After a late-night arrival in Wichita KS, we departed eastward through Joplin (still a very sobering sight after last year’s devastating tornado) toward the southeastern corner of Missouri. Part travel day and part chase, we targeted this region of Missouri because we have seen the region around the bootheel percolate severe thunderstorms in seemingly benign atmospheric environments. As we approached a dinner target of Lambert’s Cafe (home of the famous roll-throwing), cells firing along a boundary stretching from St. Louis southward toward TN began to intensify. Turning a sit-down dinner into a take-out venture, we watched the storm from Sikeston MO for a time, and then headed out of town in search of a better viewpoint (city lights obscured the view of the storm as nightfall approached). The storm quickly organized, showing classic observable signatures of rotation with dramatic striations and incredibly intense lightning. The storm produced a tornado that hit the town of Diehlstadt MO, killing a father and his two sons in their home, and also produced straight-line winds in excess of 100mph. The photo below shows the storm at the time of the tornado. We rolled out of town and observed another wall cloud ENE of Sikeston, eerily highlighted by the lights of the city.
Another storm intercept at nightfall, which seemed to be the order of the day on this trip. Back in Blacksburg now, but will continue to post some picts and info as we review the storm footage and experiences from our time on the chase this year. -Dave