2006-03-12 REPORTS: KS, MO, IL, IA, OK, AR

Jun 24, 2004
Here’s the short version. I’ll get a more detailed report up on my site in a day or two.

I didn’t get out of Omaha until 1900z due to Wal-Mart taking 3 hours to change my tires. They were cheep, $12.00 per tire for mount & balance, but so slow. Anyway there was no way I could have done a long chase without new tires and my wife wouldn’t even think about me taking her Suburban. I can make Overland Park in roughly 3 hrs from my house, so I thought I could possibly get south of the metro area some where along hwy 69 along the KS MO border by about 2300z. At that time the latest MD from the SPC said there might be some early activity, but that storms would fire late off the dryline in eastern KS and move into MO, so anyway this was my game plan. By the time I got to ST Joe, 3 tornadic storms were already moving through the KC metro area and there was no new activity in eastern KS. So not wanting to get into the metro area with fast moving storms I headed east on Hwy 36 to setup an intercept of the north cell now moving through Excelsior Springs. While moving east on 36 there was a report of a brief touchdown just south of Cowgill, 10 –12 miles straight south of me. I did intercept this cell in Utica and stayed with it to Chillicothe, where it was down graded to Severe, with storm motions >50 mph these cells were very hard to stay with. Setting up an intercept was the only way to go, especially in the hills of northern MO. So I let this one go and dropped south to Carrollton where reports of the Sedalia wedge started coming in. I briefly thought about moving east towards Moberly to intercept the Sedalia cell, but figured I end up chasing it all the way the IL, so I headed back west on 24 to intercept a new round of storms moving through the KC metro again. Along Hwy 24 near Norborne I saw some downed trees and power lines from a tornado earlier in the morning. About 1000 turkeys later I intercepted another tornado warned cell just east of Plattsburg. I watched it from a hill somewhere west of I35, but with darkness settling in I bailed to the NW and headed home. Although this area wasn’t to bad for chasing (better than the northern tier of counties), it certainly wasn’t the prairies either, and the thought of chasing a 55 mph tornadic storm through the hills didn’t appeal to me. I didn’t get to see a tube on this sadly tragic and historic day, but I did witness some nice storms and was able to get some bugs worked out (and identify others) of my chase gear. My thoughts and prayers go out to all those who lost life and property to these storms. 478 miles. (Edited)
Jan 15, 2006
2 years this has happened to me High Risk, and Flat Tires!

Didnt have a target so i just headed to tornado potential in Northeast MO, near kirksville, around 8 am or so driving on 36 im hearing tornado warnings already in the morning im like ok i need to haul butt!...well i left 6 am and headed to kirksville area.

sat and drove way back west towards trenton, then storms rolled in, clouds with heavy moisture were moving by fast and real low which was neat to see...

Mo roads arent fun stay off the gravel! if you dont want flat tires i managed to get 2 yep 2 .

i was sick of hearing tornado reports and some people KEY WORD( The Public and Spotters confimred a 1/2 mile wide funnel along I-70 near sedalia with major debris cloud... radio speakers i tell ya"

It sad that this day had to take some lives and cause much devistation, i mean some people have nothing left and thats real hard to take in.... i feel real upset that had to happen towards evening ... anyways heres what i salvaged... from this BUST!

All them tornado reports around me and i didnt get SQUAT, oh well i need to learn how to chase these fast movers, also around hamilton tornadic sp's came through alot of lightning but you couldnt see any structre, it was like these tornadic sp's were ghosts! i sat in hamilton MO, after getting pea sized haila nd heavy rain, when i neared the Trenton Exit it was nice to see a clear sky with starts, and the sp's which passed trough the anvils were lit up by the moon it was real photogenic

oh yeah MO is the true Wildlife Chase State

I saw 7 deer
2 raccoons
4 coyotes

within 5 miles of each other( and there was alot of roadkill)

Congrats to everyone else who nabbed the storms"

J West

Jun 7, 2005
Left the Milwaukee metro area about 1:15p with an intial target somewhere between the Quad Cities and Peoria, with the anticipation that the warm front would be further north and convection in MO was going to move across the river into Illinois about 5 pm. I left so late because I wasn't going to chase at all, mostly because I anticipated having to go into MO which wouldn't jive with being back for work today. I made a last minute decision to try my luck in with the north end of this system near the warm front in WC/NW Illinois.

With the help of nowcasting from Mike Johnston, I briefly chased the tornado-warned storm that crossed I-39 near Tonica, Ill. but could only get quick glimpses of the rain wrapped and haze obscured lowering. Mike advised it was rotating and showed a TVS, but I don't believe it ever showed a funnel or produced a tornado.

(Visibility was horrible with ground-based haze, which got worse the farther south I went until finally clearing out after reaching the Springfield Ill. area.)

After the brief sidetrack, I headed further south on I-39 then I-55 into the warm sector south of Peoria. Temps went from ~45* to over 60* rapidly but the closest convection (other than the low topped storms up north) were still churning over central MO. I blasted south to the Springfield metro area to fill up and get some food about 7:15p when I started monitoring reports about the tornadic supercell headed NW into Illinois. I hung around until 8:00p and thought about heading west on I-72 to intercept the storm. In hindsight I think it was a good choice not to, since it was dark and this was not familiar territory for me. The local guys like Skip Talbot were on the storm and could move around a lot better than I, and I don't have mobile WX data yet, so I made the decision to head back north before the storm moved into Springfield.

