November 26, 2001
Star City, AR Tornado
Chase Account by: Scott Blair
Chase Team: Scott Blair, Jason Politte, Blake Michaleski.
Arkansas was the target for another fall chase on the evening of Monday,
November 26. Strong dynamics were once again in place across the Southeast
half of the state. Jason Politte, Blake Michaleski, and I decided to target
Pine Bluff, AR. We hoped for a few isolated supercells to fire ahead of a
We arrived in PBF around 12:30pm and stopped at the local Taco Bell. After a
quick lunch, we downloaded some data off the laptop. Shortly after, a tornado
watch was issued for generally South Arkansas and North Louisiana. The warm
front had already lifted north of PBF by 1pm with a T/Td at 68/63. However,
the highest instability was still located around the AR/LA border and a strong
cap was in place.
*** Stopped for data in Pine Bluff, AR with a mostly cloudy sky ***
Supercells quickly developed across Central and Northern Louisiana by mid
afternoon. We located a landline for data at the Holiday Inn Express. The
strong cap was weakening but still held over most of Arkansas. By 4pm, a
couple supercells finally developed across South Arkansas. Considering
nightfall was nearing and the cells were located in tree land, we decided to
hold off a tad longer in PBF.
*** Severe storm northeast of Pine Bluff, AR ***
Around 5:30pm, we decided to target a severe storm near Sheridan, AR. As we
departed, new severe storms caught our attention to the south of PBF. With
these moving into a more chase-friendly area and into our original target
area, we turned back around to PBF. The new storm presented a significant
amount of cg lightning and a well formed updraft. After a few minutes, the
storm appeared to weaken. This was confirmed with a nowcast update from Dave
Lewison and Philip Flory. Dave and Philip did an excellent job throughout the
evening. Their assistance likely contributed to our success later on.
At 6:14pm, NWS LIT issued a tornado warning for Lincoln County in SE AR. This
supercell was well ahead of the squall line and showed obvious signs of
rotation on radar. We headed south from Hwy79 to Hwy65 (SE of PBF). We neared
Moscow, AR around 6:40pm and encountered intense precip and wind. A few small
pieces of hail joined the mix shortly after.
***Tornado is backlit by lightning just NE of Star City, AR***
Nowcast updates described strong rotation a few miles SE of Grady, AR or about
eight miles NE of Star City, AR. At 6:50pm, a tornado warning was issued for
SE Jefferson County. The warning and nowcast updates confirmed numerous damage
reports out of Star City. We quickly stopped near Tamo, AR as the rain
significantly lessened. As soon as we pulled over, lightning backlit a large
wedge-shaped object to the SSE of our location. After a few more flashes, it
was obvious a tornado was on the ground about 3-4 miles south of Tamo or in
the path of Grady, AR. The tornado remained on the ground for two minutes
before lifting. The large and very low hanging meso continued towards Grady
but never visually touched back down.
Road options were terrible and the squall line was rapidly overtaking the
isolated storms. We decided to call off the chase around 8pm. NWS LIT survey concluded that this was a F2 tornado with a path length of 10.5 miles and 150 yards wide.
SPC Mesoscale Discussions
SPC MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 2288 FOR ARK-LA-TEX AREA
CONCERNING...SEVERE THUNDERSTORM POTENTIAL...
VALID 261815Z - 262100Z
THUNDERSTORMS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP BY 2100Z AND RAPIDLY BECOME
SEVERE FROM NORTHEAST TEXAS INTO SOUTHWEST ARKANSAS. A TORNADO
WATCH WILL LIKELY BE REQUIRED IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS.
LAST VAD WIND/PROFILER DATA INDICATES 35-45 850 MB JET HAS SHIFTED
EAST AND CURRENTLY EXTENDS FROM EAST TEXAS INTO CENTRAL ARKANSAS.
