In between the excitement of rewrites and Fantasycon these past couple of weeks, I’ve also had chance to indulge another of my passions: storm chasing.
We’re now in the off-season, and whilst there’s a small spike in tornadic activity in the US during November, we’re not likely to see any major tornado outbreaks until April.  The off-season slump is hard for a lot of us, and we tend to fill it by going over the pictures and video we shot over the season and post it to Facebook and other social media.
However, one highlight in my calendar is the Torro Autumn Conference.  This conference brings together the leading academics and researchers in tornadoes to talk about their discoveries and latest papers.  A lot of it is a little beyond me but I always come away enthused and with a passion for research.
I took the train in and was pleasantly surprised how quick it was.  It was then a walk across town to Oxford University where the talks were being held.
The talks were all very informative, and despite what could be very dry subject matter, entertaining.  Particular of note was Kelsey Mulder’s talk “The case for multiple growth mechanisms of misovortices along a tornadic cold front in the UK”.
We don’t generally get the supercell storms in the UK that are responsible for a lot of the UK tornadoes.  Instead, we seem to get most of ours from a line of blustery showers (a squall line or cold front).  Kelsey has done some amazing work looking at the characteristics of these, and then wondering if they could be applied more generally.  It was incredibly interesting even though I understood about 30% of it.
I have to remind myself that I am surrounded by people with degrees and doctorates in meteorology, whereas I know very little.  But then the only way you learn is by starting from a position of ignorance.
I came home with a poster with all the UK tornado tracks on it, which now hangs on my fridge.  It was a good day which I enjoyed immensely, even when the return journey seemed to take three times as long as getting there.
The next conference is in April and I hope it doesn’t clash with other commitments as it’ll be a brilliant way to psyche myself up for my 2016 chase.