One interesting note was the lack of information being provided by the NWS or broadcast radio before the storm hit. I couldn't hear WILL radio when the storm hit as I was too far north, but it sounds like they were the only ones on the ball. There was no mention of the severity of the supercell before the storm hit Springfield, just that it crossed the river and was tornadic in MO.

Heading back, I had no idea of the magnitude of the storm once it reached Springfield until I read the other chase forum this morning. Coming back north on I-39, I was literally dodging tornado warned storms in the cold sector. Once I got near Rockford where I was more comfortable with the road network I decided to play the next warned storm. I didn't have to wait long as a cell SW of Rockford was rotating, so I waited for it to move closer but it was very umimpressive looking with no lowering or noticable rotation. I was almost home when the same storm was again tornado warned in far SC Wisconsin. There were no reports of funnels or touchdowns with it this time either, and I couldn't see anything significant. There was ample lighting but nothing to see.

I got back home about 11:30p, with 573 miles traveled. No pics, no video..this was a learning chase more than anything. I will be checking into GR3 or WXWorks, as chasing without them is difficult considering the availability of data.

A quick thanks to Mike Johnston in VA for the nowcasting :D
I could chase any day this week except Sunday due to work. Oh well, but I did manage to intercept the warned cell in NC IL on my way back home from work. I had to take my wife hostage to chase this thing. She did a good job and she really laughed watching a bunch of deer getting pummeled by the hail. A really good hail producer to say the least.

Link to video: http://creativejetstream.com/Video/Mar12_06Hail.wvx

Congrats to Skip, Fabian, and Dan on the Springfield tornado. I really enjoyed the cyberchase.
Jerry Funfsinn

Mike Parker

Nothing real spectacular yesterday. I stayed in Eastern Kansas for various reasons and was only able to observe the cells as they initiated before they "flew" into Missouri. Most of the initiating cells formed wall clouds and slight rotation at various levels. Here are a couple of pics I took. More pics and report at http://chasethis.blogspot.com.

May 8, 2004
Central Oklahoma
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I have been working nonstop for the past week, so I was drained on Sunday. Decided after waking up late to target the development along highway 177 south of Shawnee, OK., hoping to follow the storms as they moved into the better atmosphere to the east. I watched the cell that Brian described begin near Asher. Out of many that were trying in the area, it was the only cell to make the transition to supercell. It began moving very rapidly after it became an LP cell and I followed it all the way to Bristow before admitting defeat to the very rapid NE movement. The cell transitioned to a classic supercell along the way, and I saw a well-defined wall cloud as it passed just south of Bristow. However, due to nightfall and being unable to stop for even a minute I could not tell if there was persistent lower level rotation. There was certainly a large outbreak, but the storms were just moving too fast for anything but an interception.
Mar 21, 2004
Urbana, IL
---This is very long, sorry... and most of it is from our coverage of the SPI supercell/tornado from WILL-TV/Radio. Thanks to all of those who expressed your appreciation for our work.

I started the day with my dad, targetting Jacksonville, IL. We met up with Scott Kampas, Colin Davis, Mark Sefried, Darin Kaiser and spent the better part of the afternoon sitting around doing nothing. We debated heading into Missouri and intercepting the two intense southern supercells.. but around 5 PM called it off and headed home for various reasons. Mostly, hating Missouri, and being absolutely sick of the grey clouds and cool temps we had all day. I figured the night was going to be insane across Illinois so I figured we could just head back and get set for that. I had no idea that hours later a large tornado would cross right where we had been sitting for the entire afternoon. :rolleyes:

After getting home, I saw the main supercell was still tracking into central Illinois so I decided I would go up to work and watch the storm come into the area. Being the weekend, I was the only one in the office, so I began to wonder what I was going to do about the situation... as our head met. had not arrive back in town yet.

As I'm watching it move right towards Springfield, my boss Ed Kieser comes walking into the office (he just arrive from the Bahamas an hour earlier) and asks me "Are we going to get anything tonite?" He saw the storm I was watching and asked me where it was, and before I even finished explaining to him that it was heading right for Springfield he was freaking out. "Are we covering it?! This is HUGE! This thing is huge! We are going on now, we're interrupting whatever is on both stations and going on.. this is just what we were hoping wouldnt happen!" So he ran down the stairs and told the tv and radio people that Springfield was about to be hit by a large tornado and that we were going on the air in 5 minutes. Ed took over the main computer and asked if I was staying to help him.. I wanted to see the damn thing so I started saying.. "Yeah.. I can stay for a while, but I was thinking I might go out to-" and he interrupted me and told me I wasnt chasing the thing at night.. so I told him I was all his.

