11/15/05 Reports: Midwest, OH/TN Valleys

Intercepted tor. warned cell initial line williamson co. IL. Some rotation observed relayed to NWS Pah, WOW these things were movin fast! Lost it in Marion, my home town. Got back on puter & seen new storn moving out of Marble Hill Mo. Intercepted severe at Creal Springs QUICKLY went tor. warnded. 2 Wall clouds seen East of Marion Again 12 miles E of there. Rapid rotation with funnel extending half way to ground. Lost storm close to Galatia where confirmed Tor. touched down. Drove back home Wild non tornado day for sure. Probably the best sup cell segmented line Ive ever seen!
Shortest chase of the year for me. Dave Eaton and I made a half hearted attempt to intercept a tornado warned cell moving northeast towards Edinburgh around 5pm. By the time we got to Franklin it became clear we weren't going to catch it unless we drove 90 and hit every green light. It continues to be warned at this time and the local news reported at least a couple touchdowns in Shelby Co with one injury.

I did see something I've not seen before, insulation and other debris falling from the sky at multiple locations from the southside of Greenwood to the Whiteland area.
Short chase for me also. Although I am under a tornado watch at the moment so although I am at home I may have more to report later, although I doubt much more than severe wind in store for Ohio this evening.

I did not invest much time into this chase. The speed of the storms and the probability of a night time event and a chase partner who could not get off of work almost kept me home.

The moderate risk area was so close to home that once a mesoscale discussion went up that covered the cincinatti area of ohio I just had to head west cause I figured the watch box would go up soon and with the sunshine overhead I figured some discrete cells might fire east of the main line.

Got to the east side of cinci and watched and waited. Nothing fired ahead of the line and there was nothing I could drive to before dark so I came home.

A rather difficult setup to chase so I invested a minimal amount of time and miles to it.

Tom Hanlon
I was on the second Williamson Co, IL tornado warned storm also. At about 3:20pm CST I observed a brief funnel east of Marion, near Crab Orchard while on Rte 13. This storm had rapid rotation and was moving very fast NE. There was a Williamson Co Deputy at this location who I believed had already called this in, since I heard the report shortly before I got to that location. This was likely the same storm that Kevin followed to Galatia. Unfortunately I had my Mini-DV camcorder set on card instead of tape, so the video I shot is not worth watching. I have no way to post the pictures I took either. There was a great sunset on my way home west. I hope some of you saw it, too.
I figured I would go play in the north Ms delta since the terrain is wonderful and the shear and instability looked like it would make for a good day. Left around 9 am and tried to get the Wx works system going, that didn't go to well. Finally got up to my target of Tunica around 1 and finally got the threat net going. By the time I had everything up and running the area I was in was in for a line of thunderstorms and not much more. There was one cell in the line that had been tor warned for some time so I was there to meet it when it crossed over into Ms. I decided to go play in the core and the winds were screaming, but it was nothing more than a hyped up squall line. There was not any rotation in the squall line from Tn/Ms border all the way down into Jackson. I know first hand because I managed to drive through it all the way home. Not the chase I was hoping for today. Hope everyone else had better luck.
Busted chase. But it's better than going to work! :shock:

I wasn't willing to head out in the morning to get south west enough in kentucky to catch the good stuff. I stuck around the Louisville, KY area and couldn't get far enough north into Indiana before it got dark to catch the tornados that fired in central indiana.


Intercepted the Daviess Co., IN tornado near Cannelburg from a distance of about 4 miles...no video as numerous trees and speed racer storm motion inhibited my ability to even pull my cam out of the case. Drove upon a significant damage path just N. of Cannelburg minutes later. Tried to take a county road east to get around the damage and ended up pulling a jackass-of-the-year move. Tried to drive through a flooded road and stalled my car. That ended my chase day.

Some locals helped me get my car out, and as they did, informed me that just 1/4 mi away a large lumber company which employs over 100 people was destroyed by the tornado. I was also informed the building had no shelter. There were literally dozens of abulances driving in and out though the 2 hour span I was stuck. I've never had a sick feeling like tonight when I watched the endless flood of ambulances head to the lumber yard.

I may have reservations about ever chasing a barnburner system in the Ohio valley again.

EDIT: According to an Evansville, IN TV station, only 5 injuries out of the Cannelburg area. That's great news considering how the situation appeared immediately following the tornado.
Went from Starkville to Greenwood, and then to Clarksdale, MS.

Busted out there in the MS Delta as well. Hope everyone else who was out there stayed safe!!
Made an effort to catch the southern IN tornadic cells. Hadn't originally planned to chase there - and had never ventured into that area before. Wouldn't call it 'bad' chase country - but certainly inefficient in terms of the ability to move across the country roads. Several road washouts, slow local traffic on 'main' roads, crreeping through town after town, limited river/stream crossings, etc... all added up to painfully slow eastward progress to get reasonably positioned. Paved roads were fairly random, and extremely wet conditions made others very undesireable. Kept hoping things would ramp up back to the west and offer motivation to turn around and catch the line near the front, but that failed to really materialize, pushing me to continue to fight for position on the storms further east. Finally pulled the plug on it near Amos's old stomping grounds, then passed through a marginal squall line on the drive home, into the howling wind and empty-handed. Don't regret going out - I knew what to expect and largely got it. It's probably the last convection that will be seen in these parts until early April of next year. Sorry to hear about the folks impacted by the storms.

