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

Think it's early for a chase report? So do I ... Woke up at my mom's this morning to the sound of the wx-radio blaring a tornado warning and svr t-storm warnings in Kansas. (3/14 EDIT: just wanted to note hear that the tor-warning was called for a high wind event in Lawrence that has later been confirmed as a bizarre downburst event ... this caused some noteworthy damage in Lawrence and even closed KU the next day.) Got ready real quick and went out to grab a couple shots of the elevated Buchanan Co. storm as it crossed the river into Missouri ... excellent shelf ... here are a couple quick pics ... could not get in a good spot in the hills. -- the bad news is that this storm had to have been moving every bit of 50 mph, if not more ... it took no time for it to cross over my head and move north over Agency and then to Dekalb Co. If they are all this way today, we're in trouble.

I'm talking to my mom on the phone as I write this and can hear the large hail hitting her house - it sounds terrible. She says it's covering the ground. My brother says it's tearing the trees APART in St. Joe ... he can't see across the street because there is so much hail coming down.

Then I came back to KC, where the hail was still covering the ground and lining the roads. North KC near KCI took this one on the chin, looks like - unfortunately the worst of it appeared to be around all of KCs most high-dollar luxury car dealerships ... Lexus, Acura, Humvee, etc. were all in the path of the hail core on this one. Zona Rosa also got it, looked like - getting ready to head back out - -



Here's a quick merge of the Buchanan Co. storm base ... no time to clean up now ...

Woke up to hail here at my house. I am only a couple of miles from Zonarosa that Mike mentioned. Went to the door to watch a very dark cloud moving in with the hail. The winds were blowing pretty strongly too...and it looked like the table on the back deck was getting lifted. Anyway.....to my south I saw a dark cloud hanging down behind the trees. I wish I could have seen better but the trees were blocking my view. I thought I better take a look at the radar so I quickly went to my computer and saw we had a tornado warning and there was a supercell with a well defined inflow notch and appendage right about where I live! So I decided it was time to make a quick move to the basement. Stayed there a few minutes then went back up as the hail subsided. The neighbors shed next door had some minor roof damage and we had alot of hail on the ground....probably about an inch, some slightly larger, in diameter covering the ground. Pretty interesting morning to say the least. The storm that came through here about 3 hours ago is now approaching IL and still producing. Very impressive for surface temps in the 40's.
Hail at 8:29am here in South-Central Leavenworth County just about 10 miles west of the Kansas Speedway:


Hail lasted for a cople of minutes, accompanied by about a 1-minute long burst of ~50mph winds, 0.08" of rain, and then it was gone.
I was sleeping in today after running almost 400 miles in 2 days for Civil Air Patrol...

0930 Burlingame, KS (8 mi to my North) had 3" hail. Friends of mine lost a skylight but were luckier than their neighbors - They had hail punch their roof and ceiling and into their house.

One of my friend's nephews was driving to Osage City to work when hail pierced the roof of his Neon. Luckily no injuries.

1240 had sirens go off here in Osage for a TOR warning. NWS TOP had a cell with rotation abt 12 mi to the South. Jumped and ran to check that out but by the time i got close to the area it was East and North of me. I did sit and watch some interestting rotation from the backside on a hill with some AMR paramedics North of Melvern lake.

Doesn't look like it's over for the day either...

Jon Holder
Report from Lawrence

Big Day here in Lawrence, Kansas. I live about half a mile Southwest of Allen Fieldhouse.

I woke up this morning around 8 am with a thunderstorm going on outside. The wind started howling....and howling. I'd never heard wind like that before. I looked outside and it was evident that our house and immediate neighborhood was being hit by a tornado...at first I thought it might be straight line winds but the rotation was obvious...we were inside a rotating vortex with a roar that I'd never heard before. I'm quite certain it was a tornado, albeit a weak one, F0. Local radio reports lots of people in Lawrence reporting funnels.

The storm passed quickly. Our house has only slight damage, but some neighbors lost major tree limbs. Cars in the area were destroyed by trees. A school crossing sign across the street was ripped out of the ground. The power was out from 8 am to just now.

There is substantial damage through much of the city. It looks like the KU campus was hit particularly hard. Local radio reports that an air conditioner unit was ripped off a high-rise dorm and deposited in the parking lot.

My guess, from being inside the damn thing and from the widespread damage, is that a weak tornado skipped across the city.
I've spent my day chasing around metro Kansas City for the most part ... criss-crossing the city from Olathe to Excelsior Spgs 4 times today ... yes ... four times.

