Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Trip of a Lifetime

It is hard to believe that SWIFT 2014 is already coming to an end. These past two weeks were some of the most memorable, knowledgeable, and challenging of my life. My most memorable experience from this trip was the Mother's Day tornado on May 11. Going into that day I knew it was going to be an important day because all of the weather models and data had great predictions for supercells and possibly tornadoes in Nebraska. The day started off exciting as the cumulus clouds began to build and small blips on the radar began to appear. As we raced to a developing storm, excitement was high and we were ready to see our second tornado in two days. The sunshine quickly turned to darkness as we neared the supercell. We continued to track this storm and experienced some issues navigating the dirt roads of rural Nebraska. The stops we made to get out of the van to see the supercell's rotation was exhilarating. We kept getting closer to the storm and experienced strong winds and rain. Watching the supercell, and tornado located within the supercell, pass to our North was the experience of a lifetime. Only being three miles from an EF-3 tornado was the biggest adrenaline rush. Never could I replace what I learned and experienced that day.
This day was also the most knowledgeable for me. While tracking the storm, we periodically stopped to get out of the van and observe the storms rotation, updraft, downdraft, path, etc. What I learned that day can never be replaced by textbook diagrams or lectures. Learning how storms and tornadoes behave and grow up close and personal makes me want to learn even more and makes me proud of my major. 
Also on May 11, I was the weather team leader. What an experience that was trying to put together the weather brief when I knew ahead of time that this day would be an important one in observing storms. It was challenging to analyze the data and pick the right target area with such a big day ahead of us. The day became even more challenging while the storms were developing. It was hard to track the storm we were interested in and navigate the dirt roads of Nebraska. This challenge did not end until we were finished with chasing the storm for the day.
Overall, SWIFT was a very rewarding experience. I never thought looking at clouds could be so exciting. What I learned from this trip can never be replaced and I will cherish the memories forever. 

-"Hook Echo" Hank Glenn

No comments:

Post a Comment