Monday was a legendary day for the Virginia Tech storm chasers. We drifted across southern Missouri knowing there would be some threat of severe weather, but our two main objectives were (1) seeing the damage path and rebuilding efforts at Joplin from the deadly May 22, 2011, tornado and (2) eating at Lambert’s Cafe in Sikeston, Mo., the home of the “throwed rolls” in the southeast part of the state. We entered the restaurant with a storm to the north — looked like it could be a decent storm, a little wind and heavy rain, nothing extreme. But in the time our dinner was served, it ramped up into an intense supercell, with extremely rapid and vivid lightning illuminating striations and wall clouds the equal of any storms we would see in the Great Plains. And we were perfectly positioned from the parking lot to observe it — for a little while. Once it became clear that a second cell with large hail was moving directly toward us, and the original storm had been given a tornado warning, we hurriedly finished our meal, got some takeout boxes, and took to the road to position ourselves better to observe the storms. I hope to get up some of the video and/or video stills in days to come.
We stayed in my hometown of Jonesboro, Arkansas, overnight and plan to return to Virginia this evening. I hope to resume regular Weather Journal blog coverage by Thursday.