I started by heading south on 35 then west on K-10 to intercept the first storm coming up near DeSoto ... I'm not sure what time this was at this point. - - - Anyway, the storm had an awesome wall cloud, and the CGs were just crazy around the meso. This was the single leader stuff that we often see around mesos and it was powerful! The storms were moving a minimum of 55 mph today ... minimum. And that through an urban area is just wild. I followed this storm back up through downtown Kansas City ... had to stop twice for hail along the way. What was UP with these storms and hail today? ... This was the craziest day for hail I can remember ... When I got downtown the sirens were blasting, as they had been in Johnson Co., KS too ... but downtown it was really eerie - - the clouds were booking over the tops of the high rises and I had to be close to the hook - lots of cool inflow there. So I kept chasing north ... then double-backed to catch another cell that produced a nice wall cloud over Kansas City, Kansas ... there is finally a terrific place to view the Mo River valley near Briarcliff that was perfect for watching the new wall cloud, this one also ended up moving very close to downtown. Over Liberty it reorganized with GREAT inflow bands - and I even called it in. Kept going up to Excelsior Springs when I got tired of chasing fast storms and started to come home. Then my bro calls and tells me there are new cells firing on the juicy side of the dryline southwest of Olathe near Ottawa (again) ... so I went back south on 35 and intercepted a new storm base south of Lenexa ... I could not keep up with it, but tried. I finally came home and gave up trying to race these things in favor of a beer.

Wall cloud at DeSoto:




Convection redeveloping south of downtown:


Back to Olathe:


Out my apartment window a few minutes ago:


Update - Just took these 5 mins. ago from my apartment window:


Here are some shots climbing out of MCI airport at 0730 this morning. As you can see, the cell structure was already very organized and the beginnings of a very good chase day were beginning.
This is what the storms look like from above.




Check out the outflow boundary on this picture.

Here is a link to my website picture page which details the two days of storms from our vantage point. I have a picture up which shows a core punch at 41000 feet. Not for the faint of heart but it was necessary at the time. Webpage Pictures of KS & IL Super Cells from High Altitude
It's been a twelve hour day here in Excelsior Springs (Ray county). Woke to a tornado warned storm that produced 1 inch hail and high winds. Lots of wind damage reported, mostly to outbuildings and trees. Ended up with hail damage to both of my vehicles. Several more tornado warned storms throughout the day with another round of heavy 1 inch hail late in the evening.

Video clip of earliest hail storm.

Hail core coming in:


Finally some do-able lightning!

Me and my chase partners dediced to camp out along Highway 400 there in Montgomery County somewhere near highway 75. We sat up on a nice hill with a great view of the horizon where we saw a nicely rotating wall cloud.

We wasn't able to keep up with it, we saw some golfball sized hail on the ground in Bourbon county just south of Uniontown Kansas. Overall, nice chase day for March 12.






We saw this car in Ft. Scott at a gas station. This car supposedly belong to some spotters who got in the wrong part of the storm at the wrong time and got hit by golfball size hail.
That gas station in Ft. Scott seemed to be a chaser convergence zone today.

I knew when I saw convection starting up just SE of Arkansas City, KS, that I was going to be trailing these storms the rest of the day.

I saw the opposite view of that group of storms (I assume they were either two supercells or two embedded supercells in one small line).

After getting news of the westward movement of the high risk, I decided to leave around noon to get to the activity. By the time I was east of Augusta, there were two cells now instead of the one while leaving Douglass.

Drove 70 mph on Highway 400 to catch up to those storms. Saw many overshooting tops indicative of the large hail that fell (all the hail reports I heard on my weather radio were ping-pong ball to baseball size). I got scared since I didn't know how far east the southern cell was in relation to the northern cell and lost time trying to make sure. I went off toward Chanute as the tornado warnings come out for both cells (and the Osage/Franklin county one). I ended up missing the rotation by 5-8 miles. I made one last effort toward Ft. Scott, but only to find the cell was in Missouri. I'm not sure if that one was the one responsible for the Columbia, MO reports or not.

Not bad considering the speed of these storms. Got to see some nice looking cloud tops and some heavy rain (I haven't seen that in a while). It's just more experience on what I can get to or not.
Dan Cook, Fabian Guerra and I intercepted the "quad state supercell" near Columbia, MO and followed it all the way to Mt. Pulaski, IL. Witnessed a large stovepipe around Noami, IL and watched it rope out. That's it for now...more to come...
What a day! (This is the first time I've posted a chase so please show mercy.)