He took over the main computer so he could go on the air and be watching the storm, and I fired up the south computer to open our news programs to get him every report that came in on the storm. Its kind of an erie feeling. You watch the storm go directly over a big city, in this case, Springfield. You know there's a tornado in there. And then, once the storm passes the city... you just kind of wait. I just kept refreshing the computer programs, waiting to see what happened. I just kept thinking.. "how bad is this going to be? Yeah, we're covering it.. but are people even paying attention to us?" Then, it started coming in. First.. just reports of roofs missing from homes and businesses. But then more and more bad news... "homes demolished" "six homes severely damaged or leveled, gas leaks and people trapped in homes" It's a pretty crappy feeling. You do all you can to warn people.. but you're still going to have people seriously injured or even killed with a storm like that. But, you realise you can't just dwell on that... because the tornado is still tracking on and heading towards more small towns. I had to run downstairs to let our tv meteorologist in the building (Mike Tunnera) and his appearance was enough to make me worried. I've never seen a weather man, so afraid of the weather. He asked me what was going on.. and I explained to him that Springfield had just been hit. He then went on about how.. "At first I thought this was pretty cool, a huge storm like that coming through the area, it just doesnt happen very often and I was pretty excited... but now that I'm realising what the hell its doing out there.. I feel like I need to throw up"

I spent the next 4 hours running around the building, setting up the tv studio for Mike to go on the air.. giving the tv/radio operators updated information... warning the TV hosts who were running the pledge drive of the storm, which was heading our direction. All the while, I was also scanning the computer looking for everything I could find on the storm as it continued to produce major damage and head this direction. I became more and more worried as I envisioned us having to haul ass to a bathroom as a big damn tornado barreled down on Champaign. Fortunately the storm turned slightly northward when it got closer to us, sparing this area. But now more small towns. More reports came in from Latham, IL and Niantic, IL of homes completely destroyed with the residents trapped in their basements. I also had to answer the phone in the weather office as well as my cell phone with people asking me if they were going to get hit. I tried not to be rude.. but I was way too busy too explain to them all where the storm was going... and tried to tell them if they just listened to our coverage they would find that answer to their questions.

Near the end of the night, we recieved a call from someone in the area who found our coverage "boring" and that he was so upset that he was missing his stupid fucking show. Ed voiced my opinion pretty well. Wtf is that guys problem. Ed went on the air and said.. "we're going to be ending our live coverage for now... but not because of the irrate call we just recieved from a listener. I realise that this storm isnt affecting everyone, and for some of you, this information isnt important. But there ARE people whos lives are being affected by this storm, and it is our repsonsibility to make sure they have plenty of warning time to take action, and save their lives" Not 5 seconds after he mentioned the complaint... the phone lines at WILL lit up with people expressing their thanks for the work that we did that night. Many of them said that we probably saved their life with our coverage and reports. Other people said that it was probably the best coverage of a weather event like that, that they had ever heard. That was the kind of thing that turned my night around. Just about all of the night, I was in a nervous panic. I couldnt seem to move fast enough. I felt like we were doing a good thing, but seeing all the reports of injuries and people being trapped just made me feel like it was no use. The storm was going to do what it wanted, and we werent stopped it. But to hear all the people call and express their gratitude for our hard work made me realise how worth it all of it was. By midnight, I was spent. I hadnt eaten since leaving the house around noon.. and hadnt used the bathroom for hours. When the live coverage ended, I got up... walked downstairs and shut off the lights in the tv studio... used the bathroom, grabbed a glass of water and went outside. I sat down on a bench outside the building, took a deep breath and just slouched down and relaxed for the first time in 5 hours.

I went back upstairs where Ed, Mike, and Dave (who had come to help out, as well as attempt to see the tornado) as well as a couple others who were working at the station were gathered in the weather office. We just discussed what had happened... and discussed the calls that had been coming in. There wasnt much to celebrate however, as even more storms were heading into the area. We took a short break to grab some food/drink and clear up the huge piles of paper from the first storm, and then got ready for round two. Around 2 in the morning another storm moved into the Springfield area, which had already been hit by the large tornado earlier. We went back on the air live, but not continuous this time letting people know that there may be another tornado in the area. Blah blah.. fast forward until about 3 or 3:30 in the morning when it looked like things might finally be calming down. I started cleaning up the office and getting rid of some of the paper. Ed and I were definetly falling asleep at our computers at this time.. so I said I was finally going to head home and get a few hours of sleep before I had to get up to take a test in 4 hours.
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Sep 17, 2004
Pete McConnell and I left for Kansas City early in the day. We were right behind the storm that hit St. Joe and saw baseball sized hail stuck in a fence. We then went south to Platte City and we noticed approaching storms from SE KS. As the storms drawed near the WF they took a more ENE direction so we blasted east. We then went south to Excelsior Springs. The storm went east along the boundary so we were in the core and took some footage of 1" inch hail. Aside from the hail there wasn't much for identifying features. We went south into KC and intercepted several cells by driving parallel to there tracks. None of them very impressive visually and looked pretty sheared out. We then followed a quasi-linear line up the Interstate up to Cameron, MO. Since both of us had to work the next morning we knew we would have to leave soon, but decided to wait for the line to move through and check for any changes. Well go figure, the southern storm of the line explodes and the FFD hits us with a vengance. The police tried to get people off the interstate and they were streaming into the hospital for shelter. As we stood in front keeping watch for the tornado the rain stopped and it became eeriely calm. Then with the flash of a couple lightning bolts a low wall cloud became visible. I never saw the buttom of it so it may have been a large tornado. Im looking over footage and will try and post some vid grabs when I can.

