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Final Stretch!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Current time: ----
22:24z(6:24pm EDT) Our last Observation - 80/68 near Lebanon NJ
We arrive at our destination a little after 23z 7pm EST!
Journal: Today was our last day of the trip. What I learned most from this day is the fact that driving through Pennsylvania is a lot worse than it sounds. The state is really really beautiful, but with the winding roads and lower speed limits, it took forever to actually drive through it all!  I was happy that we briefly went through West Virginia since I am able to check that state off my list of states I have visited so that was an unexpected surprise. Actually returning to familiar places again like Eastern PA and NJ (especially Rutgers) was a really good feeling although a little disorienting after being on the road for 2 weeks and seeing a new place every day. It really feels good to be home!

3rd Travel Day - Monday, June 9th, 2014

Monday, June 9, 2014
Current time: z(7am EST) (Tuesday)

z(10:07am CDT) we enter Joplin, MO to observe the damage that remains from the tornado that struck there  5;47 pm the tornado entered the town. Overcast right now.
z( 10:55am CDT) we get some gas and then have lunch at a steak and shake in Missouri.
z(3:33am CDT) we see our first glimpse of St. Louis Arc.
                      Skies still remain overcast
z(7:20pm CDT) we enter back into EDT. WHOOOO!!!!
We have dinner at a Ruby Tuesday’s in Indiana.
12:00 am EST we arrive at our hotel in Ohio for the night.

Since these are the last 2 travel days and we have home to look forward to, I did not do too much logging. We did do several interesting things today though even if the weather was nothing more than cloudy for most of the day. We visited Joplin and saw how wide the massive tornado was that plowed through the city on that sad day in 2011. Fortunately the city is quickly rebuilding and it looks like they will recover although I am sure that the storm has left it’s mark on the people who live there for many decades to come and it will not be forgotten even when all the trees grow back and buildings are replaced. The drive home was not as tedious as I had expected it to be. Perhaps this is because I slept for much of the ride, but it really wasn’t too bad! At this point in the trip, I am excited to go back home and have some time to myself and to relax although if I could storm chase every day all summer long, I would in a heartbeat! Also, today we went to Ruby Tuesdays for dinner, which is a chain I always wanted to try but have never had the chance to. I’m not sure if every Tuesday’s was as good as the one we went to, but the food was pretty awesome!

10th "Chase Day" - Sunday June 8th, 2014

Sunday, June 8, 2014
Current time: z(11pm EST) (Monday)

              z(9am CDT) We have our last forecast discussion. Conditions look great in eastern NM but it is too far out of our way for us to be able to make it home at a reasonable time on Tuesday.
(9:40pm CDT) We leave the Marriott in Amarillo and head east on I-40. Skies are overcast with sporadic drizzle.
z(10:10am CDT) we head east on 287.
Approx. z(1:00pm CDT) We had lunch in Vernon Texas at Bevos drive inn skies remain overcast
z(1:56pm CDT) we leave lunch and head to the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma given the fact that there is a very poor chance at seeing severe weather today. (We head north on 183)
z(2:13pm CDT) Joe kills a bird.
z(2:14pm CDT) we enter Oklahoma
z(2:25pm CDT) we head east on 5
z(2:45pm CDT) we head north on 36
z(3:05pm CDT) we take I-44 north
z(3:10pm CDT) We pass through Lewton, OK.
z(3:54pm CDT) we run into some very brief drizzle (under 1 minute)
Approx. z(4:30pm CDT) We reach the National Weather Center at the University of Oklahoma.

              z(6:13pm CDT) we leave the National Weather Center at the University of Oklahoma in Norman Oklahoma.
z(6:22pm CDT) we get to Rudy’s BBQ
z(7:43pm CDT) we leave Rudy’s
z(7:50pm CDT) we get gas and I see a really nice plant nursery

z(8:05pm CDT) we leave the closed plant nursery and gas station and coutinue to Tulsa for the night.
z(8:11pm CDT) we pass tornado damaged Moore Oklahoma as we head west to the super 8 in Tulsa, OK
z(9:45pm CDT) We arrive in Tulsa, OK ending our last chase day!

While today was not much of a “chase” day, it was a really interesting day. I really enjoyed going to the National Weather Center at the University of Oklahoma. The building was beautiful, the second you walk in, you feel like you are in a huge state of the art museum. I was impressed with the lecture room/ storm shelter. The outlets on the desk were a great idea but what I really liked most was the fact that the projectors were above the white board. I think allowing a professor to use both without compromising room for the other allows students to absorb a lot of different things at once and I thought it was a really nice feature. I thought all the projects that they were working on there were really cool too (and I thought it was interesting how their vehicles occasionally got caught in the storm as we saw with all the hail damage!). One of my favorite parts of the building was the observation area on the top floor. The elevator ride up there was really nice since we were able to see the lobby below and once we got up to the top, the view was really incredible (even on a cloudy day like today). When I say incredible, that could be a little misleading in that there wasn’t actually anything too impressive to see at the moment, but I can’t imagine a better place to watch a nearby storm! We also saw some of the offices at work. I was a bit surprised that the SPC had so few workers. I expected there to be a ton of employees working all the time, but only 5 people are in the room at any given time (but as I expected, there is always someone in the room!).  I thought it was pretty interesting that the NWS office in Norman was literally down the hallway from the SPC. I really was very impressed with the NWC and the University of Oklahoma!