March 2, 2012 Outbreak

03 Mar

This post is gonna be brief, because I’m busy studying for another exam Monday!  I didn’t get off work early enough to zoom down I-65 and catch the Henryville tornado, but in hindsight, even if I had, I probably would not have taken that route, as I originally expected stronger storms closer to home.  I wasn’t able to analyze the data sufficiently to assess why that didn’t happen, but perhaps when I have time I’ll go back and look at it.

I spent some time trying to decide whether to go I-70 east and hope the cell heading toward Indy would intensify, or fly down I-74 to try and catch the major cell.  I took the 2nd option, but as it turned out that time spent debating probably ruined my chances of intercepting the tornado.  However, I expected more of a northeasterly path on that storm, and instead in seemed to track due east.  Not surprising, as stronger supercells tend to be “right-turners.”  I thought I could catch it on I-75 south of Cincinnati, but I was about 10 minutes too late.  Traffic slowed me down once I got on I-75.  Who knows if I would have seen it anyway though due to the poor terrain and the fact it was pretty heavily rain-wrapped at that point.

I’m still trying to think of what I learned from this chase.  I don’t think any different decisions throughout the chase would have left me with any different results.  It’s very difficult to chase 60-70 mph storm motions regardless of terrain, and this was the first chase I’ve ever been on where I never left the interstate!  One thing I did learn from the forecast, or rather was reminded of, is that major turning of winds with height is not as necessary with the excessive speed shear like we had yesterday.  That seemed to keep these cells rather discrete instead of forming a squall line.

I would like to report that my new phone and PDA net app worked fantastic for data!  Granted, I was on the interstate the whole time, so there was a good signal.  The feature I liked best, however, was that as texts came through my phone, a pop-up came up on the laptop!  This will make chatting while chasing a lot more handy, at least when I’m stationary, or have a driver.

One thing is for sure, this chase left me with a thirst for this upcoming season.  I will be chasing everything I have the opportunity to get to.  The goal is 3 tornadoes this year!

I’ll end by saying my heart goes out to those affected by these storms.  Us storm chasers define the perfect tornado as one in an open field that never destroys any structures or takes any lives.  Unfortunately that’s not often realistic.  I just hope that with more and more of these outbreaks, people will begin paying closer attention to the weather, and take these events SERIOUSLY!  I-75 was filled with traffic, and everybody was heading right for the storm!  That just can’t happen, especially on a HIGH risk day like yesterday.

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Posted by on March 3, 2012 in Post-Storm Discussion


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