At 8pm we left MO, then at 11pm at night I entered Sioux City, NE and went to another extreme. Blizzard conditions. The road between Sioux City and Sioux Falls was pretty well covered with two inches of snow and some ice. Visibility was about 1/8 mile and took three hours to make it to Sioux Falls. As I approached the stretch that goes from Sioux Falls to Brookings the interstate disappeared under a blanket of snow. You wouldn't even know where it was if it wasn't for those reflection posts. At points visibility was no more than 100ft, no kidding. At points I crawled at 10mph on the interstate, guiding the car from the reflection posts and plowing through thick piles of snow with my tires. In the end it took me about 2.5 hours to go 50 miles.
Jay Cazel and I left Wichita at 10 for Emporia. We checked data there and then headed East. We ended up getting on the tornado warned storm near Ottawa Kansas. The storm could never really get its act together so we decided to drop South to the newer supercell that was coming off the dryline. About 15 minutes after we left the Ottawa storm it lost its tornado warning and the storm we were intercepting went tornado warned. We had to race South and East to get ahead of the storm so that we could get a view of the updraft base without getting hammered by hail and we just barely made it. There was a nice lowering that looked like it could turn into a wedge at any time, but unfortuneately we had to get out of the way of some wrap around precipitation and didn't get to spend long on the storm.
After that we stair stepped down to the tail end storm (Sedalia storm) and intercepted it just East of the MO-KS border. It was flat out moving so there wasn't any time to get out and take pictures, but here are some links to video grabs. The storm produced its first tornado near Butler. I am too lazy to get out the map so I may be a little off on my locations.



This first tornado touched down a couple times, but it never got a full condensation funnel. The storm put down its second tornado SW of Sedalia. We were struggling to keep up with the storm so I could have missed the half mile wedge that was reported, but here is what we saw.


A few minutes later is when tornado emergency happened and they began broadcasting live on the weather radio. This is when they were talking about a half mile wedge doing damage. Here was our view at that time. It is tough to see, but it looks like there might be a second rope/cone tornado in the background. The tornado that was in the picture before is on the right side and the second possible tornado is on the left side of the picture and farther away.


We broke off the storm East of Sedalia and headed back through town. South of town we stopped and took a few pictures of damage and called it a day. Not a bad start to the chase season. Congratulations to everyone who bagged tornadoes.


Sara Johnson

After viewing the early model runs, I left Norman at 9am and headed NE for Joplin, MO. Having only a NOAA weather radio, the morning suface plots and a gas station map of Missouri, I played it safe and chose to head north on 71 for Nevada, MO, hoping to catch a few early initiating cells and hang mostly south of the region forecasters expected to get most of the activity that day.

Fortunately, I got in contact with Angie Norris who agreed to nowcast for me. At just after 1pm, she saw three cells in southeast Kansas that were heading northeast so I continued up towards Nevada. Just before Nevada, Angie confirmed that the south-most cell was looking rather isolated and would likely be the best bet. As I entered the Bates County, the south cell was tornado warned. I pulled off to get a better view, and as I did, the sirens began to go off. The cell moved on to the northeast and I attempted to follow it north on highway 71 before tracking it east along 52. The storm was first reported moving about 40 mph to the northeast, although the later report had it moving at about 60 mph. Angie informed me that it was already 2 to 3 counties away, continuing along it's clip. So Angie observed a couple of rather weak cells which I could possibly catch up with at Kansas City. By the time I had arrived there, those cells had weakened further. I chose then to head south for Wichita. A few more moved in, but eventually diminished as well, long before I got to them.

I headed south for Norman, ready to call it a day, but I was able to intercept a cell moving through Crawford and Cherokee counties in SE Kansas and get some lightening video. As I was filming it, a tornado warning was issued. The cell continued to head east, but without radar, I made my way back in the direction of I-35. A few new cells had popped up from the various outflow boundaries. I got a few more lightening pictures in then arrived back in Norman just after 1am.

I will say this was a successful chase. I didn't actually see a tornado, but I did manage to get on the one cell that produced several tornadoes, lasted 17 hours, and made it's way up to Michigan. My still camera wasn't cooperating, but I got some of this storm's early footage.

**If anyone got on this storm when it produced the tornado and was able to get a good picture of it, I'd really appreciate it if I could get a copy of it! Please e-mail or reply... thanks!!!

Much thanks to Angie Norris for her quick-thinking nowcasting assistance!!
Departed Springfield, MO about 11 a.m, and entered SE KS on hwy 160. As I was driving N on Hwy 69 towards Fort Scott, one of the initial SE KS cells generated a tornado warning. I went West on 54 from Fort Scott to intercept this cell.

Saw numerous brief funnels as the cell approached from the SW, near Uniontown/Redfield in Bourbon county, KS. This pic was taken, looking SW, around 2:20p.m. CST.

A low, rotating wall cloud appeared to the NE of these funnels, and crossed 54 just to my West, around 2:25 CST.

The cell quickly raced NE into Missouri, continuing to generate tornado warnings. This photo is looking N, somewhere near the KS/MO border, between Hammond and Stotesbury.

The storm pulled further away from me, and began its prolific tornado production shortly thereafter.

It was nice to meet some ST'ers (Dick M, Tony L, Mike ?, and Darrin- hope I remembered that correctly) at the TESSA conference Saturday morning. Looks like you guys had an eventful Sunday.

Overall, a difficult chase on an amazing day.

