8/25/04 REPORT: Midwest

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Took a unexpected and hectic chase across Mid-Michigan this evening after hearing scanner traffic of a school destroyed by tornado about 20 miles WSW of me in Vermontville MI. I caught up with the storm about 5 miles N of KLAN but other than a nice shelf cloud got nothing of note. Law enforcement was now seeing a tornado everywhere with this shelf cloud but no more damage.

Followed it through Clinton Co as fire spotters were also seeing rotation in the shelf cloud, but as expected nothing additional developed. NWS warned on Eaton Co again so I shot back south - and other than dark clouds and another nice shelf it was uneventful.

Did some nice damage to the high school - an AWS weatherstick recorded a wind gust to 59mph:


- Rob
Against my better judgment I took off after the mess in western Missouri into the tor-watch box. Saw Mike H. east of St. Joe and so we stopped and chatted. He was smarter and stayed put. We went ahead.

East of Chillicothe the 'cell' we had been following did finally structure up and form a long shelf feeding into the rear quadrant of the storm, complete with a wall cloud that lasted a few minutes ... but the storm was not called SVR for another hour and a half or so. I tried to make a report of quarter size hail when we first arrived under the base, but my phone was totally out of commission over there - or else it's at least 'possible' it would have been called SVR much sooner. It went through several phases - some interesting - most not so much. We chased till we dropped east of Macon almost to Hannibal.

Very rough chase ... the storm was moving quickly ... and I've been in this situation before of trying to chase at light speed across the entire state of Missouri ... I hate it and I doubt that I'll ever get suckered into it again. I'll stick with Kansas, thank you very much, or even NW Missouri in a pinch. Did get a few cool photos ... the sunset and cumulus at sunset you see below I got after getting BACK to St. Joe. Hope some of the others had better success, though it looks like there was just one single tornado report that has come in today from west of KC. This was really the first truly disappointing chase of '04 for me, so I can't complain a bit ... just livin and learnin ... here are a few photos in the meantime (got tons of great CGs on video, by the way - but don't feel like freezing any right now, so here are a few still pics).



[Broken External Image]:http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v143/mikeperegrine/a825storms0048.jpg
Photos of damage done by a Microburst (60-70 mph winds)
in Nashville, Michigan area which is near the Barry-Eaton County line.

Damage was at the Maple Valley Junior/High School. Students
and other people were in the building at the time, no injuries.

The school lost part of its roof, windows were blown out and
debris was scattered across the football field.

NWS Grand Rapids: Public Information Statement
[Broken External Image]:http://mgweather.com/vermontville3.gif

First two photos are out of focus from the rain

Next two photos taken through a chain link fence.

Sunset on the way home.

Grrr... well I decided to take a closer look at the cell near Jacksonville IL - and got there about the time it atrophied - but thought no worrys, because I expected the convection near Columbia that was getting organized earlier would be crossing the river soon enough. Unfortunately, it brought friends - lots of them - so I was greeted by a squall line with little of interest to pursue. There was an ok shelf cloud and gust front near the IL river, but nothing to get excited about. The highlight of this short chase was taking a ferry across the IL river - first time I've used ferry transportation during a chase. SOrry to Mike P. and others if I helped convince you to converge on the squall line - but I'm still surprised by the convection in KS. Forecast cap was looking too rough in the wake subsidence of the upper jet max. Apparently there was just enough convergence to overcome - but it was still in a pretty marginal environment.

Was out with my friends walking in the neighboorhood just chilling. Being the nut that I am, I had a anemometer in my pocket ( :lol: ). I measured a very surprising 59 mph in Roseville at 10:39 pm.

Witnessed a nice 7 CG's and some small downed limbs from the severe gust.
Got a beautiful white tornado se of Topeka KS this afternoon. Just kidding of course...lol? At least I got home really early after getting sick of the whole scene in nw MO. Gave up in MO around 3:40 for two reasons. Sick of the damn hills, and sick of the stupid crap showers blocking the view from the hill tops. Data was ok as I just sat east of St. Joe. Convergence was not very organized once again. You could see where the best convergence was, but at the same time see how JUST north of these backing winds the winds quickly veered and wanted to go north(piss poor convergence...enough to pop crappers though!). MO was just really getting that, "it ain't going to fix itself any time soon' look to it(at least west of the c MO line which wasn't looking good enough to FLY to). Thought maybe I could salvage something in NE with the instability wanting to sneak up behind where the morning mcs was and ahead of the approaching sfc trough. This was on the way home and was in full sunshine..no more stupid hills with no views and no more garbage everywhere. The storms in ne KS went up around this same time and I watched them in my rear view mirror. They were rather mushy in appearance. They had overshooting tops(but what storm doesn't) but they looked multicellular and the backshear, like I said, was rather mushy. This day, convergence wise, reminded me quite a bit of the previous day near Salina. So it's been a really fun couple of days now. Blair to Salina and back to Blair yesterday....then Blair to just ne of KC and back today....all for, you got it, CRAPPERS. The sky last night from south of Lincoln was pretty cool though with the moon and that lone storm down there making for an eerie scene, with wispy cirrus hiding the moon from time to time. Tomorrow has to be pay day....right? If not, I'll get to say to myself yet another day, "you should of stopped chasing after July 12". I keep thinking if you bust enough times the good stuff will swing back around. Apparently this is easier to do in the spring. Anyway, it was nice seeing MikeP on the road again and chit chatting back and forth with Amos on how crappy the crappers were. Amos, I don't think we missed much with that KS storm....Steve can confirm from the north it did indeed look like garbage. Now someone will surley come along and make me eat my words with some amazing "lp with a tor" image form around TOP.
Sorry to Mike P. and others if I helped convince you to converge on the squall line - but I'm still surprised by the convection in KS.

