Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: March 25, 2021
Miles Logged: 1142
States Chased: AL, MS
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:


I left Norman on Wednesday after returning home from Florida on Monday. I did a quick laundry and repack before leaving again. My car was overdue for an oil change, so I also had to get that done. I was on the road around 5pm and drove to Olive Branch, Mississippi.

I was expecting to be chasing more into Mississippi, thinking Tupelo. As the day went on, it was obvious I’d need to get down to I-20 in Alabama.

Morning Forecast

I had been posting my thoughts on StormTrack in terms of the forecast. The target had definitely shifted somewhat east, but I was too dense to figure that out in the morning.

After working half a shift in my hotel room, I bailed around noon to head towards Tupelo.

Continue into Alabama

After watching storm development struggle, I realized I needed to be in Alabama. I continued on I-22 into Alabama and dropped south to an embedded supercell near Fayette. I got a few short glimpses at that storm, but was unable to see much structure.

Another tornado warned storm was down near I-20 and I started dropping south towards Tuscaloosa. About 1/3 of the way to Tuscaloosa I was distracted by a tornado warned storm. I ended up near Berry before giving up on that.

Back North?

Things were somewhat in a lull at this moment and I didn’t think the mess in southwestern Alabama would amount to anything. I headed back north to I-22 and started heading east towards Birmingham. At this point I was pretty convinced the only play, if any, was south.

Birmingham Storm

So I headed down I-22 towards Birmingham. A storm/embedded supercell was over Birmingham at the time. As I approached West Jefferson, outflow seemed to change to inflow. Radar indicated some broad rotation. The storm was strengthening and I was in a bad spot.

My goal was still to drop south on the storm currently near Centreville which had a confirmed tornado on it. Approaching I-65, I dropped south through the city. Just as I was crossing I-20, they issued a tornado warning on the storm I was quickly putting in my rear view.

Ashby Tornado

I dropped into Shelby County and exited I-65. My fuel remaining was under a 1/2 tank, so I stopped very quickly and topped off. As I left I-65, the trees were thick. I headed southwest to Ashby. I found a good gap in the trees and got the photo below, but I was hoping for a better view to the west. As I continued west, I became increasingly worried that I was in the path of the tornado. With the intensity of the couplet, I decided to not take a chance. I bailed west into the precip and out of the way of the tornado.

A supercell with a long-tracked strong tornado near Ashby, Alabama on March 25, 2021
A supercell with a long-tracked strong tornado near Ashby, Alabama on March 25, 2021

Coming out of the rain was Adam Lucio. We both asked each other why we were chasing this bs. I felt some sort of sense of security when I saw Adam, thinking I was safe. In reality, we both probably had no idea and his presence should have made me worry more.

Waffle House

Oh well. I tried to keep up and quickly realized it would not be possible. Bill and I met up at I-65 and then headed to Waffle House for food.

Friends Don’t Let Friends Chase Dixie Alley

In conclusion, please do a public service and remind your friends to not chase Dixie Alley.