03/09/06 Reports: Ohio and Tennessee Valley

Here in Western Kentucky...Lone Oak area

Sirens went off three times. I went out to spot but before I could leave the driveway there was a very loud roar in the distance. The roar got louded and louder until you could hear it move just north of my location. It sounded like a jet engine of sorts. Went out to spot and winds gusted to 65 mph here in Lone Oak.

Trees down through all of this area. McCracken County has trees down, power lines down, some small structural damage. Damage reports in Massac County. Hail busted out windshields near Metropolis. Sister reports no power in Graves County, KY. Trees are down throughout that county as well.

Calloway County had nickel size hail covering the ground with winds to 70 miles per hour.

Reports of structural damage in a number of counties from Southeast Missouri throught his area. Local media is till pulling together all of the damage reports.

I can honestly say this storm scared me...it has been awhile since I have heard a noise like that in the air. Definately thought we were about to be hit by a tornado head on at night - in the dark.

If you look at this image you can see a small area where there is a hook like feature...I am assuming that was the storm. Very odd cells.

This area can't get a break from severe weather. I hope this weekend isn't bad. I have had enough for awhile. Very impressed by this last round of severe weather and surprised. Hard to believe this system could pull that off. Amazing day.

Four significant squall lines moved through Lone Oak!

Over 4 inches of rain fell here since 2 a.m. last night!

Here was the tornado warning from PAH

NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE PADUCAH KY
643 PM CST THU MAR 9 2006

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN PADUCAH KENTUCKY HAS ISSUED A * TORNADO WARNING FOR...
CARLISLE COUNTY IN WESTERN KENTUCKY.
GRAVES COUNTY IN WESTERN KENTUCKY.
MCCRACKEN COUNTY IN WESTERN KENTUCKY.


* UNTIL 730 PM CST.

* AT 637 PM CST...TRAINED WEATHER SPOTTERS REPORTED A TORNADO NEAR KIRBYTON...MOVING NORTHEAST AT 70 MPH.

* THE TORNADO IS EXPECTED TO BE...
NEAR LONE OAK BY 650 PM CST.
NEAR WOODLAWN-OAKDALE...REIDLAND...PADUCAH
AND 9 MILES NORTHWEST OF SYMSONIA BY 655 PM CST.
 
Seeing as I left my Starship in Denver, it comes as no surprise that my report of what I saw was looking at the ass-end of today's insane squall line. After last night's 3 hour storm session, I pondered the idea of leaving my hotel at 4am just to get ahead of the system. But unfortunately, every human needs a couple hours of sleep, I was no exception. And I don't think it would've made a difference; the Ozarks of Arkansas aren't that great for chasing.

I managed to stay about 30 minutes behind it from the time I jumped on I-40 east of Fort Smith all the way til I called no joy in Forrest City; 230 miles of driving 70mph and I barely made up 20 miles on it. I found as I passed Little Rock that many towns along I-40 between Little Rock and Forrest City were left without power. I tried to fill up a couple times and was fortunate to find a Shell Station with power so I could fill up; otherwise I would've been sitting and waiting for restoration, which obviously would've ended the little (if any) hope of catching it.

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Finally, I gave in to reality when NOAA WX Radio was issuing warnings for storms moving at 90 and 95mph. While I had little expectations of anything today, I knew then that there was absolutely no chance in hell. I went on with my backup plan.

I continued east into Memphis, TN where some backside storms coming up from the south rocked the ride with some close CG strikes and heavy rain. Much to my amazement, the storms cleared up just as I crossed the TN/MS border on US Hwy 61 where I stopped and took a couple shots with me and the state signs.

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I continued south along 61, stopping briefly in Tunica, MS where I dumped a few bucks on a Craps table before continuing on to Leland where I picked up US 82 back into Arkansas and then US 165 to I-20 where I began my westward journey home, stopping here in Monroe, LA where I'll bunk down for the night.

