I am currently sitting at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam while writing this blog post, on my way to my first storm chasing vacation in four years! I went chasing in 2019, I was scheduled to go in 2020, I wasn’t really expecting to be able go in 2021 (which turned out to be true) and last year I had too much going on at home – mainly with a new job and small kids at home. The timing was just off.
So, the build-up for this week has been like the sunheated pressure-cooking of a 5000 CAPE day in Kansas. I am so ready to be back againâ€¦but, damn do I feel rusty!
The difference from before is that I was self employed and could easily spend some two weeks prior to a trip to get ready. Test my gear, read up on severe weather forecasting, being active on social media and mentally prepare myself. Yesterday, the night before I was leaving I found myself cursing at a kitchen fan I was trying to install at 11 pm, knowing very well I had to get up at 4.45 am to go to the airport. I spent the whole last day fixing the garden with my family, taking care of the kids, cooking and so on until I crashed in bad at Midnight. Nowadays, I don’t have the same luxury to prepare – but I do get to go, and for that I am incredibly grateful!
I am also really excited to be able to go with Extreme Tornado Tours this year as a part of my “review every storm chasing tour”-journey. I was supposed to have gone with them in 2020 but I am glad to be able to do it this year instead. I have met Nick (owner of ETT) several times on the roads and heard lots about ETT throughout my years of chasing and I am very confident it will be great – as long as the weather plays along.
I selected to go in early May this year (usually I go late May/early June), mainly because the amount of days were suitable (I can’t be gone for too long) and because I haven’t chased early May since 2013. That tour was a flop, weather wise, and early May is usually slightly less reliable but seems to offer some really spectacular events when it all comes together.
At the time of writing this I have (purposely) not checked the weather forecast. I enjoy the flight over and the anticipation so much that I don’t want anything to possibly ruin it. I would say right now that if I get a similar scenario as in 2013 (starting with 7 down days) at least I am happy to get some time away from work and all the duties at home, read, relax, work on my StormWindow project etc. but I know that once I get there I really want to see some storms and hopefully a tornado or seven ðŸ™‚
It’s time to take off and I will now do what I always do on my flight across the Atlantic: watch ‘Twister’ for the millionth time!