Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stats of a Slow Season

2014 may in fact be my slowest start to a storm chasing season ever. With each run of the GFS it looks increasingly likely March won't offer up a storm chase. Not the first time, other years I haven't chased in March were 2008 and 2013.

In each of those years, my first April chases were April 6th and April 10th respectively. So, theoretically 2014 needs to go to April 10th in order to rank it as the slowest personal start to a season ever....BUT...something interesting about 2013 and 2008 is that both of those years featured an Illinois chase in JANUARY, and 2008 had the notorious Super Tuesday outbreak in February that I chased. While not part of traditional chase season, the setups all included tornadic thunderstorms and do count as official chases for me.

So, going off that, plus the fact in all the other years I've had a March chase by now, its safe to say that 2014 is off to the slowest personal start of any chase season.

Not chasing February 20th was a huge blunder on my part. I almost did, I checked the RAP the night before and it showed the potential, but it was an outlier and I thought it was overdoing things like its been known to do. With no other model support, being climalogically unfavored, and me not having any of my gear ready I simply decided to ignore it. What I should have done was wake up early to monitor things in the morning but by the time I slothed out of bed at 1pm it was too late. That day stings.

So here we have it...the slowest start ever for me. I am bored, coming down with serious cabin fever. I need to be out there soon. Cmon 2014, get your shit together!!!!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Finding My Place

Chasing has rapidly changed over the years. On the evolutionary scale you have the first breed of chasers, the old schoolers. They have the best instincts, can chase blind without the need of technology and run circles around everyone if they chose to do so, but they dont (lucky for the newcomers.)

Then you have the new breed, they spend more time keeping up to date with technology than they do actually learning about the science of meteorology. They come from rich families, own fancy cameras, expensive laptops, but couldnt chase their own tail into a wall if you pointed it out to them. They wouldnt survive 10 years ago, plain and simple.

The dividing line between the two groups might as well be the Grand Canyon. I can tell just by what I observe online. Veteran chaser status are only commented on/followed by other veterans, and likewise for the newcomers. The mixed involvement seems to be the exception rather than the rule.

And yet...like always, I find myself in the middle. Inside the grand canyon. Climbing up either way and falling back down. I came in at the tail end of the old generation, just as the transition towards the new generation was beginning to take shape. I hate technology and wish it would go away. I chased blind my first several years, but have since adapted to the ways of new in order to stay relevant. I loathe it, but I simply do it because its a necessary tool for success.

I can relate to both sides. I love the ways of old, and appreciate the ways of new. My whole live I never really had a best friend, or a main group of friends. Rather I spread myself across the vast network of various social groups and people (I think I just called myself a whore in a creative way,) creating a vast network of bar buddies, chase pals, hood rats, etc etc. The kind that are soon to forget me, the same as I am them. I move on quickly. Its never bitter and the friendships never end...its just those I move away from seem to gravitate to those who are more like them. I never understood the whole "clique" thing. I've always found those groups to be shallow and empty, despite the illusion of their close-knits bonds that have been threaded by mere similar opinions.

I've always been an introvert in that regards I guess. I get along with everyone, but I don't really identify with anyone. I am not hardcore conservative christian like those before me, but I am not a vegan humanist like those who follow me. I tred the middle line, dabbing in both sides...just like chasing.

Im happy being a general loner though. It seems to keep peoples expectations of me low. I just do my thing, meet people along the way. They stay as long as they want, get what they want, and move on. Or maybe its me who does that...I dunno.

Is there a storm coming yet?

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Crunch Month

Its February. 2 great things happen this month. 1 - Football ends. 2 - March is within 30 days the entire time.

Since I apparently love a challenge, this is going to be a chaotic month as I get everything ready for chase season. I've had a long list of projects for months and as always it will come down to the wire. It wasn't all my fault this time though. The biggest setback I suffered was a hard drive failure that delayed the production and release of my 2nd DVD by nearly 2 months while I dealt with the lengthy and costly process of data recovery. Luckily that had a happy ending, and Im pleased to see that sales of the DVD are getting close to offsetting that cost. The support has been great, and again I thank you all for that.

