Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hail No

In case you don't know, Eric is a storm chaser.

A real, live storm chaser like those guys on television except not famous and not on television. He's met most of them though in his quests for the perfect storm (and they really aren't that cool, in case you thought that a televised meterologist living for weeks out of his car was cool. I'm guessing they are also smelly.)

He's been chasing for nearly as long as I've known him, although in the last five or six years, he's bumped up the chase to a new level. Technology is now involved, as are additional lights and stickers on our car. The latest addition was the custom license plate his buddies sprung for because they didn't believe the BMV would approve it. We now have a plate on our Outback that reads:

HAILNO

Before we moved to Colorado, I chased with Eric exactly twice after we got married, and once during a drive while we were dating. We saw nothing but storm clouds the first time, had a blue sky bust (yea, that's a thing, meaning, saw nothing but blue sky) the second, and needed a bottle of Tums and shot of Pepto the third, when we about got run over by a derecho (fast, straightline winds) while going a million miles an hour down a dirt road. You can hear me on camera say to Eric, "this is where you and I are different. This is where I would SLOW DOWN!" Eric says that we needed to go that fast to get ahead of the storm, and while that may be true, also very true was the indigestion on my part.

I am genuinely interested in seeing one of those big, supercell, long track, wedge tornados out in the middle of nowhere where they don't harm anyone. This, however, does not overcome my interest in NOT being in a car driving in said middle of nowhere for 10-12 hours to see the tornado. Plus, my anxiety level is such that at some point during a chase, I figure I would have to trade the Tums/Pepto combo for something stronger, and you aren't supposed to have open bottles in the car, nor do I have a prescription for Ativan handy.

So I haven't gone chasing with Eric.

Until two weeks ago.

It was day chase, meaning, we'd be back before bedtime, and were "only" going to Eastern Colorado. We headed out, and after not too many hours, my radar-reading, stay out of the hail and in the dry-slot husband was on the chase!

He wants to make SURE you know that I saw my first tornado. It was a baby-nado, for sure, but our friend Jonathon-the-professional-meterologist-with-a-degree-and-full-time-job-and-everything took a look at the tape and confirmed that it WAS, in fact, a tornado. Frankly, I wasn't so sure, because we were quite a bit away from the storm (good for my tummy) and I don't know what I was looking for. I thought that second "thing" we saw was a tornado, but apparently that was some other sort of weather formation that I don't know the name of. Neither one of these tiny beasts of the air lasted very long.

That being said, I'm still glad that tornado chasing is a catch and release program. Will I go again? Maybe. I did get to sleep a good bit while we were driving, but that was due in part to the fact that, as it turned out, I had strep throat and felt like I had been hit by said meterological anomaly. It might not have been so fast if I'd been awake for all of the driving...but I won't rule out the possibility of another chase.



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