February 5th, 2012 at 11:47am EST
Just a quick post to some video links and quick thoughts on the loss of Andy Gabrielson. Andy was one of the chasers that was a very active chaser, chasing constantly and living the life many chasers wish for. He provided great footage, fun commentary and found success in the business of chasing.
I finally had a hand shake with Andy just this past season in Murdo on day many chasers converged awaiting storms. It was brief, as I tend to prefer to isolate somewhat during active chase days, but he was one I wanted to at least say a quick hello to. I always figured later on I would sit down with him (and other chasers) to personally learn their story. Andy’s will now only be a tribute rather than straight from the man himself.
Here is the video tributes so far. I will post more as I’m sure that more will come. If the tweets reporting the initial loss and now the tweets of tribute are any indication, Andy had a reach quite far.
And here is a quick grab of the Spotter Network tribute “AG”
December 21, 2011 at 12:02pm EST No snow now, but soon?
Today, a rather wet and warm system is moving through the north and eastern states. Reminants of the system that slammed the central states and some southwestern states (New Mexico through Colorado and into Kansas) with a bit of snow, has moved into the Midwest states overnight and now encroaching on the north eastern states this afternoon and like to extend into tomorrow. This time around it’ll be just rain. However, another round come Friday may bring some snow to the northeastern states that boarder near the Great Lakes of Ontario and Erie. Further east, it will again be rain. This is not lake effect snows, but is affecting that area. It is part of a system that will again bring possible snows to the desert southwest and on into the central states (models still not in total agreement).
So, when will the DC region see snow. Well, at the moment, most are looking at the warm pattern to continue here in the region through early January (at the least). If you are snow lover, and loved the winter season we had in 2009/2010, and hoping for the same…probably time to book those tickets for areas that are more likely to see it (the Rockies). Yes, I too am a snow weenie, but I also need it for income (stock film/video). Just have to wait and see. Besides…there is still plenty of season to go!
Decemeber 6, 2011 at 12:35am EST Winter is posed to start and I’m still trying to get the Jeep fixed.
To meteorologists, winter has begun (Dec. 1) while I tend to go with the solstice (Dec. 20), but either way, the weather is changing and even has some light snow in the forecast. This normally would be great. However…I’m rather concerned because I’m still working on the Jeep shown above. Most everything I anticipated is fixed, from the suspension to the tires, windshield, etc. However, along the way, I found out the motor was bad and I’m stuck with likely needing replacement.
It has been a tough road finding a good replacement for the Subaru, which didn’t make it out of Hurricane Irene. I always mentioned the lower clearance issue with that car, and it finally did become the final issue….unfortunately not that long after I just put a ton of work into the car.
So hopefully there will be snow locally, that I can cover, and get some paid funds for. It looks like this latest snow threat for the DC region is minor with any accumulation being north and west of the city…by some distance. We are also looking at only a few inches. Somewhat like the October Surprise we had, but with less of an extreme situation for the mountain areas of West Virginia and Virginia. Not even really a challenge for the Jeep….if I can get it do drive that far.
Friday, September 23, 2011 at 3:00am EDT (scheduled release 5:00am EDT) Fall Autumn Equinox Today, foliage watch begins.
Summer came to a close officially this morning, Friday, September 23, at 5:04am Eastern Daylight Time (9:04utc), and marks the true equinox (even time of day and night). This has been a very interesting year so far, and it’ll be interesting to see how the last few months play out for 2011. We start the year off on the East Coast with snow storms and record seasonal snowfall (although DC region missed out funny enough…but hey…2010 was our year). Spring brought a good number of storms throughout the greater Mid-Atlantic region. We had record heat throughout the summer with a near record amount of high temperatures. Countrywide we’ve had a very active tornado season, and marked the first time I’ve been in the Plains since 2006 and in the Atlantic Basin a very active Hurricane Season which is still peaking. Notable as of late is the rainfall from various tropical systems moving up the east coast (Lee and Irene mostly). I did chase Hurricane Irene as well.
So what can we look for this fall. Well, the first thing I am looking to see is how good and where the best fall foliage change over will be. Frost and freeze timing is also of interest and the arrival of colder temperatures. Of course looking toward the end of the year and the beginning of winter.
Like last year, but further more this season, Fall foilage coverage and imagery capturing is a priority. Especially so since I’m not working with HD cameras and can and will be returning to old spots that I need to recapture with the sharper imagery capabilities.
