Friday, June 12, 2009

First Day of Operations

So today we started out in Salina, KS. After our morning briefing the Target Area was Newton, just north of Wichita. From there we went to west Wichita and then down the dreaded Highway 54 - the road I've taken about twice a year since I was born to go see my grandparents in SE Colorado. We were just short of Dodge City when we came upon our target storm. It was an isolated storm, which evolved into a non-tornadic supercell. As we drove closer, I got a bit nervous because the sky had an ominous look. I knew I was in excellent hands though, so my nerves were quickly calmed. We began making a path to the side and then behind the storm. This required me to drive through some heavy rain on a dirt road. The van fishtailed a bit, but nothing too scary! A wall cloud was rotation to our north as we passed near the storm. We came across golf-ball-sized hail on the ground as we passed behind it. We had a couple deployments* shortly after that.

We’re in Wichita for the night. I’ll be having breakfast with Dad.

*Our teams are photographing the storms from two strategic locations with GPS cameras so that we can triangulate the position of certain features within the storm.  This means we stay a safe distance from the storm and may not even see a tornado if it were to happen. 

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