8/26/05 REPORTS - Midwest

John Farley

Apr 1, 2004
Pagosa Springs, CO
Had a decent local chase this afternoon - out less than 2 hours and 75 total chase miles, but caught quite an interesting barrage of CGs on storms in eastern Madison and far western Bond Counties in southwest Illinois. Shortly after the blue box was issued for E. MO, S. IL, NW KY, and SW IN, I noticed strong storms cropping up around the Alton, IL area around noon - around 62 dbz. Since I could easily intercept these, I started out through Edwardsville to head north on IL route 159, but quickly realized the storms were too close and would get ahead of me if I went that way, so I cut east from Edwardsville on Pin Oak and Fruit Roads. ATTM a very low linear updraft base, with some areas of precip forming under it, came over Edwardsville and rapidly approached from the west. The cloud base had to be only a few hundred feet above the ground, similar to what I had observed on June 3 of this year along the KS-OK border. Today's conditions were similar - decent heating of saturated air from earlier storms, near 100% surface humidity - but visibility today was much worse due to fog and surrounding low clouds. The cloud base was so low it was hard to pick out the main precip areas unless you were very close. I cut north to just east of Hamel, as the line passed over me, encountering some heavy rain, then crossed east on route 140 under the line again (with only a few spatters of big raindrops this time) and into Alhambra. I could see that a core seemed to be forming to my south, so cut back that way but, unable to get ahead of it, was basically in the core for the next half hour to 45 minutes, as I cut east on Fruit Road and followed it and Pochahantas Road all the way east through Grantfork into Pochahantas. Never could get back ahead of the storm, but as I headed east, the CG became more and more frequent. Saw a house or its TV antenna get hit within 100 feet ahead of me at the west edge of Grantfork, and over the chase probably a half dozen CGs hit within 1000 feet or so of my location. Suddenly when I got to Pochahantas I encountered strong southwesterly, then southerly winds (there had been little wind up to this time) around 50 mph (estimated by motion of the sheets of rain relative to my speed). When I-70 came into view, nearly all the traffic had pulled over due to the intense rain and wind, and I decided it would be pointless and unsafe to get on the freeway and try to get ahead of the storm in these conditions - the storms were moving along to the east at 35-45 mph, with the leading edge still well east of me. Though I was too much in the core most of the time to see any structure besides the initial low RFB, the chase was worth it for the numerous close encounters with CG. A review of radar when I got home revealed that a storm merger occurred over the Pochahantas area, which might account for the sudden strong winds there. No hail, but the rain with this storm was really intense, with visibility under 100 feet at times. Most of the severe wx occurred farther down the line in Randoph County and points eastward, mainly in the form of strong outflow winds.
I had a local chase today, too...except mind was in Northeast Oklahoma, specifically north of Tulsa. Starting watching the conditions at about 2pm. Noticed SBCAPE values around 4000 and MUCAPE values around 4000-5000 basically from Ponca City, OK-Bartlesville, OK-Sedan, KS. Convergernce in these areas were also somewhat maximized. There was a little bit of shear...just enough to allow possibly an isolated organized supercell. There was also very little CINH. Convective temperatures were in the 90s, but they were easly reached. Forcing was weak to non-existent. However, an old outflow boundary was moving SW across NE OK from activity in MO. I figured the outflow boundary would probably provide the focus to get things going. I figured Sedan, KS, would be a good target for initiation.

Sometime after 3:30pm, I started to see some storms fire just north of Sedan. These quickly evolved into a cluster. Later, around 6pm, a new storm took shape to the SW in Osage Co., OK. It started taking on supercell characteristics with nice mid-level rotation and a well-defined v-notch. We could also see the RFD develop and spread out on our station's radar.

Around 7:30pm, I finally was able to get away from working at the station and got clearance to go intercept the storm. As I headed north on US-75 out of Tulsa, this is what I saw.




This easily ranked as the most photogenic supercell I've ever seen. The storm was severe, but I never got into the core or really was able to get close up with any kind of daylight left. I did punch into it later and was pelted by 45 mph winds and torrential rains. That was some serious white-knuckle driving. I wound up hitting some down tree branches in the road that landed right in front of me.

I also got some nice CG lightning shots on the video on my way back to Tulsa. I hope to get some of this online sometime this week. I'll post an update when I have them online.

All-in-all, a pretty productive night. Nothing too bad, although a mobile home near Wann, OK, was severly damaged I believe. But for the most part, NE OK got some more well-needed rain. Just enough to make it misterable and push that heat index even higher.... :?
Same event as Chris , I left the house just in time to get these shots as I drove towards Bartlesville


Spent 8 hours out watching and driving around as the cells kept rebuilding to the north . Finally walked back in the door at 4 am . Still going through 5 hours of video but I have posted the digital pics here http://www.stormdriven.com/08262005pics.html

Couple of the lightning pics