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Storm Chasing
The Most Amazing View: A Diary Page 10

by Amos Magliocco   Copyright 1998 Amos Magliocco All Rights Reserved


This one says it all
Steve Miller studies the maps
Copyright 1998 Clinton Norwood All Rights Reserved


In New Braunfels, we saw a truck stop. We needed gas and some food. There was a restaurant inside, and maybe a phone jack for the laptop. I worried about staying here too long, and the risk of being passed again by the front. We went in and ordered lunch. The laptop battery gave us forty minutes of life at best, usually less. As we ate, Steve poured through the latest surface observations. There were others in the diner, watching this strange group of young men huddled around the small, thin laptop screen.

"Look at that," someone said, pointing out the window. To the northeast, as if to mock our convergence around the computer, a large, well-organized storm brewed well within sight. Look out the window once in a while. Now we scrambled to finish our food and pay the check at the same time. The young female cashier was amazed at us.

"I want to go to school to study weather, too," she said. "I want to chase storms for a living." Steve made polite conversation as quickly as he could, and pointed to the storm outside, which was getting away. "Yeah, it looks pretty dark out there," she said and gave us our change.

We approach from the southwest
Getting dark out there.
Copyright 1998 Clinton Norwood All Rights Reserved

In the vehicles, we scoured the maps for an angle on the storm. Getting near the southwest edge of it, we stopped to observe some lowerings and suspicious scud. There seemed to be some rotation to the features. It was growing darker and darker at the center. The beast was moving fast. We headed down a dirt road that turned in an unexpected direction. We turned back around. A severe thunderstorm warning now came out for this storm and we grew more tense. It was organizing, a solid, identifiable base and a distinct rainshaft. A few cloud to ground lightning strikes in the distance punctuated our growing fear that the storm was escaping. Clint snapped pictures like a machine gun as Eric and I raced our vehicles around the dirt roads. Eric turned the emergency light on to influence any wheeled obstacles to clear a path.  Out of the way, please, my friend has a flashing yellow light. Steve held the map and directed us to the most efficient routes, but there was no catching it. Another storm was going up to the south, and we moved in that direction.

It's hauling ass (storm on the right side of the pic)
Central Texas storm, soon to be tornadic. 
Without us.
Copyright 1998 Clinton Norwood All Rights Reserved

More storms fired along the line and moved to the northeast. We moved to the southeast, positioning ourselves to catch the storms as they came by. One after another, they went up and died away. A tornado warning went out for Caldwell county—a tornado on the ground spotted by local law enforcement.

"Was that our storm?" I asked Steve.

"Yes," he said, dejectedly.

You should have seen the one that got away.


Cyclone Road