Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Friday, March 31, 2017

Storm Chasing & Photography roundup - Missouri/Illinois, March 25-30

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
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The recent systems have largely been letdowns in the Midwest in what has been a horrible week overall for storm chasing community. Here are quick rundowns of my recent chases.

March 7: Severe storms in St. Louis

I headed west after midnight to Spoede Road to get a look at the incoming severe squall line, then scrambled back downtown as the line moved over the city. Lightning was disappointing, with very little in the way of visible channels. This one was the only one I saw:

St. Louis lightning

March 11: St. Louis light snow

An outing monitoring road conditions from Fenton to St. Charles for a round of overnight snow moving through with borderline freezing temperatures. No footage or photos captured.

March 25: Non-severe storms in the St. Louis metro

This day featured the best tornado parameters the STL region has seen since February 28, but that's not saying much. Instability was meager in the warm sector, and despite the warm front being the better tornado chance, I felt the wind profiles in the St. Louis metro made it worth staying close to home. The best storm I saw from this day crossed I-44 at Eureka, with a weak couplet on radar but nothing visual of note. Following this, storms lined out across the metro. Seeing no further potential with the storms that were running out of the already weakly unstable CAPE axis, I went home at sunset. No photos or video shot on this day, nor anything of note caputed on the dashcams.

March 29: Central Missouri storms

It was a somber mood during this day's chase after the news from Texas the day before. I took a day off from work to go and watch storms as they encountered the warm front lifting through central Missouri during the evening hours. The day was a tornado bust, aside from some nice lightning. The best I saw was this lowering back in the rain in between two storms west of Rolla:

Rolla, MO possible wall cloud

Some good lightning here as well (frames from video):

Rolla, MO lightning

Rolla, MO lightning

Rolla, MO lightning

This display continued after darkness fell. But, thanks to having to work Thursday morning before yet another Midwest storm chase day, I elected to go home instead of staying to capture stills. I didn't have much motivation to begin with.

March 30: Southern Illinois severe storms

Another dud of a setup today northeast of the St. Louis metro. The warm front raced far to the north today, much farther than I had expected - putting it essentially out of play for a last-minute call-off from work. This left the open warm sector east of St. Louis ahead of the cold front high and dry for any low-level shear for tornadoes. In addition, the dry slot rapidly filled in with clouds at 3PM, cutting off further destabilization. Nonetheless, I went out to see if something would surprise me. Storms lined out quickly north and east of St. Louis, severe-warned for wind a few times here and there, but otherwise nothing to report. I pulled these images of lightning near Hillsboro and a shelf cloud at Mt. Olive off of the dashcams. I didn't shoot anything with my other cameras.

Hillsboro, IL lightning

Mt. Olive, IL shelf cloud

Comments on the fatal storm chasing accident in Texas

I did not chase on this day, but what occurred certainly warrants comment. The subject of the Texas tragedy has been well-covered by others. I may blog about it in the future if I have anything meaningful to add to what has already been said, but right now I need time to gether thoughts.

I will share these relevant links:

30 Years of Storm Chasing & Photography
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Dan's YouTube Video Channel
Dan's Twitter feed
Dan's RSS/XML feed

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