June 5, 1996 Florida Chase By Stephen Sponsler

Today was a MAJOR STORM day for us in Brevard County....this year has been
the most active I can ever recall as far as multiple storm events....I went
running around 1:30pm and watched losts of CGs in a LP cell 5 miles to the
nw-sw.  The storms were moving NNE, and as this storm passed it kept
redeveloping on the Southern most edge.Three weak funnels formed from this
storm which I witnessed during my run (they were very far away)  Other very
strong storms were apparent in the distant South, total TNT explosives!
Well, After my runI took my shower in preparation to go south to Melbourne
to get new speakers for my PC.When I was all set and stepped out side, I was
amazed to see a long trail of towering clouds extending southeast for
several miles from the darkly, deepening storm to the west.  These "towers"
were rapidly moving into the core of the storm which was developing an
intense looking semi-meso rotating base...I have NEVER seen such a storm in
Florida that was so close to looking like a true GP (Great Plains Storm).  I
got into a wonderful clearing overlooking the huge banana river to our west
(it is about 2 miles wide).  Grey green fragmented clouds were rotating just
above the ground, extending into the storm base.  TOTAL BEAR"S CAGE!  As the
towering inflow clouds passed overhead the wind suddenly started blasting
out of SE at approx. 30knts  right toward the core (which by now had moved
further north).  I didn't want to drive any closer, since I was already to
close to get a good picture.  Huge RDs (raindrops) were splotching down with
greater frequency, so I had to bail to the safety of the car.  The storm
rotated North and basically became totally rain wrapped.  I knew this was
the time to head south for Melbourne, coz the NWS was reporting severe
weather to the south of Melbourne, and I wanted to intercept it. Suddenly on
the weather radio they annnounced that a tornado was indicated by doppler
radar near Cocoa (just to our West), and that golf ball hail sized was
reported...that freaked me out...MY STORM!  Needless to say, there never was
a tornado...but it was SO close.  So I'm heading south and after about ten
minutes it's apparent that a different storm is rapidly approaching from the
WEST!?!  I pulled over at Patrick Air FOrce Base, where I had a clear view,
and witnessed an incredible gust front form that was of Mid-west
caliber...AGAIN  the most intensely structured I've ever seen, impressive
for Floriday...I got some good shots with my Panaromic camera  (which I had
bought for Hurricane Erin last year, but never used).  The cloud eventually
produced 35-45knt winds, strong enough to shimmy the car and blow huge
clouds of sand and dirt in to air from a nearby construction site.
WHEW...finally over. I went on to Melbourne, got the speakers, 10 CD-ROMS, a
double-VHS tape called TWISTERS! Nature's Fury! (for only 7.99!) an Xfile
mousepad and a book on the making of Twister.  When I get home there's a
note on my door from Steve "HO", who had borrowed my CAM to go out
west...HE'S BACK, FINALLY!!! Damn what timing!  I've got to settle down now.
Have a good one...looks like we're in for another big day tomorrow and maybe
Monday too.

Stephen J. Sponsler