April Fools Day “Bustola, Bill”

April 3, 2006 by
Filed under: Summary 

Like many others, we had higher hopes for this day than the answer key which ultimately was provided to us by the atmosphere. Elke and I rode along with Dave Gold and his friend Bob from Orlando, who had flown into OKC just for this event. [Ouch.]

We headed out to Clinton before committing to a NE Panhandle play (along the dryline, hoping for late initiation and moisture return) or SW OK/NW TX (better moisture, more concerns about discrete versus clustered failure modes). We noticed a subtle dryline bulge to the WNW while drivig through the Shattuck area, as well as discrete development NE of Pampa. Things looked promising. Onward we zigzagged into Lipscomb County, targeting either of two discrete storms to our WSW and SW that had showed some effort to become supercellular. But both storms eventually turned out to be high based pieces of junk, devoid of enough structure to be worth shooting photos. Roger H called Dave to let him know the southern storm was nothing special; and when Roger is underwhelmed about the action, you *know* it must suck. 🙂

We ended up at sunset eating sandwiches bought from that funky new grocery store on the S side of Shattuck, while Rich called and told me some baldfaced lie (April Fool’s day, remember) about two tornadoes he saw with the storm near Clinton. We headed back just behind the heaviest precip from the squall line, enjoying a sporadic but beautiful show of CGs and crawlers int he trailing precip region. Some of the crawler eruptions would last 5 seconds or more and cover large areas of the sky. It was too dispersed and intermittent for photography, however, and we were rather fatigued anyway.

On some of the hills S of Darouzett, we encountered Alnado and also met Bill Gargan and his wife. They and a garishly painted TV van from AMA were the only other chasers we saw.

Chasing with Dave again for the first time in 16 years was cool and brought back a lot of old memories from the NSSL IOT&E2 days. [Thanks Dr_DAG for inviting us along!] It was almost worth the time and effort, just for old times’ sake, to hear Dave tell Bill once again: “Bustola Bill, Bustola.” This was Dave’s first chase of the year, so the effort wasn’t totally wasted as we were able to test out various equipment that Dave is planning to use this year for his tour excursions.

Having seen both GR-Level-3 and Baron satellite radar on different chases so far this year, I must say that real time radar *can* be useful, especially at night for avoiding trouble or in very low visibility daytime situations. If one could have the continuous connectivity of Baron with the superior display capabilities of Gibson Ridge, that would be a very popular product.

But it’s far too easy for users to get too engrossed in the laptop screen, at the expense of other very important aspects of situational awareness. I’m no Type A multitasker, and found it difficult to analytically interpret then deduce cogent answers to questions about what was on the radar screen, while still keeping track of navigational software, Internet weather data, stopping and restarting software that was flaking out repeatedly (Baron) and actually watching the sky, in a moving vehicle. Too much going on at once!

Attention gets spread too thin and precludes appropriately deep concentration on any given aspect. Maybe this is why I don’t mind chasing with spazmos like Rich, Ryan, Dave and RJ, who somehow have mastered the ability to walk, talk, chew gum, look two different directions with each eyeball, eat a bag of stale trail mix and scratch their butts all at once. 🙂 Meanwhile I usually just drive, which is something that needs and deserves the type of deep, full, singleminded concentration that my synapses are best hardwired to deliver.

Now it looks like we may be faced with a similar problem for Wednesday (the “Day before the Day”) — somewhat late/mistimed big wave, questions about moisture return, convective mode and orientation of kinematic fields.


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