It’s been a month since my 2023 storm chasing trip on the Great Plains. I’ve been thinking about this trip since returning home nearly a month ago. I don’t like to use the word “disappointed” because I believe there’s always something we can find to avert the feeling of “disappointment”, but overall I was hoping to see more in the way of storms this year.

Lightning strike near Gruver, Texas.

Spending a week on the Great Plains, where I know absolutely no one, is something I enjoy. I really like being anonymous and watching people, especially from a far. Grandpa City was known to enjoy people watching as well, and he could sit on a bench and watch the world go by and be quite content. This type of activityI gives me much time to think and to clear my head and to get the world around me back into perspective. As I drove a couple of thousand miles around the (mostly) flat terrain, I realized that I’m having a little bit of a mid-life crisis (again?). I keep asking myself, “Is this it?”. Maybe I’m looking for magic. Maybe I hyped up the trip a little bit too much in my head as I was making plans and watching weather patterns, and thinking of small towns being quaint.

I feel like I may have done a little too much driving on this trip, and that was mainly because the weather was a mess. The high pressure ridge that moved in right before I left pushed any chance of storms (which were nominal at best) to parts scattered all over the region. One day I’m in Northeast Texas, the next day I need to hustle to Northeast Oklahoma, and then the next day I had to get myself to Southwest Kansas.

I’ll be approaching the next trip a bit differently: I’m going to narrow the confines of my “chase area” a little bit and maybe enjoy the downtime a bit more. I think I’m also going to ask my husband to meet me, maybe for the ride home or something.

I did find this video I took in the middle of the night, when the storms finally arrived, way behind forecast, in Liberal, Kansas.

The bonks of the ice balls didn’t hurt the rental car at all. I found this storm enjoyable.