High Risk Storm Chase 11/17/13

What a crazy and intense weekend!  It all started out Friday when my forecaster buddy and I decided to look into the storm setup for the weekend.  After deciding it was worth it, I moved some things around and we hopped in the car saturday to head to Kentucky.  We camped out at Boone Station State Historic site, which had a fort and a few campgrounds.  We woke up Sunday morning and hit the road!

Our first target area was Northern Kentucky, where we figured we could set up to intercept any supercells that initiate north of us in Indiana or West of us near Illinois.  After waiting around and taking a good look at forecast data, we decided to head north for a reasonable drive and a good chance at some good action.  The storms looked good and strong and were starting to put down tornadoes in Illinios and head our way.  We braced ourselves and started planning out chase and escape routes.  Finally after a couple hours of preparation, the first cell started to cross the border into Indiana and we headed West to intercept it.  This cell had already been producing tornadoes, and so we watched it closely as we got on the road it was on.  Here is one of our first views of the cell:


And here is our location on radar, we are the blue crosshair on the map.

We planned to intercept the tornadic storm at this point because there was a road that paralleled the storm Northeast, and there was a road heading south if we needed to escape.  Everything worked out as planned and we were able to follow the storm along this road for about 45 minutes, while watching the back end of the storm.  It is always a surreal experience being this close to a monster storm, rapidly rotating clouds were just off to our left, and for most of the drive RFD(rear flank downdraft) winds blasted our car from the side and covered the road with tree limbs and random debris.  The storm stayed tornado warned for the entire time we followed it and then eventually dissipated before putting down another tornado.  It turns out we had only missed the last tornado by about 10 miles before we got to the storm.

Here are some pictures as we drove beside the storm

In the end we chased hard, and tried our best, but unfortunately I had school the next day so we couldn’t drive out to the best action.  After the storm dissipated, we started our all night drive back to North Carolina and made it back at 6:00 am monday morning, just in time for me to get ready for school.  A total of 1279 miles driven in a span of 36 hours.  It was my first time to Indiana, and we saw a lot of beautiful landscape and in the end it was definitely worth the shot to try and chase!

4 thoughts on “High Risk Storm Chase 11/17/13

  1. Sounds a lot like Sam Roback and I’s day. We got out to central Illinois but everything happened an hour north and an hour south of our location. We had a supercell drop baseball size hail and 70 mph winds as it passed less than a half a mile from us.

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