Chase Date: April 28, 2014
David Drummond, Andrew Newcomb
Miles Logged: 357
States Chased: TN, MS, AL
Tornadoes Witnessed: 2
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks
Starting in Memphis
Started the morning in Memphis, and didn’t get going nearly as early as we had hoped and felt behind for part of the morning. Got on the road around noon and grabbed lunch at the slowest Wendy’s ever.
Headed down I-55 in hopes to get south and east of the line of storms forming down MS. Headed east on 278 towards Tupelo and intercepted our first storm of the day south of Pontotoc. It appeared the storm was mostly outflow dominant as it seemed to have a shelf feature, so we bailed further south on that. It would go on to produce a tornado in Tupelo not even 10-15 minutes later.
We dropped south to the next storm, which was also pretty much a dud. The terrain also wasn’t the best in this area, with very short windows to get views.
We continued our dropping south strategy to the next storm, which also seemed to not be as organized. The storm to it’s south, however, had reported tornadoes in Louisville, so we started south again and dropped to Macon, MS before heading up north. The Louisville storm was an absolute beast with some incredible lightning strikes and a massive inflow cloud.
Columbus, Mississippi Tornadoes
We headed north on 45 and intercepted what appeared to be 2 large tornadoes southwest of Columbus. One of them was definitely a wedge. A great intercept at pretty close but safe range.
We followed this storm into Columbus and then northeast. We got stuck by downed trees on multiple roads and ended up losing data as well, and had to bail into an open area because we were concerned about a northeast moving couplet/tornado to our southwest. We pulled into a driveway near the MS/AL border and the homeowners came out and flagged us to come in and take shelter in their tornado shelter.
We stuck around until we were pretty sure the threat had subsided and then tried to head out. We were still stopped by multiple downed trees and flooded out roadways, so we back tracked west, eventually stopping for the night in West Point, MS and getting a room and pizza.