Recent Storm Chases
Recent blog posts
- Moore, Oklahoma Tornado
- For Sale: Storm Snob DVD
- World Traveler
- Ode to 2012
- Latest installment of the Bag of Crap from Woot
- Incredible end to April!
- Weekend Success: 9 tornadoes between April 13 and 14!
- Tornado Outbreak Likely Friday and Saturday!
- Incredible November Tornado Outbreak
- Chase Forecast November 7, 2011
After busting on Thursday, David and I stayed in Childress, TX. After a tasty breakfast on the Friday morning, we hit the road for Vernon, TX. We topped off the tank at Walmart, then went in to get a few items we needed. We got stopped more than once due to our TVN apparel, people who were fans. It was kind of weird.
Anyway, we started south towards Seymour. A Tornado Watch was issued, and then cells started initiating shortly thereafter. We shot south past Seymour and towards Haskell, arriving in the outskirts of Haskell as the cell went Tornado Warned. We observed a real good wall cloud and funnel cloud as can be seen in the video below.
We punched south of Haskell, towards Stamford and observed the wall cloud and funnel cloud for quite awhile before hail started to fall. I got some decent pictures of the structure, and some RFD winds. We had to move south again, and flipped around into the opposing traffic lanes before observing a dust swirl under the wall cloud/funnel cloud previously mentioned.
Eventually that was cut into by the RFD, and we got south into Stamford, and then positioned for another intercept south of Stamford. The cell started looking poor at that point, so we made the decision to head back north towards the other cell which had fired near Seymour.
A cell fired to our west again near Haskell, and we went west to intercept, and then dropped south in front of the hailcore. We observed some more wall clouds before dropping south again. Eventually we positioned for lightning footage and lightning pictures before giving up near Albany, TX.
We headed to Abilene where we got some Denny's.
David Drummond and I started the day off at his house near Lubbock, with an almost perfect forecast. I am still somewhat new to chasing, but David showed me how to do some hand mapping of surface observations. Plenty of boundaries showed up on the surface charts and on the Visible Satellite. We originally came up with a target of Plainview, TX.
David and I took our time to get going, and then headed up towards our target. Storms started initiating on our drive up, and we intercepted the cell as it was still building, and had 2 rain cores.
The storm moved eastward, and David and I met up with Graham Butler and his girlfriend Presley just northwest of Plainview. David did a quick phoner for the 5pm newscast on KCBD before we crossed I-27. The storm started getting it's act together, then started outflowing. A ton of dust got stirred up over Plainview, which made for some good video. Then some gustnado looking things spun up, but I'm pretty sure they were actually tornadic. The dust swirl underneath a rotating wall cloud had multi-vortices before dissipating.
We moved east a bit, and caught another dust swirl under a rotating wall cloud. I reported that as a Tornado in NWSChat. We also got a few 1" pieces of hail which we measured and reported.
We then got further south and as we were turning onto Ranch Road 97, another chaser pointed behind us. We looked to see tornado #3 roping out. We continued a bit east towards the main area of rotation before stopping. We were stopped maybe a minute before tornado #4 touched down. This one turned into a large cone tornado. David and I decided to punch east, and get in front of it, narrowly missing being runover by it. The rest of the experience can only best be described with video below.
After starting the day off in Moore, I was going to hit a target of Sayre or Shamrock again on Sunday as I had on Saturday. After looking at some surface obs, and some models, I decided that the better play would be south near Childress, TX. After grabbing some Sonic in Moore, I headed down I-44 and shot west on US62 to Hollis, OK, where I sat for awhile.
A cell started popping just across the Red River, and I decided to head southwest to Eldorado to intercept it. As I was driving, the cell pretty much fell apart, and I headed south into Texas, meeting up with David Drummond in Quanah. We shot east to Vernon and then south to intercept the cell coming up from near Crowell. This was the cell we stayed on for the rest of the day, chasing it up through Frederick and all the way almost to Oklahoma City.
