A classic, large negatively tilted upper-level trough was progged to move into West Texas by late in the day today. I wanted to focus on the area just south of the Texas Panhandle where I expected better instability and more discrete, right-moving storms. My morning target was Plainview, updated to Tulia by early afternoon. A steady steam of information was delivered to me via cell phone by William Reid to keep me on track.
Becoming a storm chaser was the natural course for someone fascinated by severe weather and tornadoes since childhood. My interest in storms developed during that time as a result of many days spent viewing dark, ominous Texas skies, and nights spent awake watching vivid lightning from the window of my room while thunder, hail and howling winds combined in a cacophony of incredible noise that shook our home.
It was Saturday evening, June 13, 1998. I was having dinner with some of the top storm chasers in the country at the Wagon Wheel Tavern in historic Marysville, Kansas. Fellow chasers Carson Eads, Tim Marshall, Alan Moller, Gene Rhoden and I sat down to a late meal after chasing a fast-moving, high-precipitation supercell along the Kansas-Nebraska border for several hours.