While out taking care of some errands (as quickly as possible so I can start covering weather and such around Florida) on May 8th, 2013, came across some distinctive brush fire type smoke in the distance. I attempted to drive up to it, but it ended up in an area road access was quite restricted (aka no roads). This was near the Little Manatee River just of I-75 south of Ruskin/Sun City Center.
Typically this is the kind of scene in the dry season (fall & winter) but in the wet season (spring and summer) it is rather rare. However, an unusual patter with an upper level high pressure system that has dominated over the southern US region & Gulf of Mexico has brought in dry conditions. It makes for great relief from the hot and humid for those that don’t like that kind of weather, but it does increase the fire hazard. Here, obviously with some damage.
Further internet research provides no further details on the damage, extent or even if it was actually a controlled burn (only a possible assumption by me because of the proximity to the Little Manatee River park and an early story I saw of prescribed burns in the Upper Manatee River park area (this is the lower region).
In the dry season I do plan of covering some of the fires, but like with my other severe weather coverage it is always difficult to report on because of the internal and external conflict. It is exciting for me to chase down, get close to the danger, but it is damaging to crops and homes and lives.
This upcoming Sunday appears to see a slight return in thunderstorm activity for the west-central region (Tampa region). I’m hoping to be out filming. Granted my first time or two I’m out I probably will have a little difficulty “getting it right” but still should have some imagery to share (and sell?). Now, of course today there was some great action in south Florida….too far for me to get to. Just take a look at this radar:
So, the second phase (and final for my mother) of the move is coming up in just a few weeks. The first trip was quite successful. We did a bit of camping (your can read that on my iGeoWarrior Blog) and got to see our first, albeit weak Thunderstorm from a little bit of sea breeze interaction over the Sun City Center area.
As things look right now, I’ll be down in the Port Charlotte area for the first month. This will be a great time to revisit in detail, areas where I was during Hurricane Charley back in 2004 (still trying to grasp that was nine years ago). That was just across the river in Punta Gorda. You’ll probably find me fairly regularly at the Celtic Ray, made famous in the Hurricane Charley documentary (on DVD). While in Port Charlotte also will be looking to acquire my next vehicle. I did sell the Jeep a number of weeks ago and now I can get something a little more practical for the long yet easy drives throughout Florida (for filming and other work). Later I’ll purchase another storm chasing and outdoors vehicle like the Jeep or Subaru I had.
Really looking forward to getting down. Wet season is already firing up and some good storm action hitting the peninsula already (I hate missing each one). Seen some good imagery from a various friends (like Jeff Gammons over at Stormvisuals). I certainly can’t let him have all the fun anymore (hahaha). Actually there is a number of people in Florida I look forward to seeing again.
Well, time to get this Florida bit underway. This will be a trip to take care of some logistics and such for the upcoming move. Luckily the weather is going to be fantastic for camping. Yup, plan on camping down there this time. Saving money, enjoying a little outdoors and taking the dog means hotels are either not available or too pricey. Will be packing light of sorts. Actually driving down in a Moving truck, but after the stuff is dropped off, I won’t have much with me (still driving back to Maryland). Looking to spend about five days there, but not set in stone.
The days in the graphic are my actual trip dates, but close enough. I tell you what, can’t wait till I’m back in Florida. As much as I criticize the state, that’s all government and regulation issues. The weather, people, and more are fantastic, and this time I’m moving to the greater Tampa area, so it should be a lot better (aka more mature) than my two previous ventures in Miami. I don’t think I’ll have a lot of “weather” to document, and may not have any time to chase should storms fire. However, I’m sure there will be some sunsets and sunrises and a few other Florida themed filming and photography done. Will have plenty of updates once on the road (well, probably once I’m in Florida). Definitely have some images to share.
Well, that was fun….kinda. Yes, I do love snow, can’t get enough of it. However, this past event, much like the earlier March storm (that was all but a complete bust) didn’t seem to extrude that much excitement out of me. I don’t know whether to blame the busy home sale and pending move for my mind being distracted or whether I’m still in a post snowmageddon (winter 2009/2010) phase that now expects epic events every time.