Well, my chase plans didn't go over well either. I arrived in the STL area around 6 this morning, and hung out with some friends until the early afternoon. Later, I headed down to SE MO in an effort to get in on some of the action there. I tried to hop on the New Madrid storm but didn't get positioned in enough time. On top of that my Nextel reception was going in and out, therefore it was extremely difficult to get an internet connection to use the radar. Due to the incredibly fast movement of the storms, and crappy cell service, I made the decision to call it off early. I returned back to STL and hung out the rest of the day, and returned to KC a short time ago. Rather uneventful on this end. :x
Arrived in Evansville by noon CDT. My target was based more on road logistics than anything else. My plan was to chase 'hockey goalie' style along I-64, maneuvering east or west to intercept storms coming north and crossing the corridor. Looking at the jagged road network off of the interstate, I decided it would be unsafe to try to follow storms blazing north. Furthermore, there was a lot of flooding from the previous night that blocked secondary roads in a lot of spots.

First cell crossed the highway at the I-164 interchange just after noon, sputtering but developing rock-hard convective towers for about 20 minutes. The sun came out west of this activity in front of the next batch of cells moving up from Carbondale, IL. This cluster broke into two separate cells which quickly were tornado-warned. I moved west to Burnt Prairie, IL to meet the southern end of the northern cell (constantly tornado-warned). Visibility was poor due to precip but I could make out a low base to the west with rising motion. No rotation though. This feature quickly vanished in the rain as it raced northeast. Next was the southern cell. I moved back east to Griffin, Indiana to watch the southern end of this one go by. Radar showed it becoming the dominant storm and getting quite large. As it moved closer I could make out a low-hanging base due west which slowly emerged from the rain. This feature slowly broke up and became filled with precip, and I never saw any wall clouds or lowerings. The new precip shaft created a shelf cloud which rapidly surged toward me. As the shelf moved closer, southerly winds accellerated rapidly to 30-40mph into what appeared to be a new base and notch forming due north. This new area of interest lowered and appeared to rotate slowly but was quickly swallowed by rain. That was all this one was going to give me as it was already rocketing away from me at an alarming rate. This storm continued to be isolated as it moved northeast, eventually producing the Cannelburg tornado mentoned earlier in this thread. No way to keep up with it though on the back roads, so I stayed on I-64 to wait for the next cells moving up through the Paducah area.

The Paducah storm (my intercept #3) arrived in Evansville in short order and actually looked decent at first sight with a large rain free base. However, this feature quickly elongated into a bland scuddy band of low hanging clouds with no motion. I did see what appeared to be a slow circulation at one location in this 'base' if you could call it that, but it was short-lived. Storm number 4 formed just west of #3 and pulsed quickly, sputtering off a few CGs before turning to mush and crossing the interstate.

The last two storms were on the cold front in IL and appeared similar on radar and location to the first two storms of the day. I moved back west to the state line to watch the northern cell, seeing no visible structure. Jogged back east to Poseyville to watch cell #6 cross. The precip shaft on this storm was advancing at an appalling rate and I grabbed some nice video of it engulfing a nearby grove of trees. Cell #6 had a nice rounded layer-cake appearance with heavy precip falling through the center of it. I moved west to get a clear shot of it, but by the time I found a clearing it had moved too far north to get any decent contrast. Just sped away into the haze.

Fought the squall line back east and finally got ahead of it at Lexington, at least I got clear roads for the rest of the trip home.

Here are a few lightning grabs from Griffin, Indiana from the storm that would go on to produce tornadoes far to the north:


Rain shaft racing northeast:


Originally posted by Brandon Clement
I figured I would go play in the north Ms delta since the terrain is wonderful and the shear and instability looked like it would make for a good day. Left around 9 am and tried to get the Wx works system going, that didn't go to well. Finally got up to my target of Tunica around 1 and finally got the threat net going. By the time I had everything up and running the area I was in was in for a line of thunderstorms and not much more. There was one cell in the line that had been tor warned for some time so I was there to meet it when it crossed over into Ms. I decided to go play in the core and the winds were screaming, but it was nothing more than a hyped up squall line. There was not any rotation in the squall line from Tn/Ms border all the way down into Jackson. I know first hand because I managed to drive through it all the way home. Not the chase I was hoping for today. Hope everyone else had better luck.

Actually there was one very nice rotating cell that moved across the Jackson Metro area. As a matter of fact, my wife and her friend, along with many other people, witnessed a cone tornado near Clinton. They described it as being a white tube on the ground for about 60 seconds then it lifted back up. I captured the wall cloud on our 16 WAPT tower cam. You could see the funnel in the center but it was starting to get rain wrapped. All and all, not a whole lot of action in MS. Dynamics were too far to our north. But with decent instability and enough shear, we did see a few sups.
Departed North AL around 8:45 a.m. CST. on a solo chase.