Those sales funds are what is needed for my biggest upgrade this year and that is a new laptop capable of doing very fast, in the field video editing for upload to media. I don't chase just to make money, but lets be real. If I can make a good buck, and therby giving myself the ability to chase more, I am going to do it. My old laptop, while reliable could not handle editing the HD video, and it would always take me 8+ hours to get video online. Anyone whos dealt with ENG video knows, that is 7hrs and 59 minutes too long.

That and the laptop will better run the live stream and software programs, hopefully without random crashes like the old one.

I've also ordered a wind filter for my camera. I hate wind noise. It is just as annoying as squeeky windshield wipers. A hard problem to avoid since tornadoes are obviously surrounded by wind, so hopefully this filter will help reduce that issue.

I began to finally study for my HAM test, but that is being currently interupted by some side work I picked up. I'm basically building an entire basement. We've been at it 1 week and will be at least 1 week more. My day job is seasonal so I don't work in the winter, and thus funds are always tight since throughout the year I typically just save up enough to pay my bills and eat. So the extra money this side gig is bringing in couldnt come at a better time, especially if March decides it wants to start out active...which right now it doesn't look like its going to.

So, back on point, once I am finished with this side work, studying for the HAM test will resume, as well as getting at least the laptop setup. I am also probably going to upgrade my data plan to a 4G one. I havent figured that out yet, but that is another change coming. My current provider now only offers mifi devices, something I wasnt thrilled to learn, as Ive used one in the past and hated it, but Im told theyve improved quite a bit since then so I may give it another go.

I also need to wire up my 1000 watt power inverter to the battery, and install some toggle switches to flip it on and off along with a new set of fog lights since my last ones got smashed by hail. THEN, if I pass the HAM test. I will need to buy and install the radio equipment. The list is forever growing.

IF I can wrap all this up, with time and money leftover, I plan to finally tap into the SLR world. If not before the season, then probably during the season once I am back to working my normal job and the bankroll is fruitful once again.

I have no idea what this season will bring. This winter has probably been one of the harshest of my life. Doing a bit of history digging I've found that springs and summers that follow winters like this have swung both ways, either extremely boring or extremely stormy, there didn't seem to be much of a middle ground. All I can say is now...we'll just have to wait and see.

I plan to stick to my new agressive chase plan. 2013 was a season of rebirth for me. 2014 will hopefully be the year I add some steam to that momentum. Up close and personal is the name of the game this year. Like it or not, its the way its going to be done! The way 2013 ended is the way 2014 will hopefully begin.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Tornado Dates Updated

Updating a previous post with the 2013 data added in. I find this quote from the original post amusing:

"Perhaps that will be a fun little goal I can try to hit in 2013, double up on a calender day."

So, did I accomplish that goal? Here is the updated list.

March:
2nd (2012) 
22nd (2011) 

April:
9th (2011) 
13th (2012) 
14th (2012) 
17th (2013)
19th (2011) 
22nd (2010) 
27th (2011) 
29th (2010) 

May:
5th (2007) 
10th (2010) 
12th (2011) 
13th (2009)
18th (2013
19th (2013)
20th (2013)
21st (2011)
22nd (2010)
23rd (2008)
24th (2011)
25th (2008)
27th (2013)
28th (2013)
31st (2013)

June:
5th (2009, 2010)
6th (2007)
7th (2008)
10th (2010)
14th (2009)
15th (2009)
17th (2010)
19th (2011)
20th (2011)

July:
26th (2011)

October:
4th (2013)
12th (2012)
18th (2007)

November:
7th (2011)
17th (2013)

Ironically, I did not double up on any dates in 2013. Even during the active perdiod in May, all the tornado days fell on dates I have not previously witnessed a tornado on. June 5th still remains the only day I have seen tornadoes on in more than one year.

Side note - further illustrating how much 2012 sucked, it is the first year since I started visiting the plains in 2007 that I did not see a tornado in May or June. Sad...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

2013: Thats All She Wrote (?)

With the models showing nothing but intrusion after intrusion of arctic air, I think I can finally say the fat lady has sung for my 2013 storm chasing. Though I say that with a question mark, because that is what I thought after October 4th, then those awful wannabe setups trolled us around Halloween and then I thought THAT was it, then November 17th happened. So I guess its never really a sure thing until the clock strikes midnight on Jan 1st 2014.