This is probably not that much different that what I have somewhat suffered from plains tornado chasing (and seen in many others). Once you’ve been out and seen some large tornadoes and had the experience of the most intense situations, the smaller “average” events don’t seem to cut it anymore. I think in part that is why I have not been a consistent chaser that is out season after season. Granted it also has been due to things like school, work, lack of funds, but there has been some sense of I’ve seen the extreme and the rest just won’t live up.
It will be interesting to see how things play out after the move. I’m still wrestling with other priorities, but it is near the end. I’m blogging more and getting back into the weather side of things (and also a few other interests and hobbies).
Going back to this past event, I did head out in the Jeep, though conditions didn’t warrant the extra capabilities, I did manage to travel north a little to up and round southern Frederick County (the next county north of home). Originally hoped to ascend Sugarloaf Mountain, but the owner’s kept the road up close (though it was free of snow). I decided to circle around the back (north) side. More opportunities existed this time versus the earlier March event (where I didn’t even get the cameras out in time) but still limited. I grabbed a few pictures and some filming, but it certainly wasn’t enough to even make a full package out of. Footage will likely just get added to the winter stock film collection.
I can’t imagine another snow event. The next “event” that is seasonally oriented is the Cherry Blossoms, which I will likely be covering again. Oddly, the original predictions had the peak occurring of the next couple of days. That was readjusted of course, now quite a few days into April (more traditional time frame). Probably will only cover it for a couple visits (couple of days). I am going to use the next few days for planning. That planning mostly is about seeing what I have already done, and not copying, but adding to the stock library. This will be the third season I’ll have HD footage and quality pictures of the blossoms down on the tidal basin.
Well, things are finally starting to wrap up with the house sale. The move is yet to come, but I can finally start looking at my business again and focus on working to get Stormitecture going full time. This blog and website is part of that. I decided the old look was nice, but I’m trying to find a new look. I’m not convinced this is the final either. But I wanted to have something different. I seem to do better when I experiment and add a little trial and error to the push.
I’m also going to go back and re-evaluate a number of things. Some of this is related to business and avenues for business. Some of it is social related. But in the end, it is about making a positive push.
I’ll likely have some more blogs coming up. The next one is likely to be about the GoPro Hero 3 Black I purchased not long ago. I haven’t even really given it a full work out yet. Still trying to get use to the MacBook Pro so editing is somewhat of a challenge. I may actually try the PC again to get some sample stuff out (on the internet).
I can’t wait to get to Florida though, cause that will really bring in the heavy increase of new content. Between adventures and new filmings, increased work, and new friends and business connections, should be a great time.
Here is a quick share of a picture from a couple weeks back of some slight snow. This season has been seriously lacking of snow. In part why you haven’t seen much. Even the last system which was suppose to amount to a decent amount of snow was all but a complete bust. I didn’t even get a chance to get imagery before the snow turned to rain and made the entire look of things awful. Heck, I turned my drive out to Virginia into a geocaching trip to get some enjoyment out of the day.
Well, looks like the statement: good things come to those who wait, is truly in effect. As I may have mentioned before (though haven’t blogged in a long time) that I likely will be moving back to Florida in the not so distant future. So with this late season snow storm, I will have my last play and film outing for winter conditions in what will probably be a long time. Granted I don’t rule out traveling north out of the state again for a snow event. If that happens in the future, it’ll be more like a hurricane intercept type chase.
The forecast for the DC region is anywhere from 4 to 8 inches of snow. There is a deeper snow forecast for further west into West Virginia. For this, the panhandle region is the furthest I’ll likely travel. I blog a little bit later with more specific, or blog once I’m on the road. It appears to be a LONG event with 24 hours of snow fall.
At least I FINALLY get to have the Jeep do its thing.
What an usual way to wrap up the severe weather season and pull into the winter season. Tornadoes on Christmas Day, and it is followed by another round of storms coming not far behind.