Started out by filming a nice hail storm (at my house) this morning (I live east of KCI), and then my chase partner Rick Schmidt headed over around 1:00 P.M.

We then headed south on 169 to catch the cell coming out of Garnett, and was interrupted by the torn warn cells coming into NKC. Watched those for a short bit and decided to head south on 435 and then east on I70 to (try and) catch the cells heading into NC MO.

Ended up catching the cell in Sedalia, but only saw the tornado for a brief second. However, we saw a LOT of hail and some beautiful hail fog. Continued to try and catch up with the cell as it headed for Boonville, but finally gave up and got some food and rested a bit and met up with Doug Nelson in Booneville. He informed us that he caught one of the tornadoes on I70 (he actually got into some of the circulation), and saw a semi flipped on the west-bound side of the Hwy. This semi would almost cause us to get into trouble later.

Started back for home west on I70 when around 8:30 pm we learned of a MASSIVE cell heading right for us. By this time we had just got out of a MAJOR traffic jam that the police made us exit I'70 and take several outer roads for quite a time. (This was from the earlier semi flip), and we were now finally back on I'70. I called Jon Davies and he was kind enough to nowcast for us and advised us to get off of I'70 at 65 Hwy and head south a bit as the cell had a pretty nice hook to it.

We sat at a gas station right off of I'70 and 65 when we learned that there was a large tornado on the ground heading pretty close to us, so we went south about 10 miles more (per my request, as I was a nervous wreck being my first night chase). As we turned around to head back to I'70 (per Davies info on another cell was heading for us that would miss us if we got back on I70 heading west soon), and we saw the large wedge tornado that was just north of Marshall at this time heading east northeast. (I got it on video and will try to get stills off of it.)

As we got back on I'70 and got near Sweet Springs, we saw semi-trucks flipped around all over the place, a lot of damage and unfortunately, one truck was flipped on top of two cars. If there were people in them, I really don't see how they could have survived it. (I will never get that image out of my mind). What's really sad is that these people had pulled under the overpass to wait out the storm.

I just want to thank my partner Rick for keeping a cool head and doing such a great job tonight, and to my dear friend Jon Davies for keeping us out of harms way. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

This is definitely a chase I will never forget.

:( Shawna Helt

P.S. Excuse the poor spelling and grammar, too tired to check it.
Wild day - was late to get in play, but intercepted the southern two cells in MO around the Columbia area neither was tornadic during the times I was able to get position. Sampled some ~ 1 inch hail. On the way home witnessed the tornado that went through southwest Springfield, IL which was visually impressive with the 'look' of a classic strong tornado (barrel tornado I'm guesing ~ 1/4 mile wide), illuminated by frequent lightning and numerous power flashes. [edit] Thought we were about to become debris coming up the west side of Springfield behind the tornado - apparently as the tornado came through the power plant on the southwest side of town it caused damage that resulted in an extremely loud roar that we feared at the time to be second tornado as we came upon it. Not sure now what we encountered, small debris falling about the time of the noise may have still been settling from the earlier tornado (estimate we were 5 minutes behind it, trying not to follow to close, but this storm was on the route home). [/edit] Damage looked quite extensive in the area. Also witnessed [CORRECTION]Stan[/CORRECTION] Olson's crash - he apparently ran into a large grain bin that fell onto I-72, which we encountered following re-routing to get around high tension power lines down on the interstate just east of Springfield. I'm sure he'll have a full report later, but he looked fine, and the car damage didn't appear too bad.

Sorry about the corrections - I was tired last night.
Night time wedge tornado with a second smaller strong to violent tornado was seen by myself and Rich/Ryan Thies between Nelson and Arrow Rock MO (Saline Co.)...we had a good clean shot of the classic dryline tornadic supercell from just north of I-70...about 6 miles east of the I-70/US 65 intersection. Just fresh off the chase...I will post stills from video if they turn out. We also watched yet another wedge track west of Boonville MO but we were off a good 10-12 miles to it's west. That particular tornado appeared to be almost a mile wide for as long as we watched it from near Longwood (N. Pettis Co.) Too bad it was night, but tornadoes were still quite visible with help of typical higher dryline supercell bases and good clean RFD's. Earlier in the afternoon, we just always seemed a step behind and missed the Sedalia wedge by getting cut off by the nasty hailcore.

