Brent Koops, myself, Forrest Lambert, and Francine Lambert chased out in central WI following storms from Albert Lea, MN and intercepted cells coming out of eastern IA in Lacrosse, WI.
These storms developed ahead a cold front and produced large, hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.
These cells stayed tornado warned for a few hours and we were all over it. Only one problem. Wisconsin is loaded with trees and it made it very difficult to see anything related to the storm. It was difficult to see any storm features much less tornadoes.
We chased this storm from Lacrosse, WI up through Sparta, where a tornado struck the south side of town. The small tornado first touchdown just southwest of the city, crossed highway 27 near an auto dealership where it tossed a car. The tornado continued east northeast and crossed south water street on the south side of the city. The path continued along and just south of Walrath street before it lifted on the southeast side of town.
Damage was mainly to trees, windows and power lines. There was some minor damage to roof tops and sheds as well. One of the worst hit homes also had a car moved along with windows busted out.
From Sparta we continued on to Tomah where a tornado struck about 4 miles northwest of Tomah near County Road M. The tornado crossed crossed Interstate 94 north of Tomah. It proceeded east northeast through mainly wooded areas and we could see the damage path right through the trees.I was a bit tortured here because of the pine smell from the freshly destroyed trees.
From Tomah we continued on to the town of Nekoosa where a campground took a direct hit destroying 166 campsites. Fortunately, no one was killed or suffered any life threatening injuries.
At this point we called the chase and checked in with local law enforcement to offer assistance but was advised all local and county resources were being shifted to the area and we could call the dispatcher and if they needed our help they would call us. I declined feeling at that point our assistance was not needed and we began our return trip to Sioux Falls.
This trip stung a bit because we were on tornadoes but could not get a good view due to the trees but I consider it a good chase and the intercept was successful and we did get on tornadoes. But in fairness to the rules there was no steak dinner. However we did enjoy what I eat for half ass tornado chases.
(for when you only half score)
The chase ended on a high note. We got out and chased. Intercept strategy was dead on. In the end we logged 920 miles round trip and spent about 14hrs in the car. Many chasers would consider this a bust but I view it as an opportunity to learn from mistakes. In this case a changed strategy for dealing with trees.