2008-05-23 REPORTS: KS/NE/CO/OK/TX

Darrin Rasberry

Simply awful. What started out as an exact carbon-copy as the day before ended up more crowded, erratic, and threatening for us INVOF our repeat of our WaKenney (sp) target. We had to play safely on every single storm we were on given the gigantic mess, and after a point we no longer cared about seeing tornadoes or getting footage; we just wanted to get out of there as soon as possible.

We saw the melted remnants of the reported 3'' diameter core by Park, KS, and a beautiful wall cloud, but that's all for us to report this day. Sig-severe hail isn't a bust to me in the least, even though I know of the quality of the rest of the show, but considering the unpredictability and above all else the bad luck of our target, the b-word was the least of our concerns. The b-word dealing more with our hindquarters was the bigger concern.

We normally wouldn't be proud to leave a shoulda-been-high-risk setup (especially, of course, given how discrete the sups became after we left and before the squall cut them up) but this one was the right decision given the cards dealt to us. Ill luck and bad road options was the cause, "safety first" was the effect - better to fold 'em and see tornadoes another day than to have no other days left to see anything at all.

The day before (5/22) was my first day witnessing tornadoes while chasing, so it is very special to me - that report will come later. For this particular day though, we'll take the memory of sig hail and an absolutely beautiful wall cloud and call it at that. Pictures of the witnessed weather can be found under the related date at www.easterniowastormchaser.com.
Dec 8, 2003
Southeast CO
Congratulations to all who bagged the amazing tornadoes the last few days! I've had good luck, too, if not as good as some of you.

I'll have to keep this short, as yesterday's bust in SE NE and lack of motel rooms in Columbus resulted in me eventually bedding down in... OMAHA. Now that today's target has shifted from IA to W KS (SHEESH!!) I gotta get the heck out of here and on the road... pronto.

Anyway, yes, I do have a report. Caught tornadoes around Dighton KS Friday. Witnessed and filmed an incredible large wc that I was positive was going to result in a long-track wedge, and it did tornado, but then soon lifted. At one point the whole big wc was wrapped in rain curtains rotating at tornadic speeds. I have posted the vid here:


What I haven't yet posted is what happened prior to that. I had been parked on a county road along with a cute, young sheriff's deputy named Shawna. She was quite apprehensive and nervously informed me that this was her first spotting duty. As the wall cloud was violently rotating, sucking up scud, and wrapping a condensation inflow jet into it for at least a mile on its periphery about 10 feet above the ground, Shawna asked me "Is that something I should be concerned about?"

After telling her we were DEFINITELY about to get a large tornado, she got in her car and radioed her supervisor.

Then, as I'm filming on a tripod about 3 feet in front of her car, she hits the siren. OMG. No constipation issues for that day. She came back up to me, and, with siren still blazing and yelling in my ear from a distance of 2 inches so I could hear, she apologized, saying her supervisor told her she had to do that. It was one of the funniest things I've ever experienced chasing. It's all on film, but I haven't watched it yet. Hope the vidcam's microphone didn't explode.
Mar 21, 2004
Urbana, IL
Saw a few rain obscured tornadoes so I won't bother putting up any video of those for now since they'll be nothing new to this thread.

We did go for one last hurrah on the supercell that formed on the southern flank of the beast that everyone else chased. We got positioned perfectly in the hook and had several funnel clouds attempt to drop to the ground to our east.

We were blasted by RFD winds that easily peaked 90-100 mph, while trees literally broke in half and were uprooted right next to the car. Video is pretty intense. This event put the day from mediocre to pretty good even though we missed the wedgefest.

Apr 29, 2004
Norman, OK
SHORT: Followed supercell from NE TX PH to Greensburg. One short tornado observed just NE of Greensburg near sunset. Chased nocturnal supercell near Cunningham KS. Hardly saw any other chasers on our storms.

