This year has been epic for unplanned chases/interceptions. Today was exactly that.
I decided that I would wash my car, not being aware it would become rather pointless in a few hours. I KNEW that there was a severe watch box way west and there was a line of storms within it. I figured as it moved east, we would be in the watch box too. I knew it would probably rain some if anything. Never got the chance to check anything in detail as we had company over. So, I proceed to wash my vehicle which was BADLY in need of a good detailed wash. I spent a good hour or so doing this. Went inside, showered and got dressed to go see my friend at his work at Military Circle Mall just west of me in Norfolk.
The last thing I checked before I left the house was GR Level 3 (which is a really souped up radar program) I saw the line of storms and it was pretty intense looking. I figured I would have enough time to visit my friend and run to the shops and go home. GOOD LUCK.
It was a quarter to 3 when I got in my car to leave. I noticed the dark clouds to the west as I drove. When I arrived to see my friend, I had him load GR3. It appeared to relatively be the same image as the one I viewed when I left. Then noticed it was not updating. *shrug* I just chatted with my friend about some issues with my bank and spent time calling the bank and settling things. When I got off the phone I noticed the lightning through the skylights overhead. Checked radar. Still no update. I got my stuff together and we walked out to my car and the line of storms was JUST beginning to move in. Thankfully, my drive was from west to east, so I thought I could beat it. Yet another “GOOD LUCK”
Traffic was slooow. Military Highway was NOT my friend at this moment. I had my phone and was checking radar through IMap Weather for T-Mobile G1. I was tricked into thinking the radar site was back up. Little did I know that they use long range radar. Still, I had radar. AND a phone that has a great camera and video capability. I switched on the video recorder as there were some spectacular CG lightning bolts going on. I videoed for a while and did not get a single bolt. The conditions were deteriorating quickly as I crept along traffic. I came to my turn and made my way down Northampton Blvd to head to a shop I needed to stop by.
By that time the radar on my phone showed that I was pretty much in the thick of it. The most intense part. Joy. I was core-punching. Sometimes we have no choice. I got out of the car and ran in and out of the shop and got back in the car to go home. The rain was horizontal and very heavy. I could almost see NOTHING at times. I wound up taking a back route to get home as taking the highway would have probably ended in disaster.
What I found to be amusing is the fact that I cannot drive well at night. My vision and depth perceptions are all off, even with my glasses (I am restricted) and yet, here I am in the middle of a rather large severe warned line of storms with horrid visibility, minor flooding, juggling my phone for radar updates..and I have no trouble at all. Seems a bit WRONG doesn’t it?
So, I found out, via @MartinMMC on Twitter that KAKQ Wakefield radar had an on site lightning strike. Which is why the radar and observations were not updating. I took a screen shot of what apparently is the last radar update before the strike. It was on my computer when I got home as I left the program open.
Now, for the funny lighthearted stuff that ALWAYS seems to happen on a chase, impromptu intercept or not..
Yes, my friends..that would be a Crown Vic on what appears to be 24 inch rims. All I can say is that when I chase in Norfolk, I always seem to aquire a treat like this. Never ceases to amaze me. I love it.