Sunday, May 21, 2017

Back in the Saddle

The funny thing about a drought is, when you're in one, even if you stay stoic and keep a "we'll just keep trying" attitude, in the back of your mind you're constantly wondering "when will this thing end?" But the moment you come out of one, it's like you were never in it to begin with. Right back to business. Not arrogance, just expectation. I expect to see tornadoes, and when we don't, I am more perplexed by why we haven't than I am worried if we ever will again.

This past week and a half has been a very busy and exciting one, not to mention satisfying. The tornadoes are coming once again, in the way they historically always have for me: not in huge numbers, but consistently. It's awesome to be back in the groove of having tornadic success. All it ever really takes is some luck, and the previous three years we just didn't have much. So far in 2017, that's changed, as we're back to having the type of seasons we're used to having.

The drought ended May 10 in extreme SW OK near Davidson, with a brief dust whirl tornado. We observed another brief tornado in the extreme eastern Texas panhandle on May 16, but this one had a condensation funnel, and actually ended in spectacular, fully-condensed pencil/rope fashion. However I was too involved with my phone in report at the time, and allowed the tornado to move out of frame to the right during the rope phase. SMDH. The finale of our hot streak came May 18, with a pair of large, significant tornadoes near Chester/Cedardale, OK. The second of these two will go down as one of the best I have ever seen, even if the contrast was less-than-stellar from our location. The sculpted updraft/RFD region was tremendous, and reminded me very much of the May 3, 1999 F5 tornado's RFD structure.

Three of these four tornadoes were captured outside, on tripods, the type shot I am always aiming for. So on top of the pure experiences, the videos turned out pretty much like I wanted as well. It's a nice, calm, steady-flow type of satisfaction/happiness this brings me, and keeps me feeling alive. Kinda like an IV drip, subtle but there, maintaining pure tornadic bliss within the very fiber of my being. The best drug the Universe has to offer me. I'd been without it for quite some time, and had learned how to cope fairly well (even if it was only on the outside). But this latest fix is magical, just constant joy that resonates with every passing moment, every thought, every memory. It is so damn sweet to be back to being who I am, just an average working class schmuck who lives and breathes to chase and document tornadoes....and does it successfully.