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May 1, 2009 Ozarks Storm Chase


I sat around much of the afternoon watching a train of severe and eventually tornadic storms move across northwest Arkansas. Eventually, the last storm in the train looked too good to pass up and I headed off. I went up the Pig Trail (Hwy 23 North of Ozark) and then took Hwy 16 east up to Red Star. I only had XM Satellite Radar through most of the entire storm chase and the limited resolution made it difficult to feel safe. The storm was tornado warned and I wanted to get a better look so I took a dirt (county) road north from Red Star. I traveled several miles NE before I got a clear view through the trees. I knew I was in a tight spot with the storm and my escape and so these pictures werent tripoded. While taking these I heard a roar off to my north. It was probably just strong winds or large hail but I definitely didn't want to wait around to find out.



I raced back to Red Star and continued east on Hwy 16...staying just ahead of the storm.



I had to dart south on Hwy 21 at Fallsville and eventually south of Salus I was able to get away from the storm...and the tornado warning was reissued. I tried to peak north as the storm was just a few miles to my north but the trees and fog prevented me from seeing anything. There was no roads to continue chasing that storm and I noticed a new storm further southwest.



The storm strengthed as I approached and eventually I made my way into good position. I was able to find a good vantage point and saw a nice low rotating wall cloud.