The chasing portion of my trip ended here with 606.8 miles tacked on to yesterday's total which put gives me my first 1100 miles of the 2006 season. Wednesday was an official bust since today's chasing trip was mainly cause I was here and really didn't spend any time forecasting what I knew was going to be nearly impossible to catch.

However, I consider today a success cause of several, non-chasing factors... first of all, I left tread in 4 states which never before had I been. Second, Tennessee and Mississippi are the furthest states to which I have traveled to from home, by myself. Those pictures will go on the wall! My biggest disappointment of the day was the Mississippi casino robbing me of a few bucks! I love being on the road.

So that's my storm report for today. Hard to call today a real official chase given the scenario, but I woke up this morning with the intention to pursue weather. In all reality, it was more or less an excuse to chart undiscovered territory! :wink:

Besides, how many people can say they damn nearly chased the same system halfway across the country; or in my case, one mountain range to close to the other! What a story! And what a way to kick of 2006 for me!
 
I left Central Alabama yesterday morning at around 5:30 with chase partner Matt Grantham (WX4MAT) and made it to WTOK-ABC11 in Meridian MS by 8:45 am to assess the situation with chief meteorologist Josh Johnson and Charles Daniel in the weather center. We were known as the 'WTOK Spotters' on this day. Coordinated with KJAN and we knew the significant tornado threat was really diminishing as shear above from 850-500 was pretty nil. (directional shear that is)

Well, by 11:15 the tornado watch went up and we saw the line taking shape across East LA and it was moving pretty rapidly. So we high tailed it to Brandon as the squall line approached Hinds County, MS. We started seeing some comma head action that was headed towards Canton, MS so we decided to go up I-55 to get slammed by the line. We made it just south of Canton on SR16 where we were bombarded by flooding and winds of 60-70 mph. We saw sporatic tree damage in this area.

Well, then we had to really dig to Carthage to get ahead of the line again as it was strengthening and truckin' east. We were able to just get ahead of it once more near Carthage where we booked it south on SR-35 through Leake County. To our surprise, we drove south nearing Walnut Grove when the line caught up again. A BP station just ahead of us had it's awning and portions of the roof torn off right in front of us and a tree snapped half way up and slammed through a house destroying it. Ambulances made it to the scene, but it is unknown if there were injuries.

We headed back south and hit I-20 finally, but were in some of the most blinding rain I have ever seen. The line intensified again and we booked it east of MEI and got ahead of the line once more. Alot of damage was reported to our north in west AL, but we were not really in a dangerous area to travel. We made it to West Tuscaloosa before getting slammed for the final time. We were stuck in traffic for 3 1/2 hours from then on due to a uhaul accident. Someones belongings were strown all over I-20.

I have some photos of the damage from the BP that I will share later. Have a few short clips of video also, which I will see if I can get uploaded. Pretty impressive squall line for March. :)
 
My chase partner, Bill Oosterbaan, and I left Grand Rapids at 9:30 EST Wednesday and made it to Mississippi around 50 miles south of Memphis on I 55 by around 9 a.m. We waited around in a parking lot, checking the radar and hoping for signs of an isolated storm or two ahead of the squall line advancing through Arkansas. Finally, we headed west and met the gust front. Its appearance was unimpressive, but there's no arguing with the wallop it packed. We wound up playing tag with it back across Mississippi and northwest Alabama, heading east down Route 8 through Houston to U.S. 45, then north to Tupelo and east again to I 65. This was a fast-moving system, but we managed to get ahead of it and get swallowed by it two more times.

Basically, we got snookered. No need to leave Michigan if you want to see a squall line. Then again, we rarely get squall lines of this intensity. This storm was on steroids, and you didn't have to look hard to see that it was doing consistent damage--trees down and blocking traffic, at one point what may have been a semi blown off the road (couldn't tell for sure).

It was a round trip of 1,800 miles. Not a bad way to kick off Storm Season 2006, and we got to log some decent miles in a couple states I've never been to before, Mississippi and Alabama. I also got to see the Nashville for the first time on the ride back up, albeit at night--just passing through, but the lights of the skyline were very pretty.
 
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