Chase Accounts

May 4, 1999

The system that caused the high risk and tornado outbreak in Oklahoma and Kansas on May 3rd was set to wreak havoc on Arkansas the following day, and SPC placed the state under a high risk.

I took off work in order to chase with Scott Blair, and the day looked promising. Our target area for the morning was Fort Smith, but unfortunately, we ran into some delays which caused us to miss a tornado that another chaser, Geoffrey Calhoun, filmed.

After stopping at a hotel and checking out the radar on The Weather Channel, we decided to target Johnson County and wait for a supercell that was going to track across I-40. However, after receiving some bad information, we left the storm and began heading toward our afternoon target area of I-30 in southwest Arkansas, an area that's notorious for training supercells.

However, about 30 minutes later, a tornado warning was issued for the storm we had been waiting for in Johnson County. Arrghhh!! Adding to the frustration, we later learned that a tornado did occur near the location we abandoned.

Knowing we'd never be able to turn around in time to intercept the supercell, we continued our trek to I-30 and hoped to salvage the day with the supercells that were now training northeast along I-30.

Tornado Warnings were being issued for nearly every county along I-30. We ended up chasing two supercells into Faulkner and White counties and saw two wall clouds and a funnel, but no tornadoes.

Instead of living up to expectations, this ended up being quite a hectic and frustrating day due to a number of factors, such as delays, bad information, etc... Adding to the frustration was the low-level grunge and rain that persisted throughout the day.


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