Apr 1, 2005
Goodland, KS
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What a day yesterday. Just now getting around to posting a report. Myself and 9 fellow Mizzou folks headed west down I-70 stopping at Concordia for data. We were contemplating a run further west to get closer to the dryline but the storms in eastern KS fired up so we headed south on Hwy 13 toward Clinton hoping to intercept them. We were between Warrensburg and Clinton when the first torn warning came out for the storm near Archie/Adrian. Made it to Clinton and blasted up Hwy 7 toward Creighton.

Storm quickly moved north and the southern storm went torn warned heading right for Clinton so we flipped around and made it to Clinton in time to watch a beautiful wall cloud form. Inflow on this thing was unreal.

Rotation started to go crazy so we made our way to Hwy 52 which runs northeast out of Clinton. As we were taking the exit, the rotation was almost on top of us but wasn't showing signs of dropping down. Made it to about 2 miles east of Calhoun when the storm dropped a weak torn. Never had a full condensation funnel but did have obvious ground circulation and some structural debris at one point. Here are a few pics of it.

Think Mickey Ptak and Michael Gribble must have been either right behind us or right in front of us judging by their pics.

Tried to stay up with the storm but got caught behind slow traffic in Windsor. Were never able to completely catch up but did catch the wall cloud that put down the deadly torn south of Sedalia. Here's a pic of the wall cloud crossing Hwy 52 southwest of Green Ridge as well as one of some tree damage. There was also structural damage to a couple of metal barns but wasn't able to grab a pic of that with the digital.

We chose to break off our chase shortly after this due to major hail on the north side of COU which damaged cars of several met. students including one which had the back window completely shattered.

Arm chair chased the storms that Dick and Darin managed to catch after dark. Having been in this part of MO all but 3 years of my life, I had no interest trying to chase those beasts. Sad to hear of the lives lost and the tremendous damage paths left behind. NWS will have their hands full this week completing the damage surveys. I'm ready for a break...

Dan Chaffee

To make a short story shorter, I decided make an attempt at
an intercept of the show moving into W Mo. I left KC 1:30 CST
and chose to leave behind the warned cell moving into
the KC city limits and the nasty aspects of chasing in the metro
area. It was obvious within an hour that all I could hope for
would be distant west flank structure views of what was to become the
marathon dynamo as it entered Pettis Co Mo. Here's what it looked
like about 20 minutes prior to its dirty work in Sedalia.

Dan Chaffee
Parkville, Mo

Caleb Witt-Schulte

The day started out with me and my chase partner Bret Parrigon meeting up and sitting in Mt. Vernon, MO in South West MO for a while. Then I believe around 6 p.m. we headed out toward SE Kansas where we sat near Columbus and watched a lot of lightning as the storms finally began to become more organized. We then noticed cells were beginning to fire in NE Oklahoma and decided to head toward Joplin to try and get in position to intercept them. Next thing we know there is a tornado warning out for the cell in NE Oklahoma, I believe Deleware county and the cell was beginning to move into McDonald county, MO.

We then started heading toward Neosho, MO in SW MO where we pretty much let the core go over us with only a few minutes of penny to nickel size hail around 9:07 p.m. The first possible tornado we seen near Neosho at 9:21 p.m. We followed Highway 60 to around Granby and still seen a nice wall cloud with funnels every so often. Around 9:51 p.m. we then seen a funnel near the Monett airport that was heading straight for Monett. Amazingly enough it never did touch down anywhere in Monett, because if it had it would have been very devastating. Next, we proceeded on Hwy 60 still toward Verona and Aurora where we continued to see funnels with this wall cloud. As we got E of Aurora we began to see what looked to be a possible tornado.

Then we got just east of Marionville later on and continued to see what looked to be a large tornado to the NE of us around 10:17 p.m. and of course the radar was not working for me right now either. Then come to find out later we were probably within a mile of the tornado as it was crossing Highway 60 in front of us, which we never did see, though my video did begin to get all distorted around then for some reason too, really not sure why that happened. A minute later we almost run into a large tree that was laying on the highway and weave around it as emergency services arrive. As we continue our track toward Billings and Republic we still see a very well defined wall cloud with a tornado around what seems to be Clever. Next, we had to stop in Republic to get fuel, because of course I decided for once not to fill up with gas that day. This causes us to get a little bit further behind the storm, though we are still able to see the well defined wall cloud with what appears the tornado to the SE of us from Hwy 60 in Republic.

We kept following Hwy 60 as the storm began to get further north of the highway. We then seen another tornado near Fordland, MO at 11:09 p.m. as we continued on toward Seymour on 60 we kept seeing the tornado and also seen it become a much larger wedge tornado as it got near Diggins and Seymour!! Here we even seen what appeared to be a satellite tornado going to the west around the meso. All in all it was a great chase for night, though could have used even more lightning. It was also pretty neat getting to see the moon shining on the top of the storm as we followed it. A great chase and hopefully more to come :)