Around home, there is mostly just annoyance weather with some light dustings of snow, but today it has switched over to sleet and cold rain. It may switch back over to snow, maybe, later this evening.
To south of me, down in the Carolinas however, the tornado thread has moved in, and considering yesterday’s tornadoes in Mobile, Alabama and Monticello, Mississippi and other areas, there is a respectable chance we could see an isolated event. Definitely a tempting day to head out and chase, but in the end, I did not. The cold air wasn’t exactly exciting, and I need to set up the new MacBook Pro laptop I recently purchased. So it will have to be an armchair chase today. Probably will update the blog later this evening once the significant severe portion of the storm has pushed off the coast. Then I’ll probably look at the next threat of inclement weather to the region (DC area) is going to be.
Driving (well passenger at the moment) north through South Carolina on the way back to the DC area reviewing some of the various aspects of the quick trip to Florida. Overall very productive and a renewed energy (needed) to wrap up various projects in the house in Maryland to sell it so my mother can retire and most likely I too will move to Florida.
The trip was productive for my mother because she had a chance to experience the communities she and I had been researching on the internet. It was quite productive for me as I was able to research my living arrangements (probably at my mothers while I do the home improvements, then on my own a couple months later in the Tampa area) and business prospects (filler film/video and photography work).
I also found a little bit of time to get some time lapse and photography captured. May not be able process the timelapse at full resolution right away (need a more powerful computer) but got plenty of cool photos and videos. Can’t wait to be down in Florida full time…already have scoped out two dozen locations for local filming and that isn’t even some of the leads I made for regular work.
The one thing I considered doing upon my return, but think I best be served by focusing on the house is another trip to New Jersey to cover the aftermath of Superstorm / Hurricane Sandy. As much as I would like to cover the ongoing recovery, I very much think my time is better served on making the transition to Florida run faster and sooner. I will have to see though later tonight about heading to the coastline as I wouldn’t stay home long before jumping back in the Jeep.
Update: Summary Page for the chase is here
It has been a number of days since I returned from Hurricane Sandy intercept, and time for a quick summary. There will be a full page with images, video, etc. later, after I return from Florida.
This was a very unusual situation for me since the beginning. As I mentioned on my facebook page, my tropical chase season tends to wrap up in early to mid October. In fact, I was well entrenched in my fall foliage season, with a number of trips done and more to have been done when Sandy started on the scene. Being out of season, I was not on top of this storm from the beginning and think I fell behind the curve the whole time. For that reason I believe I somewhat botched this chase.
Models where not in very good agreement as whether or not Sandy would make landfall straight into my area (DC region) or up on Long Island. Because of other travel arrangements, I was limited in the time I could take to spend on this. More and more I believed the Euro model was to be favored and it would landfall n northern NJ and/or New York City. But just a few days out, models came into alignment for a central to southern New Jersey landfall, which was something I could intercept.
I left Sunday afternoon for what was the shortest drive to a Hurricane intercept in my life…just 200 miles from home. Usually it is a marathon 15 to 30 hour drive to the target. Isaac for example, just this season had me drive from the DC area to Key West with only a short 4 hour rest stop nap near Jacksonville. Then from Key West to Gulf Port with just a few stops of 1 hour power naps. Sandy however meant I could take my time. Since my Jeep isn’t in the best of shape (but is specifically built for this kind of weather) I stopped a couple times on my way to central New Jersey.
I connected with fellow chase partner Mark Ellinwood in the Toms River area, where on Monday morning he decided to go north and I south. He actually ended up with the better location in a way because the lack of barrier islands meant he was able to get right up tomthe ocean. I however, struggled to find any access to the ocean because much of the local roads wherealready going under water due to both the slow surge of Ocean water and the large amounts of rain already battering the state.
I eventually made my way down to Pleasantville area which is on the mainland side of Atlantic City. There I tried to gain access to Atlantic City,but the floodwaters had already covered access roads, so regardless of credentials or importance, the barrier islands where cut off.