The cell started getting somewhat organized and dropped a cone funnel south of Vernon before dissipating. JR Hehnly met up with us while we were watching it, and would stick with us for the rest of the day. We topped off our tanks in Vernon and then headed up towards Frederick. The cell cycled up just west of Frederick, putting down another wall cloud and a momentary funnel before again dissipating.
We followed it up to Snyder, and yet again it cycled up a wall cloud and a funnel with a ton of rapid rotation. I was convinced the cell was going to produce right then, but as before, it dissipated. We went north, and decided to shoot east through the wildlife preserve to get back in position without having to core punch. We got north to SR-19 and then took 58 north to Carnegie, OK. We observed some power flashes to the west of 58, but they seemed to keep happening in the same place, and there wasn't anything under the cloud base to attach it to.
I woke up on Saturday morning in Tulsa at the Motel 6, which is where I stopped the night before after driving down from Lansing, MI. The initial target was Shamrock, TX. We stopped at a Waffle House in Oklahoma City and met up with Scott Bennett.
We got on the road and right around Elk City, Scott's truck broke down. Eventually we got it towed to a dealership, and Scott joined me in my truck for the rest of the day. We ended up going out to Shamrock, TX where we met up with David Drummond and I got to meet Warren Faidley. (He's a nice guy by the way)
After sitting around for an hour or two, a cell started firing to our west. We shot north to intercept near Wheeler, TX. We ended up shooting northwest towards Mobeetie while the cell got it's act together. A wall cloud formed and dropped a funnel, and then went away as quickly as it started. We sat around for another 5 minutes, and it did the same thing, dropping a funnel. It was at that time I noticed a dust swirl in the field next to us, and I pointed it out to Scott. Next thing I know, it went away and reformed again right in front of us, about 20-40 yards. Everything swirled in front of us, and then it moved off into the field on our left. I flipped the truck around in time to see some cows get agitated by the tornado. First Texas tornado, and closest I've been to one. (20-40 yards)
We followed the cell north and east for quite a distance, and it again almost dropped a tornado as you can see in our video. We got right next to it as the wall cloud was rotating rapidly.
There was a Moderate Risk of Severe Thunderstorms out for Indiana and Ohio, however, the risk of tornadoes was very low. It appeared that mostly this would be a wind/hail event day, and mostly that is what it was.
The first cell popped in Van Buren County Michigan just west of Kalamazoo, MI and headed southeast. I intercepted the cell south of Battle Creek and then followed it into Branch County where I observed a beautiful mesocyclone. The storm ended up dropping a funnel cloud and I really thought I might get to see a brief tornado touchdown, but alas, it was not to be. The National Weather Service in Northern Indiana was watching my cam the whole time, and I am surprised they didn't go Tornado Warned on that cell. I guess the live cameras give instant ground truth.
I followed the cell further into Southern Michigan and then headed south into Indiana to catch another supercell heading away from the North Webster radar site. By the time I caught up to it, the storm had pretty much become linear and I waited for the line to hit me before meeting up with Johnathan Brouwer for dinner at Texas Roadhouse.
On the way home I saw some spectacular cloud formations including an Anvil over Lake Michigan with the sun setting behind it, and a couple Rainbows.
A great way to spend my Sunday off.
Monday there was again a Moderate Risk for South Central Kansas. We started in Dodge City, and took showers and generally took our time getting up and getting ready. It was almost 11am before we finally hit the road towards Greensburg. We spent quite a few hours in Greensburg looking around at the massive destruction caused by the nations first EF-5 tornado. We eventually headed east to Pratt, KS where we met up with Dennis Sherrod and Chris Rice.
Eventually a cell started firing near Protection, KS and we headed back southwest towards that cell. We were right under the cell when a tornado warning was issued for it. It dropped some very low clouds around us, and a funnel hung from the storm into the field right next to us. Lightning struck the phone pole right by us and scared us all half to death. We decided to move then and headed towards Greensburg in order to not get cored by hail.