All in all...probably a 9/10 for the synoptic setup...and a 5/10 for chase quality (thanks to several early afternoon setbacks and of course rocketing tornadoes)...a complete chase account will be on my site...Vortex Times...with hopefully some video stills of the chase. Not much opportunity was conducive for photography Sunday. Rich picked up some nice "vehicular momentos" and a cracked windshield from the pounding we took in Sedalia. Had brief meetings with Jeff and Kathryn Piotrowski along the chase trail which stayed red hot up until about 10pm when we called it a day in Sedalia
I will add to this in detail tomorrow evening after I get off work, but I just got home and am ready for bed. (pardon the grammar and misspelling, it is late and I really do not give a rats rear about typos right now)

I stayed in Springfield, Mo over night last night so I could get a fresh and head start with out rushing this morning. My first target was Marshall, MO. I wanted to get ahead of the cells as much as possible so that I would not have to chase 45 mph + storms. Well just as the RUC forecasted, cells started to fire in S and SE KS by 11:30am. I was not even close to Marshall, MO so I just went to I-70 and headed back east towards KC. The cells where not moving quite as fast at that time so I dropped south on hwy 7 and 71 all the way down to Adrian, MO. I drove west through town and just as I broke out of town I saw rapid northward rain curtains wrapping around the low level meso. I drove just a few more blocks past some trees then I saw the tornado / funnel (it was half way down). Below are a few images of the first tornado.


Very shortly after these images the tornado lifted and the cell raced off to the NE and there was no way I could catch it with the roads I had to deal with. SO.... I went east on 18 out of Adrian and intercepted the most southern storm of the bunch. It took a while for this thing to get itself together and the first tornado I saw was just on the south side of the town of Calhoun, MO. There I saw a persistent funnel and three brief spin-ups.
Images below.


Lastly I followed this same southern cell to Sedalia, MO. There I just missed the "reported" 1/2 mile tornado but I did manage to get the the end of the tornado as it was moving off to the east.

Images below.

By this time I knew I could not catch up with this cell so I was finished. Just to the south of Sedalia there was a significant damage path. With house roofs torn off and telephone poles snapped in half.
As I drove north out of town there was tons of golf ball size hail (looked like snow) on the ground and very very foggy.

Ok I am done for now I will get more detailed later (along with spelling lol).

Mike Deason, Darin Brunin and I witnessed four tornadoes after dark, in the vicinity of where Shawna Helt and Brian Stertz were. Inflow was incredible. Full report and pictures will be up soon.
First of all our thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by the severe weather today.

Second, thank you Matt Jacobs, Eric B'Hymer, Jeremy Goodwin, and Marcus Opitz for the great nowcasting that you did today. I may have left out someone but I am too tired to remember.

Well, I don't really know where to start with this but here goes. Sorry about the length but so much happened today that there is no way that it could be short. Mike Deason, Dick McGowan, and I stayed the night last night in Joplin, MO. Learning of what happened back here in Lawrence I was pretty upset to say the least. We drove north with an initial target of Ottawa, KS. Sure enough storms fired northeast of Emporia and moved in that direction. After the storm finally got a nice looking wall cloud on it, it started to take on a more linear appearance. It surged eastward and buried us. We got pounded by hail up to baseball size. We hurried to get out of the hail and as soon as we were about ready to head southeast to catch the storms in Linn County we got word that the storm we had just ran from was intensifying into a supercell again. We then chased it through the KC metro area north as it produced several wall clouds and a nice anticyclonic funnel. After getting out of the KC metro area the storm seemed to have passed the warm front and got very grungy. We then finally decided to move to the southern storms. We tried to play catch up with this storm for what seemed like hours. We got close enough to the tornado near Sedalia that debris was falling out of the sky but we could never see the tornado. After passing through Columbia, MO we decided to call it quits on that storm. We then met up with Garry Wellman and Caleb Lawrence and chatted for a while.

After this we decided to head back towards home keeping the thought of the storms firing to our west in the back of our minds and knowing if they went tornadic that we would be in good position to intercept them. Well, on our way back I70 was backed up for miles. We snailed down the interstate at a very slow pace. After about an hour we learned that there was a tornado warned storm heading directly towards us. Knowing this we did not want to be with the congested traffic on I70 if a tornado was bearing down on us. We pulled off I70 about a 1/2 mile to the north and shot lightning photography keeping in the back of our minds what could be coming. Sure enough after about 15 minutes we saw the RFB appear and then almost instantly a monster emerged. Winds at the surface changed almost instantly from cool damp air to warm muggy air and we could definitely tell that something big was happening. Just then a big tornado that looked very strong was moving the north about a mile to our west. It started to get even larger when a second wall cloud developed to the southeast of it and put down a second tornado on the ground. The inflow to all of this was incredible and made it hard for tripods to even stay standing. As the large tornado moved further north it was starting to approach a width of around 3/4 of a mile wide. The after about 10 minutes the meso started to occlude from what we could tell. We then moved morth as another wall cloud developed and put down tornado #3. After seeing the ground circulation with it we ran into muddy roads that we did not want to compete with.

