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Blog: 2008 Archive

Intercept of Hurricane Ike on the Skyway Bridge

Posted on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 at 5:00 PM MST

ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- Having closely monitored Hurricane Ike as it churned west through the Caribbean, I have watched the awesome power of Ike churn its way into the Gulf of Mexico. With the eye of this powerful Category 4 Hurricane sitting less than 200 miles off the coast of Tampa Bay, I decided to use a trip down to Port Manatee to do a little storm chasing. Plus, it's not too often I get to chase hurricanes like this, as they are usually the ones chasing me.

Before I left for Port Manatee, about a 20-minute drive, I noticed that the Sunshine Skyway Bridge was closed to all vehicles greater than 2 axles. This didn't bother me any, so I jumped on I-275 South and headed for the Skyway. Since I had a time deadline to get down to Port Manatee, I decided to go down and do what I needed to do and do the storm chasing on the way back. The winds from the outer bands of Ike were out of the west at 35-40 knots, with gusts close to 70. After being blown all over the bridge, I was shocked that the bridge was still open (they close it with sustained winds over 40).


Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Hurricane, Ike, Straight Line Winds

A Wet, Wild Night in Savannah Intercepting Tropical Storm Fay

Posted on Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 5:00 PM MST

SAVANNAH, GA -- The day started in Washington, DC, as Jake and I started our second day of the drive down to Florida. There was not a cloud in the sky as we got off the Capital Beltway and headed south into Virginia.

About 800 miles to the south, Tropical Storm Fay, which had made landfall near Fort Myers, FL two days earlier, had just popped out into the Atlantic Ocean off of Daytona Beach, moving ever so slowly to the north and east.


Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Hurricane, Fay, Flood

The Infamous Buzzards Bay Regatta Squall Line

Posted on Friday, August 1, 2008 at 5:00 PM MST

MARION, MA -- The afternoon of Saturday, August 2 started like any other afternoon. It was a perfect day for sailing, and the talk around the club was that the sailors would stay out late to take advantage of the beautiful conditions. Just before 4:00 PM, club management informed Chris, the other BYC Launch Driver, and I, that the National Weather Servece had just placed Marion under a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Calls then began to pour in from the various race committee boats telling us they were heading in ahead of the storm.

The first boats in the harbor were the big boats, who arrived just as the winds were starting to pick up with the approaching storm. The sail in was exciting for the big boats, heart thumping for the smaller boats, and dangerous for the 420s. The race committee did their best to shepherd the small boats into the harbor, but they eventually had to go in for their own safety. The first flurry of calls for launch service came in from frantic sailors just as the weather took a turn for the worse. Lightning and thunder exploded all around, sheets of rain started pouring down (we saw a few hailstones too), the winds started gusting, and the visibility went down to nothing.


Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Squall Line, Lightning, Straight Line Winds, Memorable

Successful Woods Hole Intercept

Posted on Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 5:00 PM MST

WOODS HOLE, MA -- When I fired up Weather Underground this past Saturday, I looked at Sunday's forecast and saw that there was an 80% chance of thunderstorms, as well as a huge batch of storms (some severe) stretching from upstate New York back into central New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The storm line was still there on Sunday morning. The National Weather Service had issued Severe Thunderstorm Warnings for western Mass and Connecticut, and by the time the storms reached us, I was waiting and ready to spring into action.


Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Lightning, Squall Line

A Near Miss in Marion

Posted on Sunday, July 13, 2008 at 5:00 PM MST

MARION, MA -- It was another typical day for me at BYC. It was an early Monday afternoon. The hot, humid, stagnant air made for a slow morning of launch driving.

With about an hour and a half left in my 7:30-3 shift, I noticed an impressive cloud buildup to the north of Sippican Harbor. It was hard to tell from the harbor, but the clouds looked like they were setting up north of Interstate 195.

By the time my shift ended at 2:45, everything was in place for a real whopper to go down. The skies had darkened, the feel of rain was imminent, but I still had yet to hear any thunder.


Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Bust

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