Friday, May 13, 2011

Storm Safari Wrap Up

After more than 1600 miles, our Storm Safari has come to an end.  The things we saw and the memories created were incredible.  We thought storms would fire in northern Oklahoma and southern Kansas the day before the chase, however, overnight storms "trashed" the atmosphere.  The only game in town would be with the low in far western Kansas and eastern Colorado.  We traveled through Dodge City up to Goodland, Kansas.  The feed yards up there are HUGE.  I have never seen so many cows in my entire life and the smell was enough to make you... well, you know.  Got to get that beef from somewhere I guess.

Most of storm chasing is about getting there and that can take hours and hours.  We finally saw the storms develop and we got on them.  Before we took off to chase, I was careful not to call this a "tornado chase".  It's a "Storm Safari".  You want to see the ultimate... a tornado, but that's not always possible.  It can be like finding a needle in a haystack.  When I say I want to see a tornado, I don't want to see it hurt anybody.  The open plains of Kansas and Colorado allow for so many twisters to touch down and not really affect anyone... that's what we want to see.

The storms began to rotate just inside the Colorado border.  We ended up seeing a couple wall clouds, several small funnels and hail almost completely covering the ground.  We even ran into Sean Casey and the TIV from the Discovery Channel.  After 1-2 hours of intense chasing, it was over.  We drove to Hays, Kansas to spend the night.

As I said before, the memories created were great.  Here's one of them.  Thursday morning in Hays, Kansas, I woke up and got ready for the day.  I went to what I thought was WeatherNinja's hotel room, knocked, and quickly realized the voice in the room was not him.  I responded, "House keeping."  Then I ran to the other door and knocked.  Ninja answered and I jumped in before the other person came out in the hallway.  It was funny moments like that which made the trip even more fun.

Our trip was about much, much more than just us going to find storms in the plains.  There are two stories you will see on Channel 7.  The first one airs Sunday night at 10 PM.  We hooked up with professional storm chasers who will take anyone out to see storms.  We'll show you that and how you can have your own "Storm Safari."

The second story which airs Monday night at 10 PM on Channel 7 is about one of the guys on the tour.  He's legally blind.  We all wanted to see the storms, the hail, and the tornadoes.  It's a completely different experience for him.  You'll have to watch this amazing and inspiring story!

Check out the pictures and video below.  The first video is the promotional spot for the Sunday night story.  The second video is the promotional spot for the Monday night story.

WeatherClippers future step daughter, Hailey

Our pre-chase get together at Bar Louie.  We gave out a ton of free Arkansas Weather Blog t-shirts and you responded by coming out and joining us!!! Thanks.  I have more shirts to give out in the future so follow on twitter and facebook.
In Scott City, Kansas we stopped so I could pay tribute to Bill Paxton in the movie twister.  This was one of those funny moments.  Remember the part of the movie where he picked up some dust and said, "It's going green".  LOL

From left to right is KATV photojournalist Philip Labuda, Channel 7 storm chasers Erich Hopkins and Michael Hook.. (The WeatherNinja)

My interview with Steve who is blind and storm chases.  The story which airs Monday night is all about him.  Don't miss it!

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