Chris Kridler's Sky Diary: storm chasing, photography and rainy-day tales

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dispatches: April 2008

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30 APRIL 2008
Okie from Muskogee: You've got to love that song for its cheese value. And here I am, in Muskogee, after the Pensacola Honda folks fixed my car (thank you). Now I am looking ahead to Thursday's chase. I believe there will be storms. I worry that they will all happen after dark. But what the heck, I'm here, and maybe there will be lightning if nothing else. To quote the song, "Lightning's still the biggest thrill of all." Actually, the song says "white lightning," but I prefer to think it's about actual lightning, not hooch. Much more cool.

29 APRIL 2008

Tornado. Sort of.
Tornado quest: My storm chase has begun, only it's now on hold while I deal with a car problem. Apparently my local Honda garage did a substandard (and expensive) job of repairing an oil leak (the guys at the Pep Boys in Pensacola, where I am currently stranded, laughed at the excessive use of caulk, though they could not fix it), so I have to try to get it repaired in the morning and then drive like hell to get out to the Plains for what I hope will be a Thursday chase with high potential. I'm extremely frustrated right now after nine-plus-hours of driving, about $120 spent on gas, and the car nonsense. Not to mention bad Mexican food and perhaps the second worst margarita I've ever had, which is saying something, given that I had to do a "margarita tour" for work last year and learned that crappy margarita mix is the curse of too many bars. So, back to the topic at hand - tornadoes. I actually saw one today, the fan pictured here. It was in a Florida restroom at a turnpike service plaza. I hope that's not the only one I see.

25 APRIL 2008

Interesting video from Dallas' CBS 11 TV station
Damage survey: I was forwarded a link to an interesting damage survey by Dallas' CBS 11. The unusually long video of storm damage in Crowley, Texas, is on the TV station's Web site and is worth checking out. The damage appears to be from a tornado, not straight-line winds. At the very least, some McMansions look as if they've been through a blender. Pretty bad stuff. I'm paying a lot of attention to the computer models as my storm-chasing trip looms. I'm hoping to adjust my trip to a good weather pattern, obviously, especially with prices soaring into the "would it be OK if I trade my diamond for this tank of gas?" levels. I love the Plains, but I'm not going there to get a tan. I am cautiously optimistic that I will happen into an active weather pattern - which is slightly better than my usual state, extremely pessimistic.

18 APRIL 2008

Lizard on a palm
Spring fever: Storm chasing season is approaching ... well, it's already here, in a sense, but my chance to go out to Tornado Alley is a couple of weeks off. Hopefully, I can time my trip to a good pattern. I'm ordering a few gadgets for the trip and trying to get some stuff done around here. This weekend, it'll be more work on the house project and lots of weeding, planting and mulching, I hope. Yippee! Spring!

In other news... did you see the Hollywood Reporter article about "Deadliest Catch" playing fast and loose with documentary footage? This should come as no surprise. Most storm chasers have been filmed at one time or another, and most have experienced "documentary" filmmaking. Examples: Could you drive down that road again so we can get our shot? Can you pretend to be rushing off to chase a storm? Can you just jump in the car a couple of times so we can get different angles? That's the least of the sins of "storm porn." Frequently, when you see a tornado being "documented" on TV, footage from a half-dozen other tornadoes is used to illustrate the event. Don't expect truth from TV. Pictures can lie, and do, frequently.