December 10, 2021  
For several days, I kept an eye on the weather data as this severe weather event approached, but being a totally night time event, I really did not give much thought to doing any chasing.  Tornadoes were forecasted to be a good distance south and not in ideal chase area, so considering that and the fact that night time chasing is not very high on my "like-to-do" list, I was figuring this to be an armchair chase event from home.

Now the afternoon of, my son Ryan tells me he is available to go out if things looked interesting enough.  I let him know I wasn't interested in going out unless it was fairly close and we could find open areas to view from.  Storms began forming out to the west and southwest after dark.  Wasn't long before these storms became tornado warned.

At this point, with the storms moving toward us, Ryan and I decided to go meet the incoming storms.  I drove out to pick up Ryan up at his place and moved south down Highway 94.  We considered our options as we stopped for a minute at 94 and Interstate 40. There were two tornado warned storms moving toward us.  One was looking to cross where we sat, but this was not an option as there was limited visibility at this location, so we chose to line up the southern most cell that would cross near the Chesterfield Valley to the east. 

We figured our chances of seeing something and maintaining a safe distance was maximized with more openness in the flat of the Missouri River Valley.

We moved east to the Boone Crossing exit and chose the north outer road to drive back west past all of the buildings and parked on the side of the road where we had a clear view to the southwest of the incoming storm.

We were hearing that a confirmed tornado had hit Defiance, MO.  We correctly plotted the direction and waited for it to cross right in front of us near the Missouri River in the Chesterfield Valley.

Sporadic Lightning lit the sky, but nothing of note was seen as the storm moved in front of us until we saw a green flash.  A power flash let us know a tornado could be there.  Still visually, we could not pick out a tornado.  Our video captured the flash and we looked closely at the lightning lit video images later on either side of the flash and still could not make out a tornado image in any of them. Only a darkened area.

Less than a minute passed and a blinding rain began falling.  We backtracked out of there and observed several more power flashes as we made our way back out to the Interstate.

We continued east on Interstate 40.  We knew further intercepts on this storm were impossible due to the storm speed of 70mph, so we set our sites on a line of storms further out to the west that would move in.  This line did not look as impressive, but we watched it as it approached.  We decided to move south on Interstate 270, then south on Interstate 55.  We stopped for gas at Meramec Bottoms Road and figured out how we wanted to continue.  With the storms completely lined out and the tornadic cells seemingly past us in Illinois, we made the decision to head back toward home.

We backtracked to 270 and took the exit at the Page Extension in route to drop Ryan off at his place.  At the last minute we decided to exit at 141 to watch the last storm line as it was ready to move into the flat Missouri River Valley.  We got the video going again and shortly after heard Ryan yell "Tornado!!  Possible Tornado!".  "Wait!  WHAT?" was my response.  He turned the camera to the spot and the next lightning bolt caught what may have been a tornado.  Rain quickly wrapped around this circulation hiding the area from any more images.

Now that was totally unexpected.  A look at the radar showed a kink at this spot in the line.  There was a Severe Thunderstorm warning, but no Tornado Warning on the storm, but within a minute after viewing this feature, the NWS issued a tornado warning.

I normally do not like darkness chasing, but this chase was an exception.  Being in open areas, correctly projecting storm movements, and being in safe zones made this night enjoyable.  Catching the unexpected at the end was the topper.

The National Weather Service surveyed the path of the Tornadic Storm we saw in the Chesterfield Valley.  Their initial survey shows a 21 mile long path with EF3 damage in Defiance, MO. 

The storm did recycle again doing EF3 damage in Edwardsville, Illinois.

Our Travel Path

Click HERE for Images of Damage from the Tornado

4 Hours
-   115 Miles

Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.