Oh what do you know? Another tornado warned cell was about 20 miles to our southwest near Whiteman AFB moving at us. We decided to move south of the interstate to intercept this storm. As we a approached it a beautiful lightning lit meso appeared to our southwest while we were getting slammed by some more large hail although we were not in the core. We then got to highway 65 just as it was approaching the highway. We then decided to race the storm to try and get south of it. As we moved south the meso started to move over us although we could not see a tornado on the ground. In an instant the wind picked up and definitely had circulation with it on the ground as the direction changed about 5 times in 5 seconds. Rocks, Grass, and many other objects were slamming our vehicle. We are thinking that we drove through a weak tornadic circulation. It was in no way on purpose and we shouldn't have made the mistake that we did but we sure as hell did not want to have the meso move directly over us. We finally got about a 1/2 mile down the road away from danger and turned around. Upon looking to the north there were power flashes. We then watched the meso move off to the east with a possible tornado although we could not confirm it. After this we decided that we had encountered enough for the night and decided to break off of the that storm. Again, quick decisions had to be made and after reading this section if you think that we made a bad decision. Well, I can guarantee you that you would see differently if you were put in the same situation.

After arriving back at I70 we started to head towards home. I70 was backed up again and after about 10 minutes of driving about 20 miles per hour we came up on the cause of the delay. The large tornado that passed over the interstate a while earlier had caused major damage. It was heartbreaking to see the car that had been crushed by a semi. The way we figured it had happened was that the car had pulled up on the shoulder under an OVERPASS. The semi apparently had pulled up beside the car. When the tornado hit the semi and car were both pushed against the side of the overpass with the semi ending up on top of the car. I don't see how anyone in the car could have survived because it was almost completely crunched. I hope to god that the people did though although we have not recieved word. It really made the whole night seem a lot less important because of what had happened. I can't even begin to describe how I felt when I saw that disturbing image. It really makes you look at how precious life really is. If we had not pulled off earlier I feel that we would have been almost in the same area as where the tornado moved over. Basically, the cars congested on I70 were slowly moving targets and there was nothing that I feel the targets could have done to get out of the way of the tornado. It's just a horrible feeling right now that I still have stuck in the back of my mind and I hope the people in that area and all over the best as this has been a horrible day for many areas.

here is a quick still that I uploaded. two tornadoes on the ground. the tornado then got wider after this. I will post more tomorrow but am too tired right now after writing this.



After looking at this it looked like the tornado started to get rain wrapped

We got hit hard in Eastern Benton County, NW Arkansas. A large tornado touched down just out side of Siloam Springs and Ripped across parts of Centerton, and Gentry and dissipated shortly before moving in to Bentonville. I counted about 4-5 homes leveled. The path was about 2-300 yards wide, and luckily no one was killed. Trees and lines are down and we also can smell gas, and many houses have been damaged. I have spent the last several hours helping with the search and rescue in the area. Also Bentonville was hit hard by straight line winds and the tornado, and in my front yard I my grass was covered by hail, some the size of baseballs. The tornado also touched down next to the High School and ripped apart the indoor foot ball field and also severely damaged the new stadium. Before making it to the high school the tornado started skipping along Bentonville and destroyed much of the municipal airport. After it hit the high school the tornado continued to skip along, it then landed in the Collage Place sub division behind NWACC (Northwest Arkansas Community Collage) and destroyed several homes there as well as snapping the power polls like tooth picks. The "twister" then headed into little flock and, from what I have been told, ha leveled much of the city. Finally the storm headed out into the Pea Ridge area and stayed on the ground till it went into Barry County, Missouri where it finally dissipated around 11:00pm. The tornado track is about 75 miles long and it is being recorded as an F3. It has been around 36 years since Benton and Washington County have seen a tornado hit the area of that magnitude. The tornado also caused major damage in Delaware County in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma the Tornado leveled a sub division and took out many trees and power lines as well as driving a fully intact Snapple bottle through a fiberglass building with out breaking or spilling the contents of the unopened glass Snapple bottle. Power is also out on the south side of Fayetteville yet the Denny's I am at had emergency power as well as working wifi. We headed down here to get ahead of the rotating cell that moved into this county (Washington County, Ark.) from Adair County, Oklahoma. At times it was reported that there were two tornadoes on the ground as it skipped through Bentonville.