So, here are the stats:

Chases: 19 (Average to slightly below average)
Tornadoes: 11 (Slightly below average)
States: IL, NE, CO, KS, OK, AR (Way below average)
Tornado Days: 9 (47% success ratio - slightly above average)

And some Milestones:

- New record for consecutive chases with tornadoes: 6 (April 17th, May 18th, May 19th, May 20th, May 27th, May 28th)
- First rear windshield blown out (October 4th)
- Latest tornado of any season (November 17th)

2013 was certainly the year of quality over quantity. Overall 2013 was a very slow year for tornadoes, quite possibly one of the, if not THE slowest on record. When tornadoes did occur though, they were significant and made headlines. With the exception of the Lawton Tornado on April 17th, every catch I had was a photogenic/significant tornado, and while the overall tornado count was only par (11) many of these tornadoes will be some of the most memorable of my career and tough ones to beat.

I did very well on all the big days, the only real big fail I have for the year was missing the El Reno tornado. A couple events I could have played a bit better such as the Moore tornado. We let ourselves get stuck on the wrong side of the river and were unable to pursue it due to lack of crossings and police roadblocks. Next year I am going to be very tempted to just go around those, as they are getting increasingly annoying. Are they really going to follow me and arrest me? Maybe...maybe not.

The year came on the heels of my worst chase season ever, and the agonizingly slow start only helped me spiral deeper into my own mental insanity. Finally, on May 19th that awful streak was ended with Rozel and I was reborn. I entered the year with a new outlook and a new strategy in my mind. No more packed sardine marathons like in 2012, which I attribute to my distraction and overall awful year. Fewer people in the car yelling at me to do things their way, keeping my head in the game, not stopping every 2 minutes while 10 miles away for structure shots and simply just getting up to the tornadoes and getting the video I want. It seemed to pay off. Agressive is my style.

I began to toy around with a riskier plan, aiming to be north of tornadoes more than the tradiotnal south/southeast. I like the view north better. It is often higher contrast, and you dont have rain wrapping around as far as you do when storms go HP. Of course there are downfalls to this, with the obvious being the risk involved of being more vulnarable to the tornado itself. Also, if you dont time your moves well, hook echo precip will cut off your view...something I still have yet to master, but after a few good examples now under my belt I think I can better accomplish this in 2014. If you don't fancy this type of chasing, its probably better you dont follow me next year, because its not going to stop. If your goal while chasing is pretty pictures, dont even bother asking to chase with me because I dont want to stop so you can take pictures of anvils while the storm is maturing and could potentially drop a tornado. My goal is video. I do plan to have an SLR camera next season and will occasionaly do the artsy photo thing, but only on days where tornado threat is minimal or non existent.

After many years of toying around with differnt chasing styles, trying to take in different things and give everything a shot at least once, I think I finally have my style nailed down and what it takes to accomplish the things I like. Providing favorable weather patterns, 2014 should be an amazing year.

Back to 2013, there were some memorable and unique moments including being able to drive the TIV for a string of chases in early April, sadly those setups were not big tornado producers, but that was still an awesome experience I would love to do again so hopefully the Caseys trust me enough to make me the offer next year.

Sadly 2013 was also the year it finally happened. We all know what I am talking about. I still cant listen to the song I was listening to at the time I found out that awful news without thinking about them. That song is "Whataya Want From Me" By Adam Lambert - not an overly sad song, or a song remotely about chasing, but probably forever until the day I die, when that song comes on I will think about those 3. I miss them, as Im sure many do.

Anyways, that sums up 2013 in a nut shell. Winter approaches, and so does a time of more active blogging and chase related off-season projects. For everyone who followed and supported, thank you! For all my chase pals, see ya in 2014. Cheers and Happy Holidays!

Monday, October 21, 2013

DVD Review: Distance to Empty


Veteran storm chaser Shane Adams offers his latest DVD this year, titled "Distance to Empty." The official release date is Halloween, but as part of a trade for my latest DVD (when I am done with it) I was able to snag it early and get the jump on everyone else.

DVD info/purchase page: http://www.passiontwist.com/distance.htm



Like with any Shane Adams DVD, it is purely raw chasing, something I love. The title is unique and has personal meaning, something I also love and much prefer over something cheesy like "tornado alley adventures 2013." No fancy covers or case here. I personally like having the black DVD cases because I like having something to stack into a shelf to look at and say "this is my awesome storm porn collection," but Im just weird like that and in the grand scheme of things it doesnt really matter so onto what matters most, the meat.

