Final Journal Entry

4 flights, 4 states, and over 40 hours of drive time in the van and we are officially finished with our storm chasing adventure. Through it all we’ve learned about everything from geology to meteorology and had the time of our lives doing it.

I’m writing this blog from 10.000 feet in the air somewhere between Houston and Pensacola. We’ve said our goodbyes to the team and now we’re anxiously awaiting to be reunited with our loved ones. Though our adventure comes to an end, the memories, friendships, and knowledge gained do not fade.

Unfortunately we were unable to witness a tornado in person this trip, but we were able to witness a few incredible super cells which did produce a few rotating funnels that never made contact with the ground. This trip has opened my eyes to the fact that we still have so much to learn about tornados and why they’re formed. I encourage everyone, scientist or not, to learn all that you can about severe storms. While we will never be able to control the weather, we can learn how to better predict predict and prepare for them in effort to save more lives. Which for me, is one of the primary reasons for studying meteorology.. I also encourage those who are able to take at least one storm chasing trip at some point. All that aside, I’ve grown so much closer to the Lord, our Creator, throughout this trip as He allowed us to see His creation like never before. What an incredible Savior we serve.

A huge thank you goes out to Mr. Carey, Storm Chasing Adventure Tours, and the University of Mobile for making our trip possible. I also would like to thank you, the reader, for your support and prayers throughout this past week. I’ll never forget this epic journey and I’m looking forward to life’s next adventure.

God bless,

Josh Hembree

The Final Chase

Today (Friday) was our last chase day! Bittersweet feelings are running through me right now. I’m ready to be back home to my family and friends, yet I’m sad to see such an incredible and unique trip come to an end.

We started today in Dodge City, KS and chased storms into Oklahoma. We were literally able to witness a few storms develop before our eyes! It was an amazing sight that reminded me of the sheer greatness of our God.

This time tomorrow morning we’ll be on a plane heading back to our respected homes. Stay tuned for our final blogs that are still to come.

Chase Day

What an incredible day! We woke up this morning in Pratt, KS and began our first full day of legit chasing after a mission briefing and hearty breakfast with the team. Our first stop of the day was in Greensberg, KS. Greensberg is a small town that was 95% destroyed by an F5 tornado in 2007. Even now, 4 years later, the destruction is still seen throughout the community. While hearts are still torn and lives changed forever, through it all there is an indescribable peace and hope in the hearts of many of its citizens. The rebuilding process is well under way with Main Street looking great with brand new, state of the art, “green” buildings. What an incredible testimony the people of Greensberg are of hope and new beginnings. The Lord is good and has clearly shown His love and mercy throughout this small, yet resilient, town.

After leaving Greensburg we headed north to intercept a developing super cell! After many hours on the road, we finally encountered are first storm with strong winds, heavy rain, lighting, and hail. All the ingredients were right to produce a perfect tornado, but unfortunately nothing ever developed from the storm because the sky was too cluttered with other various storm cells which restricted any one cells ability to produce rotation.

Despite not seeing a tornado, God still showed His goodness by allowing us to witness an incredible sunset through the storm with a stunning lighting show. Tomorrow is our last full day of chasing and then Saturday we head back to our normal lives.

Until next time,
Josh

Wednesday

As I am writing this blog the team and I are currently in chase mode! After several days of perfect weather, the tide has turned and now we are facing threats of strong storms with possible tornados and chance of hail.

The atmosphere in the van is that of sheer excitement. After 4 days of sight seeing, we’re all very ready to encounter what we’re here to see. With every call on the radio from our lead vehicle announcing more instability in the area, Mr. Carey begins to drive faster and faster in hope of getting us to the sweet spot at just the right time.

As we approached what was supposed to be the perfect spot, we came across a beautiful developing storm cell. After chasing it for over an hour, it unfortunately fizzled out due to a cirrus shield that prevented the storm from rising higher.

Tomorrow is a new day with new possibilities. The forecasts are looking great for severe weather in the Pratt, Kansas area which is where we are tonight. Stay tuned for the adventure that is sure to unfold tomorrow.

Exploration

Greetings from Texas!

One of the greatest things about being on a storm chasing trip when there are no storms are the many random, unique, and awesome places that I’d most likely never go to under normal circumstances.

This morning we left Carlsbad, NM in search for new ground as we hit the road for north Texas in order to be in position for the developing storms off the dry line tomorrow. Along the way we stopped at the Texan sand dunes and a meteor crash site. Unfortunately though there have still been no alien sitings, even though we’ve been to Roswell and back. Who’d have guessed we wouldn’t have seen any?

The parts of New Mexico and Texas that we’ve been in haven’t seen rain in over 90 days. Needless to say, everything is extremely dry and dusty. We’ve seen several dust devils over the past couple of days, including the one that directly hit the van as we were driving yesterday! Thankfully they’re so weak that it did nothing more than shake the van a little bit. I’m happy to report that we’re all alive and well.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) will be our first full chase day! The conditions are looking right for storm producing which means we’ll be on the road all day as we get into what we hope will be the best position to intercept the storms.

It’s gonna be a wild ride!

Josh

Josh & Lane tasting the ground at the salt flats

The Great Adventure

Greetings from New Mexico,

It’s good to be up and blogging! I’ve had technical difficulties with my blog up until now and have not been able to post. Today was day 3 of our great adventure and what a great day it was. We started the day out with caving in Carlsbad Canyon in New Mexico. Next we went to Guadalupe National Park and went on an incredible hike. Then if that wasn’t enough for one day, we went to the salt flats right before sunset.

As we went from 3 different extremes of our Heavenly Father’s creation, I was reminded of just how incredible and creative our God really is. From being 800ft below the surface in the largest cave I’ve ever seen in my life, hiking the great mountains of the Guadalupe National Park, to tasting the salt of the salt flats. The Lord has truly blessed us with such an incredibly vast and diverse home that we call Earth.

While it may seem otherwise, we really are here to chase storms! The weather has been what the majority of people would call perfect these past few days. Nevertheless it has allowed us opportunity for some amazing sight seeing, but we are still anxious to do what we’re here to do. The forecasts are looking favorable for producing storms starting Wednesday. I’m pumped! Until then we wait, explore, and get to know each other better than any of us had ever hoped. (just kidding about the last one)

As things start to develop and get more interesting as the week goes on be sure to stay updated through the blogs each night, or my facebook and twitter for up to the minute updates.

Josh

Day 1

The team and I are happy to report that we made it to Amarillo safely this morning with the only difficulty being a quick sprint across the Houston airport as we raced to make our connecting flight. It must have been quite the site for all those we rushed passed. This afternoon we walked around some of Amarillo seeing what we could get in to as we enjoy the last few hours of free time we’ll have all week.

They say that everything is bigger in Texas, and I have to agree with that statement more than I ever have before. As we were landing this morning all I could see were agriculture fields for as far as the eye cold see, in every direction. Perfect landscape for storm chasing.

Tonight we will meet the rest of our team for the first time and have a safety meeting. I just wish we’d get this show on the road already! I’m excited to get going tomorrow morning. The call of the unknown is calling my name. The call of adventure and exploration are also calling. I’m here this week to answer them and see our loving God’s creation like never before.

Until next time,
Josh