We had to write about it! In the video below, watch a new Chevrolet commercial which features renowned storm chasers, Roger and Caryn Hill.
You can read the video’s description
“Roger Hill loves severe
weather. And over the past three decades, he has personally witnessed more than
650 tornadoes – more than anyone on earth. After years of chasing in his free
time, he turned his passion into a career, starting Silver Lining Tours. Now,
together with his wife Caryn, he guides groups across the country to witness
It’s his dream job, but it’s also demanding;
during storm season, Roger and Caryn are on the road for more 100 days
straight, driving hundreds of miles per day in pursuit of Mother Nature.
But before the season
begins, they go storm chasing as a couple. It’s a promise they made to each
other, a yearly adventure that takes them driving across America’s stunning
landscape. Watch as Roger and Caryn Hill traverse several states hunting the
The video was brought to our attention by Roger Hill, however the commercial was posted by CNN. The commercial is currently unlisted on YouTube.
This happened twenty eight years ago today! A handful of iconic and reconisgeable Tornadoes struck on the 26th April 1991.
The 26th April
started ominously as storms formed across central and western Oklahoma in the early
morning hours which then moved northeast. A Tornado struck Tonkawa, northern
Oklahoma around half an hour after sunrise. These storms moved northeast into
…However these storms weakened
in the late morning hours, but a dry line remained across central Kansas into central
Storms then redeveloped in the
afternoon along the dry line and outbreak of Tornadoes across much of central
and southern Plains happened. Before the outbreak ended, over fifty Tornadoes
had touched down in Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska…
…Five violent Tornadoes touched down in southern Kansas and
The most significant/deadliest
Tornado touched down in Wichita, Kansas when an F5 Tornado swept through the
southern and eastern portions of the Wichita metropolitan area – including the
McConnell Air Force Base and the town of Andover.
Four other Tornadoes received the F4 rating in this outbreak, three of these violent Tornadoes touched down in Oklahoma. One Tornado overturned several cars on the Cimarron Turnpike before striking Wesport and Skiatook.
A second F4 Tornado struck Oologah, Oklahoma, northeast of Tulsa. The other violent Tornado was the only one to strike within the National Weather Service Norman (branch) area of responsibility – initially touching down east of Enid, around two point five miles from Garber…
…This Tornado ultimately
became known as the ‘Red Rock’ Tornado. It touched down at around 6:30pm, moved
northeast around sixty six miles over an hour and a half – making it one of the
longest Tornado paths document in Oklahoma.
In closing of this outbreak overview, another six Tornadoes touched down in north central and north eastern Oklahoma during the late afternoon and evening of the 26th April 1991.
We didn’t particularly want to make this a wordy article, however we wanted to give this significant outbreak a well-balanced and detailed introduction.
Now you’ve read about it, now relive the 26th April 1991 outbreak thru the lens of a camera in the videos below.
possibly one of the most fascinating things you’ll see driving down the highway,
and it has one sole purpose…
Tornadoes! This is the Dominator 3 (Dom 3). The Dom 3 is a storm chasing
vehicle which is based on a Ford – super duty – truck.
It’s used by a
handful of chasers, including AccuWeather’s extreme meteorologist, Dr. Reed
withstand an EF-5 Tornadoes, packing two hundred mile per hour wind speeds. The
Dom 3 is literally used for intercepting Tornadoes.
The exterior of the vehicle is armoured platted. On top of the vehicle are several weather instruments, used to aid in a chaser and gather more data – including rockets.
The rockets – which can be seen in the above screen capture – will carry multiple sensors into the air.
The interior of
the vehicle is also COMPLETELY DECKED OUT! In the below quote, Dr Timmer
explains the some of the functionality of the vehicle.
“This is the cockpit of the Dominator 3, here you can see the real time display of wind speed and direction from the roof-mounted anemometer. So as we get close to the Tornado or even inside severe weather, we can report how strong those winds are.”
The 1st April marks the start of what is typically the most active & dangerous three-month period of the year for Tornadoes in the U.S.
Significant Tornadoes can happen in any month, as “we saw in early March” when twenty three lives were lost in the EF-4 Lee County, Alabama Tornado.
history illustrates April, May and June are the months with the highest potential
of having both the greatest number of Tornadoes…
… and the most intense Tornadoes
in a given year.
nineteen years (1998 – 2017), the U.S averaged one thousand two hundred and
thirty nine Tornadoes – which were crammed between April and June.
has seen the most Tornadoes each year, an average two hundred and seventy nine.
by June and April – which average around two hundred and thirteen + one hundred
and ninety two Tornadoes per year.
amount of Tornadoes from April to June is not the only reason why it makes it
such a dangerous time of year – their intensity is also a factor.
to Dr. Greg Forbes of The Weather Channel, fifty eight per cent of all
Tornadoes are rated EF3 or stronger (1950 – 2012) touched down in the above
mentioned months – statistics revealed.