It started to become obvious that the High Risk would hold true when I left home(Hastings Nebraska), at 7a.m. Sunday morning and there was a severe thunderstorm watch issued for Hastings and the surrounding area, which wasn't "supposed" to get any severe weather that day. After heading east on I80 toward Omaha for 45 minutes I saw a number of car accidents resulting from people sliding off the highway due to an inch deep layer of hail. I met up with Scott Olson in Council Bluffs at @ 10a.m. and proceeded to an initial target of St. Joseph Mo. We met up with Tim Blaco who lives in the K.C. Mo. area. Tornadic storms were already firing in the area so we decided to try to start intercepting some of them. This began a day-long effort of being the "chased" instead of the chasers. Our best visible features were seen after dark @ 8p.m. when we were at a medical complex in Cameron Mo. off of I35. The wind and rain were swirling and tornado sirens were sounding. Some rather brave law enforcement personnel appeared to be directing northbound I35 traffic up the off-ramp to "safety". When the rain passed Scott Olson and I stood in the dark looking to the west sky when a bolt of lightning illuminated a massive vault-like lowering. The tornado sirens started to roar once again. This would have been a lot easier to see in the daylight. I will try to upload a shot or two of this ominous lowering. Congrats to everyone who witnessed tornadoes on Sunday.
As I'm sure many of you know, I was one of the primary warning forecasters on Sunday. Words cannot describe this event from how it unfolded in real-time, having to deal with 4 rounds of severe weather the same day (including the effect on your OWN house/family), and then seeing the aftermath on the surveys.

Not that there was ever an option, but I'm glad that I was at the NWS versus in the field. Chasing 50-60 mph supercells on our road network would have been frustrating to say the least.

It appears that many folks were able to successfully take on that challenge, and I wanted to say that we GREATLY appreciate all the wonderful calls, emails, and reports we've received from the chaser community. The discussions and pictures here are just amazing.

If anyone would like to share pictures and especially video from central and northwest Missouri on Sunday, please shoot me an email (Evan.Bookbinder@noaa.gov). We would be delighted to have you out to the office to share your information, or feel free just to email your accounts and images/video. There are some great photos here from within our county warning area...if the authors have exact times/locations, we'd greatly appreciate it. From the looks of it, there are a number of brief touchdowns that have not been accounted for by our surveys of storm reports, and we would certainly like to document everything to the best possible extent.

A special thanks for the very detailed write up from Brian Stertz on behalf of his crew and "Service J".

Our thoughts are certainly with those families who lost their homes and/or loved ones.

Evan Bookbinder
Senior Meteorologist
NWS Pleasant Hill, MO
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After being slightly dissapointed in the lack of storms in the early afternoon hours (at least south of I-70), I decided to base out of Jefferson City and go from there. Ended up in Columbia just after dark, stayed on the north side trying to catch a little action from the two cells that were moving NE, one towards Moberly. Didn't get much on camera from that one, so I repositioned and focused on the next one moving in. Lightning wasn't very defined (mostly IC or rain-wrapped crawlers) tho I did get this pic. Just looking in person I didn't see all the detail and I don't have very many other shots to put in reference, but it looks like a little bit of a lowering is forming in that rain-free base, which would of been the angle I was looking at.


Since I couldn't tell if there was rotation or not, I decided to head south towards Jeff.City. At the edge of the city limits I thought I heard the sirents go off, but decided due to limited knowledge of the immediate area, to keep going...only to drive into a strong storm cell (strong cross-winds while driving, heavy rain and some wicked lightning). Then, the tail of that storm developed rotation and the tornado sirens went off there as well. Only difference is I had no visibility looking that direction, so I decided to play it safe, call no-joy and head out of there asap.

Upon returning to home (Owensville area), shortly after we had our final tornado warning but it dissipated before arriving here. All in all a very interesting evening! No damage here at home thankfully.

Joe Lawton
Owensville, MO
Spotter M07374
Dec 8, 2003
Grand Forks, ND
Went on a brief "chase" when storms seemed likely to initiate near OUN. Sat in Tecumsah for awhile watching turkey towers, but then the field dimishined near sunset. Gave up and started to head home (only 30mi). Neared Lake Thunderbird and did an "oh ****" when I saw the following in the rearview mirror. Gave up any hope of chasing this storm. Eventually, it went on to produce the tornadoes in NE OK and AR.


March 12, 2006

My chase day started in Miami Florida on March 11th at 3:00PM. Well it really wasn’t a chase day, I was moving back to Kansas City. I had spent the last year in Miami doing beauty and fashion photography. Got tired of Miami and decided to head back to the Central U.S. I stopped in Murfreesboro, TN at 5:00am on the 12th. When I arrived at the motel and connected my laptop to their WiFi and got the day 1 out look I knew the drive the rest of the way might get rough. Right through a good portion of the area I had to pass through to get to KC was the elusive “high-risk†circle. I was going to sleep in, but decided I should leave at 8:30am and try to beat any storms that were going to fire up.

I woke up at 8:00am on the 12th. I checked the SPC page, noticing their warnings in the KC area, I called my Mom and girlfriend to warn them of the impending storms. I hopped in the car and got headed to KC.

Most of the drive was very uneventful. As I got the Saint Louis area I started paying more attention to the skies. Through my Sprint PCS I can get access to radar and some forecasting data through “My-Castâ€. Pretty handy to have as long as I can get a signal. As I was about 30 miles from Columbia I noticed the first couple of cells that were heading up through Sedalia and would be coming close to Columbia or Boonville. Not having any maps to navigate with or my weather radio I thought it would be best to stop at a friends in Columbia, wait for the storms to pass over I-70 then continue on to KC.

I got to my friends and pulled up the NWS radar and started watching TV to get storm information. From the radar and looking at the SRV it looked like the current areas of rotation would pass to the west of Columbia, however the media was projecting the storms to head right to Columbia. My friend had no basement and had just left for church. I sat there for a few minutes and the storm chaser in me took hold. Better to chase than be chased!

