one funnel cloud had already been reported with this storm and it kept growing (this cell was isolated). We got off exit 228 in the small town of Calera about 25 miles South of Birmingham when we met up with Wes, we pull over outside a hotel off the exit were we setup. Here's some photos of a giant wall cloud west of the interstate, it even had a nice looking tail cloud to it

We went after the storm after it passed over us, Wes was ahead of us we followed him through a somewhat curvy road looking for the faintest sign of a funnel. We were just SE of Calera when we pulled over with these photos
This next photo is gonna create some debate, after consulting several chasers they told me I got a tornado. Just looking at this photo makes you have to say this is more than just a funnel.......

however I know the rule of the game unless there's confirmation from the NWS via LSR or comparing chaser reports (there were other chasers in that area including Andy Gabrielson, Dick McGowan, and Jesse Risley) from what I heard Andy G did see a tornado yesterday but I don't know if it's from this storm and this occurred in an area were a storm survey would be next to impossible. Until I get confirmation I'm calling this one a "possible" tornado "definite" funnel cloud as there was confirmation of a funnel SE of Calera. This is what makes chasing in the jungle frustrating at times you could have a monster wedge on the ground but if trees and large hills obscure your view you're clueless unless you see debris flying in the air. We were so clueless we left the area before it had a chance to move over for us to get a better view. We lost the storm as it move eastward into an area with the only road to get us to it was a dirt road up a mountain (no thank you). As the storm moved away from us we got some nice photos of the supercell over a large hill
We got back on 65 heading north towards Huntsville as more storms were forming to the west on the AL/MS line, caught this shelf cloud as we were heading up towards Lawrence County
The storm in Lawrence County never did go severe although it was fun to end the chase with nickel size hail and strong winds. We called it a night afterwards we stopped in Athens, AL before making our trip back up to Murfreesboro. We got home a little before 9:30 it would've been sooner but I had to stop at Krogers to grab a six-pack of Guinness to celebrate a successful day.

We were on the road for 14 hours traveled over 700 miles and went through two and a half tanks of gas, in all we saw one rotating wall cloud, one funnel cloud that could be a tornado, and some nice storm structures. Not bad for my first real chase if I say so.

UPDATE: The National Weather Service office in Birmingham confirmed an EF1 Tornado in Southern Shelby County near where Drew, Wes, and I setup.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Long Time No See......

Greetings from the Boro,

Ok so it's been almost 4 months since I've done a blog (damn time flies) so I'll let you in on what's been going on in my life during that time period. First off I joined ChaserTV a DAMN HELL ASS AWESOME streaming service, got some new equipment, been on one chase (my work schedule limits me on chase opportunities), and I will be chasing in the Plains during the last week of May (date TBD). That's just a sampling of what's been going on some good some bad; it may seem short and sweet but I'm a guy that doesn't spill my guts out about every nook and crannie of my everyday life (it ain't that interesting to begin with just a steady diet of work and sleep with the occasional booze and drama).

Right now my mindset is the young severe weather season that is in progress right now in Jungle (Dixie Alley) and after a winter of bitter cold and non stop rain or snow, it's got the making of one very interesting March through Early May. This winter reminds me of my first winter in the Boro; the sun was out maybe ten days during that season most of the time it was cold, overcast, and dreary (a SAD patient's worse nightmare). There was even one snowstorm that affected Middle Tennessee during that winter which also brought forth an EPIC ice-storm to Southern Middle Tennessee that knocked out power in some parts of the area for over a week. When Spring came around in '09 there was plenty of severe weather across the area including an EF1 that hit the Boro on March 28th that actually came within 200 yards from my apartment complex (I was back in my hometown visiting family I missed that tornado). Then two weeks later I made the score of my life with the EF4 that hit on Good Friday (I'll get deeper into that day with a special blog I'll be doing on the two year anniversary).

So this is the Meteorlogical start of Spring and already there's been some severe weather and a lot of flooding, but this season as I stated earlier is young and in the coming weeks there's going to be a shit ton of action in the Mid South. We could even see another Good Friday event in or around the Boro or in some part of the Nashville Metro Area (no I'm not a Meteorologist but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night ;)). Who knows what this season brings but I'll be ready and I sure as hell will not wait another 4 months to do another blog in other words I've crawled out of the rock I've been living in and I'm ready for Spring and a promising one at seeing another tornado.