5-11-11 East Colorado
Jeff, Brian, and friends left Omaha, NE at 7:45am to what looked to be a great chase day in Kansas. The SPC has issued a moderate risk for the area. Ongoing morning convection looked to be a possible problem in the timing of storm initiation. Jeff decided to go more west then originally planned in order to get to the clearing area. Our new target was Colby, KS. Once we got there, we waited for storms to fire. Shortly after storms began to fire in eastern Colorado. We decided to wait a bit to see if anything would fire closer to us. Soon after the storm in Colorado went tornado warned and more storms firing near that area. Jeff decided to blast west to intercept those storms because Kansas was looking to be a cap bust. We made it there and intercepted multiple tornado warned cells in Kit Carlson county. We saw multiple funnels, half dollar size hail, but now tornadoes. It turned out we intercepted the only tornado warned storms of the day in the cold core set up area which many overlooked. Kansas ended up being a big bust, but we considered it a good day.
· Tornadoes: 0
· Miles: 940
· States: NE, KS, CO
· Hail: half dollar
4-25-11 Arkansas Flash Floods
Jeff and friends drove down to Arkansas for what looked to be a decent tornado risk day. We left from Omaha, NE early around 7:30am. Made a pit stop in KC for some Chick-Fil-A and then continued toward our chase target. While we were a few hours away, storms were already forming and becoming a MCS mess. We then noticed major flooding happening as we crossed the border from MO to AR. At one point we went over a bridge where a house was floating in a flash flood. We decided to keep going with hopes to intercept tornadic cells. Trees were getting taller making visibility hard. We then entered the town of Bella Vista, AR where a major flash flood was taking place. Jeff decided to film it then hit the road. Jeff filmed a flash flood destroying a golf course. Shortly after that we decided to catch up to a tornadic cell just to our east. Roads were horrible going up and down hills with tall trees around plus flooding. The storm ended up getting away and we decided to head back to NE shortly after. Jeff vowed to never chase in AR due to the roller coaster like roads and heavy tall trees.
· States: MO, AR
· Miles : 890
· Tornadoes: 0
· Hail: quarter
4-9-11 Tornado Outbreak: Mapleton, IA
Jeff and Brian and a few friends started the day off by heading to Sioux City, IA. Making the traditional stop to get some Chick-Fil-A, They waited for storms to fire. The first storm fired near Norfolk, NE and gained strength. Jeff headed south on I-29 to get in position across the river and met with the storm in Sloan, IA. We continued east on 141 as we got into the hook to be able to see the storm best without having any rain block our view. As we were entering Mapleton, IA we noticed a wall cloud with a brief funnel as rain curtained around. We continued east on 141 out of Mapleton as we stopped to watch. The inflow to the storm was intense. A large funnel came down and picked up a lot of dirt. Eventually the funnel came all the way down as the tornado intensified and dirt covered the entire funnel. We moved north to watch it pass in front of us, but the tornado stopped before it got a chance to cross the road we were on. This tornado had taken a direct hit on the small town of Mapleton, IA. However, we were not aware of this until later in the evening. So, we continued our chase as it became dark. We were able to capture 2 more tornadoes at night, one was a nice elephant trunk tornado that lasted a good 7 minutes and took on many shapes near Ida Grove, IA. The other was a large multi vortex wedge tornado. Jeff and Brian had to abandon the chase to return to Omaha that night since Brian had to work. It was a hard thing for Jeff with a wedge being on the ground, but being content with what we saw we headed back. This storm would later produce 7 more tornadoes and one being 3 miles wide.
· Tornadoes: 3
· Miles: 400
· States: NE, IA
· Hail: ping pong ball
4-3-2011 SE Iowa Storm and Lightning show
Jeff and friend Sam left Omaha shortly after one, headed to St. Joseph, MO. Jeff arrived in St. Joseph and had some lunch and watched for storm initiation. Noticing a clearing with a CU field starting to develop in north central MO / south east IA, Jeff headed out to get in position. On the way a MD came out shortly followed by a Tornado Watch, Jeff knew hemade the right call to head that way. Just after crossing the IA border, storms started to have explosive development and quickly went severe. Jeff caught up to the tail end of the storm. It had some beautiful structure. With the storm motions and the road network in that area, Jeff was not able to keep up with the storm, so He dropped south to intercept another cell to his south west. The storm did go severe, but then shortly after became a squall line. Jeff knowing now no tornado would come out of this decided to let the storm pass over and get lightning shots. The storm did put on a great lightning show.
Jeff and friend Sam left Omaha shortly after one, headed to St. Joseph, MO. Jeff arrived in St. Joseph and had some lunch and watched for storm initiation. Noticing a clearing with a CU field starting to develop in north central MO / south east IA, Jeff headed out to get in position. On the way a MD came out shortly followed by a Tornado Watch, Jeff knew hemade the right call to head that way.
Just after crossing the IA border, storms started to have explosive development and quickly went severe. Jeff caught up to the tail end of the storm. It had some beautiful structure. With the storm motions and the road network in that area, Jeff was not able to keep up with the storm, so He dropped south to intercept another cell to his south west. The storm did go severe, but then shortly after became a squall line. Jeff knowing now no tornado would come out of this decided to let the storm pass over and get lightning shots. The storm did put on a great lightning show.
· Tornadoes: 0
· Miles: 645
· States: NE, MO, IA
· Hail: dime
Missouri Valley, IA Tornado 3-22-11
Jeff Headed west to met up with friends and fellow chasers Brian Onstead and Nate Lewey at 3:00 to pick up Nate after he got out of work, to take him on a chase for his birthday. Conveniently after we picked up Nate, CU started to develop to our west. We headed west out of Omaha toward Freemont to intercept a developing storm that had a nice meso. We continued on the storm as it grew stronger and developed several rotating wall clouds. This was being streamed and recorded from Jeff’s new camera dome. As we ran out of road options for that storm, we blasted east to get in front a developing severe storm just to our south.
This storm was just north of Omaha. Jeff core punched the storm on the way to Blair, NE. We finally got through the rain and hail and made it to a clearing where a nice rotating wall cloud was seen. We followed the storm to the east to Missouri Valley, IA. In the field about half a mile to our south east, a quick small vortice was seen followed by a very broad vortice. This was a multi vortex tornado. This beginning was being streamed live on WOWT-Omaha at this time. We then stopped by a railroad to get out and film, when my friend Nate tripped over the power cord killing the live stream. Jeff, unaware at the time why the camera died, tried to get the dash cam up and running. The tornado then formed into a nice cone tornado, which reminded us of the Aurora, NE tornado appearance of 09. The cone tornado quickly got rain wrapped shortly after.
We then continued to stay with the storm while getting pounded with Baseball size hail. The dome cam and the windshield did survive but the car did take some nice sized dents. The storm soon died after going north of the warm front. Jeff then stopped to upload video from the dome cam. That is when he discovered the horrible news it stopped recording just before Blair.
Overall, it was a good early chase and saw a nice tornado. Jeff did learn what to improve on with the dome cam since it was its first chase out.
· Tornadoes: 1
· Miles: 246
· States: NE, IA
· Hail: Baseball