With several friends, I chased a line of severe storms in Nebraska on May 30 that offered much in the way of photo opportunities, even if they cut off our northern route in a beautiful landscape with almost no roads. What are you gonna do? Every trip is a mix of hits and misses (for instance, four tornadoes, but none on the high risk day), but it’s always educational and frequently fun – when it’s not frustrating. Like anything worthwhile, it takes a lot of work and, in this case, a lot of miles. To be precise: 11,865.
It’s always surreal returning home. Home is Florida, where it’s soupy and hot and summerlike, a big contrast to the breezy and cool spring of the Plains. Our rainy season hasn’t kicked in yet, so we’re not getting much in the way of thunderstorms. The dull drum of domesticity is met by the pleasure of being home. I’m watering the tomatoes, petting the dogs and catching up on sleep. I’m trying to find my rhythm as I get into a new career of self-employment. And I’m hoping for more adventure.I want to thank all the great chasers I caravaned with or otherwise hung out with on the road this year, among them “Dr. Wedge,” William “Bill” Hark; the storm chasing doctors Jason Persoff and Robert Balogh, who acted as first responders twice, including after the devastating Joplin, Mo., tornado; New Yawkers Dave Lewison and Scott McPartland; Mark Robinson and his team of Canadian “Storm Hunters,” Brad Rousseau and Dayna Vettese, Heather Reynolds and Meghan Yeo; Australian videographer Daniel Shaw; the crazy guys of Cloud 9 Tours; and Bill Reid and the Tempest Tours folks.
As for that lurker who followed Bill H. and I one day, what the hell was he thinking? Storm chasing isn’t like what you see on TV. It’s no Disney ride. It would be a lot simpler if it were.