2012 Chase Report 1
Location(s): Northwest Kentucky and Southwest Indiana
Storm Prediction Center Risk: High
Teams Involved: LightningFastMedia and Project: RECON
Synopsis: Two teams, five chasers, 2000 miles to travel. It was well worth it. LightningFastMedia and Project: RECON saw the first High Risk of the year coming from four days away. The teams agreed to rendezvous in Atlanta, Georgia and make the 300 mile trek to the Tennessee/Kentucky border. Their preliminary target of Clarksville, TN was just within the High Risk zone that the Storm Prediction Center had issued earlier that morning. After a filling breakfast and a gas up, the team started moving north into Kentucky. Jared Stevenson and his navigator, Harrison Levy, took the lead as they headed farther into the High Risk zone. By noon Central Standard Time, the team heard the words they had been looking for: Tornado Warning. Jason Weingart and his two fellow chasers, Stan Kruslicky and Stephan Saunders, soon took over as lead vehicle and the team sped north toward the Kentucky/Indiana border. Their target city: Evansville, Indiana.
Sometime between one and two PM CST, the teams heard of confirmed tornadoes and funnel clouds approaching Evansville. They stopped just north of the local airport in Evansville and saw several funnels and wall clouds that were quickly moving east. There may have been a funnel within the clouds, but the teams could not get a confirmed view of it. Without giving up hope, they got back in their vehicles and proceeded farther north, eventually stopping at North Evansville High School. As several lightning bolts struck close to the school, a wall cloud began to quickly drop from the supercell raging north of Evansville. The team called 911 to report the rotating wall cloud, but it did not spawn a tornado. The two groups started to speed south, attempting to get ahead a line of training supercell thunderstorms that were beginning to form along the western edge of the High Risk zone in Kentucky.
As the afternoon progressed, the teams intercepted several more thunderstorms and were pummeled by nickel to quarter size hail, 60+ MPH winds, and very heavy rain. While the storms tried time and again to produce wall clouds and tornadoes, they were moving way too fast for the teams to chase them. Calling it a day, LFM and RECON headed back into Tennessee and chased the occasional severe thunderstorm and eventually split up in middle Tennessee.
Chase account by: Jared Stevenson
Photos and Video by: Jason Weingart, Stan Kruslicky
Produced by: Jason Weingart