LONG: We (Steve Hodanish, Kevin Scharfenberg, myself) initially targeted the dryline storm development in the NE TX PH and E OK PH (Laverne) due to evidence of slight dryline wave in the satellite data and 18Z RUC prog, with prospects of storms moving into an extremely favorable environment for tornadic supercells (SW-SC KS). We ended up only chasing one storm during daylight, which began in Lipscomb County TX. We watched this nascent supercell from a location just west of Gate OK come cruising at us at a fairly good clip. We then repositioned to just west of Englewood KS, where we saw several new cells go up on its flank and merge into the main core. Here we met Gene Rhoden, who was trying to look official in his TSA uniform. During this time, we saw several lazily rotating lowerings in the right spot, but nothing pre-tornadic. We then repositioned again to about 3 miles east of the 283/160 junction (west of Ashland) trying to stay ahead of the storm, downstream in the path of the low-level mesocyclone. By this time, it really began to take shape, with a large wall cloud, occasional tail clouds, a visual DRC and wrapping rain curtains, matching the nice hook we were seeing on radar. But, no tornado.

At this point, road options became less favorable, so we bolted east to Hwy 34, and decided to remain upstream of the storm. In the meantime, radar showed continued evolution with fairly obvious tornado signatures. But from our new positions, haze grew thicker, contrast declined, and we may have seen a few possible "funnel 50% of the way down" tornadoes. Also, a pretty decent left-split from the Harper County OK storm became ingested into our storm. Apparently, it made a few brief tornadoes which were not visible as we repositioned to stay ahead of the fast-moving storm.

Finally, through a series of dirt roads, we repositioned to just west of Greensburg while the storm started to cycle. From our vantage, partially inside the forward flank core, we could not see the possible large tornado south of Mullinville, but we could make out the location of the new jumping meso, now SW of G'burg. We drove east through town, sirens blaring, with many residents fleeing east in their cars (who could blame them!), and set up a few miles east of town, just west of a large road block. We watched the new meso pass over town with a large lowering, but no obvious tornado. Once it moved a mile or two NE of G'burg, we observed a diffuse tornado, with occasional condensation filaments. But then the storm moved into the lower contrast murk to the N. The RFD surged a bit, and looked like it might cycle again (this time, over the line of cars at the roadblock!). It was starting to get dark, but we decided that given storm motions, it was no longer something to go after.

We instead gassed up in Pratt and moved east to Calista to watch the next supercell approach. We were being fed super-res images of the storm by Patrick Marsh and once the forward flank hail core moved off of US 54, we moved back west into the notch to just east of Cunningham to see if we could catch a large nocturnal tornado. As it crossed US 54, we saw two waves of power outages in town (must have been two electric grids), but no real evidence of the tornado (Kevin thought he saw a power flash at the time of one of the waves). While the tornado was passing to our west, the inflow winds picked up rather nicely. We did have one regret tonight - after hearing reports of a semi overturned by the tornado and two fatalities in a car, we wondered if they were any of the vehicles that passed us going west into the storm. Perhaps this might have been a good reason to have ... lightbars (!) ... to warn oncoming traffic of the tornado.
Oct 26, 2007
Topeka, Kansas
video stills from Friday

Here are a few quick video stills from Friday's tornadoes--the first 2 just east of Ransom on K-4, and the other 2 are a few miles SW of Ellis. ---Rick Schmidt
We had a great day and saw 3 tornadoes on this day, chased down along the dryline west of Ness city. We first got a massive rotating monster with few brief touchdowns near Dighton, KS and then got a beautiful tornado N of Dighton (NW of Beeler) on the same supercell with new meso cycle. A brief touchdown was also observed nearby while we were driving from first to second tornado east of Dighton. Also got some nice footage from near Ness City of that HP sup where also massive chaser convergence and DOV crew was there.

Unfortunatelly we didn't chased northern storms along I70 as a long 1000km drive back to Dallas was expected later, we had flight in the morning next day. Additional miles would be just pain in the a$$ if we'd have ended too much north of the interstate. Now as I see images, makes me envy... but still, an amazing day with great stuctures and few tubes, great end of our chase trip.

And for the end, we had a frustrating driving back south, as we did not have radar with us, only NOAA radio was screaming all the time... I wanted to come near Greensburg as there was a big storm tornado on it, we came after it as it was having large tornado on the ground near Trousdale (source: from NOAA info), inflow winds into that storm north of road 400/54 were insane, easily over 60mph as it was hard to drive. But meanwhile two tornadic sups were south of us, over Protection and another just west of Medicine Lodge. Thankfully we got wifi in Pratt and were able to jump south just between both storms and continued towards DFW.
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Again, like my 5-22 post, not going to go into details, just going to share pictures...