The percentage grows to sixty nine perfect – relating to EF-4 Tornadoes (1950 – 2012) or stronger. The EF5 rating has been applied to fifty nine Tornadoes dating back to 1950 – all but ten happened in April, May or June.
Tornadoes significally pose a threat, however the most intense account for the
higher number of deaths and damage.
three per cent of the deaths from the year 2000 to 2013 were from Tornadoes
rated EF-3 or stronger, according to Forbes.
Suffice to say eight of the ten worst U.S
Tornado outbreaks happened in April or May. The reason why? Mostly due to the
fact that upper echelon Tornado intensities are more likely in those months.
nine out of the ten worst separate Tornadoes were spawned during April, May or
are Tornadoes more common in spring compared to other months? Simple! The
atmospheric elements come together more often this time of the year.
of Tornadoes tend to happen when a storm system is propelled by a strong southward
dip in the jet stream punches into the Plains, Midwest and or south…
This is accompanied by warm and humid air flowing northward out of the Gulf of
jet stream will provide deep wind shear and or changing wind speed and direction
with height – supportive of rotating supercell thunderstorms.
If the wind shear strong in the first thousand feed near the surface, these supercell thunderstorms would more likely spawn Tornadoes.
on what has happened in the past, the greatest threat of Tornadic thunderstorms
has shifted from the south into parts of the Plains and Midwest – migrates through
April, May and June.
that being said, we’re going to close this article. This post was inspired by
The Weather Channel’s article which was posted several days ago – read here.
Recent forecast models have suggested the possibility of severe weather from Friday through Monday from the central/south Plains to the Ohio valley, Tennessee valley and Dixie Alley, as reported by Zach Walters.
Walters said with it being too far off to make any projections, he will not report on those until Tuesday/Wednesday.
However, he did say when looking at the instability models and other elements there could be a handful of significant supercells across the southern Plains on Saturday. This means one or two Tornadoes could be produced.
We will have more on this potential
severe weather threat when it comes to light.
This post was inspired by Dennis Mersereau (Forbes Contributor)
The comments really got to us during the outbreak Sunday. It’s suffice to say catostropheres like Tornadoes bring out a variety of human behaviour. We tend to see this on show at every turn – news station meteorologist on to rescuers and the everyday joe public looking for ways to help after a catastrophic event – like Sunday’s Tornado Outbreak in AL and GA.
However, a passing scroll through social media during a news station’s severe weather coverage illustrates what it looks like when individuals choose a different route. Individuals tend to send news station meteorologists angry (livid, furious) messages – and it even sometimes get to the threats stage – whenever the news station has to stop regular programming (much-loved television show, sports event) to cover severe weather.
Its suffice to say news stations almost (almost) always stop regular programming in favour of covering severe weather events – inc. Tornado warnings. Because we’re writing in the UK, this type of scenario is standard in the U.S. and is rarely disturbed just because the final round of a PGA tour event is on. It’s mind boggling to see the barrage of hate that news station meteorologists get every time a TV show or sporting event is interrupted in favour of live coverage of severe weather events.
This above scenario played out in front of our eyes on Sunday when a violent Tornado outbreak happened in Alabama, Georgia and surrounding areas. The most significant Tornado was an EF-4 (preliminary) which took the lives of twenty three people in Lee County, Alabama. Whilst news station meteorologists warned people – to seek shelter – who were in the soon-to-be affected area – they had to go through cruel, bitter and spiteful tweets from viewers to put a PGA golf tournament back on air – see in tweets below.
FYI: no matter how much pressure the news station meteorologists receive from d**khead viewers to put a PGA golf event back on when a Tornado is destroying homes and changing lives, it’s extremely unlikely that a news station will ever chose to run normal – irrelevant TV – programming whilst a significant Tornado is occurring. NOT GONNA HAPPEN!
As Mersereau said in his post, “no matter how much selfish and angry hate mail people send”.
Our personal point of view can be found
“ITS NOT GONNA HAPPEN! You’ll just have to wait and see Tiger Wood’s meet his next mistress on the course later…”
News stations report
severe weather events – Tornado warnings – simply because it’s a hugely
(massively, enormously…) important service which essence saves lives. A severe
weather/Tornado warning ticker scrolling across the screen isn’t enough to save
lives. The viewers in the path of what could be a significant Tornado need to
see the radar, hear the towns and street names mentioned in order to drive home
and face the particular scenario.
“I’m getting angry whilst writing this post just thinking of people moaning about such a thing. We’re going to close this post on this last paragraph!”