LITTLE ROCK WSR-88D HODOGRAPH SUPPORTS POTENTIAL FOR TORNADIC
SUPERCELLS WITH 0-6 KM SHEAR OF 60 KNOTS AND ESTIMATED 0-3 KM STORM
RELATIVE HELICITY AROUND 350 M2/S2. GIVEN RAPID LOW LEVEL MOISTURE
RETURN/DESTABILIZATION UNDERWAY...MODERATE INSTABILITY WITH MLCAPE
OF 1000-2000 J/KG SHOULD REACH CENTRAL/SOUTHERN ARKANSAS BY LATE
VISIBLE SATELLITE IMAGERY INDICATES CU DEVELOPING JUST NORTH OF
DALLAS AREA IN CLEAR SLOT ALONG ADVANCING DRYLINE. PRESENT
INDICATIONS ARE THAT INITIATION WILL EITHER OCCUR ALONG DRYLINE IN
NORTHEAST TEXAS OR IN PERSISTENT BAND OF CONVECTION FROM 50 N CLL
TO 40 E PRX. WITH WEAK CONVECTIVE INHIBITION...DEVELOPMENT SHOULD
OCCUR IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF HOURS.
SPC MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 2293 FOR NERN AR...W TN THROUGH EXTREME
CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 827...
VALID 270046Z - 270300Z
A FEW SUPERCELLS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING ISOLATED TORNADOES ARE
EXPECTED TO CONTINUE DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS.
SURFACE ANALYSIS SHOWS A WARM FRONT EXTENDING FROM WRN TN SWWD
THROUGH S CNTRL AR INTO NERN TX WHERE IT MERGES WITH AN EWD MOVING
COLD FRONT. WARM...MOIST AIR S OF THIS BOUNDARY WILL CONTINUE
LIFTING NWD THROUGH THE EVENING. SO DESPITE LOSS OF HEATING...
INSTABILITY SHOULD REMAIN SUFFICIENT FOR SEVERE STORMS NEXT FEW
HOURS. A FEW SUPERCELLS CONTINUE ALONG AND E OF PRE-FRONTAL SQUALL
LINE THAT EXTENDS FROM SERN AR SWWD INTO NERN TX. LOW LEVEL SHEAR
PROFILES SHOULD CONTINUE TO IMPROVE THIS EVENING AS LOW LEVEL JET
INTENSIFIES. THREAT MAY INCREASE NEXT FEW HOURS OVER THE NRN
PORTIONS OF WW 827 AS ATMOSPHERE DESTABILIZES NWD IN ASSOCIATION
WITH LOW LEVEL THETA-E ADVECTION.
SPC MESOSCALE DISCUSSION 2295 FOR SERN AR...NRN LA THROUGH
CONCERNING...TORNADO WATCH 828...
VALID 270155Z - 270400Z
THREAT FOR ISOLATED TORNADOES WILL CONTINUE NEXT FEW HOURS WITH
GREATEST THREAT EXPECTED FROM NRN LA...SERN AR INTO NWRN MS.
LINE OF SCATTERED STORMS INCLUDING A FEW SUPERCELLS CONTINUE FROM
ERN AR SWWD THROUGH NWRN LA. MANY OF THE MORE ISOLATED STORMS EAST
OF THE LINE HAVE EITHER DISSIPATED OR HAVE BEEN OVERTAKEN BY THE
LINE. HOWEVER...ISOLATED DISCRETE CELLS CONTINUE AHEAD OF THE LINE.
GREATEST THREAT APPEARS TO BE FROM NERN LA NEWD THROUGH SERN AR AND
NWRN MS WHERE BEST COMBINATION OF INSTABILITY AND LOW-LEVEL SHEAR
EXISTS ALONG AND JUST W OF LOW LEVEL JET AXIS. STORM RELATIVE
HELICITIES IN THIS REGION RANGE FROM 250 TO NEAR 300 M2/S2 BASED ON
STORM MOTION OF 225 DEGREES AT 25 TO 30 KT.