No worries Glen - the choice was mine ... and technically, it was a better choice to go east. I have at least one of these chases every year ... it's really amazing that this one didn't come around till August!
I spent the long drive home thinking of all the cool things I could have done in Lawrence (where I had lunch) if I hadn’t gotten suckered into Missouri. The best thing I thought of was finding the KU library, taking a two hour nap, then cruise south to film the tornado and grab an early evening dinner. LOL. Instead I did the light speed dash, as MikeP called it, for the not-so-supercell near Chillicothe. This after spending the better part of two days and the morning firming up my ST-posted target of KC to Manhattan to Emporia. Too bad it doesn’t count if you’re not there when the tornado drops! Doh!

I can’t think of any reason we shouldn’t have headed east, however, between the mad-veering winds in Kansas, plummeting helicities, strong cap, and surprising baroclinicty along state highway 36. Seemed like a no-brainer at the time. As a consolation prize I have this wall cloud and a vivid rainbow that my camera and processing skills fail to render well.
Click for the larger images.


I am joining in amongst you all that had a bust in the day. My day took me to the not so super supercell south of Chilicothe. I did run into some modest pea size, a little bigger hail about 15 miles west of Macon along US 36.

The only highlight of my day: There was a truck that jacknifed across the entire US 36 road about 10 miles west of Macon, and caused all the traffic to drive on the under construction portion of the roadway, and there was also a pickup truck pulling a trailer about 5 miles east of there that flipped on its side. Missouri Roads = Drive faster than 40 and you WILL hydroplane!
I can't believe I didn't run into you Amos - judging from your pics we were so close to you. That wall cloud got my brother and I so excited for a bit ... that's when I called Mike H, thinking he needed to get over there ... wow it's good he didn't pay attention!

I got the rainbow too ... BUT ... after I took several pictures (the storm actually looked kind of cool at that point), I looked down as I was driving off and realized I had my camera still set on manual setting for lightning a couple nights ago, so of course the rainbow is totally washed out. Nice. As I told Amos offlist, one of the things that kept attracting me to chase this thing forever was the fact that there was intense CG activity right around the region where inflow intersects downdraft ... usually in my mind its a sign that the storm is intensifying and could become tornadic (just from personal experience) ... but not so yesterday ... just made for a nice light show.

Ben - we ran across the jacknifed trailer too ... managed to sneak around to the south - first we took a gravel road south that looked fine on GPS - but it turned to pure mud within a half-mile, so we back-tracked and went down the southern lanes that were under construction to go around the wreck.

Coming back we also encountered the truck/camper that had turned over only a couple of miles from where the truck had been ... I don't like that stretch of 36.

Amos - the more I think about the setup yesterday, the more I feel that the choices we made were not bad ones and so we shouldn't beat ourselves up too too much over it. The only thing really attracting me to the idea of sticking closer to KC yesterday was the simple fact that so many times in the past, when we get what looks like a big deal showing up in one spot, things end up invariably popping up somewhere else 'off our radar' so to speak ... there are too many variables to account for every potential in the atmosphere on a day like this ... so I can't help but still think we did the right thing for the most part.
I can't believe I didn't run into you Amos - judging from your pics we were so close to you. That wall cloud got my brother and I so excited for a bit ... that's when I called Mike H, thinking he needed to get over there ... wow it's good he didn't pay attention!

I turned south on state road 11 from 36 to get that view and half expected to bump into you any second since MikeH had just told me you were on the wallcloud. I arrived in time for that shot but then it went HP within five minutes and everything fell apart. That's when I sped east again on either H or C, would have to check the GPS log.
Damage to the high school was caused by a mircoburst in the 65-70mph range. Damage in Vermontville itself was caused by a very weak, 45-55mph, F0 tornado. This according to the NWS GRR write up of the event.
I didn't see the city damage before it was cleared up but have no reason to disagree... The high school superintendent was 50ft away from the school when it happened, and the football coach was 100 yards downstream of the roof when it happened! Both reported no funnel, just a very low cloud ripping across which matches up with a downburst with our radar picking up the same thing. I'll be looking at this very closely over the next few weeks...

- Rob
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