My case today went fairly well. I started heading out towards Claremore, Oklahoma around 2:00pm. By the time we got there the first line of storms was moving our way. We headed NW up Route 66 and followed a cell into Oswego. It was at that time we had another cell come up behind us and pelted us with quarter to golf ball sized hell. We followed that cell into Columbus and then it began to move out of reach, to our NW so we turned our attention to a now rotating cell to our south. We tried to get ahead of it but were unable to and thus we snuck in front of it by going towards Vinita and then jumped on I-44 and drove to Joplin, Mo, where we then took Hwy 71 south and got just ahead of the storm to see it spin through Benton County. It passed by us in Bentonville and then as we began to follow it we started to get reports of severe damage by Byers road (I think I spelt that right), just west of Centerton, and thus we went to the hit area to assist in the recover efforts. The funnel its self had that classic look to it, it was not a wedge. It looked a lot like a wide elephant’s trunk. Living in tornado alley I am used to hearing about tornadoes, and as a result of chasing them I am all to familiar with what they can do, but when I left my house today I couldn't even imagine that one would come with in about 2-3 miles of my home and threaten those who I love. I am just great full that no on got killed.

Well I am off to go help at the Red Cross shelter unless something else blows in. Stay safe out there, everybody.

EDIT: I forgot to mention that there have been several injuries, yet, thankfully there have not been any fatalities.
Also they are calling the Tornado an F3.
I headed up to se KS with a few fellow chasers (Robin T., Dan D., and Phil H.)... We weren't able to get on the initial supercells that developed in far eastern KS in the early afternoon, and we ended up waiting around Independence for most of the day. Convection did initiate about 5pm in se KS, but they looked incredibly sheared over and rather unimpressive. As night fell, convection filled in and moved eastward into MO. We dipped south a bit into extreme ne OK, but weren't able to really get onto anything. The storms were hauling to the E and NE, so we called the chase off. I was surprised it took so long to initiate dryline convection in eastern KS and OK... *shrug* ... It was nice to see a storm at least, but it really looked like the storms didn't have enough CAPE to really do much, at least until dark and until they moved into MO... Oh well.
Updated 3-13 to add video grabs of Tornado near Bentonville.



Further updates will added to my blog or website http://stormdriven.com/cblog/

12 hours and 460 miles so just a couple pics from west of Bentonville and some damage from S.W. of Kansas Ok. I havn't looked at any video yet maybe tommorow. I started off East of Stillwater,Ok. and headed into Osage County following storms up to Bartlesville then caught up almost to cells east of Oolagah then followed to Adair then went south and east to intercepted the one coming through Locust Grove and Kansas Ok. By the time I got a good view it was almost to Bentonville. There was a lot of damage reports from south west of Locust Grove all the way past Bentonville (long track?) I came across debris in Bentonville , even a hay bale in the road . Now to find some duct tape to pull this insulation out of my skin... More later once I get some video grabs



Very large, strong tornado with incredible ground circulations... The RFD was incredible, I have never felt anything like it in my life. A few of the gusts surpassed 100mph...

I left Detroit at around 2am to Jacksonville, IL -- and intercepted the Marion/Ralls, Co tornadic (confirmed yet?) supercell -- missed the tornadoes, but still got some excellent hail, and there was relatively decent cloud base rotation (can't believe the storm survived and produced tornadoes with that kind of CAPE). I then continue on, meandering through MO, only to decide to head back (after playing around with the Sedalia, MO storm -- and never being able to get into position). So, I get just to the southwest of Springfield, IL on I-72 only to get hammered with significant RFD gusts (>100mph)just south of the main large tornado, along with a few golfball hail stones smashing me. I got a few pretty decent views of the tornado as it ripped through the city of Springfield. This was the most intense supercell that I have ever witnessed.

A short clip of the Springfield, IL tornado and me screaming (!) as it gets illuminated by a powerflash:
I was *in* the Bentonville tornado

Well, last night I was "in" the Bentonville tornado.

