8/16/97 Chase by John Moser



From: John Moser (jstorm@TFS.NET):
Subject:      Re: Saturday 8/16 Chase...

It has been six weeks since my partner and I chased, the gloom and doom of
the Summer ridge over the southern plains has had us a bit
depressed....until yesterday. Our original target zone was going to be south
central Iowa, however, we decided to hang home a bit longer and examine the
maps a bit better. A substantial area of moisture convergence was located in
NE Kansas and NW Missouri and the cold front was slowly moving SE from
central NE. The lifting indices were high in this region as were CAPES,
(5000 k/j+), when we departed for our target zone of Atchison County
Missouri, the dew point was 78, temp 91 and winds out of the south at
10-20!!. Our forecast put south central Iowa as a late event, probably after
8pm, hence the reason for the change of plan. We left at 20Z from St.
Joseph, MO and I-29 to just south of the Iowa border. We stopped at a
Hardees for dinner and then sat in their parking lot for about 2 hours and
watched towers try to break the cap, (several customers noted our SKYWARN
shirts and asked if "nados were a coming"....

At 23Z one tower to the SW finally managed to get thru and one to the
NE...we opted for the NE cell but it soon began to collapse due to
that....."choking rain in the updraft!". Hence we doubled back thru Tarkio
Missouri (Jay, how many times did we zigzag thru Tarkio??) and headed
southwest to Richardson County NE. When we got just east of Falls City on
route 159 at 2Z, the storm went severe; doppler radar was indicating a weak
mesocyclone. We saw absolutely incredible mammatus and the most striated
shelf cloud I or my partner has ever seen..it had the appearance of a
gigantic wall cloud, very impressive!!! Made for some spectacular video. We
paralled the storm as it moved towards the northeast at about 20-30 mph. The
storm produced numerous anvil crawlers, many in quick succession, gorgeous
storm! Hail was measured at 2 inches in diameter and straight line winds at
60+ mph.

All in all a great chase, especially since we only had to drive about 140
miles round trip and were home by 9:30 pm!! Of course the storm just to the
southwest of this one in Marshall county Kansas did produce several brief
tornados, however, we were quite pleased with the forecast we made and the
storm we chased; there is a real beauty to seeing a storm develop from an
initial tower to a severe event.

If anyone gets damage/spotter reports from the Richardson County storm can
you forward them to me..Thanks...


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