Went south on castle rock road just south of Quintar. This is the first tornado I saw in that area, around 4:30 pm.

hour or so later, still on castle rock road south of Quintar, the wedge comes up over a hill..



These next pics were taken from the interstate at mm 106




Doug Raflik
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David Hoadley

Stormtrack founder
Apr 19, 2006

My Virginia chase friend, Greg Guise, and I began our chase NW of Oakely, then turned back east to WaKeeney and down US283, drawn south by repeated tornado warnings near Dighton. We drove west on Hwy 4 to watch that storm, but from our vantage the base was mostly obscured by wrapping rain. However, a new base developed east of there, and we did tape a thick, steeply-angled, rope tornado north of Pendennis. Despite multiple reports north of town, I believe there was just one. That cell apparently went on north to produce tornadoes near Quinter. However, when we finished with the Pendennis storm, it was too late to return north and catch it on the Interstate.
Short- Saw the first tornado as I approached south of Quinter and lost it in low contrast. As I drove north of Quinter I saw the wide circulation with spin ups around the outer edge. Stupid a** me attempts to drive around downed power lines and gets stuck in the mud. Long story short, did not wait to see if next storm down the line will miss me as I can see the couplet on radar. Abandoned vehicle with the lightest camera I can run with (small HI-8). Watch as wedge emerges from the precip and manage to flag down locals surveying the damage from the first tornado.The previous days tornado speed fresh on my mind we make a run for the basement of a damaged house up the road. Joined about a dozen other Kansans in the basement as a new tornado developed east of the old one.

Video plays out like a farmer Bob home video but sh*t happens.
Quinter tornado video
Mar 2, 2004
Wichita, KS

That photo will end up on my wall very quick! Bagged 7 tornadoes in western Kansas to add to the 5 from the previous day. Out of the 7 total tornadoes, 5 were on the first storm to narrowly miss Quinter including the one above which was the first that gave birth to a satellite, our second. The third was the low contrast cone that several chasers had an excellent view of. The forth was a small little spin up birthed from an area of circulation above us as we made our way north along of Castle Rock Road north of the town. The last one in this bunch was the giant wedge we came into view as we approached the RFD ravaged area 2 miles north of town. The 6th tornado was the second storm that produced the wedge that crossed I-70 west of Quniter about an hour or so later, then the last illuminated by a power flash over Ellis.

The story of the day for me was my wrong turn in Quinter where I followed the state highway northeast into town as opposed to following Castle Rock Road straight north. That was likely the event that saved me from being raped by the RFD that knocked power poles and lines on chasers, blew out windows, and pushed others into the ditches. I saw the satellite tornado as I proceeded northwest before the RFD swing around and blocked my view. Once we got north, I pulled into view of the massive wedge and the mess left behind by the RFD. Took an hour to finally get the vehicles mobile again. Saw the last two tornadoes after that.

Another incredible day that I personally am happy worked out the way it did. Fortunately everyone was okay along that road, but it certainly could've been much worse. I do have to call out an idiot tour group van that pulled in front of me as I was driving up the mud-covered road and nearly sent me swerving into the ditch to avoid them (basically they ran a stop sign and turned in front of me heading south). I have video that will be posted soon of that.

We targeted a similar area to yesterday's action. Since convection was already firing along and north of I-70 and skies were clearing further south we decide to head west on 70 then south on 23 where we encountered sunny skies and temperatures in the 80s. Storms started firing around 2 pm in the clear sector and the chase was well under way by about 3 pm. The first cell we chased headed northeast into Gove County and we encounter the first tornado of the day northeast of Shields at 348 pm. Although the storm was still tracking northeast the roads quickly became an issue as we almost got stuck several times. Given the poor condition of the dirt roads we decided to forgo any additional dirt roads where convection has previously passed through.

With the road network we head back south and travel back and forth on highway 4 between Shields and Utica where we intercept several more supercells as they head northeast and cross our path. Despite additional good looking supercells we lost out on tornadoes with the dirt roads preventing us from heading north. Later on in the day we take highway 4 east then 283 south to intercept a strong supercell heading north northeast from Dodge City. Just south of Ness City we see another brief tornado touchdown at 708 pm. This storm quickly intensifies and produces several more tornadoes as the storm heads towards I-70. As we head north we see our third tornado at 727pm just northeast of Ransom.

