Storm Chasing 14/5

The purpose of our early visit to the USA is to go storm chasing. Like most people who have seen Twister, we really wanted to see a tornado up close. We had bad sunny weather for most of the week and aimlessly wandered around tornado alley, staying in some disgusting hotels and eating some dreadful food. One hotel would have been closed down had it been in the UK. The first room they gave us was directly off the main hall/breakfast room This meant everyone was sat just outside your room and none of our group could have a morning shower. We sat in our room and had water dripping through the ceiling! So we asked to be moved. The next room was opened for us as our key didn’t work and a cloud of smoke poured out from a room occupied and trashed by them. It turned out it was the wrong room. The next room still had black mould and horrible stains everywhere, but at least our sheets seemed clean; most rooms did not have clean sheets. Caroline hates staying in rooms with lots of mould because of lung disease risks.
Only one restaurant did vegetables in a healthy balanced meal, most food was fried and quite revolting.

Anyway, this was storm chasing, not a gastronomic tour, so, what was the weather like?
We had really nice sunny weather until the last day….
When tornadoes bring so much death and destruction it is hard to wish for one, especially as there have been several deaths already this year. On our last day we moseyed around Dodge City until we had to get out in the hope, a last hope, of seeing a tornado. Phones were set for tornado warnings; everybody was eagerly waiting for a forecast storm. The locals started racing to get home; the air felt different, the clouds looked different. We moved out of a hail forecast area and waited in an expanse of mainly empty fields. Storm Radar app showed an approaching system, the phone tornado alarms went off, the birds started screeching and finally a funnel cloud touched down and became a tornado. Another wannabe poked out of a cloud, but was not to become a tornado.
Our first storm chasing holiday and we got to see a tornado, we couldn’t ask for anything more.

A severe storm that can become a tornado has what’s called a beaver’s tail and clouds that roll and roll; its not like any other storm or set of clouds that you will ever see.

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Beaver’s tail

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We did also meet some very nice people and got to visit the Big Bend National Park in Texas. We found a beautiful Copperhead snake, visited the dinosaur museum and watched some Mexicans who had illegally crossed the border disappear into the shrubs as two border police in flak jackets sweated their way towards them in 90deg heat. The border between the USA and Mexico runs along the shallow Rio Grande with 100s of footprints on the Mexican side along with little boats. We even had to produce our passports to enter and leave the National Park; needless to say, the Americans on board only had to say they were American and didn’t have to produce any ID.

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