GIVE 'EM HAIL, HURRY!

FOR THE ARIZONA THUNDERSTORM CHASERS, THE SKY'S THE LIMIT. AND THEREIN LIES THE RUB.

Moore picks up the mike. "Go ahead, Stormbase."
"You should be running into this wonderful outflow boundary. Good stuff should be popping up all over the place!"
Moore doesn't care about the dust kicked up by falling rain anymore. That's all this lame summer monsoon season has given him and everyone else. "I want a tornado," he says. "Screw the microburst."

On the narrow roads of southeast Scottsdale now, looking for Highway 87, and as they turn a corner, there is the abandoned, graffiti-spattered hulk of a former Circle K. You can feel the chasers' flags going to half-staff. "Oh, that Circle K closed," Cerveny says. "Our old standby."

Moore is speechless. Finally, he says: "It's got an impressive amount of graffiti on it."

They drive and drive, but now the storm seems to have stopped advancing. The chicken has roosted. Without the usual capping off that signals maximum growth, it just started dying. From the west, a beautiful orange sunset casts the system's shrinking performance in a pinkish purple glow. "It's getting weaker," Moore says. "Once again, storms all around, and no rain in Phoenix."

They have covered miles of interstate and rural roads and now find themselves at the edge of civilization, out where Fountain Hills ends on the way to Payson. The storm has died, right in front of them. For a chaser, it is a horrible sight.

"This thing," says Moore, "is pretty well toast."

A couple of days later, on Friday, August 18, Cerveny calls an end to the project for the summer of 1995. Classes begin Monday. Whatever's killing off those floating chickens, it's getting pretty irritating.

That weekend, the biggest storms of the summer dance across the Valley. The heat island is drenched. It rains like hell. The thunder, somehow, sounds like roaring laughter.

« Previous Page
 |
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
All
 
My Voice Nation Help
0 comments
 
Phoenix Concert Tickets
Loading...