Monday, October 15, 2012

Happy Union, TX Tornado Timelapse Oct 12, 2012

Timelapsed video of the Happy Union, TX tornado (SE of Plainview) on Friday Oct 12, 2012. Textbook supercell mesocyclone evolution which produced atleast 3 tornadoes, 2 of which can be seen clearly on this video.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Google Adsense = Waste of Time

This is a warning for others, so you don't waste your time like I did (and many others have from the stories I have heard). I had been using Google AdSense for the past few years, but I had only accumulated a couple bucks from it, far from reaching the payout of $100. In the last year it had picked up to where the $100 payout was actually a possibility down the road (still at least a year away). I had spent a good amount of time placing the adds in good spots but not enough to annoy anyone. Always followed their rules and never clicked on on any of the ads on my own page intentionally or tried to get other people to click on them. I had also enabled the partnership program with YouTube, which I think most the revenue was coming from. It took forever to be accepted into that program. I had got most of the 200,000 views that I have now, before even being accepted. YouTube is flooded with videos now so my views have fell drastically from what I was doing in 2008 and 2009, by the thousands.

I got an alert the other day AdSense had locked my account because of invalid click activity, which killed my YouTube Partnership Program as well. I appealed to no avail and got no explanation. Too bad Google doesn't make it more clear they never intend to pay you a dime, so I could have spent that time on something more important. Considering my appeal was denied at 1:30am seems like an automatic denial if I have every seen one. I seriously doubt any human even looked at my case. I just wanted to say "Thanks Google", this blog is for you.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

OK Tornadoes - March 18, 2012 chase summary

Last Sunday turned out to be a spectacular day. I had high hopes for this chase, and were exceeded with ease though our exact target area was a bust. Had multiple issues this day, like only having internet for about 10% of the time and my camera stopped recording in my dome halfway through the chase. Despite these problems it was still a great chase.

Started the day targeting the Eastern TX Panhandle, but focused more on the NE Panhandle. We set on I-40 for an hour or so, but eventually moved up to Pampa till about 4:45. After watching the stuff near Childress go for a couple hours finally gave up on the NE Panhandle ever firing and decided to head SE. I made a straight shot into OK to near Sayre and cut south in front of the slow moving storm cluster. Going this route instead of coming in from behind gave me one of the best storm structure shows of my life, which made my day even without the tornadoes. I set in the area around Willow, OK and let the storm come to me. Witnessed 3 tornadoes before the storm even got to my location and saw 2 more within the next 20 miles of driving on the clogged highway. Total tornadoes for the day is 5, but I could easily argue 7 or so not that it matters.

This day will not be topped anytime soon, because I have rarely seen structure like this that also produced so many tornadoes, even a quite large one you can see in the first photo below. As long as it took me to give up on the other target I really should not have any tornadoes to show for Sunday, but mother nature threw me a bone after my pathetic showing in 2011. I am going have another 25+ tornado year one way or another. I got close in 2010 with about 22 tornadoes, but have not topped 25 since 2007. An active year here in the Panhandles will be key to this happening though. With the recent rains it is not that far fetched anymore.

Timelapse video -

Friday, March 16, 2012

First chase of the year tomorrow

Technically it is not my first chase this year, but on a day that has any real potential it is. Will be deploying my reconfigured camera dome with a new HD camera tomorrow. Stream should be up around 4 to 5 tomorrow. Also this will be the first chase with the dome on my Saturn Ion. Think I got most the kinks out of the system on Wednesday so I am hoping it is all smooth sailing tomorrow and on Sunday.

Target area for tomorrow and Sunday is the Eastern Panhandles for now. Better shot of tornadoes is for Sunday, but will take anything at this point to start making up for my 2011 season.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Severe Weather makes its return to the Southern Plains

The next week could be very active with a major storm system set to dig into the southwest US. Could be a stray storm Wed and Thu, but Friday looks to have the first decent shot at storms, followed by a capped day on Saturday. Mondays focus has now shifted to Sunday that has a 50+ knot low level jet across the entire Great Plains, which now is forecasted to a breakable cap and precip before sundown. It really reminds me of March 28, 2007, which I hope it shifts back west a little like 3-28-07 did as the day got closer. Monday still looks to be an intense day closer to I-35 than the previous days, with a massive squall line forming late that day and ending the severe weather outbreak. Forecast is sure to shift around some more, but will probably end up somewhere close to this.