The DVD starts quickly with a short segment from 2011 documenting a rare February tornado in Oklahoma, a rather insignificant event tornado wise as the funnel didn't fully condense and was short lived but given the early time of the year for it to occur seeing any shot of it is a treat.

We move onto another event not many chasers covered, April 3rd 2012 which saw a local tornado outbreak near the Dallas/FT worth area. Mostly local chasers on this event, Shane gets a brief look at a tornado in its rope out stage as he tries to battle metro traffic. Coming from someone who lives in another large metro area (Chicago) I can emphasize the frustration. Earmuffs recommended for children. Still, this is a shot you won't see anywhere else.

The next chapter ramps up big time and accounts for more than half the tornadoes on the DVD. 2012 was a disgustingly painful year for many chasers, but it did offer one major event which many chasers scored on. April 14th. Shane did about as good as you can and nabbed 10 tornadoes of all shapes and sizes, during the day and night. One shot shows twin tornadoes on the ground. Great chapter, great chasing, great tornadoes. Many of the tornadoes in this chapter are not well known as most chasers were in Kansas, a great plus since many of the shots I saw were new to me. Awesome nightime footage of a tornado with quick transitions. A series of video stills set to music follows. Something that offers a nice change of pace on the DVD, but fits in well with the chapter. On a personal note, I failed this day big time so it was bittersweet for me to watch.

Jumping to 2013 we find ourselves on May 15th which was another "surprise" event in TX few people chased. Again, and this seems to be a recurring theme on this DVD, we are given tornado video you wont find anywhere else. In the modern chasing area it is hard to have a unique catch that 40 other chasers don't have, but this DVD is loaded with them and this chapter is no exception. When I first watched it I thought "May 15th, what the heck happened on May 15th?" Well done.

May 18th follows which brings an amazing, well documented long lived EF-4 tornado near Rozel Kansas. It doesn't get anymore classic than this. The entire tornado life cycle captured on tripod from a single spot.

A brief tornado on May 19th, which again is footage from an event I didn't even know happened closes the DVD and the credits role.

Final thoughts:

Definitely a buy or a trade. I am one who loves the raw style, classic chase footage DVD, even the parts that drag out a bit along with the pointless crotch shots from inside the car. As a storm chaser myself its great to see these as well as the same frustrations, and early on intense "CMON FULLY CONDENSE ALREADY!!" type moments that I experience while chasing. There is very little editing in the DVD. You get a chapter title and thats it, the tornadoes take over, and there are lots of them.

One thing you can always count on with a Shane Adams DVD is wall to wall tornadoes. Lots of language on the DVD, which I find hilarious, but is not exactly family friendly. No in car shots of the chasers screaming and yelling at each other (something growing in popularity these days that I personally can't stand.) Just weather, the way it should be.

Do buy if: You want tornadoes and only tornadoes. You enjoy the classic, raw, pure chasing style. Enjoy having a large collection. Want to see footage form lesser events you wont find anywhere else. Have been a life-long fan of Shane.

Do not buy if: You are offended by strong language. You are a fanboy and want to see in car shots of the chasers having emotional moments with each other. Only enjoy up close and near death experience video.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Lacking the time

Its been forever and a minute since I've rambled onto this page. I miss it. The truth is, I simply don't have the time lately to engage my audience like I wish I could. My work schedule is quite hectic and most days involve me waking up at 545am, and not getting back home until 6-7pm. My day job is physically demanding, and I am just too tired to put much thought into things when I get home. I eat, ramble on facebook for a few moments and go to bed. Wash, rinse, repeat the next day.

The good part is on the financial side, Im making more money than I ever have in my life, and have exceeded some already aggressive goals I set for myself, including paying off my truck 10 months early.

The bad part is I miss being able to dive deep into my nerdy passion that is the weather. Luckily for the most part its been a boring summer storm wise, so I haven't really missed much, but just because the weather is boring here doesn't mean there aren't things going on elsewhere. My facebook page likes started soaring earlier this year, but those have died off since I make 1 or 2 posts a week now. Its amazing how fast you fade away without constant new content.

