What a remarkable day and stormchase. Here is the account. I will post a link to the video soon. But for now here is the account and the screens snaps and photos. More may be added and updated soon . ? let me know
Chase Title: The Amazing Ever Changing Monster
(Pictures etc © Eric Flescher. All Rights Reserved.
Risk LMH and area: Medium KS, OK, TX, NE, MO, IO
Highest Risk : MO
Watch/Warning area: East of line and watch of Columbia to Kirksville, MO
Target:Macon north to possibly Kirsville, MO
Partners with: Eric Flescher, James Seitz, Uday Verma
Today's Chase States/ Counties: KS, MO
Day/Time Started (from Olathe) : 7:30 am
Day/Time Return to Olathe, KS:5/13/09 11:30 PM
Miles of Chase: 470
Equipment: Panasonic 329 CCD chip camcorder; Rebel XT camera; wide angle, telephoto 28-200mm, 50 mm ;
and Jim's devices
Results Today : Tornado Wallcloud Supercell Structures
Tornado(es) today: 1 (at least)
2009 tornado count: 1
2009 Chase count: 3?
Full Account :
(1) I met James and Uday in Kansas City at 8:30am near I-70 so we could get out early and beat any traffic. A few anvils over Kansas City We went with our initial target after looking over forecasts etc. I am getting better at reading the forecasting tools. This NAM graphic showed a good bulls eye to still
shoot for in NE Missouri =purple).
After stopping in a McDonald's in Blue Springs off of I-70 we waited from 8:23 - 9:30 am.
(2) We headed further North from Columbia and decided to go even further North after stopping in Macon for pit stop and assess where we should go. North was now our target .
(3)We has lost a little time getting to Kirksville. We were in the McDonald's in Kirksville admiring some of the towers
that were dissipating and wondering whether we were late and whether anything would now happen.
(4) We were inside the tornado watch area box.We saw some signs of promise but nothing outstanding as we waited. Tornado warning near Green City, MO at 5:17 Pm pm.
(5) Around 5:25, a trained spotter had seen a funnel near Novinger, MO near Highway 6 heading NE.
(6) We headed down the Highway 6 West towards Novinger.
(7) We could see that this "funnel" was now a tornado as we peered through the road view between the trees as we headed West on HWy 6.
(8) It possibly just crossed the Highway but was now North of Highway 6.
(9) The cone shaped tornado was headed East (towards us ) and moving quickly.Many chasers have remarked about the difficult terrain in MO in terms of chasing. It was pretty level until we were going to intercept the tornado on Hwy 6. We quickly found the road had trees on each side and
made for obscure viewing as we bounded West on Hwy 6. Never been in this area before, let alone chasing in these parts but just tried to find a good open viewable area was difficult .
(10) We were in Adair County . Now at the top of a small ridge on Highway 6, I suggested that it might be the best to turn North as we could view on this ridge somewhere.
(11) We turned on to Road 165A and went down about 0.2 miles North of Hwy 6. We lost a little extra time making sure that we turned around so that we were ready to make our escape East on Highway 6 at a moments notice because the tornado was bearing down on us.
(12) This was a better vantage point above the trees and viewing the twister immediately to the West. The Tornado was about 2.5 miles away from us when we first camped out. It was traveling East at 34 mph. The tornado was heading straight for us and made for photogenic and videographic capture before we had to leave.
(Doing the math later I calculated we only 36 seconds or so before we had to make our escape).
(13) The view was our ringside seat. Now it was easier to see the debris field snaking up from the ground even though we could not see the whole funnel extending to the ground.
(14) The constantly streaming (upward) tornado changed shape every second .
(15) First it was more slender then slowly widened is base considerably. Then it appeared more like a wedge, growing to 1/4 to 1/2 mile wide. It was not veering from us at all. It was still coming toward us.
(16) These screen snaps show the tornado morphing into its different shapes and also showed it’s delicate structure.
(17) The video shows the delicate structure changing every second. There was no rain or hail at that point
(18) I did not have enough time to get out my camera or tripod. I did not want to lose any moment of the detail for the video.
(19) In retrospect, I should have had it ready and draped it around my neck to shoot it but I was too focused on helping us to get the best vantage point.
(20) I had the best camcorder equipment on the team so I felt that it was important to get all of the video to show the every changing nature of a tornado for our future reference and to show as an example at my EOAS class at JCCC in Overland Park that I have coordinated for 15 years. I never thought I was going to get such an opportunity today although I was hoping.
(21) The detail in the tornado was remarkable .
(22) The vortex streaming up from the ground could be seen easily as there was no rain to obscure the view.
(23) Constant streaming upward from the base.
Now it was almost bowl shaped.We could now hear it even while it did not seem to move. It was still heading straight but we wanted to take more footage before making our escape.
(24) Now it was a getting closer. Still no rain or hail around us. Definitely still pretty much straight for us.
(25) It looked more ragged and we could see rain was coming.
(26) This dangerous storm must have been only a few hundred yards away from us as it loomed over the ride. Getting too close, it was time to go real soon.
(27) I zoomed in closer .Now it was more like a classical wedge shaped tornado.
(28) Definitely becoming less defined and we knew we would not have too much time left before we had to leave.
(29) It was getting rain wrapped and more difficult to see.
(30) With closeup , it was now very imposing and closing in towards us.
(31) It continued as a wedge.
(30) We knew we had to make our time to go and make our escape real soon.
(31) I wanted to frame the foreground up to the overlook especially since it was not rainwrapped.
(32) Now it was getty rainwrapped. It remained rain wrapped and was now heading just North of Highway 6 without deviation. The rain and storm were moving on us.
(33) Even more so in a few second. James shouted " Time to go!".
(34) We headed back up the road (South) and then turned and went down HWY 6 East .We stopped further East where there now more chasers off of Highway 6.
(35) The tornado passed us at that pull off. It was rain wrapped and about 1 mile to our north.We took more pics and videos.highway 6 and East towards Kirksville. We took more video and pictures and then took off down East .We did not stay in Kirksville (where there was a lot of
(36) There were many chasers here at this time watching this rain wrapped tornado. Others were East , North and South maybe West.
(37)I took a few poor photos as I was rushing too much.
(38) We tried to catch some other cells. Kirksville was now already closed off to traffic as the car dealship and more were destroyed by the tornado.
(39) We broke off and headed South toward Columbia and back to Kansas City, watching some nice lightning along the way. Wanted to possible chase some cells with large hail but we decided not. Heading back to Kansas City where I left James and Uday.
(40) The next day we learned more :
My Conclusions about chase:
(1) there were two tornadoes. This one vacillated between F-1 and F-2 but I am surprised as we all thought it would rate stronger.
(2) The main key for this intercept was staying with the target and then going North to Kirksville before the cells really got going. Hearing about the spotter seeing the funnel caught us more time to intercept and make agood position to view it.
(3) We had a great view of the tornado. Right time , right place.
(4) I am glad I found that side street and that we took it far enough for a great vantage point but had full access to leave when we needed.
(5) reports written the next day SPC
What I learned from this intercept and for future reference :
(1) Have videocamera on a tripod or on suction pod ready to do at all times especially when coming up on the location to start shooting.
(2) Have the telephoto lens and the camera all primed and ready to go and have it drapped
around my head (before we jump out of the car after finding the right spot).
(3) Get a rain parker to protect from rain and even cover the camera, lens etc in the future.