July 16, 2015


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Hannibal, MO
Springfield, IL 3:52 PM 7/16/2015
Springfield, IL 9:00 PM 7/16/2015
Emden, MO
0 mph
LP Supercell Tower


Low probability supercell chase in Eastern MO. Targeted Tail End Charlie of line of severe/tornado warned storms, noting photogenic low precipitation supercell tower and base. Cap withered storm in photogenic demise.

Crew and Equipment

Solo chase. Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon t2i, Canon EFS 10-22, Canon EF 50mm, Sony HDR-xr500v.




July 16 was a real low end "backyard" type chase. Storms were expected to erupt in a nw to southeast line from eastern Iowa into northern MO. A couple supercells were expected with a transition to a cluster of storms.

Distant Supercell
3 miles WSW of Ewing, MO
6:33 PM
Storms fired and I left Springfield, targeting Tail-End-Charlie of a line of storms, just west of Hannibal. The southern most cell in the line is a popular pick, often ingesting clean inflow without being interference from other storms. Anvil stretching overhead, the base started to come into view:
The convection in the updraft tower looked super robust and I had my hopes up as I approached it.

13 miles S of La Belle, MO
6:57 PM
Some striations in the updraft, my first indication that I was dealing with a strong capping inversion:

Textured Base
4 miles ENE of Bethel, MO
7:09 PM
A super photogenic updraft base started pass overhead with a nicely textured underside.

More Striations
4 miles ENE of Bethel, MO
7:09 PM
More striations in the updraft tower:

Midlevel Rings
4 miles ENE of Bethel, MO
7:09 PM
There were some mid level ring structures starting to appear around the updraft tower. That's a visual clue that perhaps dry midlevel air is being entrained into the updraft, or the storm is started to wither away from strong convective inhibition: the cap. Indeed the air to the south was strongly capped, and this storm proved to be too far south. While storms to the north would continue to organize and produce tornadoes, this storm would soon shrivel up and die.

LP Supercell
Emden, MO
7:42 PM
What a gorgeous death it had though! I setup for a time lapse and watched the storm drift away as a photogenic "LP" low precipitation supercell. This storm mode is relatively rare for the Midwest, but far more common in the drier air of the High Plains.


Some phootgenic tornadoes spun on storms to the north, so I picked the wrong storm. Still, the Tail-End-Charlie that got gobbled by the cap was super photogenic. I got a great time lapse shot, so that made the chase for me, despite the disappointment in missing the tornadoes.

Lessons Learned

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