The previous day (3/11/06) the supercell which came from Cherokee County Oklahoma (Tahlequah) went right over our business in Centerton, AR, just west of Bentonville. That one was an HP event, and the front sheared anvil looked very smooth angling from the southwest. The rain was the heaviest I can recall since moving to northwest Arkansas in 2002 but once it left all I saw was a "rock-hard" updraft to the east. A tornado warning was issued shortly thereafter for eastern Benton County, and the storm remained "warned" all the way into eastern Missouri south of St. Louis. (I believe this may have been the storm which killed two people near St. Mary's, MO, sadly). There was some lightning with this storm but it didn't seem that intense.


Yesterday, like Saturday, was quite warm. Convection was evident by mid-morning on Saturday, but there was far less cloud cover yesterday. Checking radar before leaving our store I saw from storms firing up over what appeared to be a weak dryline (at the time the storms were not connected) but the radar images were far less impressive for our area than the day before.

Driving to the Wal-Mart just across the border in McDonald County, MO, I saw some lightning in the cloud tops over what appeared to be the Joplin area 50 miles north. Listening to AM 740 in Tulsa there were reports of rain and hail all over the city and two storms with strong rotation...one in Rogers County (headed most likely for Joplin or north) and one in Wagoner County, OK (good chance that it was headed our way). Returning home and walking my dog around 8:30 pm I noticed a strong inflow from the south and figured it was feeding the Joplin area storms. I talked with a neighbor about how I'd ducked into her garage with my dog in November when I saw power flashes to the west and heard an oncoming "waterfall" noise (turned out to be high winds which snapped a few lines that night). I told her hopefully tonight wouldn't be THAT bad. :roll:

The missus and I were watching "Crossing Jordan" while our NBC affiliate had tornado warned areas (Adair and Delaware County, OK, immediately to the east). Suddenly, Benton County got "warned" as well and they cut to local continuous weather. The meteorologist (Rick Katzfey of KNWA) started saying they were receiving "tornado on the ground" reports on Route 412 in Oklahoma west of Siloam Springs, AR (far southwest part of our county). He was showing doppler radar areas where strong rotation appeared to be. He said THIS storm, unlike the previous day's, was an LP cell and that one could probably see the oncoming wall cloud.

Immediately I bolted out the front with my daughter as my son said the sirens were sounding. The beautiful anvil was over us from the southwest, scalloped in appearance rather than smooth, with very active anvil crawler CC bolts. Our dog shot out the door but (praise God) he came back shortly, as did our cat. My son and I brought our pet rabbit and his cage in. The kids got in their respective shelters and my wife Sandra and I kept watch on the TV. The storm track on the TV looked like it would go just northeast of us. The indicated movement (as well as what I saw of the anvil) looked like it could go right over us.

Well, the local tower cams zeroed in on what they thought was a wall cloud. They thought the storm was nearing Bentonville. Then the power and TV went out and I told my wife to get in the bathroom. I wouldn't go outside, but in the dark I went straight to our living room window (facing south).

I saw what appeared to be three conical clouds bunched together like three great stalactites in front of a discolored mass that looked like rain...they were about a half-mile/-3/4 mile due south, and looked like they were headed for Wal-Mart's Technology center there. I kept waiting for them to rotate around one another but couldn't see that...then I started seeing what appeared to be a power flash or two. THEN I saw big square chunks of debris spin and lift into the air around the Technology center, and I headed for the bathroom. I prayed in the tub. My son prayed in the closet. All the time I could feel the house shaking just a bit and seemed to feel a few objects hit it.

Then I heard a strange noise...like a hissing sound. SSSSssss.....SSSSssss. Were these subvortices or suction spots? First thing I thought of was an old episode of "Star Trek" where there were people who had been "sped up" and their voices sounded like buzzing bees.

After the last hiss all was dead quiet as the low pressure was on top of us. I wasn't sure if we were going to get hit by another vortex but after a minute or two it appeared the action was over (the storm was moving about 50mph). I went to my north window and saw the wall cloud lit up by lightning and occasional explosions, moving off to the northeast.

Well, after everyone went out to take a look I was amazed...our neighbor to the west has a hole in his roof and his playhouse is smashed. Our neighbors to the north have gaping holes in their fences and several missing shingles. Our neighbor to the east had his roof scoured (on OUR side of the roof) to the wood, and the backglass of his van was blown out. And our neighbors to the south (closest to the main part of the tornado, apparently) have fences down, roof damage, etc. The house across the street to the south had a trampoline ring set right down over their tree. His hot tub was lifted up then dropped. A subdivision a mile east sustained heavy damage with roofs completely blown off. Some neighbors down the street lost windows and walls. We weren't in the hail area, either, yet north and west of us they got lots of it...my in-laws south of Gravette lost the globes off their lamp post from it.

