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Storm Chasing Day 4

Carrie and I had an awesome nights rest at a Best Western in Hot Springs, AR. Since NOAA's having trouble forecasting the frontal system we decided to hang out in the area and do a few things, rock hounding, horseback riding, or caves.

I woke up around 9 and checked the radar...just in case. WHAT!?! There was a strong line of storms crossing through Oklahoma. I smacked my forehead in disbelief. I sure didn't wanna drive that, however it was there and I wanted storms.  I showed Carrie and she said it before I did..."Plans just changed."

We needed to get out of Arkansas though. Can't chase when you can't see for all the rolling hills, mountains and trees. So we loaded up and headed for Oklahoma...again. We just entered the border and started to travel up when Mark gave a call. We discussed options and explained we really wanted to get around that tail end of the storm for photographs.

The drive to the Oklahoma border was so slow. There are not many road options in the hills of Arkansas. Definitely not an area to chase in. Still the drive was scenic and we started seeing some mammatus from the isolated cell that had formed in front of the cell.


Once we were on a two lane road and were clear of the mountains, Carrie and I switched drivers. This way I could focus on the laptop and read the clouds to determine what to do. The image above is the image we captured. The blue lines indicate the movement of the storm system and the red dot represents us. 

We started to see cloud detail and some nice scud on the edge of the storm. It was sometime after our switch that the smaller isolated cell was pulled into the monster storm behind it. 

Well, we didn't make it. Stopping at a gas station we saw these wicked clouds on the end of the gust front headed for us. They looked like claws hanging down from the sky raking the ground. Neon green showed behind and Weather Defender put in some pretty strong wind and hail in it. One thing we wanted was storms...without baseball sized hail braking my windows of my year old RAV4. 

We got video and photos of the storm just before getting slammed. Driving down the road was a challenge in the strong winds and driving rain. We got a text from Mark that baseball sized hail was in that storm on us...we pulled into a church parking lot. I knew the storm was pretty bad and needed to give it a chance to pass us. Not wild about core punching a storm with that size hail. I was a little nervous and couldn't make a decision. Just out of reaction I called Andrew. I didn't' tell him we were in danger, but just that we were chasing. It was a quick phone call but helped my tired mind get back into gear and know what to do next. We followed the storm in as far as we could, but those hills ruined it for us.


Baseball sized hail was reported just up the road from us, we managed to dodge the bullet on this one. We were stuck on a north to south running road and no other options. Driving northward a bit managed to miss all the hail...which is exactly what I was hoping. 

I want to photograph and observe storms not end up part of their feast. 

We continued north to Fort Smith then all the way back down towards Hot Springs in the off chance of catching the opportunity for some cloud images. 

Still we got some amazing shots. We stopped in Mount Ida for some rock collecting. I love rocks..hehehe... Then we went to Hope Arkansas to stay the night. We were worn out big time. The bed was like a stone slab it was so stiff. We decided to head back home one day early.


Using Streets & Trips

Approximate mileage: 374.3

Estimated gas cost at $4 a gallon (note: most stations were around $3.59) $55.46

Actual gas costs: $15.69, $?

Dinner at Cracker Barrel

Hotel cost: $50

Day 5


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