What is unknown at this time is live streaming activity. A bit has changed since last year’s blog post on the same topic. I learned that most of the areas I wanted to stream have very poor to non-existent cell phone/data network coverage. Also, there isn’t really the desire for folks to watch the stream. So more focus will be on still images and video production.
Friday, September 2nd, 2011 at 1:02pm EDT Hurricane Irene quick wrap-up
Hurricane Irene was a mixed success and failure. I decided that this hurricane wasn’t going to be a successful business venture, so I made it a personal one. The trip started with Mark and I departing Maryland later that I would normally. The trip down from Gaithersburg to North Carolina was fairly uneventful and we made good time. The road was clear and rain free for most of the time. Only the last couple hours were rain filled.
Our first task was to get to the Ocean and get a good view. We entered into Morehead City, NC and then crossed onto the barrier islands of Atlantic Beach and Emerald Isle. We did pretty well there, but conditions where not extreme yet. Just severe with even the ocean being only slightly mad, surging not even entering the roadways or anything like that. Since the conditions were not crazy bad, we headed for the hotel that we managed to secure in Havelock, a bit, but not far from Morehead City.
Grabbing only three to four hours of sleep, we awoke early morning around 3am when the entire city of Havelock lost power. There were some power flashes in the distance, so likely the substation took a hit, or shutdown for safety. This was about the time I wanted to arise to make sure northing was being missed. We departed in rather severe conditions, with winds now being sustained around the 60mph mark, and gusts just starting to peak into hurricane force territory (according to local metars stations). Once the car was packed, we checked out.
We returned to Morehead City and cruised around there and Beaufort the nice little B&B town to the east. The hurricane eyewall was moving well to the east and I did not want to push the limit of going that far due to the lack of ride height in my vehicle. We stuck around the area, finding areas where the bay and such were now pushing into the land. We did some filming, some playing, and continued on. As daylight broke, it appeared as those conditions were actually weakening, and the eye did appear as though the Outer Banks of North Carolina would get the Upper Right quadrant. I made the decision that we needed to move north and east.
It took a few hours of driving north along routes like US 70, US 17 and US 64. We ended up near a town called Columbia, North Carolina, which was small, and fully closed/evacuated. Conditions seemed fine and roads were clear. We did attempt to take US 264, but the proximity of that road to a inlet river/bay meant it was too flooded for my liking. But that was before we got to Columbia.
To the east of Columbia we found some significant tornado damage that was caused from a feeder band tornado the night before (see SPC for August 29, 2011). We took pictures, tweeted them and then took a good look at radar. The eye was well to our south and we had plenty of time before the storm ramped up in our area. Again, conditions were overall weak, barely more than a summer thunderstorm. Mark wanted to move south, and I agreed (with relunctance due to the road flooding). We continued south and came to a point where we could proceed no further.
We were having some issues, so we had to head back to Columbia, NC. There we stayed until the eye passed well to our east, but conditions did ramp up quite a bit. I had connected with Chris Collura on the cell, and we asked if we could met in Columbia when he was done with his chase. Around 4pm I think it was, we connected with Chris and proceded to Raliegh-Durham were we quickly met with Micheal Phelps and his chase crew and got a hotel for the night. Chris had to fly out the next morning, and I needed to Mark back home to get to work on time.
Hurricane Irene for me has proven to be the most unsuccessful hurricane intercept thus far, were an intercept was anticipated. But saying that is not necessarily is saying I feel I failed. Why…well, considering the high success of chases in the past, the complicated nature of this hurricane (approach angle, a-typical conditions, huge media presence, etc.) I may not have done this for business or profit, but I did enjoy the chase itself.
Tropical Drepression Thirteen (13) / Tropical Storm Lee
The next system getting the attention of most folks is the one just off the Gulf Coast of New Orleans / Louisiana. This system is weak and mostly a precipitation threat. This is a system I will NOT be chasing (of course). It is too far, too weak, and I’m still working with stuff post Irene. I also have limited funds at the moment. Lee is still a major threat for that area of the Gulf Coast due to the significant amount of rain it could bring. The system isn’t going to be pushing away soon, but linger for some time.
