April 18, 2002

     The day started out trying to get rid of an MCS that was passing through the state. A warm front was making its way northward through Wisconsin during the morning sparking off some morning convection ahead of the front. Looking at the morning convection I expected the northern part of the state would not get much given the ongoing convection and the fact that the front was not going to make it through that part of the state. I did however expect things to fire along the warm front and pretty much move along the warm front towards the more unstable air. So with that being said I headed toward Steven's Point at 930 am CDT.
     Travelling towards Steven's Point I was a little concerned about the cloud cover and convection but I figured this was the price you pay to get into the more unstable air as the warm front aproached. After arriving in Steven's Point at 11:30 am and meeting up with my chase partner we decide to head further west to Marshfield since it appeared convection was going to fire to our west. Again the cloud cover bothered us but since the CU was not very high vertically we figured the CAP may hold convection off till max heating. We arrived in Marshfield at about 1 pm and we decided to chill out in a library and see what was happening with the radar and satellite. Sure enough some wicked cells down in Grant County looked great with a hook and there was a tornado warning with these cells. Well we would never get down there in time so we waited for stuff to fire near the warm front. At this time there were several CU but nothing breaking through the CAP yet.
     2:15 pm SPC issued a Tornado Watch for our area. We are at the western edge of the box so we felt pretty smart. We would just wait for the storms to fire to our west and they would surely move along the front so we could chase them. After all the SPC predicted a storm motion of 240 at 35 knots. The 240 bothered us a little but we figured that strong right movers may take over and drop a few tornadoes. Well convection broke out soon after with a storm motion more like 240 at 50 to 55 knots! A little hard to chase let alone keep up with. The few supercells that did form were to our far north in Rhinelander. Well knowing a bit about the land we both knew that chasing supercells in the northwoods of wisconsin with all the terrain was suicide. So we waited for the cells down to the south to come towards us. When they did they died and there were no warnings with them.
     At about 6 pm the storms started organizing into a large line. At this point we were concerned about a derecho so we decided to head home before we were caught in the straight line winds. After all catching a tornado with a bow echo is tricky and not very smart considering that most are rain wrapped. Even if we were lucky enough to see one how do you outrun a tornado bearing down at 50 to 55 knots? So we decided to head home and did catch some pictures though not many. Nature seemed to laugh at me...giving me a rainbow to look at for about 40 minutes of my drive home. Just as I was getting back to Green Bay I hear that a tornado touched down just to the north of our target area in Mosinee and Wausau where the forests start. So to cure this bit of dissapointment I decided to go into work and put out a few Warnings and Statements as the line of storms headed right for us. To add insult to injury the line of storms produced wind damage all the way to shawano county...weakened and moved right through Green Bay...then they produced more wind damage in Oshkosh and Manitowoc after they were to our east.

A picture of a back sheared anvil from the convection to our north
A hazy looking flanking line to our south
Here is the rainbow that taunted me on my ride home
If you dont like the weather just wait 5 minutes...this picture was taken just 3 days later

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