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    Jesse Ferrell

    Severe Season Starts Early in Pennsylvania

    By Jesse Ferrell, Meteorologist/Community Director
    4/26/2013, 8:46:40 AM

    I've talked before about when severe weather season takes place here in Central Pennsylvania. While it typically runs May through August, there is a small pre-cursor to the season that normally falls in early April. It would appear that this year, that has moved into late April. In the past two weeks, we've had *four* days with severe thunderstorm warnings and spotter reports (shown below; I'm at the "X") here in the Keystone State, and the Pennsylvania Storm Chasers Facebook Group has been busy.


    On April 10th, things got (as the kids say)... a little cray-cray. We had no fewer than *four* lines of storms move through State College between 3 and 11 PM (the RadarScope capture below shows me in-between the first and second lines at 4:50 PM; here is the radar from when I was in the first thunderstorm's warning area at 3:55 PM).


    Photos from both the early storms are shown below; some of the lightning pictures look weird because this was the first time I was experimenting with the Kodak Z990 HD video). Ron also got a killer 360-degree video of the storm as it came in.


    Arguably my favorite video capture was this one (no, that's not a tornado, just some scud cloud):


    The second storm had an incredible gust front and shelf cloud, which I was able to make into a panorama with Panorama Maker 4 and bring out the details with Oloneo PhotoEngine:


    On April 17th, we had some great storms roll in at night, but I didn't have my DSLR (the Canon Rebel XS from Fumfie.com) in focus. Grrr. I'm still going through the video to pull some stills though. On the 19th, we had a weak line of storms move over my house (video) with only 36-mph wind gusts, while Henry, just two miles to my south, got this crazy video:

    And finally yesterday afternoon we had a strengthening line of severe thunderstorms roll over us. I got some great shots, but the storms weren't as beautiful as the ones on the 10th, and had very little lightning.


    This radar capture shows two bow echoes heading towards me. They essentially combined into a line of storms overhead as the Severe Thunderstorm Warning expanded over me.


    What I did get a chance to do was to break out my GoPro HERO3 Black edition, with 240-frames-per-second-video. Even without lightning, it was fun to test the slow-motion capabilities, but I'll leave that blog for another day. Ron also got a nice 360 panorama video of the gust front moving over him, down in Vinco, PA.


    As is typical with the first local storm chases of the season, I was wholly unprepared. I don't know why I can't convince myself that doing a "dry run" in the late winter is a good idea. On the 10th, my GoPro HERO3 was uncharged, and had to film from a box in the passenger seat, where it could reach the power with its tiny USB cable. I also forgot my tripods and the battery charge was low on my other cameras.

    On the 17th, as you can see I didn't test-focus my Canon earlier in the day, as I should have. I also missed a great time-lapse of a killer shelf cloud rolling in with the later storm. Then I went to bed, thinking that the storm was over, and more lightning sparked up to my south.

    Yesterday, I was much better prepared, but still forgot a memory card for my Kodak Z990 which I was aiming to use for HD video during the storm. Now, there's a memory card in my backpack and I'm ready to roll again. My goal is still to see lightning on the GoPro @ 240fps, but for now I'll have to wait until the next storm.

    I also have several potential time-lapses from these storms, and I'll add them to this blog when I have them online.

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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    Jesse Ferrell