When the great “Dixie Tornado Outbreak” of April 2011 ripped through the Deep South, I remember being absolutely appalled that over 300 lives were snuffed out. How could that happen, I wondered, in this era of sophisticated weather prediction, detection and warning systems? You had to go back to 1936, into the “Dark Ages” (my…

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A decade ago, Chuck Rittenburg was the most successful professional storm chaser in the business. The founder and president of Thunder Road Tours, he was a sought-after guest on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” “60 Minutes” and The Weather Channel. He was a frequent talking head on network newscasts. And he and his company…

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Beyond the one-line description of Supercell being “a fast-moving thriller set against tornado chasing on the Great Plains,” what the heck is the novel about? Here’s the “elevator pitch” for it (an “elevator pitch” means the author’s got only the duration of an elevator ride to pitch his/her book to an agent or publisher): Chuck…

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Was it fun? people ask, knowing I’ve just returned from a tornado chase on the Great Plains. Sure it was fun. If your idea of fun is sitting in a van for 10 hours a day, reeling in the miles (3500 of them in seven days); or waiting and waiting and waiting for something to…

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Yesterday, Silver Lining Tours and I might as well have been hunting unicorns as tornadoes. Tornadoes? We didn’t even see a towering cumulus! For awhile, we thought we might have chance at a big storm far to our west just north of the Kansas border in Nebraska, but, like legislation in the U.S. Congress, it…

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Yesterday was a weird day for storm chasers. We spent a lot of time camped out on dirt roads next to fallow fields and curious cattle in southeast Nebraska waiting for something to happen (photo below). Nothing did. Several storms rumbled and grumbled for a couple of hours, but just couldn’t get their acts together.…

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After pushing northward yesterday from Wichita, Kansas, to Yankton, South Dakota, we got a shutout tossed at our tornado chase team. Thunderstorms did bubble up along a cold front sliding across the northern Plains, but for the most part—-at least where we were in far southeastern South Dakota—-they were run-of-the-mill. So we packed it in…

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