Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Very Busy Week (posted by Casey L)

Hi everyone,

Sorry there's been a lack of updates on here. This past week VORTEX2 has operated 5 out of 7 days, one of which was the Oklahoma/Kansas outbreak last Monday. Thankfully, everyone made it out safe, but there were certainly some tense moments. As a result of chasing so much, we've had little energy to continually write updates on all our activities. However, today was declared as a down day so we have a little bit of time to catch up.

The armada spent the first few days of last week operating on a number of storms in Oklahoma. As I mentioned, this did include Monday's outbreak, but operations in general were a bit chaotic as numerous storms producing large tornadoes formed not only formed quickly but also moved at speeds near 50 mph. No one on NC State's team was in a position to see any of the tornadoes, but we were all thankful to just get through the day safely and collect some data.

On Tuesday and Wednesday the action shifted to western Oklahoma, where there were very successful deployments on supercells, one of which produced a tornado in Clinton, OK. The tornado occurred near dusk, however, so visibility was such that few people saw the funnel. Here is a panoramic view of the storm from my position in Clinton, shortly after I launched a balloon and about 30-45 minutes before the tornado passed through the area:

Later in the week we shifted south into western Texas, where two of the NC State teams saw a tornado on a storm that formed early in the day on Thursday:

Later on this storm merged with numerous others and became a squall line, making operations difficult for some teams, and also producing flash flooding throughout western Texas. In fact, we had to use some creative navigating to get around closed streets in order to get to our hotel:

Yesterday we ended up operating in southeastern New Mexico (a first for me!). The storm wasn't too exciting, but despite the small probability of tornadoes, we nevertheless collected some useful data on a dying storm.

I think that's about everything...this coming week also looks to be very busy, but we'll try to update as best we can!

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