The Adventure Begins

Storm Chasing with Steve Carey

Today I leave for Denver, Colorado to begin two weeks of storm chasing on America’s Great Plains.  Over the past two weeks, the group with whom I chase saw five tornados and a storm chasing friend of mine had encounters with 11 (one tornado crossed the road right in front of him).   Don’t get the impression from this that seeing a tornado is a common event…everything depends on the weather and on the forecasting skills of the chasers (along with a dose of good luck).   I will be happy if I see just one tornado.  I am very confident that I will see several incredible supercell storms.  The Storm Prediction Center has issued a mid-week severe weather threat for the northern Great Plains.  Until then, I’m posting a photo of a spectacular display of mammatus clouds taken on May 21, 2010 over my hometown of Fairhope, Alabama on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay.   Mammatus is a poorly understood phenomenon associated with severe thunderstorms and no one is sure why some storms produce them and others do not.   Commonly associated with strong thunderstorms on the Great Plains, mammatus is rarely observed in south Alabama.  I’m taking this display as a sign of good things to come over the next two weeks.  Time will tell.

Mammatus clouds over Fairhope, Alabama

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