Scott Blair and I targeted Jonesboro in northeast Arkansas this day, and at 3 p.m., towering cumulus began rapidly developing a few miles to our west.1. Targeting the southernmost storm, which was under a severe thunderstorm warning, we intercepted the cell on Hwy. 226 near Cash, Arkansas just after 4 p.m. The supercell featured a a well-defined vault, strong updraft, and a developing wall cloud.2.; 3. The meso continued to rapidly organize as the RFD became evident, and intense rotation was noted with the wall cloud as it lowered further.4.; 5. The RFD continued punching around the meso, and a large funnel (tornado?) formed and extended more than halfway to the ground.6. After calling in the report via 911, we soon lost sight of the funnel as a large amount of precip wrapped around the meso and obscured our view. A tornado warning was issued for the cell a few minutes later. We briefly continued chasing the cell, but since it was moving into Jonesboro and an unfavorable road network, we were forced to let it go. However, our attention was now focused on another supercell that had developed to our southwest. Beginning our intercept just after 4:30, we encountered the core on Hwy. 49, and hard golfball-size hail pummeled our cars near Weiner, Arkansas. Upon clearing the core and heading east to catch up with the storm, we arrived in a position to observe the updraft base. The cell exhibited a wall cloud with decent rotation along with a RFD induced clear slot.7. As the RFD wrapped further around the meso, the supercell began taking on a beautiful textbook "S"-shaped appearance.8. We tracked the supercell to Trumann, Arkansas, but because the storm was moving into a poor road network, we decided to let the cell go and end the chase at around 6 p.m. Needless to say, a great day. Storm season 2002 has finally begun.
"S"-shaped RFD and mesocyclone video capture: Courtesy of Scott Blair