4/5/10 Chase Recap


I had been watching these severe weather setups for a week or so, and was hoping they would verify, because they were right during my spring break, and I knew I would be able to get out and chase. The setup looked alright, except all the upper air support from the trough was still west of where the activity was to take place. A strong cap was also in place across much of the area, and the models were not in real good agreement of whether it was going to break or not. Nonetheless, I headed out, because I knew the next day would be promising as well.

There were two primary options on where to target. There was the triple point in extreme north eastern Kansas, or the warm front in north central, Missouri. I was split between the two, and favored more towards Maryville, MO near the triple point, but when I woke up in the morning, the models still had that area badly capped. The SPC had put out a 10% hatched area all along the Iowa, and Missouri border for tornadoes.

After driving all afternoon the day before, we had gotten a hotel in Macomb, IL. In the morning, we left, and headed west, and eventually met up with Ben Holcomb, Adam, Lucio, Brandon Sullivan, Jesse Risley, and Ryan Wichman in Unionville, MO at Subway. After looking over the models again, conditions looked favorable farther south east towards Kirksville, MO where there was more clearing. We looked around in Kirksville at the damage from the tornado the year before (5/13), and then decided we would drop a little further south towards Macon, MO, where mesoanalysis showed decent parameters setting up.

Eventually we gave up, and clouds started to sock the area again. We headed back north towards Kirksville, MO, and met with some other chasers/students from Western Illinois University. With no convection in the area, groups started to head out. Eventually Ben, Adam, and I decided to head to Bethany, MO for the night, and get positioned for tomorrow's setup. While heading towards Bethany, MO, we noticed storms starting to fire along the dryline near the triple point in Kansas. We aborted the stop at Bethany. MO, and headed west to try to intercept the storms near Falls City, NE. Scott Bennett called, and told us some roads were closed that way, and by that time, the two nice supercells were beginning to die out, so we stopped at a gas station near St. Joseph, MO, and met up with Steve Polley.

By this time, it was completely dark out, and Scott met up with us at the gas station, and our group headed to an IHOP in St. Joseph to get dinner. Chris Rice also came to hang out at IHOP with us. After dinner, Steve, and Chris went home, and Scott, Ben, Adam, and I got a room at the Days Inn.

First chase of the season for me was a BUST, but I have confidence that more setups will happen later in the year that will "override" this day.

Later that night, severe warnings were put out for parts of lower Michigan and even Chicago. The same storm that produced big hailstones in Chicago came across the lake, bowed out, creating high winds, and drove hail through the siding of houses in Schoolcraft, MI. Extensive damage was done to a subdivision, and it was reported that the hail had accumulated to about 6" deep!. On the way back home, I stopped by Schoolcraft to take some pictures of the damage, which can be viewed here: Schoolcraft Damage 4/5/10