Talk about the last minute decisions, at 9:00am I get a text from Brian Stertz telling me he is thinking the parameters for a severe weather day are looking better in the last model runs than they had the previous days. He told me he made a decision to chase after work. I told him I would be very interested in joining him. Normally, my son Ryan would join us for the chase, but getting in contact with him at work to ask him to join us would now be nearly impossible. I tried, but could not make contact with Ryan, so by 10:00am, I was on my way to Overland Park, Kansas to meet Brian by myself. I stopped along the way in St. Charles, Missouri and got gas. I thought it might be an indicator for our "luck" today finding fuel at the cheapest price in the state.
We made the move to catch those storms to our northwest, but as we continued moving toward them, a storm became very strong just to our north. As we caught up to this storm just west of Bedford, Iowa we got a few glimpses of the Bedford wedge tornado from a distance.
As the individual storms began lining out and no longer were individual supercells, they began losing most if not all of the velocity indicators. We lost the hope of any tornadoes and begin working our way back toward Missouri. We decided to have dinner back in Maryville, Missouri on our through. We choose a local Italian Restaurant. Before going in, this is where we finally took the pictures of the hail (shown above) that we had collected in Bedford, Iowa nearly 2 hours after it fell. Hail was still pretty dang big.
As our luck would have it, this restaurant had a pizza buffet, so we had a very satisfying dinner.
As we ate, we did keep a weary eye on the radar as there was one more cell developing that was back west and was still isolated and not part of any line. It continued to gain strength and turned slightly to line right up with the city of Maryville. So as we finished our dinner, we headed to the edge of town and found shelter at a gas station and waited as this storm and what appeared to be large hail per radar data. According to our data, the center of the hail core went right overhead, but it never dropped any hail. Very odd. From here, we were also watching a wall cloud go by to the south of town. The circulation was growing stronger with each scan. As we're following it, out of the blue, the Pleasant Hill - National Weather Service calls my cell phone wanting information on the storm we were following as they were looking for ground truth as the storm was a major concern to them. Brian gave them information about the wall cloud and circulations and then kept them in the loop with several phone calls after that. We got on that wall cloud, followed it and eventually worked our way from our position north and west to a position right in front of the wall cloud.
Things began looking very interesting under the wall cloud as we got just east of Conception, Missouri. Brian looks back over his shoulder and yells out "Tornado". There we see a wide, black circulation on the ground. We immediately pulled the car over at the bottom of a driveway and got out of the car for pictures, but we had an obstructed view as a few trees were between us and the tornado in the field next to us. We jumped back in the car and pulled up a few feet to get away from the trees, and by now the big circulation that was firmly on the ground had lifted just off of the ground. Unfortunately, since this tornado was out of the side car window, the mounted dash camcorder did not catch the wide circulation either.
Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.