I wasn’t sure how to tally the mileage for this storm chase, as I wasn’t planning on chasing, and barely chased- the storms came to me.
I started the day in Birmingham, AL, with an Enhanced Risk and 10% hatched tornado ring to my west, along my path to Dallas, TX. I also planned a stop at Mississippi State to meet with a few folks about graduate school.
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I passed through the town of Aliceville, AL, which had been struck by an EF-2 tornado back in February. Many of the surrounding communities had community storm shelters, such as this one, just a little ways west of the city.
I made my stops at Mississippi State, running around and meeting with a few people, as well as generally experiencing the shool that I will graduate from in August; I’ve only been on campus one other time, so it was good to look at the campus from a different perspective- that of a student.
After my visit, I couldn’t help but notice that it FELT like storms, even in Mississippi, which was out of the Enhanced Risk for the day. As I prepared to leave campus, I could see that there was plenty of mid-level instability present, even under overcast skies.
I continued into Louisiana, turning on the weather radio near the border. A squall line of storms had already formed near Shreveport, moving north-north east. I brought up the radar as well, and saw that there was also storms over southwestern Mississippi, and more forming along my route. They would pass over I-20 at various times through the night. At Vicksburg, I debated turning south to chase the severe-warned cell two counties south of me. However, I already had a long night of driving planned before adding a bunch of chase time. Furthermore, the storms were going linear very quickly, so chances were good that I would be cut off from crossing the Mississippi by a linear mess instead of catching a severe storm safely. I continued west.
I pulled over a little ways into Louisiana and evaluated my route. There were tornado warned cells embedded in a squall line by Shreveport. I was going to have to wait those out, but I was still a ways from those. I continued west, targeting Monroe as a place to take shelter. I made it most of the way to Monroe, pulling over at a gas station about five miles east of town. A severe warned cell had gone up just southwest of Monroe, heading east. The severe warning included 60 mph gusts and quarter-sized hail. I waited under the overhang of a gas station, watching the storm relative velocities for signs of rotation. Thankfully, none appeared. However, the storm shifted more northeast, moving parallel to my location, rather than crossing it. I was just south of the middle southern edge of the severe warning box.
I did experience some heavy rain in this location, however.
With the storms occurring after dark, I was just as glad to not have to contend with a severe storm. Eventually, there was a break in the storm, and I charged west on I-20. By now, the Tornado Watch was expiring in many counties to my west, and the severe storms were weakening after dark. This storm was clearly outflow dominated- strong winds and heavy rains were the primary threat.
With no camera mount, a long drive, a tight timeframe, and a semi-unfamiliar vehicle, I didn’t linger much longer. Instead of driving to Dallas, I called it a night in Shreveport.
Thank you for reading my post.