April 08, 2020   

Looking at the setup, the tornado potential was quite low, so my intent was to sit this day out.  Around 4:15pm, I get a text from our chase partner Brian Stertz stating that he thinks the storm forming in Phelps County, Missouri is a storm we should latch onto.  Well, the short story is, 10 minutes later, I was on the road headed to pick up Ryan as he got off of work and then we worked our way down to southeast Missouri for a potential storm intercept. 

With a rushed, late start, it was going to be a close call to be able to intercept the storm as it moved east-southeast.  Our goal was to get to the storm before it got east of the Interstate 55.  We saw on radar there were two storms of interest.  One being much further down in the Cape Girardeau area and the one we were after that would cross south of the Perryville, Missouri area.  Although the one further south had the better supercell characteristics with a better wind velocity signature, our storm also had the same look, although a bit weaker.  After a needed fuel stop in Festus, Missouri, we continued our quest of catching up to the storm that was working its way east-southeastward.  The precipitation from our storm was already over the Interstate as we got to it, but the back end was still west of the highway.   As we drove through the rain in our attempt to get to the front of the precipitation and have a view of the back end of the storm to the west, the more the storm was losing its supercell look and looking more like a bow echo situation.   Passing through the rain, we drove through the first of many hail cores we would encounter today, this hail being mostly ½" size.

When we finally made it to the front edge of the rain and hail and could see the brightening skies, Ryan says "our storm now has a tornado warning".  WHAT?!?!  Sure enough, there was a kink in the bow echo just a couple miles to our east-northeast.  We were coming up to Highway "KK" and figuring at this point this may be the only tornado opportunity we have today since the supercell characteristics were all but gone, we made the decision to battle the backroads east and make an attempt at getting a glimpse into the notch of the bow echo.

We traveled east and then took some more backroads south, southeast, east on some paved roads, some rock roads, but we were never able to get into a good position to have a look into the notch of the storm even though we were within one mile of that business part of the storm.  We could see the darkened area, but the rain was hiding the view.  As we ran out of road near the Mississippi River, the storm carried on east and we were once again blasted by the rain and hail.  This time the hail was slightly bigger around this feature to our east.  Mostly ½" hail, but some as big as 1".  As the rain and hail passed, we were treated to a very nice rainbow.

We made a loop back to the north and eventually back west to get back to I-55.  On the way, we stopped for a few pictures of the sunset and backside of the storm.

As we drove on, we also noticed how the back end of this storm had almost continuous lightning.  There was spark after spark 1-2 seconds apart.  We stopped to take a few pictures of lightning as daylight was turning to dusk.

There was still one more storm coming at us from the northwest.  As we hit Highway "61", we drove south to Highway "E" which took us back out to I-55.  Decided at this point to make a play on the storm coming toward us from the northwest.  Daylight had now turned to darkness, so our goal this time was to find some cover out ahead of this now Severe Warned Storm and make a play on the best of its hail core.  To do this, we needed to go south.  We lined the hail core up in the city of Jackson, Missouri.

We worked our way west into Jackson and as it began to hail, took cover under a gas station awning on the west side of Jackson, but the hail size never exceeded ¾" during this round.  Although there was hail, the big story in Jackson was the amount of rain.  Roads were covered from the extreme amount of water making traveling much more difficult maneuvering through the rushing water and standing water.  Certainly criteria for the Flash Flood Warning that was issued for the area.

We worked our way back to the Interstate for the trip home as the rain and hail was coming to an end.  Once again we were noticing the enormous amount of lightning as we looked at the storm behind us.  We once again pulled off of the Highway and took some more pictures of the nearly continuous lightning.

After having 2 back to back trips of not even seeing a severe storm, it was a needed change to see Severe Thunderstorms again with the bonus of getting within a mile or two of the only Missouri Tornado Warning today.  With the many different aspects of the storm with the Tornado Warning, Hail, Lightning, and Flash Flooding with even a full arc rainbow thrown in made this trip very enjoyable.

6.5 Hours      *      Total Miles  - 276

Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.

Return to the
Summary 2020 Page

Return to the
Storm Index Page