Hurricane / Tropical Storm Katia
I know I’m blogging this out of order, but wanted to get the Lee bit out of the way. Katia is well east in the middle of the Atlantic. Katia formed some days back, reached Hurricane strength, dropped to Tropical Storm status and then appears to be strengthening again. Katia is still a bit out, but models are starting to hint at the direction it might take for landfalling interests. I’m not predicting of course, but the various models are showing it pretty much on a NW course for a few days, but at the end of the 4 day period, there is significant disagreement amoung the computers, and the NHC has put their forecast track in with a slight left hook, pointing toward Florida. BUT….DO NOT believe this means that Florida is on target. Recurving is also hinted at, so any and all legit possibilities are on the table.
Chase wise, only the very earliest of preparations are on for chasing Katia. I have some issues to wrap up first, and other various obligations, and funds to recoup. If I chase Katia, it will be for money/business and I have to make sure my insurance and everything else is in order appropriately.
Thursday, August 25, 2011 at 4:45pm EDT Target: Morehead City, North Carolina
Things are falling into place. Hurricane Irene forecasting (models) is shifting back west a tad, maintaining a landfall on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and possible shifting west again at the next model run (18z). Irene is not growing much at the moment, but still maintain Catagory 3 status, but on the weaker side. The storm is projected to move into slightly cooler waters, but then cross the main peak water temperatures fo the Gulf Stream before heading inland. Category 4 status is not so likely, in fact it would not surprise me if Irene weaks to a “two” before restengthening slightly.
Equipment and such is pretty much ready. Batteries are being charged, and the car will soon begin being packed up. Food is being prepped and coordination with chase partner Mark Ellinwood (of MAD US Weather).
Depart Friday morning around 10am and head south as quickly and smoothly as possible. Target right now is Morehead City, North Carolina, near Beaufort and the Barrier Island towns of Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach. This is the same area I was in for Hurricane Isabel in 2003. This is good because I am very familiar with the location and know the safer areas and the know that most of the areas to the east of the Morehead City/Beaufort area is pretty much a no-go for the problem of storm surge. We will adjust if necessary.
Unlike Isabel, access to the shoreline will be more strict. This is in part due to the large Media circus anticipated because there have been less storms to report for the past two years. If we shift north that’ll put us in the Outer Banks area and (Cape) Hatteras. I was also just there last year, so familiarity is also a bonus in that area. We may try to follow the storm north, but a lot of that will depend on the Bay Bridge/Tunnel connecting the Virginia Beach area with the Delmarva (land between the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay (DELaware MARyland VA).
In the middle of prep work, but will have a full blog with pictures and more later this evening.
I personally was in the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Rockville, Maryland. Was searching for a plastic box when started to hear then see shacking within the store. Unlike the Germantown earthquake, there was no large bang at the beginning, just a quickly increased shaking. Nothing appears to have fallen, but the building I was in was surely not made for earthquakes because you could hear the whole structure stressing.
My immediate split second reaction was a surprise tornado because of my experience with that back in 1990. Almost immediately I started for the door though because I knew that structure was a dealth trap either way. However, just seconds later I realized it was something else, possibly an earthquake. I immediately walked outside and looked to see if I saw other people outside looking around. In deed there was and that told me it was wide spread, not just the building I was in. Of course then I just immediately tweeted I felt an earthquake and saw a few tweets about it showing it was rather wide spread (also different than the event felt last year in Germantown).
I’ll discuss more later, as info comes in (and still do an update on Hurricane Irene). Preliminary USGS says 5.9 (per radio/TV) or 5.8 (per tweets on twitter). Might be Virginia’s largest recorded quake.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011 at 7:05am EDT All scenarios are possible, planning for all scenarios
Forecast track does continue to shift east. Some possiblity exists of the eye of the storm not making landfall. However, even that scenario means a good amount of fun for the coastal areas for surge, beach erosion and more. I’ll have plenty to do.
Greater chances are for an intercept somewhere along the Carolinas coast. The greater percentage exists for that scenario. There is a balance going on between the high pressure area (currently over me in the Mid-Atlantic) to the east of the Carolinas and the trough currently in the central US and that will push east…and possibly push Irene just off the coast. It is also important, because it also may play a part in a New England landfall chance. It is why many, well north of the Mid-Atlantic need to also be taking precautions and paying close attention.
For me chase wise, it makes no difference. I will go where the storm goes. I would prefer a more southern storm as it’ll be warmer. Not having chased a hurricane in the New England area, I suspect that it is quite chilly or just cold, despite a hurricane being a warm core system. All systems are go and the finishing touches for the camera housing and other last minute prep is being complete today. I plan to head out early Wednesday morning toward the Carolinas…adjusting as needed along the way.