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

Hi Folks,

Like Evan Bookbinder, I was also working the event over here in Central Illinois, and have been involved with the damage surveys out this way. There's been some challenges with trying to reconstruct damage paths... especially in Southeastern Logan County south of Mount Pulaski and Cornland.

This may be a long shot, but if there were any chasers on the storm beyond (Northeast) of Springfield, any info, video, etc you could share would be appreciated.

Also, by reading the earlier topics, it seems like there were at least a handful of chasers who saw the tornado as it moved into the southwest side of Springfield as it crossed I-72. So far, we haven't heard of any video of images, but if there are any you could share, we would certainly appreciate it.

This will be a memorable event in Central Illinois, and already we've had numerous requests for more spotter talks over the past few days. I imagine we'll see an increase in turnout for the remaining classes this year. Some degree of silver lining, I suppose.

My work email is mike.hardiman@noaa.gov ...


Mike Hollingshead

Supercell crossing into MO near Amoret MO. This was the one just north of the southern supercell of supercells.

The mother of all supercells as it crossed into MO. I'm just outside of Rich Hill MO.

I really never tried to keep after either of them very hard. I went east and it was obvious it would be an extreme challenge to stay with them. I knew I wanted to give the storms some time before I was on them this day, but evidently this was not enough time for them.

Hail from the night supercell that went over Concordia MO. I was sitting in its path before deciding to flee north out of the way. I dropped back south to where I was to pick those up.

I have a bunch more pictures and words on my site, including several radar grabs. Here is one I made that I think is crazy. It's the same map with one radar grab during the day and one at night near Sedalia showing how close those 4 supercells tracked. The storm gods were really after that area.

More info/images here: March 12, 2006
Jul 7, 2004
Dallas, TX
This is a long report as I chased 3 storms over the course of 10 hours.

First of all, thanks to Dan Robinson for his excellent nowcasting for this day.

Eolia, MO chase:
After having been up most of the night I slept late and didn’t start my chase until about 5:00pm. I headed north out of STL to intercept the supercell headed towards Bowling Green. Dan said the storm was going to cross a bit south of there and recommended I go just a couple of miles north of the Pike county line near Eolia and watch the meso pass just north of there. Well, I went about 1 mile farther north than he said (big mistake). I could see the rain free base to my west and thought I was far enough south. It was dusk and I was losing light quickly. I didn’t realize my mistake until I saw the lowering w/3 cone shaped fingers flying towards me from my west/southwest. If it had been daytime I would have assessed the grassy median separating me from the south bound lanes and if possible crossed it and flew south but in the low light I could not have done that. My 2 options were: 1. stay were I was and let it pass over me, or 2. fly north and try to get out of the meso on the north side. I was not thrilled with the idea of flying north but I was even less thrilled with the idea of being a sitting duck so I floored it to go north. Just a little bit north I cleared a tree line and saw a very large lowering about ¾ of the way to the ground crossing the highway about 30 yards in front of me. I thought I may witness a tragedy since people were driving right under that lowering oblivious to the extreme danger they were in. As it moved east (it was at least ¼ mile wide) I headed north but had to pull over since the RFD started blowing me off the road. Beautiful RFD though. Very wide clear slot and the moonlight was shining through it so the towers north and south of me were illuminated by moonlight while I saw clear sky above me. I attempted to catch the cell again in IL but it was moving too fast for me to catch up with so I headed back down Hwy 61 towards STL. As I neared the 61/70 interchange I heard on the radio that some storms were headed toward Columbia and I wasn’t ready to call it a night yet so I pulled into a gas station to get some caffeine. To my pleasant discovery a DOW belonging to the NBC station in STL was there so I took a couple of pics of it, called Dan for an update and fueled up on caffeine.

Jonesburg, MO chase:
My target was the area between Columbia and Jefferson City off hwy 54 but Dan said the cell was right turning and had me move back east a few miles. As it continued to right turn more I kept moving east a few miles at a time. I had pulled off near High Hill and had a great view of the rain free base but felt I was too close to the pathway of a funnel so I went a few more miles east to Jonesburg. The storm crossed hwy 70 to the west of me so I headed north to get a better view. I could see the base and RFD. I saw a wall of black movement and heard some roaring but I dismissed it as just being some intense rain and wind since the traffic on 70 made it difficult to hear anything. Going a bit further north I was able to see a WC to my right and ran across some minor tree debris in the road. I stopped to watch the storm but then saw headlights coming up the road behind me so I drove about 10 yards north and turned onto a side road. The lightning was almost constant so every couple of seconds I had a great view of the action. The people who lived at the house with the tree debris came into their front yard and were freaking out and wandering all over with flashlights. Then they drove to the end of the side road I was on to check on their neighbors. I was thinking they were totally overacting since I thought they just got a little rain and wind and a high funnel, so what’s the big deal, they were panicked over nothing. I only saw a little bit of wind damage in their yard and didn’t see anything across the road at their neighbor’s. Disorganized funnels kept lowering then dissipating until one very well defined cone funnel lowered. The portion of the funnel that was visible went about ½ way to the ground. There was a tree line about ½ mile away that blocked my view of the ground so I could not tell if there was rotation at ground level. Dan called it in to the NWS. The funnel only lasted about 20 seconds. Then it went back to the cycle of producing short disorganized looking funnels then dissipating them. A guy in a red sports car pulled up next to me and asked “did a funnel just cross over here, I saw it from the highway?†I was losing visibility as the storm moved east so I told him I was heading east and ran to my car. I went back to 70 then to route A and headed north. From there I had again a great view. At one point the WC was very wide and lowered into a large upside down triangle shape and was about 1/2 way to the ground. Then it would rise back up. I should have stayed right where I was and enjoyed the show and tried to get some pics but I was greedy to keep chasing it so I headed north on A and ended up losing it in the hills and trees. I went back to hwy 70 to head towards STL hoping to intercept the cell that was headed there from Rolla.

