Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I am now officially a certified severe storm spotter! Or atleast I think I am. See, I went to a class on storm spotting about 2 years ago, and then again last week. Well, after this last class, I signed up for an account on the National Weather Service's e-spotter site, and it was granted. So.... that makes me... uh... something! I think. I can sign in and make weather-related event reports such as rainfall rates, hail sizes, approx. wind speeds, tornadoes and the like. This combined with radar and other reports help the NWS get a more accurate view of what really went on during a storm.

I'm preparing my camera bag with severe weather necessities for the next big storm:
  • Ham radios (Yaesu FT-11R 2-meter hand-held, and Icon 2SRA 2-meter hand-held with wideband receiver)
  • Camera (Nikon D40x 10.2 MP DSLR with 24-50mm and 50-200mm AF lenses)
  • Extra batteries for both, memory cards for the camera
  • Blackberry (So I can insert witty wall retorts and nearly-funny status comments on the go)
  • Computer (Dell mini Inspiron 9 and possibly Nokia n800 Internet Tablet)
  • Beef jerky and David Sunflower Seeds (ok maybe not enough room, but they're definitely necessities)
  • (After re-reading over this list, I can leave my Official Geek Card at home, all the other junk will sufficiently identify me as such.)
I've signed up to go to the Douglas Co Annual Storm Spotter Symposium (say that three times fast) in Lawrence next month. It looks like they have 4 severe weather speakers, and several KC TV meteorologists, including Karli Ritter. :D I bet most of the meteorologisticalfragisisticallydoscious stuff will be over my head, but I find it very fascinating both from a scientific standpoint and a photographic standpoint. I think it helps to know what you're shooting!

I read about the tornadoes in Oklahoma earlier this morning. There was one in northwest Edmond and thankfully, there were no reported injuries. I hope there were no injuries that were unreported. Several people lost their lives closer to the Texas border, and storms hit other parts of the state as well.

How are you preparing for severe weather season? Do you have a plan, bathtub, lower-level closet, or even the Official Katie Horner Severe Storm Preparedness Helmet?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Hooray Google

Google maps is pretty neat. They now have a pedestrian walking feature. For fun, I wondered how long Google thinks it'd take me to walk from Olathe to V-town.

View Larger Map

Walking directions to Vallejo, CA: 1,786 mi – about 24 days 9 hours. I'd better bring some extra shoes.

Best part: "Use caution – This route may be missing sidewalks or pedestrian paths."

They might as well told me to watch out for bears and killer bees.