Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy Early 4th

It's been a quiet year for us at Rumination of Thunder.  Hopefully the rest of the summer will lead to great lightning and storm captures.

I love the Kechi Day's fireworks show.  It's put on by Krehbiel Fireworks who operate the tent at 61st and Woodlawn.  This year, I decided to try something new and used my lightning detector, sat back and enjoyed the show.  Here are some of the shots.






 If you are interested in any of the prints, please check out my Fine Arts America website
http://2-william-johnson.artistwebsites.com/
or contact me: father_thunder (at) cox.net

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Memorial Day

I've been more than a little quiet this storm season.  Half due to a severe drought season and half due to my father getting ill and needing to be put into a rest home. He passed away April 9th of this year.

I've done a lot of talking this year about chasing storms, sometimes therapeutic, because I talk about the first time I saw a tornado.  This was published previously at www.verbict.com, and edited after my father corrected the memory of a seven year old.



I was seven years old and hated thunderstorms.  Being a child of the Midwest, this meant every summer I was in abject terror.   We lived behind a TV station and all around their radar tower was lightning rods.  Across the street, was a church steeple.  Lightning would strike within a couple hundred feet several times during the summer.  Usually with a blinding flash and the sound of incoming artillery.  
My family loved to fish and camp, so every summer we went to a little spot called Melvern Lake and we camped beneath the dam at a KOA campground.  We were always there over Memorial Day weekend.  So Memorial Day Weekend, 1980 (I think), storms had hit earlier and intensified overhead after dark. We sat in our fifth wheel Cobra camper and listened to hail plink off the roof, and rocked as the wind buffeted the trailer's side. The weatherman looked nervous and tired on TV with the constant coverage, there had been a lot of thunderstorm warnings, so we headed to the campground's storm shelter.   I will use this in the loosest terms since it was a brown brick structure that housed the showers, washer and dryers, but more solid than a trailer if all hell broke loose.
The shelter was full but we squeezed in. There was a nice place in between a washer and dryer and I hunkered down. There was a lot of thunder and hail in the storm. People seemed tense, but the storm slowed down. My father called me and we went back to the camper.  (Hint: for all you Twister Fans think of the term “Cone of Silence”).
Back at the trailer, Dad knew I was scared, and to counter that, tried to show me Solitaire. To this day, I still don’t know how to play.  The rain started again, lightning hit right outside flickering the power, and the weatherman interrupted regular programming. A tornado was sighted at Melvern Lake heading toward the dam and we were camping right below it.
Dad ran outside and got the truck. He pulled it close enough to the camper door that mom and I were able to jump right in when it started hailing. It was the largest hail I remember, but sometimes that’s how childhood memories are.  I remember softball size, he remembered ping-pong.  We made it to the shelter with a line of people terrified and forcing their way in. We made it, right in front of a ripe pregnant woman yelling, “Oh my God. It’s going over the top of us”.
Being a young child terrified of loud, obnoxious Kansas storms, I got between the washer and dryer again, pulled my Dallas Cowboy's poncho over my head and waited for the end.  I later found out my grandfather and father were outside watching the rotation go overhead.  Luckily it fell apart as it went over the dam, then reformed as it went to the town of Melvern.
My father pulled me out from between the washer and dryer. Taking me outside, he pointed out into the dark.  There was nothing until a bolt of lightning illuminated a wedge tornado and two satellite tornadoes over the town of Melvern.  At that time something clicked in my head and I started studying tornadoes and thunderstorms.  I used to sit outside of the house when they went through (we had a long deck on the house), really no longer scared of the near strikes.  Then I started chasing in 2000.
My father later said that showing me that storm was the worst mistake of his life, because he hated me going out and chasing.  I'd occasionally call him for a radar update or just to say "guess where I am".  He showed up to a couple of my photography galleries usually with friends.
It's strange looking back and realizing my father made me conquer my fears of the dark (had me watch Cujo with him) and fear of storms (yes, that look at that moment).  I wanted to take this Memorial Day post to remember him.



Sunday, May 11, 2014

Finally

So we started off with the driest year on record.  As of April 8th, 2014 we passed a year in the middle of the dust bowl for being the driest start.


Then yesterday storms started to fire east of Wichita almost like a bad joke.  Luckily the dry line/front combo drifted back to the west firing storms and allowing us to finally get a little rain (around 0.25 of an inch).  I went out a couple times yesterday to watch.  When the rotation started showing up on radar, we (I took my oldest on her inaugural chase), out to central Butler county.  When we started hearing about flooding west of Leon we stopped and watched this strange wildly rotating scud under a cloud.  It showed rotation very briefly before attaching to the storm and becoming a wall cloud.  There was very weak rotation and a couple brief, very high funnels that tore themselves apart as they formed.
Daughter's first storm pic out in the field

































































We stayed until dark and headed back.  I nice storm was over Wichita and we finally got some much needed rain.  Unfortunately, today promises a little harsher environment for some possible large storms (hail, wind, and maybe a tornado) after dark.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

More Eclipse Info


. . . and the Moon Will Turn Blood Red

Eclipses usually foretold disaster.  The Norse believed the wolf Hati devoured the moon and we were seeing her blood.  The blood moon will begin tonight and last for several hours in different phases across the US.  This blood moon also coordinates with Passover and the exodus of Egypt and the plagues that hit Egypt.  Now we understand that the shadow of the Earth passes between the Sun and Moon, casting it into shadow.  The work of the atmosphere does the rest.  Luckily, I have a better camera to get this one, barring a cloudy night sky, we will see.  After temps a couple days ago in the 80's, tonight will be a balmy 27 degrees.







Sunday, April 13, 2014

Ah . . . Kansas

Where else can you have wind screaming all day, chance of severe storms with large hail and maybe snow.  It's in the 70's now, high tomorrow of 40's, and a deep freeze Monday night with temps in the 20's.

Wheeeeeeeeeee.