Ohio Storm Chase 8/23
Sunday was an impromptu storm chase up to the Lower Great Lakes region. I was very much on the fence about making the 10-hour drive to the general target area, but once again, just like two weeks prior, with a couple of days off in a row, I had to give it a shot.
The threats for the day appeared to be marginally severe thunderstorms with damaging winds, but with some low level shear, a few rotating storms appeared possible. The target I set on was Fort Wayne, IN and that’s where I found myself as a line of thunderstorms was approaching by the middle of the afternoon. The storms were not particularly impressive, but two semi-discrete cells were approaching the city, so I decided to head east to get out in front. It’s best to avoid cities and other densely populated areas when chasing and I knew the visibility would be much better to the east.
There was a wall cloud on the southern storm, which had crossed over Fort Wayne and was moving toward the Ohio border. By time I was intercepting the storm just south of Payne, OH, the visual was more indicative of a shelf cloud or a decaying, quasi-wall cloud. Nonetheless, there were some great scenes in far western Ohio. I found out that not only was it a very flat area, but the road network was just as good as the central Plains. A huge grid with many roads over a short distance. Throw in some wind turbines for good measure and it was one of my better storm chases of the year, at least in terms of views and photo opportunities.
While storms showed varying amounts of rotation on radar, there was never a time that a tornado warning was issued, nor that one appeared imminent. For a short time, the aforementioned storm did evolve to display a relatively short-lived rotating wall cloud. The wall cloud dropped down fairly close to the ground near Grover Hill, OH, before it quickly dissipated.
The storm chase carried on further east into Ohio, but with weakening storms and sunset approaching, the chase was winding down. I had only chased in Ohio one other time, last spring, and that was across eastern sections of the state. Western Ohio is more friendly for storm chasing, especially in the northwestern quadrant of the state. There were very few trees there and an excellent road network. Luckily for this chase, that’s where I found myself.
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