Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: May 13, 2009
Miles Logged: 1275
States Chased: MO, IA
Tornadoes Witnessed: 1
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:

Andrew Glenn, L.B. LaForce and Bill LaForce all left from Battle Creek, MI on Tuesday evening, with an original target of staying the night somewhere south of Chicago. We made it to Normal, IL and checked in at the Super8 there.

Wednesday we woke up, and somewhat took our time getting ready, having a tasty Bob Evans breakfast and then heading south on I-55. The other guys made fun of me for wearing shorts when it was pouring rain and about 50 degrees out. I was cold, but it was a lot better than being hotter than heck later on when it was 80-85 with a dewpoint of around 65-72.

We drove to Springfield, and hung out at the Road Ranger for a number of hours. Danny Neal and Adam Lucio joined us, along with Benjamin Rock and his gang, and Danny & Adam’s friend Matt. Eventually we decided to head west towards Pittsfield, IL as the surface winds were backed, the temp and dewpoints were good, and they were in the sun. While driving over there, storms started to initiate in Missouri, towards the Kansas City area. They originally looked pretty decent, but somewhat like they would go linear in a hurry.

We got to Hannibal, MO and met up with Scott Bennett. While we were all standing around, the cell near Milan, MO went tornado warned, and we headed out after it, eventually ending up just north of Edina on State Route 15.

The reports of a rain-wrapped tornado and big cone tornado had been pouring in while we were driving up there, and so I played somewhat conservative, stopping quite a ways south of where I anticipated the circulation to cross. Danny and Adam went further north, and got some real great tornado footage, which we couldn’t see from our vantage point.

As you can see in the video below, the upward motion from the storm was insane, with the Tornado Sirens from Edina, MO blaring in the background. We eventually had to head south and east to try and chase it.

We went about 10-15 miles east before giving up on it as it appeared to be pretty much outflow and becoming more linear at that point. Scott and I decided to head back west and check out the damage.

The first damage path was north of Edina on 15, where a house had been badly damaged, and some power lines had been knocked over.

We headed west to Kirksville, where we weren’t able to get near much damage (we didn’t even try going around police blocks). We managed to get back north towards I-80 after a detour, and got to see some destroyed buildings. The sun was down at this point, and we didn’t get any pictures/video.

After that, it was a long drive back to Michigan, arriving back at my house at 8:15 am in time to get ready for work and head in.