My job itself is not one I can really post updates easily. I don't work on a PC, and things take too long to do on the phone. Plus I try to actually be a good worker at my job instead of fumbling around on my phone all day. I've always loathed technology and peoples lust for needing it 24/7 - sadly, its a necessity for me to get the things I want in life. If it weren't for me trying to whore myself out as a chaser I would not be on facebook, I would not have a smart phone hell I don't even know if I would have a computer, which brings me back on topic....

On my weekends and when I get free time, I would actually rather be out fishing, spending time with friends/family or doing something fun instead of sitting on my rump online all day. Its a conflict of interest and one I've always had a hard time balancing. I know if I want to expose myself (not in that way you perverts) that I need to utilize these evil machines...but I don't particularly enjoy sitting behind a screen all the time. Some of the best weekends I have are the ones I go out fishing or something and just leave my phone behind. I've gotten into a better habit of not constantly checking it all the time.

Im not miserable though, I am the happiest Ive been in years and for the most part stress free. While my situation is not the ideal one I want for myself, I feel Ive gotten myself to the point of "next best thing." My job, while demanding, gives me really good flexibility to actually get out and chase, and that is the first and most important thing. If I have to sacrifice online time to actually be out in the field, well...thats a no brainer right there. Getting myself from "next best thing" to "best thing" is going to be a real challenge though, but so far everything Ive done has kept me in that direction, though on a slower pace than I would have preferred. There isn't much I can do about that though and sometimes it just is what it is. You've got to learn to adapt.

Alas though, the days are getting shorter, and that evil W season is around the corner. My seasonal work will go on its yearly 4 month hiatus, and then ill have more free time than I know what to do with. I will be back in full swing...just because you haven't seen much from me lately, doesn't mean the wheels have stopped turning and the ideas have run out. Nope, I've still got lots of things forthcoming and big things I want to do.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Grabbing the Bull by the Horns

The slow start to this chase season is eating me alive. It wouldn't be so bad if it was actually warm out, but with the exception of the past 2 days, the past 6 weeks have been below normal around here. We had no storm days at all during March. Pathetic. January actually saw 4 tstorm days in Chicago!

So what is one to do when not chasing? I actually created my own silver lining to the slow start by aggressively doing vehicle maintenance. I made a long list of things that needed to be done in order to get the thing running in tip top shape. The major burden was a catalytic converter replacement required by the state of IL in order to pass the emissions and legally renew my registration. That was a nice 900 dollar, unecessary repair. I figured as long as I am doing that I might as well just do everything.

It has been very costly, and while not all the work was needed, it will benefit me in the long run with a reliable vehicle that will easily go 200k miles and beyond. I have one thing left to do, and it is road ready. I go back to work in just a few days, so while I have completely exhausted my budget, the money will soon start piling up again.

Another thing I have done, and some may have noticed this is I have upped my self promotion to the point of almost being one of those annoying people who whores themself out. For years I told myself I would let myself be discovered through my own hard work, and while that has indeed happened, I was lazy in actually making a strong effort to put myself out there. I just kinda did my thing and let people find me. It worked, but as I did this, people were blowing me by, and getting the things I want for myself.

I also didn't want to deal with people turning their nose at me for "whoring" myself out. There was a time I didn't want to upset my peers by coming off as some whacker noob in it for the wrong reasons. Those days are over and I am now of the mentallity that if you dont like me or what I do, you can piss off. This is my life, my dream, and Ill be damned if I let someone else and their opinions try and tell me how to run it.

So this year I have sent out emails, I have branched out and made new contacts. I finally have a real logo to identify my brand with. I finally figured out the direction I want my facebook page to go and how to engage my followers. It took me a year to reach 650 likes. In the last 2 months I have tripled that simply with a new plan. I scored myself a couple small sponshorship deals which include some free stuff and free mobile internet. This makes chasing easier on myself financially and opens up my work to a wider audience.

As they say in Twister, "The days of sniffing the dirt are over." There is nothing else I want more in life than to have chasing be my full time gig. Ill work a normal job to support a comfortable living for myself, I have no problems with that, but if I really want the freedom to chase wherever and whenever I want I need to figure out ways to make that happen.

No more sitting around and waiting for things to fall into my lap, its time to grab the bull by the horns and make it happen for myself. I've come too far, and put way too much effort to quit now. I believe I have too much skill and good things to share with people than to just sit in the shadows and let people pass me by.

