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Blog: 2009 Archive

Gorgeous Electrical Storm over Pass-a-Grille

Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 at 5:00 PM MST

ST. PETE BEACH, FL -- The winter storm chasing season got off with an early bang at Pass-a-Grille Beach. The season started early this year, thanks to El Nino being firmly in place and blowing severe weather into west-central Florida. A massive low pressure system formed off the Texas coast and, combined with a cold front, headed for North Florida. Tornado watches were up all over the Florida Panhandle and gradually moved east, south, and north as the day progressed.

Looking at the weather models, I decided to target the area between Redington Shores and Indian Rocks Beach. Everything appeared to be in place for an intercept there just before sunset, so I hit the road at about 4:30 to make sure I got up there in time. Unfortunately, while I was driving up, the front stalled just the slightest amount, so I was at Indian Shores well before the front got there. I continued north to see if I could pull off an intercept at Clearwater Beach. Sadly, there was no severe weather near Clearwater, only rain.


Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Lightning

Tornadoes Break Out Across Tampa Bay

Posted on Tuesday, May 12, 2009 at 5:00 PM MST

PINELLAS PARK, FL -- Everything was in place for an epic severe weather outbreak along the I-75 corridor east of Tampa Bay. After a frustrating afternoon waiting for storms to fire and coming up empty, I sat down to dinner in front of a Two and a Half Men episode.

As soon as the episode ended, the TV started buzzing and the NOAA Weather Radio broadcast came on, informing us that a large supercell had spawned a tornado in downtown Tampa (at I-4 and US-301, 6:42 PM), and we should seek shelter immediately, as they expected a tornado outbreak across the region. Tornado warnings had gone up for the entire Tampa Bay area.

I quickly jumped in my truck and sped north on I-275, trying to beat the torrential rain to the boat ramps at the Gandy Bridge to catch a glimpse of the tornadoes. A brief stop in St. Pete turned up nothing other than a spectacular lightning display, so I continued north. Sadly, that stop ended up being the difference in me not seeing the twisters. The torrential downpour started as I was on Gandy Blvd, waiting for the 4th St. traffic light to turn green.


Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Tornado, Waterspout, Memorable

Violent Cold Front Brings Hurricane Conditions and Tornadoes

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2009 at 5:00 PM MST

ST. PETERSBURG, FL -- The morning of April 14 started just like any other dreary, rainy day in Florida. I sat down in front of the TV for breakfast and turned on Bay News 9. Their meteorologists were tracking several severe thunderstorms across Pinellas, Hillsborough, and Pasco counties.

Around 9:30 AM, reports came through that there were 2 confirmed tornadoes in Wesley Chapel, and 2 more just east of Dunedin. Due to a 10 AM class, I was unfortunately unable to chase either of those cells.


Posted In: Chase Recaps

Tagged: Cold Front, Hurricane, Tornado, Straight Line Winds, Memorable

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