Saturday, July 25, 2009

July 24th, 09' Chase

Today was a day that I didn't really expect much severe weather locally so I hadn't thought much of a local chase. Throughout the day I was watching the storms that were firing up in IA/WI/IL boarder. I was hearing reports of Large Hail up to 4" diameter and a few chasers were reporting severe damage. When I got home from work I continued to monitor the storms for a short time as they were getting closer to the IL/WI boarder and heading S/SE.
I decided last minute to head out for a chase after watching the storms become severe with reports of large hail. I decided to head out and thought this would be a good opportunity to test out the new chase vehicle. My goal was to head to Rochelle and see where the storms were from there. Along the way I hit up Adam Lucio was heading out as well. After talking with him we both had the same thought, get there as fast as we could and plan from there. As I was heading on 38 I spotted some Mammatus clouds and stopped to take a few photos. At this point my trouble started! I realized I didn't grab my charged battery from my camera case and the one in it lasted for only a few photos!GRRRR...... There were a lot of photo opportunities along the way, so this was a slap in the face.

Shortly later I realized my laptop was not charging and the battery was just about to die. I pulled over to take a look and noticed my GPS was not charging as well. I had blew a fuse and lost power to both! I quickly changed out my fuse and jumped back on the road, the only problem I had was I only had a spare 10amp and my laptop needed at least 20amps to run my power inverter, but at least I had power to my GPS.
As I pulled under what was once a great Anvil I was treated to some great views of structure as the sun was setting. At this point I was really kicking myself wishing I had my spare battery for my camera. As I arrived to Rochelle I pulled into a gas station to pick up a few things and set up my camcorder to record some CG as I waited for Adam to meet up. At this point I came across my next issue, my camcorder kept crashing prompting a error message "file corrupt". I have had this trouble in the past but didn't think much of it as it tended to go away. However at this point I realized my hard drive was bad and my camcorder was shot. Now I have a reason to get the new HD camcorder I have been wanting for awhile now.
Adam pulled in shortly after, and we planed out our next move.. Looking at GR3 we realized the strongest line of storms developing would be to our west, so we heading for Dixon and would plan from there. (Man I'm glad I meet up with him, there is only so much phone radar will do for you). Once at Dixon we realized the line of storms that was producing larger hail was a little further to our west so we took off and got in place to wait as the storms arrived to us. Once the line of storms arrived to us there had weakened and we were left with heaving rains so we called it a bust and headed back home.
The drive home was intense, extremely heavy downpours, strong wind gusts with a bit of debris along the highway and crazy CG, which have been the closest I have seen all season. There were a few tense moments as the rain was coming down you couldn't see where the road was at, but it is always nice to come across, it keeps ya on your toes. All along 88 cars for a few miles and Adam and I were the only ones on the road, at this point I decided to just push straight down the middle of the two lanes.
All and all it was a great time to take the new chase vehicle out. I was treated to some great CG lightning and some great views. I realized I have a lot of work to do around forecasting, the chase car and my equipment. Next last minute chase I need to remember to grab my other camera bag with all of my batteries and chargers. I will spend the next few weeks gearing up for a hopefully chase in Aug! You can also view Adam Lucio's Log at:

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