April Fools Day Storm Chasing Prank

Apr 04, 2014


Gambled with day before the day potential cap bust, and lost.


Tornadoes: 0
Wind: n/a
Hail: 0.00″
Storms: 0

The Forecast:

Initial piece of progressive trough moving into the plains. Ample moisture was finally in place creating strong instablity for early April standards. Forcing along a retreating dryline was weak at best. Cap was strong but breakable given strong CAPE. The triple point offered hope for enough convergence to hopefully initiate a storm. If that could occur, the chances of being treated to a nice, slow moving picturesque supercell were high. SPC had only minimal probabilities for the day to account for this.

Detailed Account:

Winter 2013-14 was the harshest of my life (no, literally, by statistics it was our worst winter in 35 years which is before I was born.) Not only that, but spring days have been non existent in a colder than normal pattern that just wont let up. Desperation was setting in. Despite that, I didn’t let the first couple laughable setups bait me out the door, one of which was a mistake as a couple of photogenic tornadoes occurred in IL on February 20th.

Alas, with this system showing up, it again appeared chances  were very low in something noteworthy happening. The difference this time though, is that there appeared to be multiple days of chasing. Logistically it made sense to travel out to the plains and gamble, then follow the system home. Had this been a one day setup, there is no way I would have made the attempt, but I was eager to begin my season, and the chase was on.

I left Chicago along with Danny Neal, Joe Pudlik and Mike Mullenhoff, arriving in Norman, OK at Ben Holcombs apartment where we rested our eyes and stretched our limbs for a couple hours before making the trek to SW Oklahoma in hopes something could pop in our target area. Nothing ever did though, and we spent the day parked on the side of a dirt road tossing a frisbee around watching TCU (towering cumulus) repeatedly try and fail to develop into something. A storm blew up a couple hours to our south in TX that was out of play due to fading daylight, just to add insult to injury. We crawled back to Norman busted on the first chase of the year. The April Fools tricks weren’t done yet. Ben’s inconsiderate upstairs neighbor had clogged their pipes, causing dirty sewage water to literally rain down into his apartment, which left us scrambling to re-pack our gear and relocate to places to stay for the night. Having been awake for 30+ hours and just wanting to rest, I was in a very sour mood and questioning my sanity as to why I even bothered to make the trip.

The next couple days held more potential though, and it was at least nice to feel 80 degree temps again.



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