Drove around a bit to try and capture a bit of the flooding from there, but it wasn’t easy, nor where dealing with police (more on that in a later blog). Eventually, after talking with a few folks, I hopped back on the Garden State Parkway (rt.444) and returned to central New Jersey, again connecting with Mark. There I did manage some good footage, but by this time I was getting rather wet and the cold temperature were not helping my motivation to get outside the Jeep and film.
As the storm certainly showed a trend toward southern New Jersey as it got closer, Atalntic City was the intercept point we now sought and we juked south. Day light was already fading, so we knew there was little time to waste. I wanted to get. To what was left of the maximum wind fields for what was left of the eye of the storm. See at this point, it was clear the storm had transitioned to extra tropical and therefore I had a harder time determining the best course of action. We did arrive in Atlantic City this time as flood waters had receeded and police were gone (taking shelter). However, there wasn’t much to see and we didn’t stay long. My camera also had developed fog/haze on the inner elements and was not going to be useful for a long time. I told Mark, for me I was kinda done at this point. Cold and wet, dark and not too productive. I wanted to just track the center toward the west. maybe it would head down toward Baltimore.
We departed Atlantic City and did stay with the center of the storm until we connected with I-295 in New Jersey, just north of Delaware. A brief stop (to let my Jeep rest), and at this point I was really done and we pretty much drove straight home from there.
Overall, probably the least favorite and hardest storm to endure. Being that wet, but yet that cold just isn’t fun. Perhaps if it was a long distance chase where I had prepared for it more, had better clothing (not really equipped with cold weather tropical intercepts) and it was in-season I may have felt differently. But this will likely stand for some time as my least favorite.
In upcoming blogs I will talk more about the storm itself, my take on the rebuilding question, and get into more details. I probably will also have a blog or two from Florida in between.
As Sandy continues her track north along the Eastern seaboard, turning and twisting, playing with the minds of meteorologists and reeking havoc with the models trying to calculate what she is going to do next, there are many that are already seem pessimistic about the situation. As seems to be the case with some the last few years many call out “over hyped” mostly speaking of the media, but not exclusively. This criticism almost exclusively comes from Twitter, Facebook, etc. users that are not directly affected by the situation. Social media is a stream of current information, with millions of people commenting on various aspects of the world. Usually it is more random, localize information, both news media wise, but personally too. What this criticism likely comes from is a failure to full grasp the nature of what social media is, and how even as wonderful it is, it is far from perfect. Those diverse and ecletic voices sharing different things are now experiencing much of the same thing therefore a person’s social media feed is overwhelmed with that singular shared experience. I admit, it is a little annoying and monotomous to read the same or similar messages over and over again. But there ways and means to control that. That is why I generally don’t say that Sandy or many other similar situations (not just hurricanes) are over hyped, it is more just the fact of social media and the shared human experience.
There is one area that I do see as annoying and does qualify as “over hyped”. This criticism does rightfully belong to those that use too many colorful adjectives, are fishing for self recognition, saturate their output onto the social networks, etc. You know the ones:
Hey @johndoemediaperson Look at this image I just posted: pic.abc.123
This storm is totally freaking awesome, and I just saw a zillion WEDGE tornadoes
and it was a rainshaft or weak dust devil.
Now, I haven’t been perfect either. I am not trying to say I am holier-than-thou, but with some it is a chronic disease on their social networking. The shame of it is, it is media pros, experienced chasers, and other folks that in everyday life are calm and collected people. They certainly over dramatise the situation to the point it becomes less interesting and shows a poor ability to quantify the level of risk, danger, fun, importance, etc. When everything is EXTREME, nothing is extreme.
Sandy is a good storm with lots of high level risks and the media has a job to do, to get the information and warnings out to those that need it. Yes, there will be spillage of information in your feed that you don’t need or seems over kill, but it isn’t always about you! Keep things in perspective and most likely tou’ll enjoy the event a lot more.