I have been home for a week now since my storm chasing tour with Extreme Tornado Tours in the beginning of May. It turned out that the throat pain I had during the tour was tonsillitis, that was growing worse every day on the tour. I was taking aspirin and cough drops every day on the tour but could not really eat in the end, and had a hard time articulating words. The flight back home was a bit of a nightmare and when I came back to Sweden some 30 hours later (after some flight and air shuttle delays) I could hardly speak at all. I went directly from the airport to the doctor to get antibiotics (which I should have arranged for already in the USA) and just slept for the first two days.
For me, selecting Tour #2, was an unlucky choice because of how that week turned out in terms of weather, but also that I got sick. To make matters worse, the following tour “had it all” with multiple tornadoes and exceptional events. Not that this really matters (it’s not like I was planning to go on Tour #3) but it still feels a bit painful. I wanted to test a different part of the season but now it’s mid May and the season is well underway and I am already done. I know it’s all a matter of probabilities and early May is not a bad time to go, but with two strikes out of two (2013 and 2023), I feel like I may not go in early May until at least 2033 ðŸ™‚
A friend of mine has (humorously) called storm chasing “the worst hobby there is”, because you spend so much time and money but are subjected so much to random events you cannot control. It costs a lot of money and it is easy to make painful mistakes in forecasting, nowcasting, road options, camera settings or to just look in the wrong direction and miss out on something. Being a non-US citizen and a very limited time to go it is just a crap shoot in terms of picking the right week, months in advance.
However, given all the less than optimal circumstances I am still grateful I was able to go. I was happy to finally go with Extreme Tornado Tours, who I think did a great job given what we had to work with (a review will come soon). The circumstances will always be up and down and all I can do is to optimize my chances. Next year, I will hopefully be able to go for at least a 10 day chase instead. I haven’t seen a real supercellular tornado since 2017 (!) so it’s about time now.