Chase Date: March 25, 2021
Gage Shaw, Bill Oosterbaan, Adam Lucio
Miles Logged: 1142
States Chased: AL, MS
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.