Later on a storm to the south merges with the main supercell and blocks our way to intercept the large destructive tornado that headed for Ellis. With the large supercell to the north we slowly tracked north to avoid intercepting the large hail. As we drove back to the hotel along I-70 we encountered many flipped over semis and the city of Ellis was completely dark. Unfortunately due to the tornado warnings many restaurants were closed so it took a bit longer than normal to call it a night.

This account and all pictures are here: http://www.mesovortex.com/Storms/may23-2008.html


Bill Hark

Jan 13, 2004
Richmond Virginia

Scroll down to the end of this long e-mail for image and video links if you don't want to read the account. I accidentally previously placed this post on the wrong thread.

May 23 was anbsolutely incredible chase day with multiple large and violent tornadoes. I started in Hays, Kansas. My initial target was in northwestern Kansas near Colby. Storms were already firing just to the north of the Oakley to Colby area along a boundary that was intersecting the dryline. This boundary paralleled I-70. My secondary target was down south by Dodge City along the dryline where there was better instability but less shear. After missing the previous day’s tornadoes, I didn’t want to screw up. I headed west and met with Jason Persoff and Robert Balogh who were staying in Quinter. We caravanned west to Oakley (home of the world’s largest prairie dog) to check more data and make a final decision on the target. There was a massive chaser convergence at a truck stop. I am sure that makes the locals nervous! We waited and watched. It was nice to meet some chasers that I only know through posts on message boards. Elevated storms continued to fire to the north. We expected better storms to fire slightly south along the dryline and move northward. We then noticed a storm develop to the southeast in Lane County. We left Okaley and drove east to intercept the northward moving storm. Additional storms were forming to the south of Lane County. We arrived in the Quinter area and decided to wait for the storm’s arrival. The road network was poor. None of us wanted to attempt dirt roads that were muddy from the previous evening heavy rains. The storm to our south became tornado-warned. As it approached the town, we adjusted about a mile west. My XM satellite radar was slightly off compared to what I could see visually and what Jason saw using GR Level 3, a radar viewing program that uses a cell phone internet connection. At 4:32PM, a large cone tornado was visible to my south. I got amazing video as it approached I-70. I shifted west to allow the tornado to pass. It lifted as it crossed the interstate, then reformed as a brief trunk and wedge before moving northward and out of visible range. I didn’t see the wedge, but I may have been filming under it. We resisted the temptation to chase the storm northward over wet dirt roads or to head east to a paved road and backtrack toward the storm. It was very hard to let a known tornadic storm pass northward and not go after it. More storms were forming directly to the south. Another option was to head south and follow the storm northward. Again, we didn’t want to deal with muddy dirt roads. Getting stuck in the wrong place could be fatal with these storms. We did drive south of Quinter for about a mile, stopping at the end of a paved road. Soon, we saw rapid cloud motion swirling to the southwest. Again, my Threatnet XM satellite was off and placed the meso directly overhead rather than slightly west. I knew better due to visual observations and GR Level 3 that Jason was running. I drove up a low hill and could see a distant tornado from a farmer’s driveway. The cloud motion was incredible. The tornado, now a massive high-contrast wedge, approached my location and passed to the west. At times, I could see multiple vortices. The tornado was approaching I-70. I carefully made my way down gravel driveway, then north toward the interstate. The tornado, now becoming more of an “elephant-trunkâ€, was approaching the highway. I blasted west, stopping just before the tornado crossed the road at 6:30PM. Jason and Robert had stopped slightly east of my location. The tornado crossed the highway and briefly vanished. I headed west and could see a low-contrast tube to the north. Then a received a report from Robert that a car had been blown off the road. Both Robert Balogh and Jason Persoff, who are also physicians, stopped to render aid before EMS arrived. I called off the chase and circled around to see if they needed any help. By then, EMS had arrived. The car had been thrown way over into a ditch. The lone occupant had serious injuries and had to be extricated by EMS. I never saw the car as I passed the damage path, and I am still surprised someone was hit by the tornado. This tornado was highly visible for many miles and could be avoided. Jason said there were skid marks perpendicular to the road. Another storm was approaching from the south as the storms “trained.†This smaller storm also had a mesocyclone. I warned one of the fire officials. Jason, Robert and I headed back east and then watched a wall cloud pass near the interstate. I never saw a tornado. Another massive storm, much wider than the previous storms, was now approaching the area. This storm had an enormous hook echo and there were reports of a large tornado. We quickly drove east toward Hays to avoid the core. Tornado sirens were sounding in Hays as darkness arrived. We had our escape route ready. We first thought the town would take a direct hit. The meso shifted, and we took a slight jog west. We never saw anything due to rain and darkness. We didn’t want to risk going farther west. Charles Edwards with Cloud 9 Tours was approaching from the west on I-70. He had a better view and saw a large tornado blow a truck off the road. He gave me some radar updates, and we definitely didn’t want to go farther west. As it was dark, Jason, Robert and I ended the chase and drove to Russell, Kansas for the night. Robert was able to secure some of the last rooms at the Super 8.