I left his residence, which is on the west side of Columbia. I made my way to Highway 63 and proceeded south to get into a better viewing position. I took my first images at exactly 5:10PM. I observed a large wedge tornado that appeared to be weak. The only reason it was visible was due to the rain forming the wedge shape. This persisted for about 30 seconds before dissipating or being occluded from precipitation. I watched several updrafts turn slightly, but no organized rotation that I would call a “well-defined†wall cloud.

As soon as the storm was clear I proceeded north on 63 to I-70. Remember I wasn’t chasing, I was trying to get home. And actually I was going to surprise my girlfriend by getting back to KC a day earlier than I told her. Up to this point I was telling her I was in Georgia and not anywhere near the mess I was about to really get in. I got onto I-70 and proceeded West. After crossing the Lamine River about mile Marker 90 I came to a huge traffic jam. I spent most of my time sitting and it took me at least an hour to go about a mile. Traffic was being detoured onto county road AE to J hwy, then back onto I-70. I will assume the traffic backup was related to the first storms crossing over the interstate. Now, however there were more storms approaching the interstate with current tornado warnings. As I got to J hwy. and I-70 I was on the phone with my brother having him give me some now-casting and try to get me down I-70 without running into a tornado or large hail. All the while I would intermittently talk to my girlfriend acting like I was stuck in a traffic jam in Georgia! We decided I should head to the clover leaf at I-70 and 65 hwy and reassess the situation. Once I got to that point and reassessed, it was decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea to proceed down I-70. The hook from the storm was running along I-70 and was headed towards my location.

I decided to head back to J highway and I-70. If need be I could go south on J to 65 highway, or get back on to I-70 once the storm had cleared. As I sat on the south side of I-70, I was being hit by massive inflow, through the lightning flashes I could see a large wedge tornado working its way to my northwest. My guess is it was about 1-2 miles from my location. My brother thought it would be best for me to head South on J and hit 65 hwy a few miles south of I-70 and then proceed back north to I-70. That is exactly what I did. I was very relieved to get onto I-70. It was at this time I had to tell my girlfriend about how I was going to surprise her, but I was concerned for my safety and wanted her to know I was almost there. More storms were approaching from the Southwest and I knew I had to keep things moving to get west before I ran into them crossing the interstate. Just when I was thinking things were looking good…once again…traffic jam!

this was shot at 3200 ISO on my Canon 5d handheld at 2.5 seconds from in my car!

For at least 20 minutes there was no movement whatsoever of the traffic. There is no worse feeling than knowing that in a few minutes I might find myself in a ditch hoping for the best! Of course another storm was headed right towards my location with a current tornado warning. Slowly traffic got moving. This time the wreck was from a semi that had been flipped over onto a couple of cars that were parked under an overpass. This was from the tornado that I had just witnessed a few minutes before. If I would have proceeded instead of waiting when I did back at J highway and I-70…I know that I would have been in that mess or very close.

After the last traffic jam there was only one more storm to beat before I was finally in the clear, it was once I got past 13hwy and I-70 that my brother said that I am finally in the clear. That was a great feeling of relief. It took me 5 hours to drive 90 miles. If it were not for the traffic backups on the interstate I would have been fine, and perhaps would have even stopped to get some better photos. I have been thinking about getting wxworx system, after this event, I am thinking even more about it!

Sean McMullen

I was chasing sunday with my fiance Katie along with Jeff and Kathy Piotrowski. We began the day by chasing the "quad state supercells" all the way to about 40-50 miles east of Columbia, MO. Along the way we did get a couple nice tornadoes but what I would like to report on are the huge wedge night time tornadoes we chased after being stuck on I-70 for hours and watching the storms head right at us on radar that had developed on the KS, MO border. We just happened to get around the destruction on I-70 to witness two tornadoes just to the north of I-70 in a feild, one small, one huge! :blink: we followed them on Hwy 65 north of I-70, and then both Jeff and I's XM went down, did anyone else run into this problem? Beleive it or not we then headed south on Hwy 65 south of I-70 and intercepted another gigantic wedge tornado heading right for us! :blink: I was able to get pictures of them all due to relentless amount of lightning and powerflashes. Here is a link to where you can see them. Kathy was nice enough to post my pics ( by the way they were all vid grabs) on her website since I don't have my own website. You can also go to her website to see her chase log and pictures as well.

These will be my first pictures I've posted on ST by the way, ENJOY!


Dec 4, 2003
Springfield, MO
My first real chase and I saw a tornado!! It was pretty exciting but I also scared the crap out of myself. More on that later. The only chasing I had done before this was anything local. I'm just starting to get into the whole idea and learning lots.

I didn't leave here, Springfield MO, until about 1 pm. I didn't even have a power inverter to power my laptop or vid camera, so I stopped by walmart on the way out. I checked radar and decided to head toward Clinton, MO. I tried to check radar along the way there but couldn't find any wifi spots so was just hoping the storms I targeted held their course. Once in Clinton, I got gas, food, and checked radar again. I decided to head a little farther north up to Warrensburg. Just as I left Clinton, it became tornado warned. I thought about heading back but knew I could intercept the two cells as they headed northeast.

