Mar 28, 2016
Hyannis, MA
They say sometimes the best things happen in your own backyard. One of my favorite local chases (albeit terrifying) was Easter, 2010. Went up to Macoupin County, IL and saw some great lightning, hail, and storm structure lit up by the lightning. Was in a tornado warned area and was in the core getting pelted with hail and torrential rains (IIRC the long track supercell was an HP.) Weather radio was blaring the tornado warning, and I could have been in the path (later I found out there wasn't a TOR on the ground in the part of the county I was in.)

The reason it's my favorite is because I learned a lot from this chase.
Lessons Learned:

a.) know your road network.
b.) don't end up a statistic by doing something stupid like I did. I was in the 'cage'
c.) have a chase partner with you in your vehicle, I didn't. He rode in his own truck and got the hell out before I did. He yelled at me over the CB, telling me to get out of there.
d.) if you don't have to, don't chase at night. There's not a lot to see.

That was my favorite. The runner up was later in the month: April 24, 2010. Tornado wreaked havoc at the mall in western Saint Louis County.
1996. West of Davenport, IA. I intercepted a supercell after racing 50 miles from Iowa City. I looked up, saw cloud fragments curling around the rim of an open area, with other fragments swinging around to follow the leaders. I suddenly decided I had urgent business anyplace other than where I was standing. The radio broadcast a Tornado Warning for a funnel located over Walcott, IA, meaning, over me. I pictured it lowering onto the top of my car.

For a four-cylinder car, that Cavalier had surprisingly good acceleration.

I got past the clouds. The sun was out. There it was, in my rear view mirror. A thin grey tornado against a bluish-grey sky. I skidded to a stop on the shoulder of I-80 (with plenty of company). In my excitement, I forgot how to turn on my video camera. The same video camera I, as a corporate videomaker and documentary filmmaker, I had switched on thousands of times. Thousands, mind you. Where's the "on" button? I had no bleeping idea.

Well, eventually after a few seconds, I figured it out in time to get a precious bit of footage before the star of the sroped out. Flush with victory, I went home for a change of underwear.