4/14/2006 DISC: IL, IN, OH, KY, VA, WV, PA

Joe Nield

Jul 31, 2004
Plainfield, Indiana
EDIT: New LSR indicating 85mph winds at the IND International Airport (likely very wet RFD), but it's good to see that IND is back issuing products. It'll be interesting to read what Joe Nield says about this (assuming he's working now)...

I was on a day shift yesterday, and came back in around 7:30p EDT last night, and at the time the supercell was approaching IND from the NW, I was working mainly on hydro issues, but since there wasn't a whole lot to be done in that vein other than massive areal flood warnings, I had plenty of time to watch this storm. I was rechecking the track every scan, and it became readily apparent that it was going to pass extremely close to us if not right over us. I got in touch with Louisville (our secondary backup site, but IWX was getting hammered already), and told them to be ready. We made the decision to head to shelter probably around 9:55p, and handed off responsibility. (Interestingly enough, we had to do the exact same thing for Louisville one week ago.)

Now, keep in mind that this is a building full of weather geeks, so "going to shelter" consisted of turning off the lights and looking out the back window for a while ;), while the less brave (or is it smarter?) among us sat in the ready room. We watched what could have been a funnel pass about 1/8 to 1/4 of a mile north of the building, and then our winds kicked up something fierce and it got VERY loud in the building. I can't say with any confidence that the feature we watched was a funnel, because it was only illuminated by the reflection of lights on the airport complex, the highway, and from downtown, but whatever it was, it looked dangerous, and, by watching the trees behind the building, there was obviously inflow into it.

We stood in the shelter for a while, and then curiosity got the best of me and I went to the back window again. It was quite a sight, to say the least, and we retreated to the shelter and closed the door again. The door never remained closed for more than a minute, though, because we just couldn't help ourselves. Once it became apparent that we had seen the worst and that the building and all equipment appeared to come through unscathed, we waited a few more minutes (and looked out to see if wind driven hail had destroyed our cars, though our hail was mercifully small), and retook our responsibility.

This marks the second time in two weeks that IND staff have had to seek shelter from tight rotation passing near or directly over the site. Strangely enough, while weaker winds on April 2nd tore off part of the roof facing from the front of the building, pieces of which are still wrapped in the trees behind the office, and ripped up several shingles, it appears that we took no damage last night, and escaped the golfball hail that fell less than 2 miles away.

I love it when the weather comes to me. :D

Interesting side note...when the storm was over Crawfordsville, at one point it had 60 dbz to near 40,000 feet. I don't ever remember seeing that in Indiana.

Sorry again about no pics (yet), but craziest storm for this location in 25 years possibly longer.

Terrence, contact me via PM when your pics are ready, if you would.

From Mike Gibson:

A view looking down on the hook from above. Purple is the 62dbz isosurface. It appears that the rotation has created a large tube of 60+ dbz that extends over 20kft. I've never seen a tube of reflectivity this strong before.

What's weird is that this rotation core is fairly far back in the hook rather than near the front. Maybe this is some sort of artifact but it has been visible for two volume scans.