The Chase.

As a freshman in high school I failed the New York State Regents Exam in Earth Science with a 59. I passed the course and earned credit toward my science requirements for my graduation, but it was a “local” credit, not a Regents credit. I opted to not take the exam again the following August, once was enough. I ultimately graduated high school with a New York State Regents Diploma. I don’t know if that carries any weight in the world.

One of the reasons that I didn’t do that well in Earth Science was because I remembered it to be quite boring. We would be sitting in class talking about rocks and the position of the sun and seawater while a thunderstorm was coming in off of Lake Ontario, battering the windows with driving rain and impressive wind. We’d have four feet of snow on the ground, all new since the previous day, but the teacher would just ramble on according to his preplanned lessons for the day.

I wanted to be out in the science, not sitting around talking about it.

I have always been interested in weather. If I wasn’t spending my money on foolish things I’d set another webcam up in the back yard and start recording weather events in this area. Over the past couple of days I’ve done some storm chasing. We had a cluster of storms pass through on Saturday that Earl and I chased around a bit. On Sunday I spent much of the day reading and looking for better data sources of weather. Last night I chased again, driving into a thunderstorm that lacked some punch but brought us some much needed rain.

Three photos taken within two seconds:

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Part of the reason I enjoy chasing storms is the adrenaline rush. I suppose it’s an earthbound extension of one of the reasons I’m a private pilot, because it’s something I can do and I think it’s an awesome thing to do. But a better reason for watching, chasing and experiencing storms is because Mother Earth never ceases to impress me. Last night while standing in a field I could see the full moon to the East and an impressive lightning show to the West simultaneously. It would be nearly an hour before the full moon would be obscured by cloud cover, only to reappear in the sky a mere 30 minutes later.

Science is awesome!

Since renewing my interest in weather, storms and the like, I’ve been taking online classes on observing weather patterns, how storms form, how to make an accurate assessment and subsequent report of a storm and how to safely witness impressive weather events. A lot of this compliments what I learned to become a private pilot. I’m looking forward to doing further study this winter so I feel prepared to do some serious storm chasing next spring.