03/26/05 REPORT MS/LA

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I ventured out today for the first chase of my season.
All in all I was quite disappointed but not the least
bit surprized of how the scenario evolved. I'll just
be happy when May gets here and I take my ~2 week
chase vacation...

If you take a look at the SPC storm reports, you see
the one tornado report near Monticello, MS (Which I
missed literally by just 5 minutes). So what happened
to the 15% overall probability and the 10% significant
probability forecast by SPC? Well in my opinion there
was not enough 0-1KM Storm Relative Helicity in place.

Anyway I initially targeted a
McComb-Woodville-Natchez-Brookhaven polygon. Initial
thinking was to play the warm front early on as warm
air advection and localized surface convergence along
the warm front would provide the needed forcing to get
storms fired as the main jet dynamics were still
lagging a bit back in Texas. I was planning to play
the warm front early and then as the surface low moved
northeast, I would catch the storms near the low along
the cold front.

I initially setup in Brookhaven, MS and a few storms
initiated along the warm front down in Louisiana near
Baton Rouge. I intercepted the primary storm near
Osyka, Ms. This storm peaked near 65 dBz but quickly
went outflow dominant and weakened. Fog was a huge
problem with today's chase as moisture pooling along
the warm front actually brought the dewpoint
depression to near zero in places. Infact, before the
aforementioned storm went outflow dominant, You could
see the fog layer being draw up into the updraft of
the storm. There were two distinct surface level
inflows into this storm exhibiting some great
convergence on the storm. But due to the fog, the
storm could have tornadoed and I never would have seen
it. Turns out it didnt anyway.

After leaving this storm, I headed towards Natchez, Ms
to intercept the new storms forming along the cold
front. I caught up with a storm that NWS JAN had under
a tornado warning. This storm was well organized but a
confusion between my nowcaster and I along with not so
idea terrain (poor visual of the storms lower levels
because of trees) caused me to be just a bit north and
the meso passed to my south trapping me in the hook
echo. No big deal really since there was surprizingly
no hail in the hook echo but the rear flank downdraft
winds were especially strong. Poor road networks and
lack of any type of reasonable view of this storm
caused me to abandon my efforts right after sundown,
or so I thought.

As I was heading down I-55 back towards McComb, I
encountered some rain that I instantly recognized as
wrapping rain curtains typical of smaller hook echoes
wrapping around a mesocyclone. And I was right... A
new storm had formed to my southwest and was heading
right towards me. However, since the rain curtains
were now behind me, they would have obscured any view
of the meso or tornado if I had stopped right there on
the interstate. So I was basically forced to go to the
next exit and turn around. I had just passed the
Brookhaven exit and had to turn around at the exit to
the south. When I arrived at that exit to make my U
turn back towards Brookhaven, the NOAA weather radio
went off with a tornado warning that included a
reported tornado on I-55 near exit 38 (Brookhaven). So
as I'm approaching Brookhaven, I briefly catch a
glimpse of what could have been the tornado (mind you
its been dark now for an hour or so at this point and
I was relying of lightning flashes to backlight any
possible tornado). However it was just a glimpse and
I'm not even slightly confident that it was the actual
tornado so I'm not counting it as a catch in my book.
Emergency vehicles were on the scene just past the
Brookhaven exit as it appeared the tornado pushed a
vehicle or two off the road. The warning claimed that
the storm was moving east but as I hit the east road
to flank the storm I noticed it was gradually moving
farther and farther north, so true storm motion was
more like to the ENE. At this point I finally called
it a day.

So all in all not horrible for the first chase of the
season for me. Got to see two half decent supercells
but nothing more really. No pics to speak of as the two storms did not have much visible structure.

So for the Stats we get:

Total mileage: ~600 miles
Gas: ~35 gallons (yep I get 17mpg :shock: )
Supercells: 2
Tornados: 0
Pine Trees: ~Twenty Billion
Dead Laptop batteries: 1
Greaseball burger stops: 2
Cups of truckstop coffee: 1 (but it was a big cup)

BIG thanks to Derek Deroche for his nowcasting.

Also Happy Easter
My nephew, Jeff, and I went on a 2400 mile excursion this past weekend to chase to storms in LA and MS. We were initially out of position when a few of the cells first started to go tornadic, and it was close to dark when we finally began to reach the updraft area of one of them. We ended up being about 12 miles behind a confirmed tornado that produced F1 tree damage in the far western part of Copiah county, MS.

I just added a chase report for 03/26/05 to my website at

Allowed bandwidth is not very high, so hopefully you won't get the
"exceeded its allocated data transfer" too often. This is my first attempt at a website, and I plan host it myself after I purchase domain name.
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