I caught my first cell just South of Dyersburg, TN around 1 p.m., in Crockett County. From the Memphis damage survey:
I filmed two well-defined funnels very close to this time a few miles SW of Friendship-Eaton Rd. These were coming directly towards me. I translated South to get out of the way and the storm passed to my north, apparently producing the tornado moments later.

I headed SE to Jackson, TN in Madison County. Cells trained over Jackson up the I-40 corridor for the next couple of hours. I caught several funnels around Jackson, including a couple that appeared to be pretty close to the ground. It was ominous to be driving on the Jackson bypass with tornado sirens blaring, and seeing a row of trees that had been snapped by the 4May2003 tornado.

At just before 4 p.m., I filmed several funnels, including one long, thin, diagonal funnel which may have touched the ground. This what at the 85 exit on I-40 just NE of Jackson. The funnels were just N of the interstate. There also appears to be a tornado on the ground several miles north of the funnel clouds, but contrast is poor. These correspond to a report from SPC for Madison County but they have a timestamp of 2040, which would be over an hour earlier.

I translated NE, and a monster wall cloud evolved from where the funnels had been. It was very close to the ground, and obvisouly rotating. Midlevel rotation was also evident above the wall cloud. I got to highway 22 and turned North to get a better look. Got slammed by RFD at about 4:28.

At around 4:50, I believe I captured a tornado on the ground. This was somewhere in Benton County close to the TN river on I40. Contrast is very poor, as daylight was fading, and the feature was in front of a wall of precip. Lightning illuminates it a couple of times, though. I need to do a frame by frame, which I can't do with the camera. Need to xfer the vid to digital. It's all on Hi8 analog, and I don't currently have a way to convert it.

The sun went down shortly after that, and I dodged severe cells all the way back to Alabama. This was a great November chase for me. A bit of a white-knuckler, as I got hit by RFDs several times. Definitely worth the trip, though.

Total time: 11.5 hours
Miles: 500


Edited to correct errors in initial report
My buddies Lela Knight and Shawn Maroney were with me on this chase:
I targeted West Central Indiana: intercepted a tor-warned cell near Putnamville, IN; the sat in the "no visibility" FFD for about 2 minutes with very close CG's all around me until the meso began to appear. Rainbands were rapidly rotating around the meso and a clear cut wall cloud was visible, but the tall trees of Indiana prevented me from seeing underneath the wall cloud. The storm went from incredible to "dissapating" with in minutes.

We then drove ESE to Intercept the monster supercell that had passed south of Bloomington, IN, which had many tornado reports: we blasted through the FFD on SR244 and encountered near 0 visibility conditions. With in seconds the winds increased out of the East at speeds above 50 mph: all the power poles to the left and right of the road were swaying violently! I thought they were going to come down on us or at least block our path in both dirctions. Well, we were in the inflow notch to the north of a violently rotating meso. Raced east and watched a large rain-wrapped meso cross the road behind us. Lela and Shawn said they briefly saw what seems to be a tornado, but I was messing with the video camera at the time so I missed it. The storm then moved quickly to the NE and we got blasted by a powerfull RFD and it also got dark; chase over.

Left Norman at 2:30 am early Tuesday Morning, arrived in West Central Indiana ~12 pm Tuesday, and made it back to Norman, OK at 6:45 am Wednesday.

Long, diffificult chase, but I'll do it again if the opportunity arrises.

Was right in the heart of everything it seemed. I was on the KY/TN border, on I-24. Went from Clarksville to Hopkinsville most of the afternoon, and ended up at a Wal/Mart to take cover. The sirens were going off in Clarksville around 5:15, and everyone was rushed to the back of the store until it roared by. Could hear a constant rumble, but with all the noise from the Wal/Mart crowd, it could have been constant thunder...who knows? HORRIBLE video opportunities too. It got dark, just as the main storm hit Clarksville, and before that, everything was rain-wrapped. All in all, exciting and disappointing. The weather coverage from a local radio station was great though. They went live from callers all over the area. Did see a wall cloud with rotation just west of Hopkinsville around 4PM, but with the rain and wind, it was difficult to see, let alone video.
Scott Kampas, Andrew Pritchard and I chased the northern end of this system. We opted out of blasting into southern Indiana because of the terrain and waited for the second line to get its act together. It never blossomed like the first line but we still managed an intercept: a severe cell just north of Newton, IL in Jasper County. Radar showed very tight rotation for a couple of scans and we parked right under the couplet. Embedded in the precip though, we couldn't see jack. Tor warning was issued right about this time. Scott did an analysis when the damage survey came out. It looks like we were about a mile north of an F1 with a 10 mile track. We couldn't see the tornado through the rain and the video couldn't bring it out either, so its a good thing we weren't any further south as it pushed over a semi and brought down powerlines. We ran east a bit after the line passed us but after stopping to check data it was clear the chase was over. We headed home with orange mammatus and a double rainbow behind us. Not a bad run for November and we made the best of the storms we had in our area.