Troy/Silex, MO chase:
When I reached Wentzville I heard a tor warning on NOAA radio for the Troy area so I called Dan for an update. He said go north of Troy so I did but my phone battery was depleted and I lost contact with him. I entered precip so I turned back since I didn’t want to be “blind†in a storm. Probably was a good call since a touchdown was confirmed in Silex just north of where I stopped.

After returning home I heard a tor had touched down in Jonesburg and I was surprised since I thought it was just funnels there. I was even more surprised the next day when I saw aerial photos a news station had taken. There was not only a touchdown but major damage. I live 45 minutes from there so after work yesterday I drove out there as I was curious how close I was to the touchdown. Major findings from yesterday:

1. The tor was on the ground when it crossed hwy 70. The pavement is ok but a street sign on the south side was bent in half and the field on the right side has a scour path.
2. When I was in Jonesburg watching the storm NW/N of me and assumed I was seeing and hearing wind and rain I was actually seeing and hearing the tor as it passed about ¾ a mile in front of me.
3. When I drove north and passed the “tree debris house†if I had turned my brights on or driven another 20 yards north I would have seen a demolished house covering the road.
4. When I turned on to the small side road and watched the funnels come and go across the field if I had looked 30 yards to my left I would have seen about 10 tractor trailers strewn about the field like Tonka toys.
5. I realize now why the people in the “tree debris house†were freaking out and checking on their neighbors. Their house was just nicked by the tor. Their neighbor’s house was demolished. I’m not a damage expert but I’d say it was an F2/F3.

I feel a bit like a heel for not stopping and helping the people on that street but I had no idea I was just yards away from a major damage path. It was in the middle of the night and all the electric was out. Also, I wasn’t focusing on ground level but was looking up at the sky. If I had any clue the tor had just hit there I would have checked to make sure everyone in the damaged homes were ok.
Apr 10, 2008
Decatur IL
Over this past year I have been reworking old clips in Sony Vegas Movie Studio that were once rendered in Windows Movie Maker so to bring the aspect ratio current as well as achieve better quality. The other night as I was looking at ways to present my March 12, 2006 encounter in NW Macon County IL, I noticed that in the Sony program you can skip through a clip frame by frame. Importing one of two clips I shot that night, to my amazement, I was able to pull stills I was previously unable to do in WMM thus revealing details previously unseen. In the first still you can see a tornado extending down to the ground and on a map it would either be the last or second to last tornado to set down in Central Illinois.

Here's where it gets fun, skipping one by one through all 1,823 frames, I saved 262 stills which had a hint of lightning or moonlight that would enable features to appear. Importing these files as single layer into Photoshop, I dropped a brightness/contrast layer to further reveal detail and rendered the whole thing as a rough time lapse gif animation. Rather than embed the file which is large and will slow down the page, check it out via the link.

GIF 4.67 MB
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Mar 28, 2016
Hyannis, MA
Was my first chase. Hot as heck all that day. The previous day IIRC we had thunderstorms come through at night, but the real action was that Sunday. Went up into Lincoln and Montgomery Counties. My Mazda Protege could barely handle the rough roads of Lincoln and Montgomery Counties. Saw some decent structure even if it was near dusk.

Joseph Meyer

Nov 24, 2018
Columbia, MO
This might be an incredibly long shot, but I am desperate.

I am currently doing a massive research project on the March 12, 2006 tornado outbreak, particularly in Missouri. As this event happened over 15 years ago, a lot of the media whether it be photos or videos from the various tornadoes is lost. I am looking for as much as I can to study the tornadoes & media would be wonderful to look over!

If anyone has any photos or videos from March 12, 2006 that they still have I would LOVE to see them. Shoot me an email joethewxman17@gmail.com if you are willing to provide or have any questions!