A great chase day… but also the worst

Yesterday, I went ona chase like no others during the daylight. We had a storm moving in from Ohio, and I had the perfect vantage point. I was going to be busting through the middle of a 1″ hailcore. This was also my first time chasing in unknown area.

As you can see, the storm was growing intensity. Here are a few pictures of the system itself.

Unfortunately, the storm decided to head more north than East, so I was back on the move. Weaving in and out of the hills of Ellwood City, I was able to get on top of the mountains and follow it north for a few miles.

Eventually, I intercepted route 422 and was advised by Dean Berry, ChaserTech, to move East towards Prospect to intercept a non-warned storm. I followed 422 for about 15 miles when I got off at the Prospect exit, and heading north for 2-3 miles. I pulled off at the same location I did last season, it has a great view. All of a sudden, I could see the large lightning bolts striking Moraine State Park and Lake Arthur, and the rain started coming down hard. I was able to escape that, and capture these beautiful photos.

Next becomes the worst day in my chasing career… I was sitting on the couch after just getting back from cleaning out the chase car when all of a sudden, the weather alert radio went off. I quickly looked at radar, and found an intercept point, Saxonburg and Sarver. Luckily I knew this area extremely well, or at least I thought I did.

When I got to Saxonburg, I knew I had about 6 minutes to fill up and get moving into the center of the storm. The fuel pump was knocked out due to satellite issues, so by the time I could start filling, the storm was already there.

I quickly filled the tank to full, and took off. I decided to stay on the one road, thinking it would bring me East. Well. They started doing construction in the area and I passed the Sunoco on my right, so I knew I was heading West. I find a large intersection I could swing a quick U-turn safely and proceeded to head back to Ekastown Road. By this time, I was already stressed because I messed up. Taking an unknown road at night time can be deadly.

The storm was about 10 miles east when I decided to still continue. I went down into the one road I knew very well, I mean I traveled it everyday for 7 months, but once I switched from Butler to Armstrong County, I was clueless.

I took one road which I thought would bring me out near Kittanning, but it didn’t. It was a dirt road which just got soaked, and was 3/4 wide as long as my car. I knew this would be hard turning around on. After about 6-7 pull ups and back ups, I was on the hard road again, and I was heading home. No one is perfect but those were two mistakes that could have been deadly. Night time chasing is dangerous, it really is.

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