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 7-24-09: AZ/CA

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Posts : 15
Join date : 2009-07-26

PostSubject: 7-24-09: AZ/CA   Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:16 pm

Friday, July 24, 2009 - Strong Monsoon activity in Arizona and Southern California.

Began a 3-day storm chase trip with my friend Gerry Kerns. He drove while I navigated, operating laptop and cams. Intercepted first round of storms along I-10 at Desert Center, Ca around 11am. A few rounds of lightning, and some light showers but nothing to write home about yet. After pulling over near Desert Center and assessing the situation for about 15 minutes, we proceeded north on SR-177 towards Parker, Az. Many developing storms north, east, southeast, and south of us so we were trying to decide the best target.

It was about 12:30pm when we crossed the Colorado River at Parker. We decided to scope out an interesting cell that was developing about 8 mi east of town. After driving on paved road for about 4 miles it turned into a washboarded dirt road as we began to enter into a canyon that had no cell reception. We decided that that would be as far as we go, turned around and went back a mile until we came to a nice flat area that had a great view of the storm. We noticed the cell was forming some interesting structure in its base, and low and behold we saw what we were convinced was a rotating nub funnel. Took video and several pictures, and watched for several minutes until it dissolved out.

Decided to head south on US-95 toward Yuma as a very large storm had gone severe warned just northeast of Yuma, moving north. That was our next target. About 25 mi north/northeast of Yuma we encountered a series of flash floods across US 95 from the very storm we were trying to intercept. The floods were originating from a small mountain range 10 mi east of our location. Some of the crossings were no big deal, but a couple were questionable. We hung out for awhile waiting for the water to receed a little, talking with other travelers who were waiting as well. Wehen it became safe to cross we proceeded south until we came to the Yuma Proving Grounds enterance just a few mi north of I-10. The storm was paralleling us to the east the whole time and we knew we had to head east at some point to get into it, but the only opportunity at this point was severely washed out by a flash flood, and was blocked by emergency personnel.

It was about 4pm so we decided to eat at Jack In The Crack in East Yuma, while the once severe storm was dying out on top of us. Afterwards, we progressed east on I-8, with no particular storm to follow, just going since our goal was to get as close to Tucson as possible to stage ourselves for anything that night and the next day. as we progressed toward Gila Bend we watched an isolated cell out in the open desert south of Gila Bend taking form. We got to Gila Bend about 6pm and by that time the storm to the south had really blown up and gone severe. We trekked south in SR-85 but the storm was paralleling to the east of us, so we had no real way to get into it unless we off-roaded into desert wildenrness. With illegal immigration coyotes and drug smuggling rampant in the area, we opted to stay on the main highway instead of risk being hijacked. We stopped a few times, took pictures of incredible structure, and proceeded to the mining town of Ajo. Now, Ajo was interesting, as it is a fair-sized town of 3700. It used to be the supporting town of the now-closed New Cornelia open-pit copper mine. What surprised me was how active and developed this town still is, considering the mine was shutdown in 1985. After driving a few miles south of Ajo, it was now getting dark and the storm had basically died out by now. We stopped, took pictures of the the setting sunlight reflecting off gorgeous mammatus and headed north back to Gila Bend.

The day ended with an interesting experience with a Border Patrol checkpoint halfway back to Gila Bend. The agents were curious and very interested in us as storm chasers, all the while they had a drug-sniffing dog checking out Gerry's vehicle. We drew a crowd of about 10 agents, showing them our equipment, GRL3 radar images, and sharing storm chase stories. It was actually kinda neat as it made everyone smile. After passing their "test" we were allowed to proceed. We ended up staying in Gila Bend for the night. Another day of chasing to be had for tomorrow.



Last edited by Will.Wilkens on Sat Aug 15, 2009 4:05 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Join date : 2008-09-18
Location : Minnesota

PostSubject: Re: 7-24-09: AZ/CA   Sat Aug 15, 2009 3:10 pm

What the hell at the start of the video LOL the roads flooded, looked like someones car broke down, and the only person with enough balls to cross the water was a guy on a motorcycle!
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