4/30/06 REPORTS: MO, AR, IL

Apr 19, 2005
Roanoke Valley, Virginia


A well-timed trip to my parents in Jonesboro, Ark, and the superb nowcasting of Dave Carroll back in Blacksburg, Va., enabled me to get in a pleasurable chase of a cell along the Arkansas-Missouri border that became tornado-warned in the northern Missouri bootheel. The cell was the "tail-end Charlie" of a line segment that developed over southern Missouri on Sunday in response to an upper-level disturbance rotating around the central U.S. low.

Over a 3-hour chase as the relatively slow-moving storm scraped just north of the Ark-Mo border through Ripley and Butler counties in Missouri, then moved into northern Dunklin county and New Madrid county in the Missouri Bootheel, I observed and photographed a few wall clouds, several instances of rotation in association with radar-indicated tornadoes from NWS-Memphis, and right at dusk, one funnel cloud (grainy and poor-contrast in the late-day light) near Clarkton, Mo., that followed a few minutes after a NWS-Memphis issued a new tornado warning based on a radar indication.

I did not see the reported tornado on the ground in New Madrid county as I had pulled back out of quarter-sized hail that pinged me a bit and followed the back-to-back radar-indicated tornado reports in the Campbell-Clarkton area of northern Dunklin County, Mo.

All in all, a superb chase on a Plains-quality day with bubbling cumulus scattered in a sharply blue sky ... much better visibility than most east Arkansas/southeas Missouri severe days of my memory. Also, some higher-based stuff than is usual in that area. The chase terrain through extreme NE Ark. and SE Mo. I would grade a "B" overall.

My thanks again to Dave Carroll who pointed me to the right cell early in the afternoon.
I was able to get some shelf cloud and lightning photos as a couple evening storms passed the Edwardsvile, IL area. (Mods, perhaps IL can be added to the thread title.)
Headed south from STL with a target area from Cape Girardeau to the MO bootheel. Saw a funnel on the tor warned cell near Scott City. Tried to follow it into IL but after crossing the river I didn’t have an east option, only north or south. I went south on Rt3 then west on 57 towards Sikeston, and finally south on 55 to try to catch tail end Charlie which was tor warned. Made it to a few miles north of Portageville and was waiting there. I saw what looked like a funnel maybe 5 miles north of me but didn’t take it seriously since it was farther north than where I was expecting the meso to be so I figured it to be scud. Hmm, ended up being a tornado.

Thanks to Dan for nowcasting.
Nice chase day for me. Went up to NE Arkansas and chased the end of that line into MO and broke off when it approached the river.

Decent structure, wall clouds and rotation, it just never really got smokin'. I was on the storm when the tornado was reported at 7:24, but I didn't see anything. This storm had tons of scud floating around it.

Thanks to the workers at McDonald's in Portageville, MO for unlocking the door so I could come in and use the restroom :) They were under lockdown due to the tornado warning.