Storm Chasing: Kirksville, Missouri EF-2 Tornado

Date: May 13, 2009
Location: north central Missouri

I decided to head down to the MO/IL state line on Wednesday for a possible tornado outbreak. Jacob, Doug, and I headed out a 6am for Hannibal, MO. We were expect an event in IL, but ended up in north central MO. After watching early convention struggle initially, we eventually noticed three cells on satellite that seemed to be dominating their local environment about an hour to our west. We decided there were our cells and set out with an intercept point north of Kirksville, MO. As we approached the towering cells, two of the cells went tornado warned and a tornado was reported south west of our target. We had our choice between the two tornado warned cells as we approached from the east, but we were able to see a wall cloud on the northern cell, and head for it. We skirted just north of a new cell that was forming, avoiding its core, and headed just north of the town of Kirksville in a clearing. We saw rotating rain bands underneath the wall cloud a mile or two to our WSW. As it approached, we could see a fairly large cone tornado surrounded by sheets of rain. It was headed in our direction, so we made our escape plans, and were just about to head for a safer spot as it approached within a mile, but then it took a more east-southeastly path at the last minute, and we were able to watch as it entered the town of Kirksville, MO.

The tornado lifted, and apparently reformed/dropped east of Kirksville. We crossed a damage path several times, but were unable to see the tornado again. We were able to stay out of the rain and hail core with was mighty impressive to our east.




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