April 13, 2022


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Forrest City, AR
Springfield, IL 8:30 AM 4/13/2022
Springfield, IL 10:30 PM 4/13/2022
Lehi, AR
0 mph
Funnel, RFD Gust Front


Cold front play in eastern AR/western TN. Targeted Forrest City, AR for Tail End Charlie cold front play in strongly sheared environment. Intercepted tornado warned storm just west of Memphis, TN noting possible funnel cloud/weak, brief tornado. Lead storm into downtown Memphis but storm weakened long before I could clear the city.

Crew and Equipment

Solo chase. Equipment: Sony AX100, Samsung S9.




The two days before April 13 were big tornado producers, and I was itching to get out of the house and get a piece of the action. I knew I was going to arrive fashionably late, chasing congealed cold front junk. Still, the shear parameters were pretty extreme and I figured there might be some more discrete play further down the line and perhaps I could finally get my first Arkansas tornado in the favorable terrain of the Mississippi floodplain. Despite the 10% hatched extending all the way up to Springfield, Illinois looked pretty solidly shut down by morning, with cool rain and cloud cover suppressing the warm sector. After that I figured it was going to pretty much be a crapshoot, getting something to spin up, probably embedded in the line of cold front storms. I targeted Forrest City, AR, where I’d have maneuvering room on I-40 and where convection allowing models hinted Tail End Charlie might wind up. I was rolling by 8:30 am planning for a mid to late afternoon intercept.

Nondescript Base
4 miles N of Heth, AR
3:14 PM
A few miles east of Forrest City, AR, I was able to snag an Impossible Whopper after three failed attempts on the route down due to incompetent or inattentive Burger King workers and crazy long lines. It was just in time too. Lightning from the approaching line was visible while I was in the drive-thru. I drove south of the highway to get a view of the approaching storm. A nondescript base emerged from the murk.
The storm was sporting some potent downdrafts on the Doppler velocity so the strength was there. It just needed some time to wrap up. I started moving east to stay ahead of it. I pulled off of I-40 at a gas station in Lehi, AR. There was a great view to the west from the lot, but oddly what looked like an abandoned van with the back door propped open was parked there. I thought it might make an interesting foreground as the storm approached so I parked next to it.

Increasing CG Activity
6 miles NE of Proctor, AR
3:27 PM
CG activity really started to ramp up and I suspected the storm might be intensifying and getting ready to organize into a supercell.
Sure enough, what looked like featureless gust front quickly developed into some textbook supercell structure.
A prominent RFD gust front bowed outward forming the “horseshoe” while inflow bands fed into it from the north. Tendrils with upward motion formed right at the intersection point and I suspected we may have a developing tornado soon.
The inflow band fed into the RFD region and part of the updraft became occluded behind the gust front. Rising tendrils continued on the back edge.
Contrast was bad but I suspect the feature might be wrapping up into a funnel cloud.

Tornado Warned Supercell Structure
6 miles NE of Proctor, AR
3:28 PM
A bolt of CG illuminated spiraling rain bands and dark streaks underneath the area of interest. I couldn’t tell if it was merely rain or if there were weak suction vortices kicking up underneath.

Possible Weak Tornado
6 miles NE of Proctor, AR
3:29 PM
It looked like a weak developing tornado to me, but I just could not confirm it from my position given the low contrast.

Shirtless Van Guy
6 miles NE of Proctor, AR
3:30 PM
As I was taking pictures of that, I realized there was someone in the van next to me. A shirtless man climbed out of the back.
At the same time, my phone went off for a tornado warning that had been issued a couple minutes earlier, which is probably what also alerted the guy in the van.
He started taking pictures of the storm with his phone, and unfortunately walked right in the way of my dashcam right when the area of interest started to look a lot more funnel like.

Tornado TikTok
6 miles NE of Proctor, AR
3:30 PM
Then, to my surprise, he started to freestyle rap(?). I’m guessing it was for a TikTok. Shirtless van guy quickly became more of a spectacle than the storm.
As entertaining as this was, the forward flank was starting to rain on me and would soon cut off of my view of the possible tunnel/tornado to the south. Plus I’d have to get ahead of the path of this thing if I wanted to stay in the chase. I left to roll east as shirtless van guy crawled back in through the back door of his van.
The storm did not look like it was further organizing on radar. I decided to cross the Mississippi and head straight into Memphis and pick the storm up on the other side of the metro. The storm produced a scuddy looking funnel a few minutes later, which I didn't get a shot of as I was trying to clear downtown. Had I known I could have stopped on the riverfront, but I didn't want to get trapped in the city during a tornado warning.

CG over Memphis
9 miles ENE of Memphis, TN
4:01 PM
I got a good look at it from atop an overpass. An impressive bolt of CG struck near the city, but the structure otherwise looked like junky gust front once again.
Then I hit rush hour traffic, and it was stop and go for a few miles. Fortunately the circulation was both passing north of Memphis and weakening so I wasn’t in any real danger chasing through the city. The tornado warning was dropped a few minutes later, but I could hear outdoor warning sirens sounding from nearby neighborhoods, no doubt unnerving to everyone trying to exit the city. I followed the disorganizing line of storms up to Mason, TN before I decided to call the chase and head for home. Everything was rapidly weakening around and I no longer had a play.

Heading Home
5 miles SSW of Conran, MO
6:34 PM
I stopped for a crappy Chinese take-out in the small town of Portageville, MO. I saw a UIUC storm chasing team inside, but didn’t realize it was them until I had already walked out with my mound of rice and kung pao tofu.


I was unable to confirm a tornado on this chase. No damage was reported from what I suspected was a funnel cloud or weak tornado, and my video didn’t help show this as anything more than rain shafts. Given the structure and appearance, I was pretty sure I had at least a funnel cloud, which made for an exciting chase that exceeded my expectations on a chase that I thought had an extremely high probability of busting. It was shirtless van guy that stole the show though. The event was pretty lackluster in general given the hype. Several tornadoes were reported, but many were weak spin-ups embedded in a line of storms, and large swaths of the outlook area had no tornado reports including the enhanced risk that covered almost half of Illinois.

Lessons Learned

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