May 7 2010 Intense Core Punch in Ohio

Feb 27, 2012
Ohio?
Summary:
Targeted the I-69 corridor in Indiana. Storms went up west of there and took a little longer to mature than thought, wound up intercepting in Ohio making it my first ever chase in that state. Core punched storm getting blasted by severe winds along with hail at least golf ball size. Called chase after that due to extreme storm speeds and went back to document damage, never finding much other than some downed trees even though other areas had more significant reports. Ate dinner in Defiance and met up with other chasers before heading for home.
Stats:
Tornadoes: 0
Hail: 1.75″ [golf ball]
Wind: 70mph possibly higher [estimated and indicated in warning text]
Miles: 510
New state chased: Ohio
Something learned: NW Ohio has amazing chase terrain and road network.
Detailed Account:
I had been watching Fridays setup since the beginning of the week when I had a meeting with fellow Convective Addiction chasers to post a forecast on the potential event. I never thought the day would be one for major tornadoes but I told myself I wanted to get into some significant wind and hail so I was sold. The fact it was relatively close to home and in an area that wouldn’t be overrun with chasers were added bonuses.
Danny and I committed to the chase but it was hard to sleep the night before because it was storming at home all night. Storms rolled in around midnight and were still ongoing at 8am when we departed.
My thinking on the day was that storms would initiate in central Indiana and then rocket their way east. I figured any chance for a tornado would be early on when storms would likely be at their most discrete. I made my initial target area where I-69 meets up with 80/90. We made great time and arrived in Angola around 1pm.
Sure enough storms began to fire in central IN but they took longer to get organized than I had anticipated. We began to make our move to intercept them which took us around the Fort Wayne area and east into Ohio, it was the first time I had chased the state. En route severe warned storms with radar indicated hail up to tennis ball size were making their move on where my summer getaway is located in Burr Oak, MI. I was a bit miffed to see this as our storms were still somewhat sloppy but we pressed on.
Eventually our storms began to strengthen and the real chase was on. We made good on keeping ahead of the best looking storm on radar, visually it looked somewhat scuddy and high based though.
The storm was spitting out some pretty dramatic CG lightning all around, and hail size indicated by radar was now over 3″. Ohio has a pretty nice road network and we were able to keep pace with the extreme speeds of the storms. Noting the high base I was never feeling a tornado would happen so we began to think about core punching. The core of the storm paralleled us in a field for a good 15 minutes, we could literally see a wall of water moving along side us as we traveled up US-24. At one point there was an interesting scuddy funnel type feature but it never materialized into anything.
We had some brief brushes with the core that would send some respectable wind gusts along with trees and sticks flying ahead of us but only small hail. I had lost data at this point and was unaware what was going on south of me. A new, southernmost storm had formed and quickly became the dominant storm. Once this was realized the executive decision was made to abandon the current storm and drop south to get the next one. This meant a carefully timed core punch was likely in order. Danny and I were able to plan the route perfectly.
Here is a radar capture of the new storm, with us north of it about to turn south. Most other chasers were south of it at the time.
The warning on the storm indicated it was moving east at a whopping 75mph! This meant once we intercepted it our chase would likely be over. The text also mentioned winds in excess of 80mph and hail up to tennis ball size. I was a bit nervous and worried I would end up losing a window but stuck to the plan. I enjoy core punching but since being laid off work the thought of a repair bill approaching $4000 dollars for windows puts a second thought in my head.
The video here will speak for itself. It was nothing less than intense. We got blasted by wind driven hail, at least golf ball size with some stones probably larger than that. The powerful combination shredded the trees around us.

The truck made it through without losing any windows [built Ford tough!] and I breathed a sigh of relief. We were now in the “bear’s cage” of the storm and there were some rapid motions within the scud but we never noticed anything indicating a tornado could be touching down. The storm quickly raced east and we made an attempt to follow it but eventually called it off and decided to turn around and see what damage occurred.
Up first was the truck, there are some new hail dents on the passenger side from the wind driven hail. The hail also took some chunks out of what remained of my rain guard, which had been previously damaged on an Easter Sunday chase to MO.
As we drove back through town we never noted a whole lot of structural damage but there were some large sized trees down.
The chase was officially over at this point and we started to work our way home, noting probably the closest thing to structure on this chase from the backsides of the storms.
We stopped in Defiance, OH which also had some reported wind damage but we could not find any. We grabbed dinner at Pizza Hut and were Joined by Ben Holcomb, Aric Crylowski and a friend whos name I forget. I began prepping video to hopefully sell to media outlets but was skunked by other chasers who gave their footage away for free. Idiots.
Conclusion:
I got exactly what I wanted from this chase. I never expected today to be a tornado day, and returned home a happy man. Ohio has earned respect from me with an excellent paved road network and nice flat farmland to chase in. I will definitely be returning to the area if it ever gets another good looking setup. The area being relatively close to home also meant for the first time this year I was returning home instead of seeking out a place to crash, and it felt nice.
Map, arrow shows location video was filmed:
SPC storm reports:

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