We headed east of Greensburg, and stopped while we filmed a good funnel. Once that dissipated, we headed further east towards Pratt again. The cell flared up all around us and we ended up getting cored by 2-3 inch hail. It left some dents in the car, but didn't harm any of the glass.
David Drummond called shortly afterwards, and was just south of Pratt. He wanted to make sure we were ok after seeing us get cored in that cell. We decided to meet up in Pratt, and we headed to the city. While we were waiting for him, the sky became very ominous. The buildings in Pratt obscured our view, but there was inflow on either side of the building to our south going towards each other, so we knew we were in trouble. We started heading south in Pratt, and then the Tornado Sirens started going off.
We woke up on May 25 and looked over the models. There were 2 areas to chase, one of them in Iowa/Wisconsin/Minnesota and the other in Kansas.
I wanted to chase Iowa, but John and Clay wanted to chase Kansas. They won, and we headed to Kansas with an original target of Hays, KS. We ended up needing to be in Trego County as storms started to fire when we got there. We went south from WaKeeney and intercepted a Tornado Warned cell near Utica, KS. We stayed in that general vicinity for the next couple of hours before heading south towards Dodge City, KS.
South of Ness City, KS we started seeing updrafts and small landspout spinups. We watched storms firing along a boundary for an hour or two before heading to Dodge City and getting a hotel room for the night in the Holiday Inn. We went to a steakhouse, and then headed to our rooms. I tried editing some video, but shortly fell asleep.
Chad Rust and I got an earlier than anticipated start, leaving Lansing around 5:30 am. We headed south on I-69 to Indianapolis, then took I-70 west to Effingham. Once we crossed into Illinois, it appeared that we might be wasting gas. I contemplated going to the north target near Davenport, IA as I didn't think we'd be able to get south fast enough to meet the cells in Arkansas.
The decision was ultimately made to go south towards Arkansas on I-57. The storms in Northeast Arkansas were tornado warned as we cross the Mississippi River. We shot south on I-55 as fast as we could again, and managed to intercept one of the tornado warned storms near the town of Stanley, MO. There wasn't much to be seen with that storm, so we headed further south into Arkansas.
We got off I-55 at US-61 in Blytheville, and headed south to Luxora. The tornado that had been previously reported near Lepanto, AR had apparently dissipated as we didn't really see much of anything. We got back on I-55 and headed south towards the cell coming out of the Parkin and Earle area.
This storm was currently producing a tornado near Earle. We got in front of the storm as it was approaching I-55, and got off at the Turrell, AR exit. I had finally done it - I was observing my first tornado! It was a violent elephant trunk tornado which we watched go from due east of us to north of us before it started dissipating.
At that time we headed east towards Turrell and north. We observed another wall clouds, and some of the most intense lightning I have ever experienced. We eventually decided to head back south on I-55 and get across the Mississippi river while I edited video and got it online.
We dropped south of Memphis into Mississippi where we headed east on state route 72. We had to take a quick detour to find some wireless and finish uploading my video. We found some wifi in a small town in southern Tennessee.
October 18, 2007 was a day that I will remember for quite awhile. The Storm Prediction Center had been forecasting a large Severe weather outbreak for 3 days, and Thursday the 18th is when it all came together. I took off down I-69 right after getting out of work at 1500 EDT. I was in Indiana by about 1630 (1530 local time) and got on I-80 and headed West towards South Bend. From there I got off at US-31 and headed south down to Rochestor, IN. By that time a hook was already starting to show on the radar and a Severe Thunderstorm warning was out for the storm.
I raced south on IN-25, almost being struck by lightning. The strike was very close to the truck, and very loud! I kept south on IN-25 through Fulton and Metea, IN. I was obviously going to the east of the storm towards the rear of the storm which was producing the TVS and hook echo signature on Radar. I made it south of Metea, and pulled off on one of the side roads and had a funnel cloud about 300 yards across the field from where I was. I snapped some pictures then chased it back north up IN-25 which I just came off of and snapped a couple other pictures while driving. I stopped to show some Skywarn guys the pictures.