Tornado potential exist on almost all of these days, but Sunday looks the highest followed by Monday. Friday is not out of the question and may be the most photogenic day. The parameters for Sunday just screams large tornadoes if it verifies, which has me worried the most. The Southern Plains really needs the rain though, so you just have to take the good with the bad. The attached picture is the forecasted 500mb winds for Sunday evening.

This next week looks to be the first likely deployment of my new HD camera in my dome box that modded up more this year. My plywood base began to some effects of a year of wear, so I wrapped it in black duct tape to try and preserve it a bit longer with a likely rebuild next year. Also I bought a roof rack for the Saturn Ion so the dome can be deployed on my 30+mpg vehicle. Finished building a fairing for it just the other day which eliminated road noise completed and surely will help gas mileage as well.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chasing DVD now only $5 - Digital Version

You can now get my Storms of the Southern Plains for $5 as a digital download. The original DVD included my chases from 07-09, but I have now included two 2010 chases. April 22 in the TX Panhandle and May 22 with the Bowdle, SD wedge tornado. The download is 4GB so a good internet connection is needed. You will be able to play the file on your computer or burn it to DVD if you have a burner.

Get the Digital DVD here - No Longer for sale

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Santa Fe day trip

Got to visit the tent rocks national monument today. Incredible hike and was a great photo op. Can wait to start editing some of these photos because some of the colors are going to really pop. Below is a capture from my phone one of the picture from my camera.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

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Friday, February 17, 2012

Lighthouse (Palo Duro Canyon) Star Trails

Here are a couple photos from last month of the Lighthouse in Palo Duro Canyon (SE of Amarillo) with some star trail action. Been wanting to get some lighthouse shots after dark for years and made it happen. Brady Kendrick came on the 5 mile round trip hike with me, which got delayed because I forgot my corded trigger in Amarillo and had to go get it. We didnt get to start hiking till around 3 am, but still got a couple hours at the lighthouse to take pictures and watch the sunrise. Really was not too cold for January either.

Models are beginning to hint at another taste of severe weather for next weekend, maybe even Southern Plains area. Euro and GFS are in line so far, but is just a wait and see at this point if a big storm really does dig into the southwest. If that does happen, the moisture return will be the key. Always is this time of year.

Also included a photo from a few days before my Palo night trip that I took down at the Sand Drags on the Canadian River off 287 on January 4th.





Monday, February 13, 2012

It is getting close to that time again!

Storm chasing will be back in full swing within the next couple months. Many have already got there first chase in this year. I even ventured out for some lightning last week and it was a bust till I was 5 miles from home and the lightning finally got going. Looking forward to this year for multiple reasons, but the most important is a stable day job that is flexible when you take time off. Being in Amarillo allows me to stay at work on the close days without wasting leave. Last year was hampered dearly by working night shifts at 2 different jobs where either I couldnt use my annual leave that I had or I didn't have any built up. The chases I did get in were ugly and major wastes of money.

2nd reason I am excited is that I got the parts in to add a roof rack to my Saturn Ion. My camera dome I built last year, that I barely got to use because it only attached to my Jeep that was too expensive to chase in, is going to be out on every chase this year on my Saturn. I wont be able to record HD though unless I want to throw a tape up in there from time to time, but I doubt I will. The camera with a hard drive I tried last year shuts off too easy and wont work, so I am using my older Canon HV-20, which allows me to still stream and aleast record my dome footage in standard def to my computer. At somepoint I will definitely need to get an HD camera up there though.

The 3rd reason I am looking forward to this year is that the TX Panhandles have actually been receiving rain and snow here this year, so I am quite hopeful that the storms will be returning to my home turf and will equal some closer chases this year. Would be ok with gas prices staying high and the combination of the cancellation of "storm chasers" to help keep the less dedicated chasers off the roads this year so it wont be so crowded. If anything the prices will get everyone to partner up and reduce the traffic. Not that it really matters to me, because I pick such weird targets the number of chasers around tends to be quite low. I tend to like the risky targets, but that is generally the ones with the highest reward (when it comes to the best possible photos).