Friday, May 15, 2009

Edina MO May 13th Chase

What a great day! By far the best chase I have had and I intercepted my first tornado! I was getting excited for May 13th a few days before, especially with all of the hype I was hearing from other chasers. I set out Wed. morning to Springfield IL. where I met up with a few chasers to plan the day. I had the privilege of meeting up with Adam whom I had been wanting to chase with for a while now to pick up a few pointers and tips ( Needless to say I learned a lot this time around!), along with Danney Neal and Ben Holcomb and David Draun. I was excited to be with such a great group of chasers and knew I would pick up a few things today.



We realized that there would not be much happening in Ill. and I was able to watch these guys in action plan out where to head. After planning a few things out we set our target out west and headed to Missouri, which I had never been through this type of terrain. Throughout the day Adam had lead the caravan.
We reached Missouri near Hannibal where we planned which way to head from there. While there a Scott Bennet meet up with us. At this point I knew I was in the right spot with so many great people being in the group. It was great to meet so many people that I have heard of as well as watched their videos on their live streaming.
Tornado Warnings and Watches started to pop up so we took off in route to Edina. During the drive to Missouri I saw Adam blast past the group and take the lead thinking he was going to lead the way but it turns out he has a hell of a lead foot and punched it to get there. Once we reached Edina we found a spot to park and once we came into a clearing my heart started pumping for what I was seeing! Shortly after getting out of the car the Tornado Sirens started to sound in Edina and I was stoked!






















This was going to be my first tornado! Reports over the radio were coming through that a tornado was on the ground, we could see all of the rotation in this beast but the real action was behind the rain. About 10 mins later I got a text from Adam....Him and Danny Neal had it, they got to a clearing and were able to see a Elephant Trunk Tornado touch down and he snapped a great photo and some great video as well. Check out their sites for vids and photos of this :( http://www.aerostorms.com/ ) (http://northernilstormchaser.com/May-13th---Missouri-tornadoes.php )
The Fire Department from Edina came and closed the road to ensure no one would drive into the rain wrapped tornado which was something new for me.







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We realized that it was coming at us quick and we had to move, so we headed back through Edina to keep clear of the core which was quickly coming upon us. The Tornado Sirens were blaring as we passed through Edina.
After it had passed we doubled back to survey the damage and you could see where the tornado had passed through about a half mile or so from where we had just been. We came across multiple downed power lines, trees snapped in half and uprooted and damage to a few homes. Thankfully everyone was alright.


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After viewing the damaged we continued NE following the caravan. At some point of traveling through the curves of hills and trees I had lost the other guys. At this point I had no cell reception, my crap ass radio shack CB Whip wouldn't pick up anything and my air card for my laptop had no signal as well. I was running low on gas so I decided to punch in the nearest gas station on my GPS which thankfully had a signal. My GPS had me take a right onto Campground Rd. which was a gravel, and I hoped would turn into pavement again.....nope I was wrong! When my car was being chased by a dog I should have realized this was not a road to take. I found myself stuck in mud down a part gravel / muddy ass road with again no reception on anything. After about 20 mins or so of rockin back and forth I some how got my little car out of there and back tracked to the main road. Now I found myself with less than a quarter tank of gas, the GPS showed the nearest gas station was about an hour away. I was a little nervous to run out of gas in the middle of now where. However I came across the town of Lancaster Missouri where we came to gas station that was not on my GPS! Thankfull to be running full and the sunsetting we decided it was time to take the 7 hour drive back home.
This was a day I won't soon forget, meeting some friendly faces; catching some amazing footage and lets not forget all of the experience gathered. Such as keep up with Adam! He is great to stay behind lol. I need to get a larger car...my little fuel efficient car doesn't do crap when it comes to gravel and dirt roads.