Dey Chasin’ Dat Ho-a-cane!

More often than not, the most memorable non weather related events of a storm intercept are eruptions of hilarious spontaneity. One recent trip threw one at me from nowhere, and it was a moment for all time.

RJ Evans and I were on our way down to the Florida Panhandle for an intercept of Hurricane Dennis, tooling along in a mobile mesonet vehicle that, while scientifically calibrated and designed for beneficial purposes, looks like a wheelbound mutation of the progeny of love liaisons involving a unicorn and a porcupine.

Some truckers have fun with this, and we with them. RJ has a CB radio onboard; and lurking on their descriptions and speculations of his vehicle is a pastime common to at least a few moments of every intercept mission therein. Many guess that we’re electrical workers of some sort. Once, a trucker in Kansas wondered if we were hunting for aliens, and more than a few folks have speculated that those inside are doing a mission for the CIA or FBI, or involved in some way with Area 51. Many do deduce, with as much accuracy as is possible under the circumstances, that the occupants are “storm chasers.”

Then there is the smartest and most astute one of all, one who had us figured out from the get-go. He was a Cajun broadcasting between Opelousas and Baton Rouge, speaking in an accent as warm, thick and authentic as good gumbo. Someone asked what in the world this strange blue Durango was, and he piped up with no hesitation, “Dey from Oklahoma. Dey chasin’ dat ho-a-cane.” Truer words never were spoken, yet we laughed so hard we hard trouble concentrating or seeing straight.

For more on our intercept of Dennis, including some entertaining encounters with Geraldo Rivera and a digital image gallery of the storm and its effects, see this link on Stormeyes.


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