Jamie Simms, website lead
incredible technology at our disposal today, we have the ability to track
Tornadoes in real-time – see debris being lofted in the air. It would be irresponsible,
thoughtless and stupid not to use the incredible technology we have at
presently in order to warn people in the path of a severe storm – Tornado.
Thanks to Dennis Mersereau for inspiring this post. We highly suggest you go and read his version on the same subject here.
We’re not going to say anything, we’re going to turn it over to Rich Lewis to give us his update – which he posted on his Facebook wall.
“Just want to
give everyone an update. I just got back home to Birmingham about 30 min ago. I
can’t find the words to describe how I am feeling emotionally. I’m exhausted
and have so much on my mind. 14 hours of SAR operations has taken its toll on
me. The damage I witnessed in Beauregard AL was horrific.
The only damage I’ve seen that was worse was Joplin. The entire area looked like a war zone. Trees were debarked as if you’d peel a banana. Homes completely wiped from their foundations. County Rd 39 and Cave Mill Road, the epi-centre of ground zero had pavement scoured away which was a big factor in the EF-4 rating.
At 6 am we
still had 20 people missing and many still trapped under rubble. Sadly two more
casualties were uncovered bringing the fatality total to 24. A specialized team
with cadaver dogs was present, and seeing that hit me hard in the pit of my
stomach. They aren’t there for search and rescue.
They are there prepared for recovery. It doesn’t get any more sobering than that. Overnight SAR concentrated heavily on the wooded areas surrounding the heaviest damage path. One crew found a gentleman displaced 1/4 mile away from his home. The crew I was with found multiple survivors buried under mounds of tree debris.
I talked to
numerous survivors that have lost their entire family. One young man lost both
his parents, and both sets of Grandparents to this tornado. Children were
amount the casualties, the youngest a 6 year old boy, an 8 year old little
girl, and a 10 year old girl who will never come home from a sleepover at a
was about as bad as it can get. I cried almost the whole way home this
I believe casualties could have been lessened significantly if people had taken the warnings more serious. The common theme I heard throughout today was we didn’t see a tornado, we didn’t know one was on the ground. Some of the worst killers hide shrouded in rain. Just because you don’t see a tornado, doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
Lead time was
9 minutes from the moment the tornado touched down to the epi-centre of ground
zero in the heaviest damage zone. However the first reports of this storm going
tornadic happened just east of Montgomery and 1:30 and was tornado warned
It is vital to
be weather aware on days such as yesterday. Have a ready action plan in place.
And if you know you’re in the path of a tornadic storm, that’s the time to
start taking precautions. Don’t wait until you hear sirens, don’t wait until
you see the tornado, because it’s too late.
tornado was so heavily rain-wrapped very few got a glimpse of the monster
lurking behind the walls of precip anyways. Yesterday and into the overnight
will stay with me for the rest of my life. This isn’t my first tornado disaster
or SAR, but this one was definitely different.
It hit me
harder as it’s the first time I connected with the victims on a deep emotional
level. I want to take this moment to thank everyone for their kind messages,
words of encouragement, gratitude, and the all the posts. I was overwhelmed
when I saw the amount of support I had when I got home. Today was very rough,
but each and every one of you reminded me why it’s important to give back.
Again, we can’t thank you enough for what you did Rich.
We’re going to start this post a little differently, we’re going to let Lewis’ friend Chris Dickerson give a sense of what this post is about to be about.
“I’m very proud to call Rich Lewis a friend as it is, but to leave your home at night to drive south and participate in private search and rescue efforts after the authorities called them off?”
How did this all come to light you ask? Lewis posted a thought-provoking and significant statement on his Facebook wall last night – which can read in full below.
“Earlier this evening, Lee County
Alabama officials made the hard decision to call off search and rescue (SAR)
operations and resume early this morning as recovery efforts. It’s a hard
decision and one Emergency Management doesn’t take lightly without great pause.
It’s now time for some us to step up and what
we do best as this is the worst natural disaster in history for the region, and
the deadliest Tornado since the 2013 Moore OK Tornado.
Thankfully, there are now private search
and rescue crews from all over the South here to continue SAR operations
throughout the night along with the help of volunteer’s from local agencies who
aren’t ready to give up.
There are still people missing, temps
have dropped substantially and we could see wind chills by morning in the 20’s
and maybe even the teens in much of Alabama. If we can save even just a few
more lives, then it’s worth it.
Time is of the essence for anyone
injured or still missing in these temps. We just had a briefing with Red Cross
officials. SAR operations will continue from Beaurgard to Smiths Station AL overnight.
It will be a long night, and we will
likely see the death toll rise. Please pray for the first responders tonight,
we will likely see things none of us want to see. Continue to pray for the
families so adversely affected by tonight’s deadly Tornadoes.”
It goes without
saying, this is a whole other level of kind-heartedness. Not forgetting, the
service Lewis is giving to the affected community.