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Back in Dallas After A 10-Day Whirlwind Tour

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We chase whirlwinds (tornadoes), but we also had a whirlwind time travelling from state to state. In fact we put 2200 miles (3300 kilometres) on the odometer and passed through nine states: Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.

When we weren’t chasing storms, we managed to fit in other activities such as the Johnson Space Centre, McConaughy Recreational Area and Terry’s Bison Park. We’ve had a great time visiting new places, meeting friends and when storms have appeared, we have been amazed at how each one appears to have its own personality.

There are a few things that we have noticed during this trip; Americans appear to be very upbeat right now as the U.S. economy is humming along. Wherever we went, people were friendly and very helpful.

Something we have noticed on the negative side is the shocking state of many of the roads including the interstate highway system. We have always marveled at this vast network which was first started under President Eisenhower in the 1950’s. So many of the roads now are cracked, corrugated and full of pot holes, that in places we started to wonder if the suspension and tires on our vehicle would survive. It appears that a lot of money qis being spent to upgrade the roads, with road work delays a common feature of travel.

Lastly, the trend of the last several years is continuing with fewer severe storms, including tornadoes. May is usually the peak month for tornadoes, but this year the numbers are way down, 50% from the average. As the saying goes, “Better luck next year”.

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Posted by PassionRetirees 19:48 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Our Last Day Of Storm Chasing

It turns out that our last day of chasing was in Wyoming, north of Cheyenne. The following day was to be a poor storm day and after that, we had to head back to Dallas. We had some time to kill in the morning, so we went to Terry’s Bison Ranch. There are not only Bison there, but also horses with their foals, goats, camels, and llamas.

Of course, the Bison are the special attraction here. The herd is 5,000 in total, many are descendants from the Bison used in the film, Dances With Wolves. It was delightful to see the Bison up close. They can be hand fed which we got the opportunity to do. On the property is buried a Bison who was the heaviest on record at 2250 pounds. The were also a pair of twins, scampering around in the field. Twins in Bison is quite rare. The highlight for children and adults was to feed these gentle giants from a tram which does a circuit of the property. The site is definitely worth a visit.

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From the Bison farm we raced northward to intercept a storm about 50 miles notth of Cheyenne. While this storm showed some potential with some wind shear and rotation, the cold air shut off the energy flow into the storm and by early evening it was time to call it a day.

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Posted by PassionRetirees 20:28 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Tornado Producing Storm In Nebraska

The western region of Nebraska called the Nebraska Panhandle, was our target area for severe storms on this day. We didn’t have a great distance to drive and paid a leisurely visit to a surprising spot, Lake McConaughy, This lake is so long (22 miles) that the opposite end is over the horizon. It was created in 1941 by the daming of the North Platte River. Today it is a hydroelectric resource as well as a great spot for recreational activities. It really was a totally inexpected find.

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Then it was on to where the action was happening. We drove in a northwesterly direction, through the town of Oshkosh, then on towards Broadwater. It was there that a storm really intensified. A rotation showed up on our radar and in the distance we could see the clouds circulating.
It was a bit later that we found out from the National Weather Service that a small tornado was spawned. It did create some damage which we saw on the way out of the area. We passed several fields with twisted sheets of metal and torn fencing where some cattle had escaped, and were wandering on the highway. We also passed an overturned truck that had obviously been impacted by the tornado.

This storm in Nebraska was a highlight of this trip, considering what a down year it has been for twisters. As we were almost at the Wyoming border and not too far from Cheyenne, we decided to head there for the night. The area was also being primed for possible severe storms the following day.

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Posted by PassionRetirees 22:49 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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