2017-04-02 REPORTS TX/LA/MS

Discussion in 'Target Area' started by Ethan Schisler, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. Ethan Schisler

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    As I discussed in the event thread I planned on chasing this day. I targeted the Louisiana/Texas border for an early initiation of supercells ahead of an ongoing MCS in Northeast Texas. The area was already primed when I south of Mansfield, LA which was on the warm front. Instability, shear, and moisture were all off the charts for this early in the season and of course SPC went with a rare high risk of severe weather. I chased a couple tornado warned storms early on (first one around 9am) and the second being around 11:30-12PM just outside of Center, TX.

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    Being right on the warm front, the visibility was so awful that I literally had to get within a mile of the updraft base of the storm to even view it. I saw what was possibly a tornado outside of Center, TX shortly before noon, but I can't confirm because of bad terrain and low visibility. There was an ominous low level mesocyclone to my NE by maybe a mile when I crossed the MS river with a possible ground circulation, but once again because of bad visibility and rain-wrapped I can't confirm this. I followed the supercell to my northeast where it crossed the warm front and died. Also as I mention below, I was the driver, navigator, and forecaster for this chase (basically solo), so I didn't have time to get video or photos of the storm because things were moving so fast, my road options were awful, and the visibility was even worse than the roads.

    I intercepted another storm further SW once again in the Logansport, LA area that was tornado warned, however it failed to do much. I was chasing with limited data most of the day because of poor Verizon coverage in this area. So because of that, I failed to get further east in time to view the Alexandria, LA cyclic supercell which was the only storm of the day in my eyes that really was worthy of chasing. Everything else just kind of went up at once. I called the chase around 3 oclock and headed for home arriving at my door-step around 5:30 this morning. Oh did I forget to mention, i was the driver, navigator, and all that stuff for this chase too? Definitely one of my more frustrating chases, one I would certainly consider a bust.....Here are a couple photos I shot on the way home in Louisiana.

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    Mammatus clouds behind the squall line outside of Shreveport, LA around 4 oclock

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    My first and hopefully last time chasing the bayou state. The Louisiana sign showcases the awful terrain behind it, near Mansfield, LA. It doesn't show the terrible cell reception here, which was the deal breaker for me.


    Anyway that is the wrap on that. I look forward to everyone else's reports that braved to chase the jungle yesterday lol.
     
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  2. cstrunk

    cstrunk EF3

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    I chased yesterday with my girlfriend and another buddy of mine. We left my apartment in Tyler, TX around 10:00 am. I had plans to head southwest towards Crockett, TX, mostly because I knew the terrain was better than farther east. But after we stopped for a bite to eat, I didn't like the way the MCS was barrelling east. I knew any chase that direction would probably be short lived. So before we left the city limits I decided to go east. I thought the warm front might make better progress north, but that didn't happen. We headed south to Nacogdoches, TX where we sat for a bit to evaluate the situation. Nothing looked great at that time, but convection kept firing and streaming north in the area. Finally the supercell near Center, TX wrapped up but it was too far away to chase. I decided to head to the east side of town and find a place with a view. We sat there for a while until rain overtook our location. We headed east/northeast on Hwy 7. There were few, if any, places to get a good view and Verizon data disappeared. After what seemed like forever without data, we made it to Center, TX and stopped at the McDonald's where I could get WiFi. We were contemplating calling it a chase due to crappy storms, chase terrain, and no/limited data. Just before I was about to agree, one of the storms to our southwest got labeled with a tornado warning, headed for Center. It didn't seem smart to retrace our steps back down Hwy 7 to get closer because of the terrain/data/road network issues. So, we sat in the parking lot overlooking the Wal-Mart to the southwest, where we had good view. I could see the rotation weaken on radar. We let the storm overtake us as cold outflow blew buckets of rain all around. After the storm let up, we called it a chase and headed home.

    It was definitely a bust for us. I didn't even bother taking any pictures because there was literally nothing to see. I knew chasing in that area would be difficult. That was the first time I tried it, and will almost surely be the last.
     
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  3. Quincy Vagell

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    A long chase day that had potential, but a combination of messy storm modes on the western fringe of the threat zone and challenging terrain/roads on the eastern edge left much to be desired.

    I left Oklahoma City at 4 in the morning and made into East Texas as storms began to develop. I wasn't thrilled by the terrain and tendency for storm mergers, so I drifted east into Louisiana. I wish I had made that call sooner, as the tornadic supercell near Alexandria would have been a diamond in the rough to snag. (A few chasers did, but not many ventured that far east early in the event) Instead I hung around Mansfield (just south of Shreveport for a while) and as the cell approaching Alexandria blew up, I knew it was time to head into north-central/northeast Louisiana. It's a shame, because the environment was clearly very favorable across southern/central Louisiana by midday, and although it would have been a gamble, you often need to take a risk and favor more isolated storms over a junky mess.

    By the time I was ready to intercept any storms, the storm mode got messy in that area as well. I dropped east-southeast as a few storms (particularly near Jena) would tighten up and look solid on radar. I meandered through the so-so chase terrain and came up on the storm that had produced a tornado near Jena. I came around a woody bend to see that very low swirling clouds had just crossed the roadway and some leaves/branches were down. I captured a blurry photo of what was a rain-wrapped tornado circulation. Based on the NWS storm survey, the tornado lifted a few minutes later and was probably (barely) an EF-0 at the time of the photo. This is one of the most inconclusive tornado photos I've snagged over the years and I wasn't ready to consider it a tornado until the NWS made it official. After having a few very long drives lately and not a lot to show for it, at least I can technically say I caught a brief glimpse of a tornado in Louisiana.
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    I continued northeast to I-20 before calling the chase a night. If I didn't have to work the next day in Oklahoma City, I might have pushed east into Mississippi, but it was getting dark as it was.

    Impatience has been a major struggle over the past few weeks. There have been many severe events/threats, but most of them have either underperformed and/or have performed over less-than-stellar chase territory. I'm going to try to be more patient and selective over the next few weeks, in anticipation for better chase opportunities over the open Plains this May and beyond.
     
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