Archive for June 2013

Local Chaser Intercepts Montgomery Co. Tornadic Storm

(Posted by Annette Windsor )

The tornadic storm  that ran a 17 mile course across Montgomery Co. on June 13th was intercepted by Tom Windsor,  a local Damascus resident and storm chaser.   Earlier the fire department reported seeing the  tornado in Norbeck, as it crossed  Georgia Ave. and Norbeck Rd.

In his words and pictures :

“I intercepted the base of the mesocyclone around 4pm. at a golf course on New Hampshire Ave. and  Ednor Rd., southeast of the reported tornado site.  I drove east on Ednor around 4:10 p.m. and experienced  almost horizontal southerly  winds.  Then shortly after, the winds shifted rapidly in from the northwest  showing strong wind circulation.  I  later reported it to the National Weather service in Sterling, VA”.

 Local Chaser Intercepts Montgomery Co. Tornadic Storm

Base of mesocyclone, southeast of Olney / Norbeck Md 6/13/13

olneytorn3editb 300x224 Local Chaser Intercepts Montgomery Co. Tornadic Storm

Tornadic  cloud base, southeast of Olney / Norbeck , Md 6/13/13










 Local Chaser Intercepts Montgomery Co. Tornadic Storm

Tornadic cloud base w/ possible funnel , southeast of Olney / Norbeck , Md 6/13/13

Storm chasers also asking “How’d it happen?” to Samaras team

( From an article  in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram) by  G.Thomas Windsor


I stared at pictures of a storm chase vehicle twisted by the El Reno, Okla., tornado that took the lives of Tim Samaras, his son Paul Samaras and Carl Young.

Though I didn’t know them, it struck a nerve. “If it could happen to one of the best of them, then …,” is a thought we who chase are surely pondering.

There will be debates, calls for the regulation of chasing and rethinking of the practice itself.

The challenge is the very wide spectrum of people who are chasing. Most are making an important contribution and aren’t reckless thrill-seekers. Tim Samaras and the others with him dedicated their lives pursuing answers, and they played a valuable role in gathering data to warn the public.

There’s now the familiar “why did it happen?” questions being asked.

Tim’s lifelong quest was to “better understand some of the final mechanisms for tornado genesis.” It’s the “how does it all come together?” question.

There’s also the “how does it all come together?” question involving such tragic fatalities.

• There can be rush-hour and chaser traffic jams (I’ve been in those): too many chasers in a small area with fleeing public.

• Though law enforcement officers work hard saving people’s lives, it’s been reported that one officer was blocking a possible exit road when disaster struck.

• Like an expanding storm, there is also an appetite for ever more dynamic footage. The chaser and the media are subtly taking greater risks and have grown accustomed to the new norm, of the incredibly dangerous.

A severe weather event is chaotic, unpredictable by nature. It is a coming together of many different things in the atmosphere. The tornado at El Reno took a sharp left turn; statistically, many don’t. It just so happened to rapidly grow into the widest tornado ever recorded.