..and THIS is how one keeps busy during an abnormally slow start to tornado season. Im feeling really confident right now after all I've struggle to do in the last couple months. Hopefully the pattern picks up and I get a chance to back up my claims and show my worth. Cmon mother nature...send a bull into my rink.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Waiting...

We are a week into March. Woo Hoo chase season, Spring!!! But wait...something isn't right. Thats right, Chicago just received 9.5" of snow yesterday making it the largest snowstorm since the GHD blizzard back in February 2011 as well as a top 4 March snow event in all of Chicago's 128 year weather history.

The start of March is an exciting time for most people. Spring is just around the corner, warmer weather, better times, sunnier skies and stormier days. No group of weirdos on the planet await this time of year with more anticipation than storm chasers, which I consider myself to be (a subjective definition if ever there was one, but I believe I fit the bill in my own biased eyes.)

So...where the hell is spring?!?!?!? Lets turn the trustworthy forecast models. (click to enlarge image)


Wait...What?!?!


While fluctuations like this are normal, especially in the long range, these are pretty radical. Overall the trend has been colder than normal though, with only brief spells of mild weather. Every now and then we'll get teased by a few runs that look warmer and more spring-like, only to be followed up by more runs showing colder than normal temps.

So we can't look there. Where else can we look? While I don't consider myself an expert and noone should view me as such. Over the years I have become a huge fan of the teleconnections, especially one known as the NAO (North Atalintic Oscillation.) Basically it has to do with ocean currents and how they affect the jet stream. Like all weather patterns it fluctuates.

A positive pattern promotes west coast troughing, a pattern more favorable for severe weather while a negative pattern promotes east coast troughing and generally cooler weather across the US. Not good for large scale severe weather patterns. I have been observing this for a couple years now, and found it to be pretty accurate (but like anything with weather, it isn't 100% garauntee) Taking a look I am not seeing much love here either, but a low trend towards hopefully a positive phase is better than nothing. I have also marked 2 recent noteable tornado outbreaks and both correlate with a positive phase.


Notice in February we tanked into a negative phase, and suddenly winter arrives and take a stronghold for many in the heartland. The forecast seems to go along with the general cold trend seen on the models, another sign I am not a fan of.


All of this is hard to digest for a severe weather lover such as myself as I am not seeing many of the signs I normally would like to see come spring time. It is far too early to sound the panic alarm though. This type of pattern is not unheard of this time of year, and sometimes things get off to a slow start. 2008 was the only year in my chase career I didn't chase in March, and 2008 set a record number of tornadoes for the country. Anything can happen.

All it takes is a sudden pattern change and BAM, things light up. Unfortunately, such a pattern doesn't look to be in the cards just yet. There will be marginal setups along the way though, and even slow patterns have their fare share of severe weather producing setups, just not the kind to lure someone like me from Chicago to Kansas.

My advice to those eager to get out who can't sit still is to take advantage of what appears to be a slow start. Fine tune your projects, double check all that vehicle maintenance. Put in some overtime at work to stock up on time off for when things do decide to change. 

It will happen...

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tornado Days

Been on a stats kick lately so I decided to check out all the calendar days I have seen tornadoes and discovered something funny. I have never seen a tornado on the same calendar day in different years. Out of 365 days in a year I have seen tornadoes on 31 of them, but each date is different.

Perhaps that will be a fun little goal I can try to hit in 2013, double up on a calender day to make that my "statistically best tornado day"

Anyways, here are the tornado days:

March:
2nd (2012)
22nd (2011)

April:
9th (2011)
13th (2012)
14th (2012)
19th (2011)
22nd (2010)
27th (2011)
29th (2010)

May:
5th (2007)
10th (2010)
12th (2011)
13th (2009)
21st (2011)
22nd (2010)
23rd (2008)
24th (2011)
25th (2008)

June:
5th (2009, 2010)
6th (2007)
7th (2008)
10th (2010)
14th (2009)
15th (2009)
17th (2010)
19th (2011)
20th (2011)

July:
26th (2011)

October:
12th (2012)
18th (2007)

November:
7th (2011)

Side note - further illustrating how much 2012 sucked, it is the first year since I started visiting the plains in 2007 that I did not see a tornado in May or June. Sad...

Edit* - It turns out the entire context of this blog is false. I just remembered I saw tornadoes on June 5th, 2010 as well which makes that my "best tornado day" Whoops...