march 12 2006 chase






8:50am - Gladstone MO, looking west at intense elevated supercell that had just produced widespread wind damage at KU in Lawrence KS.  I lost position on the storm while filling up with gas (whenst I was pelted by wind-driven pea-sized hail as the storm rocketed overhead) and getting out of KC metro.  The storm was tornado-warned by the time I reached Missouri City and was only about twenty miles ahead of me.  Thinking the storm might eventually become a significant tornado producer as the warm sector surged northward, I followed the storm all the way to Moberly.  Despite the ideal highway paralleling the ENE motion of the storm, it was impossible to get closer than within ten miles of the updraft.  I noted major damage (surveyed as tornadic by EAX) several times along the way, including snapped telephone poles, large pieces of mangled tin, and a canoe lying on the highway near Orrick.  No further pics were taken as I was committed to catching the storm, which was likely moving at 70mph.

2:56pm - After getting more data in Columbia, I re-targeted west-central MO and headed west on I-70.  Initiation was underway shortly thereafter in southeast KS.  I ultimately plotted an intercept of the northern of a pair of supercells, which I caught near Garden City in Bates county MO.  The rain-free base was initially quite ragged, but the mesocyclone's structure rapidly improved and a very large block wall cloud developed (photo above).  The storm was also highly electrified.  Unfortunately, the Archie tornado had dissipated ~5 minutes before I arrived.

3:05pm - closer encounter with the updraft east of Rose Hill in southwestern Johnson county as I continue to try to stairstep with the storm

3:42pm - somewhere near Knob Knoster on Highway 50, looking northeast at back side of supercell updraft
3:51pm - non-rotating wall cloud lowers while crossing Highway 50

4:15pm - tried to stick with the northern storm north of Sedalia, but it was futile.  This lame wall cloud and attendant scud crossed Highway 65 ahead of me, assumedly associated with the supercell's flanking line (since a brief tornado was simultaneously reported farther to my northeast, near Nelson).

4:33pm - Semi overturned on westbound I-70... driver still trapped inside.

5:03pm - in a desperate attempt to get ahead of the "Sedalia storm" before it hit Columbia, I headed southeast from I-70 on 179 (which parallels the MO River on its west side).  The terrain was horrid.  I narrowly snuck around the forward flank core/gust front south of Woolridge, which was characterized by a large, dark gray mass of precip swallowing the hill adjacent the highway.  This was an ominous and awesome sight, but I had no time to document it. The photo above shows my first glimpse of the updraft base as I came out of the FF precip.

5:05pm - I continued southward and watched the bowl-shaped low-level mesocyclone **rapidly** cross the road.  I let the storm go and took backroads north of I-70 to avoid the traffic jams from the storm-induced wrecks to get home (which ultimately cost me potential intercepts of the more prolifically tornadic after-dark supercells that re-developed across WC MO).  As a side note.. this photo is somewhat noteworthy, as it was my short-lived view of the updraft of a supercell with an unprecedented path length and duration; the storm initiated over northcentral OK ~1130am and persisted through southern MI ~3am the following day... for a path length of ~700nm and duration of 17+ hours!