Once in Warrensburg I headed east on highway 50 towards Sedalia. As I reached Sedalia I heard on the radio there was a 1/2 mile wide tornado spotted south on 65. I was right in the middle of town, being pounded with hail, and couldn't see anything. To be honest, I was pretty damn scared the tornado would come from the south and nail me from the side. I even stopped at a gas station to take shelter, but the door was locked. I decided to just keep going hoping we woulnd't intercept paths. This actually turned out to be in my favor because I would see the tornado just as it was lifting just to the east of town.

As I headed out the east side of town I first saw a nice rainbow, then there it was: my first tornado. At the time I wasn't even excited. I was just relieved to know where the tornado was instead of driving blind through rain and hail. I saw it for maybe 30 seconds before it dissapeared. I tried catching up as it moved toward Columbia but was moving too fast.

Here is part of the video: http://www.theawesomecontest.com/shane/sedaliatornado412.mov

Scott Currens

March 12, 2006 will defiantly go as one of my most memorable chases. The day started with a 2:00 am forecast before I left for work. I decided to go ahead and give it a shot despite the 90+ kt 500mb winds. My plan was simple, get on a good road in front of a supercell and use it to observe/avoid the tornado as it goes flying by.

At around 10 AM the remnants of the Lawrence baseball hail producing supercell crossed the warmfront and dumped pea to marble sized hail on MCI while I was working.

When I got off work at 12:40 pm a string of supercells had developed along the dryline from south of Lawrence trailing SSW into SE Kansas. I targeted the northern most cell as it entered the KC metro area. When this cell approached it looked ragged and outflow dominant so I quickly dropped south and east to a major supercell south of Harrisonville, MO. This cell looked impressive on radar but not so good in person. It was also ragged and HP. I wasn’t interested in trying to punch the rain curtains to see what was in there so once again I dropped south and east to the next supercell.

This next supercell was the Monster that produced more than 20 tornadoes as it raced from SE Kansas all the way to Michigan. Unfortunately, it didn’t look all that great when I was in perfect position to view the storm near Butler, MO. Its updraft base was ragged and disorganized, and its updraft was leaned over at a 45-degree angle. This storm was tail-end-charley so I tried my hardest to stay with it as long as possible.

I lucked out because the storm rapidly became organized as it followed a SW-NE road from Clinton to Windsor. I observed a well-defined funnel from 3:50 to 4:03 PM near Windsor, MO. A few minutes later I crossed its damage path 4 miles east of Windsor. The damage appeared to be F1 intensity.

My SW-NE road now turned to the east so I started to fall further behind the storm. At the same time, a new or previously obscured tornado became visible to the north near Green Ridge, MO.

As the supercell and I approached Sedalia, MO its storm scale rotation was violent. I was about 4 miles south of the tornado as it crossed 65 on the south side of Sedalia. I crossed the tornados damage 1 ½ miles south of Sedalia and was surprised by how weak it was. It produced only F0-F1 damage along a narrow path. ½ mile later I found out that was just a satellite tornado. The real damage track was 1/3 to ½ mile wide with F2 like damage to some businesses and trees. The tornado was now moving into more populated areas of Sedalia and I didn’t want to get in the way of emergency personnel, so I let that tornado go, and tried to flank the storm by going north to I-70 and east to Columbia. I meet up with the Piotrowski’s on I-70 as we were trying to beat the storm to Columbia. This strategy failed because tornadoes associated with another supercell had crossed I-70 less than an hour before. People were parked under overpasses inches off the road with cars whizzing by in heavy rain at 70+ MPH. For the life of me I don’t understand how people think this is a way to protect their families. Eventually I reached Columbia at 5:35 PM well behind my target supercell and decided to call it a day.

My route home, I-70 westbound was closed because of tornado damaged vehicles in the roadway. I had to find an alternate route home. I tried to take a state road that weaves its way from Lamine, MO to Marshall, MO. This route was blocked 2 miles east of Blackwater, MO by what appeared to be a significant tornado’s damage swath. At 7:30 PM I was forced to take muddy bob’s roads in an effort to get around this damage path. LOL! Did I forget to mention that another violent tornadic supercell was racing towards me a 45 MPH? Luckily, I made it back to pavement and proceeded to a point 5 miles WNW of Arrow Rock, MO.

This area was on high ground and had few trees so I decided to take some lightning stills and watch for the approaching tornado.

At 8:29 PM I could make out a large blocky wallcloud/tornado scraping the ground to the WSW. At the same time golf ball hail began falling so I repositioned ESE 1 mile. At 8:35 I was on the phone with the KC NWS office reporting the hail and wallcloud to my west when I observed another tornado developing close by.
It looked a lot like this one, but at night, and moving much faster. LOL!

With the NWS still on the phone I reported the new tornado while repositioning further east.

A new tornado then appeared a ½ mile to the south of the main tornado then quickly disappeared from view. I believe this was a satellite tornado. (I'm not so sure now. The NWS talks about two simultaneous tornadoes with parallel damage tracks that eventually merge and cause F3 damage.)

The main tornado continued ENE for 12 minutes before I lost sight of it. I then turned around and headed west. I crossed a narrow swath of F0-F1 damage associated with the satellite tornado. ½ mile later crossed a ¼ wide damage swath. Two houses received what looked like F2 damage. I then called NWS and report the damage.


Scott Currens