Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 2 of Operations - Western Kansas

Well today had an exciting start for me. First, Dad met me for some breakfast at the hotel. Mom called while we were eating and said that Sam Champion (Good Morning America Meteorologist) was in Wichita, too! He was there to interview some Vortex2 people. I watch GMA every morning before work so the idea of this was exciting, but I knew it would be silly to go seek him out. Instead, Dad and I went down to the parking lot and checked out all the cool vehicles in the Vortex2 armada. Dad especially liked the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV). Most people describe it as looking like something straight out of Star Wars. It’s an armored car that can withstand a direct hit from up to a EF2 or EF3 scale tornado.

After Dad left, I went for a jog along the Arkansas (ar-KAN-sas) River. As I kept jogging north, I noticed the Keeper of the Plains statue (a true Wichita landmark) and I recalled that Mom mentioned that’s where Sam was. I picked up the pace a bit and sure enough. There was a camera crew packing up. I picked up the pace a bit more. When I got there I asked if they were with ABC and if I had missed Mr. Champion. They said he just left. I was a little sad, but also a little relieved that “the time I met Sam Champion” wouldn’t be when I was a sweaty mess.

You’re probably thinking “Hey Veronica, that’s great that you didn’t actually meet him, but what about those TORNADOES?!” I’m glad you asked. I didn’t actually see any of THOSE either!! We drove out to Dodge City and then went a bit southwest of there to intercept a storm near the CO border. It was a bit of a dud, but then we got on a storm to the south of that one and it tried really hard to produce a tornado. It had a nice wall cloud and a bit of rotation. In the end the storms all joined together to form a boring line, which I later had to drive through. I got some fantastic pictures of the wall cloud and other structures. Our very tired and hungry crew went to Wendy’s and called it a night. We’re spending the evening in lovely Dodge City! 

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