Feature Writer Steven Famiglietti – 2012 Storm Chasing: Part 1

On June 8, I took my flights to Chicago and then to Denver, CO, where I would begin yet another adventure of storm chasing with Silver Lining Tours. I left my apartment at 4:30 AM to get to the airport on time for my first flight. I never really enjoy flying, but again on this trip, the flight crew made me feel welcome and assisted me in boarding and exiting the planes. I didn’t have any issues traveling to Denver at all.

Upon my arrival in Denver, there was a free shuttle to the hotel and I arrived there safely. I was glad to get to my room to relax and rest before my friend, Alan, joined me. Alan and I were roommates in college and we both studied meteorology together. Alan got me hooked on chasing storms back in 2008 when we went on our first chase adventure together. Since that time, he hasn’t been able to come with me again until now.

On June 9, Alan and I met the other guests and tour director, who would be with us for the next 6 days. The group was quite diverse, with folks coming from Denmark, Switzerland, the U.K., Utah, California, and Boston. As we sat through the orientation, I could feel my excitement building. Roger, the tour director, gave everyone an idea of what to expect and went over all of the rules set forth for everyone.

After orientation, we took a short half mile drive for dinner at a huge buffet and the diet killing food began! On June 10, we started our travels and over the next six days, traveled over 3,500 miles from Texas to Nebraska to South Dakota and back to Colorado. While in Texas, we visited the Big Texan restaurant, where you can order a 72 ounce steak with all the trimmings. If you can eat everything in one hour, the meal is free! No one in our group was brave enough to give that a try.

We saw several great storms that had lots of great structure to them. These storms produced a ton of wind, lightning and hail, but for the most part, none of them produced any tornadoes. Finally, on June 16, we saw a very interesting storm in Colorado. We watched the storm as it grew and grew, and finally, after 6 days of chasing storms, this one produced a small tornado. I was so glad because Alan had never seen one, even though we had chased together in 2008.

After six days of chasing together, Alan had to return to CT, but I had another 6 days of chasing to go as the first tour ended and the second one began.

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