This was the best storm chase that I have ever had with close views of multiple tornadoes. The town of Quinter escaped two close tornadic storms. My excitement is tempered by seeing that car and injured occupant due to the tornado.

Video links. Original video shot in high definition format.

Link to my video on CNN website. Shorter segment, better quality

My video on YouTube. Video is slightly lower quality but shows more scenes and is in the full wide-screen format.

Video stills

Cone tornado approaching I-70 near Quinter at 4:32 PM

Tornado lifted but funnel passed over I-70

Views of the wedge tornado on the second storm



Elephant trunk tornado from the second storm approaching I-70


Crossing I-70




Photo of smashed car with injured occupant and rescue workers


Bill Hark
Mar 21, 2005
Kearney, NE
A big thanks to chase partner Ryan McGinnis taking me along for a fun chase day. We saw the first semi-wedge a couple miles SW of Quinter. Everybody else had moved north and maybe it was to get a better vantage point than we had. Cloud9 had a pic of the same tornado (haven't seen Ryan's results yet) but we had a view with less contrast. Black tornado against a dark grey background, but a great start to the day.

As far as tornadoes went, it was all we got for the day (which seems a little disappointing when the weather radio is going off with NONstop warnings). We witnessed some unbelievable convergence/circulation near Quinter. I got some video, but we were so close to it that it probably won't do justice. It looked like clouds were coming together in a pinwheel and going UP into the cloud. Reminded me of a whirlpool going down a drain, only this was going the opposite way from where gravity would take it. It was straight out of a big budget special effects movie.

In retrospect, on these south-to-north movers, we could have probably seen more by just sitting at Quinter and ducking in and out as (what Ryan calls) the Tornado Parade goes by. (Back up east as a core approaches and then duck back west as the bear cage comes along). We followed the first cell north but must not have been close enough to see anything else it produced. I can see why many chasers have all-wheel drive, as these storms just didn't cooperate very well with the good N-S roads available. As we got north and ran out of road options (State Park) we heard more tornado warning from along the country road path we had just taken. At one point during the day we passed H as he sat by the side of the road. Considering the man drove back to Osbourne to experience baseball hail first hand, driving into what he wasn't made us feel more than a tad reckless. ;)

Perhaps the scariest part of MY day was driving across that big dam at the reservoir with the 4" high guard rail to get in position on the big southern storm. I exaggerate, but not by much. It was basically the combination of every phobia you could possibly have at the same time and even driving in the middle of the road was freaking me out. A local we talked to later said that NO ONE has ever driven off of it, even in winter (which I find hard to believe). Met a few chasers along the way, including some from Montreal. Made us realize how great it is to live right here and witness the Plains weather year-in and year-out.

Condolences to those who lost life and property. The couple from Colorado that weren't found until the next morning 150 yards out in a wheat field near Pratt was a sobering reminder of what can happen. Their Saturn looked like somebody crumpled it up like a wad of paper.

Congrats to those who bagged multiple storms. I've never seen so many chasers in so small an area (and hope I don't again for a while). For a few of you I was wondering: If I bought the term life insurance on you, would you make me the beneficiary? I'll donate 25% to your next of kin.

