2011 was a chase season that
will be ingrained in my head for a LONG time. This was by far the most
stressful chasing I've done in the sense that there were two or three
occasions when the storms seemed to be chasing us and we narrowly
avoided some very dangerous situations, including a very close call with
the killer EF-5 Joplin, Missouri tornado of May 22nd.
In terms of the chase, it was another successful year: 11 tornadoes, spread over 5 consecutive days. The Joplin tornado takes over as the strongest, and possibly largest, that I've experienced and was also the first tornado that I've witnessed to cause fatalities, a humbling experience. We also chased 9 out of the 10 days I was out there, taking only the final day off to return to Oklahoma City from Little Rock.
2011 was also a year when a lot of the chasing was farther east than I'd chased before. It was the first time I chased in Missouri, Arkansas, or Tennessee and my first tornadoes in Missouri and Arkansas.
Only days before arriving back home in New England it appeared the severe weather had followed me as only one day after I finally got home there was a virtually unheard of long-track EF-3 tornado within 50 miles of my home in Massachusetts. Quite a season indeed!
2011 Photo Album:
Chase Day Pages:
May 17th, 2011: Several nice hailstorms near Last Chance, CO.
May 21st, 2011: Beautifully structured storm near Topeka, KS.
May 22nd, 2011: Devastating killer tornado in Joplin, MO plus two more tornadoes.
May 23rd, 2011: Rope tornado near Homestead, OK and Calumet, OK supercell.
May 24th, 2011: Spectacular Canton, OK tornadic supercell.
June 1st, 2011: EF-3 Tornado in Massachusetts
August 28th, 2011: Tropical storm (formerly hurricane) Irene hits New England
October 27th, 2011: An early season Nor'easter cripples New England
All pictures (C) Richard Hamel 2017.
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