Thursday, April 29, 2010

St. Louis Supercell

I was almost going to sit this past Saturday out. The best area forecast for anything significant to occur around here was in extreme S IL. I decided at the last minute that I was tired of sitting around so I called Richard Lewis to see if he wanted to get outside. He said yes so we met up and headed S into the great unknown. Seeing as there was nothing on radar, we took our good old time down US 51. Arriving at Ramsey, we decided to tour Ramsey Lake State Park. It was a journey that once started you must finish because of the one way road which encompasses the park. It was a very surreal experience as we traveled down this narrow way with limited shoulder and lush foliage on all sides. Some food for thought, mushroom hunting is legal here but only after 1PM. Guess you have to give them time to wake up lol :)

Continuing S, we ended up at Vandalia. Stopping for fuel we noticed a tornado warned storm on radar approaching the St. Louis metro. Surprising as this was, we were also equally surprised to see Tony Laubach on Spotter Network near this storm. For those who don't know, he is a professional chaser from CO who has also appeared on Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers". Since we were this far S as well as close, we decided to head W towards the storm. Traveling down I-70, we exited at Greenville and continued W along 140. Shot below is the Vandalia water tower vs. some interesting clouds as seen on 70.

Watching radar we noticed that Mr. Laubach was heading E on 140. Curious if we would see him, sure enough he went by us at Alhambra in his mobile mesonet which was cool to see. We ended up getting off of 140 and zig zagging our way to the N along unfamiliar country roads. This would end producing opportunity as well as disappointment for in exercising caution with our moves, we ultimately lost the storm.

At Walshville is where we would get our closest intercept and the point at which the storm appeared to be getting its act together. This shot is courtesy of Richard who snapped while I drove. Since we weren't able to confirm the activity, we didn't bother reporting what we saw.

Now SW of Hillsboro, we had no choice but to let it go as I missed a turn that would have taken us N to Taylorville. By now heavy rains were filling in along the S flank as we were being overtaken. This storm was tornado warned from before it crossed from MO all the way up into Sangamon county.

Much later at Pana, we stopped to check out a local cemetery and await the arrival of a new severe thunderstorm that as far as this line was concerned would've been the "Tail End Charlie" as some will understand. It didn't do much and basically lost it's warning right in front of us but was still a fitting end for a day we didn't think would produce for us.

Short video, somewhat redundant...


Suz said...

I liked the light in the photos
boy it sounds like you had a great time chasing

Paul said...

Thanks Suz!