04.25.11

Day 1: Outrunning Storms!

Posted in Astronomy, Space Shuttle, Traveling at 10:24 pm by Rebekah

My route today, from Norman, Oklahoma to Tupelo, Mississippi (click to enlarge):

Storm reports from today, as of the time I write this:

As of the time I write this, there have been 33 tornado reports today. At least a couple tornadoes occurred near Little Rock, a few hours after I passed through. At least two more tornadoes occurred in southeast Memphis, just minutes before I arrived in the city.

With storms behind and ahead of me, I was blessed to miss all heavy rain and severe weather. Normally I’d be eager to chase tornadic storms, but for this trip I wish to avoid them!

Tomorrow I’ll be in another moderate risk area, but again the storms should primarily remain behind me.

Today was my first time stepping foot on Tennessee ground, aside from connecting in the Memphis airport once.

Today was also my first time stepping foot in Mississippi. My first impression was good, as I enjoyed driving through the forest and noting more and more pine trees.

Here are a few of my photos from the day, all from Memphis with the exception of the last one (from Tupelo).

The Pyramid Arena, formerly used as a sports arena and concert venue…now it sits empty.

Note the statue of Pharaoh Ramesses the Great out front.

The Mississippi River! I’m looking towards the I-40 bridge, towards Arkansas. I touched the river for the first time…I put my hand in, and then promptly washed it, as the river was rather muddy. 😛

Another view of the Mississippi, looking upstream (it was flowing pretty fast!).

Looking up the bank of the Mississippi River, towards some nice houses in “Harbor Town”. Note also the Purple Martin house, with a couple of the birds hanging around!

A tugboat, pushing a container ship down the river.

Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel, across the street from Graceland.

Graceland Mansion, Elvis’ beloved home.

A parlor / living room area with piano inside the mansion.

Dining room.

A recreation room! Check out that decoration scheme!

Part of the “Jungle Room”. There is a waterfall on that wall on the left (hard to see).

Can you believe anyone would actually wear a costume like that?

Burial site for Elvis and family.

Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi.

Ok, that’s all for tonight…time to get some sleep before traveling again tomorrow! It does look like I’m going to get a big bow echo here in Tupelo overnight, but that’s fine with me as long as it’s not tornadic, doesn’t keep me from sleep too much, and it’s out of the way by the time I leave! I’ll give a short update in the morning when I’m about to head out.

Follow my tweets at http://www.twitter.com/greenskychaser

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Day 1: I’m Off!

Posted in Astronomy, Space Shuttle, Traveling at 5:59 am by Rebekah

I’m heading out to Florida! The SPC outlooks show severe storms may be around me each day I’m traveling, but I should stay ahead of them…this is one time I don’t want severe storms. around me. 🙂

I’ll update Twitter from time to time, and write more in the blog at the end of the day, which should find me in northern Mississippi!

Thanks for following along!

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04.24.11

GFS Maps For Launch Day Again

Posted in Astronomy, Space Shuttle, Weather Forecast at 8:00 am by Rebekah

Well, it looks like a storm system will be chasing me to Florida…I should remain just ahead of it, though, so hopefully I’ll have nice weather on the way down.

Here are the maps I posted yesterday, only based on last night’s 00Z run of the GFS. Getting closer and closer to launch day!

All maps are from TwisterData (click to enlarge) and are valid for 18Z on the 29th (i.e., 2 pm EDT on shuttle launch day).

500mb map:

Surface temperature (slightly warmer than the previous day’s 00Z run):

Dewpoint temperature (also slightly higher, as I expected):

Once again the precipitation forecast is for showers in southern Florida. I certainly hope the front passes through even earlier than expected, as that will keep rain chances to the south of the Cape.

Oh, and Happy Easter! 🙂

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04.23.11

Keeping An Eye On KSC Weather

Posted in Astronomy, Space Shuttle, Weather Forecast at 8:00 am by Rebekah

I’ve got so much on my plate right now, I’m going to keep this short.

Here are a few weather maps (click to enlarge) from TwisterData, based on last night’s 00Z run of the GFS, valid for 18Z on the 29th (i.e., 2 pm EDT on shuttle launch day).

The 500mb map shows a trough over the east coast, north of Florida, with a ridge building in the Midwest. I’d say this is a pretty good setup for a general lack of rain.

The surface temperature map indicates a weak front pushing through, with winds over Cape Canaveral out of the north-northeast and a temperature near 70 °F (I’m certain it’s going to be higher than that, though!).

The model forecast for dewpoints in the mid-50s to near 60 °F at the Cape is also lower than I expect it will be.

Finally, what we’re all most interested in…will it rain on launch day? Currently models have the front passing through central Florida the day before the launch, suggesting we could have a slight chance for showers and thunderstorms on the first day of the Tweetup, but hopefully will be good to go on launch day (the below 6-hour precipitation total shows showers in south Florida, but not east central Florida).

Note: Coming up this week, I plan on blogging more about my road trip, NASA, and the launch experience than about weather (except for perhaps weather along the way!). This means I plan on suspending the normal Monday and Tuesday series until I get back.

Follow Green Sky Chaser on Twitter and Facebook for weather, chasing, and blog updates. (And travel and Tweetup updates this week…)

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04.22.11

Chase #5…Sort-of

Posted in Storm Chasing at 8:00 am by Rebekah

Jeff and I headed down to Texas late yesterday afternoon, in hopes of finding a supercell forming along the warm front near / just south of the Red River. There were a couple of nice supercells that formed in far west Texas, but in the end, nothing for us. Oh well, it was just a 7-hour, 315 mile trip, and back by 10!

Today there could be a shot at storms in the same general area, but I’m not sure if I’ll be persuaded to go or not yet as I’ve still got some preparing to do for the Florida trip! 3 days until I leave, and 1 week until launch (if no delays)! 🙂

Here is a little calf I tried to make friends with yesterday, near Denton, Texas. Sadly, he would have none of it, and quickly ran into the field, where he blended in quite nicely.

And here is the anvil of a tornado-warned supercell just northwest of Abilene (also taken from Denton). It was a nice sunset!

Follow Green Sky Chaser on Twitter and Facebook for weather, chasing, and blog updates.

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