Chase Date: October 18, 2007
Miles Logged: 457
States Chased: IN, MI
First official storm chase
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks
October 18, 2007 was a day that started it all. The Storm Prediction Center had been forecasting severe weather outbreak for days ahead of time. Thursday the 18th is when it all came together.
I took off down I-69 right after getting out of work at 3pm EDT. I was in Indiana by about 430 pm EDT and got on I-80 and headed West towards South Bend. From there I got off at US-31 and headed south down to Rochester, IN. The storm we were after had been severe warned at this point.
I raced south on IN-25, with intense lightning strikes nearby. I kept south on IN-25 through Fulton and Metea, IN. I was to the east of the storm, heading towards the rain free base area. This storm was a typical classic supercell, and the first time I ever witnessed one.
I made it south of Metea, and pulled off on one of the side roads. There we witnessed a funnel cloud rotating and about 1/2 of the way down. I snapped some pictures then we headed back north behind the storm on IN-25.
I made it through Rochester which had some small branches down and some minor flooding. We took highway 14 east. Storm motions were northeast at 55 or so, so the storm was quickly rocketing away from us.
We couldn’t keep up with the storm and dropped off it and started heading home. I took I-69 back up into Michigan where I found out about tornado warnings to my west. Once I got into range of the 145.390 repeater in Lansing, I was hearing that there was a large cone shaped Tornado on the ground in Williamston. Damage reports coming from Williamston suggested some major damage to houses and a semi in the ditch on I-96. I continued back to Lansing and headed east to Williamston.
I took I-96 to Williamston and then took the Williamston Rd exit. I found trees and wires down, as well as residents out in the street. A gas line had been pulled up by the roots of an tree the tornado uprooted. I parked my truck and started walking around, surveying the damage. I met up with Carl, K8YHH and we looked down some of the main streets in town, and I met up with some other HAM Radio operators and we started to assess the damage.
Another Tornado Warning
Another Tornado warning for Ingham County came out, and the tornado siren went off in town which was pretty amazing considering the siren had been hit by the first tornado, yet was still standing. The storms were still about 20 minutes out, so we continued to surveyed damage.
Once the storms closed in on Williamston, we took shelter in a bar. I got my laptop going with our radar data. The hook and TVS on the storm was well pronounced.
Once that was pushed through the area, we continued surveying damage as that was the end of the storms. We stayed doing damage assessment until 3 am when we decided to call it a night as all of our batteries were dead and so was I. The next day we met at the Sheriff’s Department at 8am to continue damage assessments.