Chris Wilburn and I (Bart Comstock), were out chasing on Monday, January 7th , a day we were initially just hoping to see some lightning on due to the bleak forecast placing the most severe weather in terrain not suitable for chasing 50mph moving storms at night. We started our day in Miami, Oklahoma and saw the storm that produced this tornado begin to rapidly intensify just south of Jay, Ok in Delaware County on it's way to Missouri. It didn't take long before our minds were made up and we were blasting up I-44 to rendezvous with this cell, but there was a slight debate over whether we should try to meet the storm near Pineville, Mo, or catch it further east in Monett. Time wasn't on our side, as the sun was setting fast but after a flip of the coin decision we dropped down south to Neosho, Mo on Hwy 71 and then cut over to the east on Hwy 60 till we got to Monett just as the sirens had started to fill the air with their sharp whine to warn of the impending danger. With the sirens still screaming we turned south onto Hwy 37 and moves about 3 miles or so and before long were in position to intercept and began filming the intense amount of CG that had amazed us with how frequent it was and scared us a bit with how close it was kitting as well. Looking to our south west we could see the updraft basin clearly and the large well defined wall cloud that loomed below it, but there was a somewhat more interesting feature just to the left of said wall cloud. A small, cone shaped protrusion poking down from the base of the storm. Chris looked over to me and said, "Hey Bart, could that be a funnel?" and thus I replied, "eh… I don't know, yeah it could be." Just as the word be rolled off my tung the real show started to begin and it was quickly evident that was a funnel, with in about 20 seconds that small little formation had rapidly dropped to the ground and instantly started to spin up derbies. We witnessed small pieces of roof being lofted into the air as well as entire oak trees being uprooted by this tornado. I quickly grabbed Chris's cell phone and called in the tornado to Barry County 911, stating that "This is Bart Comstock, I am a trained Skywarn spotter and I have a large, and destructive tornado on the ground that is dealing damage just south of Monett by about 3 miles, quickly heading NNE towards Monett. I have witnessed some possible structural derbies. This is a dangerous tornado that I believe may be an EF-2." We then repositioned to the south and watched as the tornado passed directly over where we were sitting, destroying the power lines along the highway and moving off to the NE to just barely graze the souther edge of Monett. Several locals were standing outside and approached us, thankful their hose was just spared by a very close call with a tornado. They stood next to us and watched off to the ENE as the bright white tornado was quickly rain wrapped by the hook and then become totally invisible as the sun light faded into darkness. After that we knew that due to the speed of the storm and roads that it had closed due to fallen trees we headed back for my home in Bentonville, Arkansas but not to call it quits. Oh no, once home we had atleast another 4 hours straight of training supercells that passed right over my apartment and my family's home. The rest of that night I stayed in Benton County for the most part and watched as cell after cell passed us on their way to Missouri and spent most of that time live on the air with my station I chase for, KFSM 5News Ft. Smith/ Fayetteville.
Thanks to my awesome luck, my camera decided to stop recording right as the tornado touched down and thus the footage you see here was shot by my chase partner Chris Wilburn. He was holding his small Sony Handycam in one hand while taking still shots with his digital camera in the other, and with our luck becoming even better, the best shots that Chris had of the tornado were accidentally recoded over thus you see this short video that was made while he was trying to operate 2 cameras at once.

A National Weather Service storm survey team found an EF-2 rated Tornado touched down in Barry county Monday evening January 7, 2008 at approximately 5:15 PM. An EF-2 Tornado touched down two miles northwest of Purdy and tracked northeast destroying a mobile home park at the intersection of Highways 37 and BB before lifting about four miles east of Monett around 5:25 PM. In addition to the mobile home park, a barn was destroyed, several homes sustained roof damage, and numerous trees were uprooted.


Source: EF-2 TORNADO IN NORTHERN BARRY COUNTY (01/07/08) (Youtube).

Related posts