8.) 2014, April 28 High Risk Chase AL/MS

Vincent & Alton Webb: Yazoo County Tornado Intercept

For storm chasers Vincent & Alton Webb April 28th was a very concerning and anticipated day when it came to severe weather. Days before we had sat down to look over the latest computer models trying to decided a target area to chase. As time went on we realized we wouldn’t have to go far to see tornadoes in Central and North Mississippi.  That Monday morning we awoke to a few severe thunderstorms but nothing tornadic. Sometimes convection such as this can hamper severe weather potential but not on this day. We deployed to Yazoo City where we met up with fellow storm chasers Jared Stevenson and Don Murray. When we arrived temperatures were in the lower 70’s and cloudy. Within an hour we were sitting under a nice cumulus field and temps rising into the 80’s very quickly with dew points nearing 70 degrees. A few isolated showers had developed across the Mississippi River so we were monitoring this activity very closely.

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The first tornado warned supercell passed off to our North along HWY 82 but we had decided earlier to play the southern cluster of supercells. Our target storms started to rapidly intensify and would soon become severe thunderstorm warned. As we sat there watching these supercells develop we had to decide which of the two we would target. It was unanimous that we would go for the southern storm because it wouldn’t get cut off by other convection. As we blasted south on 49 to Bentonia, MS our theory proved right. The northern storm fell apart and our target storm south of that kept growing. We headed west to Satartia, MS on HWY 3 where we had very flat terrain and great placement to watch this intensifying supercell.

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Our target storm would soon after go tornado warned. The only tornado warning anywhere close to us and we were on it. Our forecasting and nowcasting was spot on. We watched a beautiful storm develop with a large rotating wall cloud. A lot of convection blocked our view but we did in fact spot a brief tornado. This tornado was never confirmed but it was over very open field area. Radar data also shows how impressive this storm was. All of us witnessed this tornado as it moved northeastward. We reported the tornado and blasted North on HWY 3 back to Yazoo City where the tornado was headed. By the time we got into position most of the hook had wrapped around into the main area of rotation so we lost a visual of the rotation as it crossed. We were very concerned as this tornado warned storm passed right through the very populated area of Yazoo City but thankfully no damage was reported. We continued West following this supercell down hwy 16 back to Canton then decided to head back to Jackson. We started to wonder about the second wave of convection off to the west just along the river that was just starting to get its act together. This would turn out to be a very good decision. After doing a few phoner interviews from WLBT/WDBD storms started to rotate along this second line. Tornado warnings started to go out for counties along the river with storms still keeping a mildly discrete mode. We had a tornado go north of us in Madison County and one just south of us in Hinds, Copiah, and Rankin Counties. One would go right through our home town of Brandon,MS. We called off the chase and actually chased just behind this tornado just as it was going through Brandon. Our footage of damage in that area was taken minutes after the tornado went through the city damaging mobile homes, downing very large trees, and tearing roofs off of well built homes.

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In all we covered over 200 miles and chased from 9:30am that morning until nearly 9pm that night. This was the longest chase day we have ever had with consecutive chasing. Every storm chase is a learning experience for us. There is nothing better than in-the-field training for us. We also accomplished another goal of ours and that is assisting with the warning process. We streamed the tornado warned storm as it tracked through Yazoo County. Helping warn others in the path of this storm. Thankfully a tornado did not effect this area but it gives viewers a prospective and seriousness of the situation by providing live streaming video.

Area Covered:

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(201 miles via MapQuest)

The 5StormChasers Chase Log: EF3 Tornado in Athens, AL

     April 28, 2014 brought 5stormchasers yet another opportunity to chase. All the right ingredients came together to form a HIGH RISK day with strong and long tracked tornadoes forecasted. After looking over the forecast models we had to pick between 2 target areas, Tupelo, MS or N. AL.

We knew N. AL would have an awesome chance at seeing a tornado. If we went to Tupelo we would stay ahead of the storm by getting on HWY 78 and heading towards N. AL, which was lots of driving. We decided to go to N. AL!

As we headed east we watched as our first target area got hit by a large wedge tornado. Pictures of damage began to surface and we couldn’t believe it. Radar data showed that the storm that damaged Tupelo was headed for our location. We stopped at Town Creek, AL to try to get in perfect position to intercept. A tornado had been confirmed in Russellville, AL, so we were pretty confident we were going to get one.
To our disappointment the storm got closer it began to weaken as it got closer to us. We continued toward Athens, AL to try and intercept it there if it reorganized. Sure enough it did. It was now tornado warned with a tornado reported. With David Ruffini guiding the way we were set up to get this one for sure. We dropped a little bit south to get a better view of the storm which now had a tornado emergency on it. That means there is a large tornado doing damage and is a life threatening situation. Our GPS shows how close we were to the storm.Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 12.24.23 PM

 

Then the moment every chaser lives for………looking across a field, we saw a large tornado on the ground. We moved closer to the storm to take video and pics of it. We were reporting what we were seeing to the NWS and WHNT Channel 19, which was using our live stream on the air. We watched the tornado before it finally lifted and moved on.

We took a break to meet with Chris Lisauckis, a UAH weather student, to discuss the next storm. It looked like our chase day was about to end. The tornado producing storm we saw was now in Lincoln county TN and was producing an EF-4 tornado. After looking over our footage, we ended the chase day with a nice meal at Logan’s Roadhouse.

 
It was a much needed chase for the 5stormchasers, one they will remember and talk about for a while.

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