And we've gotten away with (apparently) only damage to our central air unit on the east side of the house in east Bentonville. I can't tell any roof damage. Both our vehicles were left out and they were fine.

Prayer works...hope I'm never that close to a twister again.
Wall Cloud Near Stark, Kansas

I left Pittsburg, Kansas around noon yesterday, with a target of Parsons, Kansas. After arriving in Parsons, Kansas and checking data at the local Super 8 Motel, I saw that a tornado warned supercell was west of my location, near Neodesha, Kansas. I decided to head north out of Parsons and attempt to intercept the supercell north of Erie, Kansas.
I saw a nice rotating wall cloud to the north of Stark, Kansas. Stark is located in the extreme northeast corner of Neosho County, Kansas. I only got a couple photos of the wall cloud, as the supercell was screaming to the northeast towards Ft. Scott, Kansas.

Looking West From 1 Mile East Of Stark, Kansas 2:55 P.M. (Neosho County)


I met up with Joey Ketchem and crew in Ft. Scott, Kansas. We headed back to Pittsburg, Kansas to regroup, and hope for more storms to refire to our west. We went back to the Erie, Kansas area where we watched some towers attempt to get going, only to be sheared off.

Towards sunset we finally got some more severe storms to develop north of Erie, Kansas. Got too dark to see anything and we headed back home.

All photos from this event can be found at http://www.russparsonspictures.com/March12...ansasWallCloud/
We caught the Springfield storm, too. I haven't had a chance to look at my video from yesterday yet--got home at 4 a.m. and up for work at 7. But, in brief, Bill Oosterbaan and I caught the bottom two storms of the lineup in mid-Missouri. We met up with the first northwest of Columbia, then dropped south to catch the the Sedalia storm, and ultimately wound up playing tag with it as it moved all the way across Missouri and into Illinois. There, it soon swallowed the other storm to its north, strengthened, and kept on chugging across Illinois into Springfield, then on across the rest of the state, crossing the border into Indiana in the town of Watseko. This storm formed in Kansas, crossed two entire states, and finally started losing its strength and supercellular appearance in northwestern Indiana--though interestingly, after we made it into Michigan, I fired up the laptop again and saw a clearly defined supercell right about where this storm would have been if it had re-strengthened.

Anyway, of all the storms that moved across Illinois later on, this storm was definitely the main act. If you look at SPC's storm reports, you'll see a red belt of tornado reports extending across Illinois; those mark the path of this storm.

After a number of years of relatively fruitless chasing, we hit pay dirt, but I have very mixed feelings about it. Watching the transformers blowing in Springfield and seeing the semis and cars blown off the road along I 72 heading into town was a sobering reminder that this hobby is not all fun and games.
I had to be really careful on this chase as i had gotten my windsheld all cracked up during the storms on Saturday night in western Arkansas. I targeted the area around henryetta, ok. I was concerned about going too far west and north and not being able to get back south and east to fort smith in case something did develop in se oklahoma. Convection held off later than i expected but a little before 6pm i started seeing some returns on radar just west of Tulsa.

I headed north towards Tulsa but only went about halfway there b/c i noticed some towering cu going up west and southwest of me. i sat near beggs, ok waiting for things to develop. The storm directly to my west was pretty pathetic but it was pretty and it cast a shadow all the way across the sky.

That storm strengthened slowly but did finally go severe and move into the tulsa area. on the otherside of tulsa the storm did go under tornado warnings.

As that storm moved toward Tulsa i saw another storm coming into view from the sw.

Looking at radar it shows this storm started 20 miles SW of Shawnee, OK. It basically was heading straight for me slowly increasing in strength. At 640 it went severe. The storm was obviously lp in nature. It did start throwing off lightning.

I had to retreat south to make sure my windshield didnt get put out completely by hail. The storm continued to be very lp in nature but it did have very good rotation but the lightning completely stopped. From a nice viewing point i could see the "mothership" look to it.

Shortly after it crossed hwy 75 just to my north the storm began a rapid transformation. The lightning went from nothing to continuous very quickly. The storm just kicked into gear. I had to stop and head home because my wife had school monday morning but i took some pics of the storm (now with tornado warnings) from afar.


This storm continued into ne oklahoma and nw arkansas dropping several tornadoes and causing lots of destruction in benton county, ar (centerton)

The lp storm earlier just to my west also cotinued into SW Missouri being under tornado warnings much of the time. All in all it was fun but cant wait to see the pics/vid of what the rest of you got!

Full chase report online at http://www.realclearwx.com