Darren Addy
Kearney, NE
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Mar 6, 2006
Amarillo, TX
Here is my video from north of Fort Supply, OK on May 23.
Fort Supply Tornado

Some more pictures: Photos

After having terrible luck the day before and believing that we (my g/f and I) needed to be back in Lubbock on that Friday drove all the way from Coldwater to Lubbock on Thursday night. I woke up just before noon realizing that I soon would be on the road again headed for the Woodward area again. I didnt really pay much attention to Friday on the models till that morning. I had no chance to make it to KS, but I liked the area NE of Shamrock so I threw everything back into my Jeep and was on my way from Lubbock... again. A cu field was present to my east from the moment I left and was building just off the Caprock. As I neared Shamrock, the cu turned into numerous towers, so I grabbed so McDonalds and made my way north toward a very fast rising tower north of Wheeler.

I made a few wrong roads choices and almost got too far behind for my liking. I got stuck behind some oil rig trucks doing 20mph on a paved road with no way to pass them. I ended up taking a dirt road through the Antelope Hills of western OK and caught back up near Arnett, OK. It tried to cycle a few times as it started to slow down and took a slight right turn near the Gage/Fargo area. Sitting North of Fargo, I met a nice lady who had decide to leave her farm after receiving golfball size hail at her ranch. She asked if we were safe there just as we got hit by a very storng rfd. We set and watched as the rotation pass very close to her house just north of our location.

As I moved north toward Fort Supply I noticed a small funnel that lasted a few minutes and faded as it passed north of the wind farm. I went north on 183 in hopes of finding a decent road (straight road, i dont like trying to turn on mud) to follow the storm on. I turned on to a dirt (mud) road that ran through the wind farm to and saw what looked like nearly softball size hail laying all over the place. I would have spent more time looking at the hail (biggest I have ever seen personally), but I knew this storm was far from done. I stopped and took 2 quick pictures before jumping back in my Jeep to move east as I spotted a new small funnel hanging out the back of the storm. Right after this ropey funnel faded, to the right a larger rope began to drop that that quickly became a cone. As the road dropped down into the valley north of the wind farm the tornado bounced up and came back down as a large elephant trunk tornado. I drove along trying to stay with it till it began to rope out after a few minutes. I took a few pictures and sent a spotter network report in since it was a very slow roping out period (nearly 5 minutes). A new base had already formed to the east and I knew downed powerlines likely blocked my way, but I decided to head east on the first road available anyways.

I was not down the road a mile before coming across 2 houses that had been hit. From a distance it looked like just roof damage, but it was much worse. I drove into a powerline hanging across the road which scratch my hood pretty bad, but that was the least of my worries because I feared people were trapped in those houses. Right after I stopped a local who knew all the families of the area told me he had called this family and they were not at home when it hit. Both houses had there roofs completely taken off with walls knocked down. The newer of the 2 houses faired better, but was badly damaged as well (the garage to the new house was completely gone). That place was very creepy. It was completely silent other than a carbon monoxide alarm that was going off and a slight smell of gas filled the air. Nothing can describe what it was like to see that. I stayed there till some EOC and police arrived on scene. I walked around the premises with one of the EOC looking for any other propane tanks that needed to be shut down. The front yard had a large mark across the ground that looked as though the grass had been sucked right up. At the end of my video you can see where a bush was ripped up and dragged across the yard into the tornado. An elderly couple arrived shortly after to see their crushed homes. They confirmed no one was home, which made me feel a bit better, but it was very rough to watch as they took their first glances at what use to be there home.

I was soon asked to leave in a very unpolite manner by a police officer over his trucks PA system because I was "blocking the road" (I was pulled off to the side, not to mention the tree and powerline/pole laying across the road just over the hill). Only reason I had stayed there so long is because I wanted to help if I could. I have no problem of him asking me to leave, but considering I kept him from driving into the same powerline that I did, he could have been a bit nicer about it and shown some graditude.

Definitely my most interesting chase to date.
Witnessed several tornadoes near Quinter, KS. The first was one many have already posted photos of. We had a low-contrast view of this tornado as it neared I-70, lifting just before it got there. A new circulation put down a brief tornado north of Quinter, and then went on to produce a massive wedge that we could barely see and didn't even notice until reviewing our video. As that storm went on to the north, we dropped back south to Quinter and waited for the second storm which would give us a beautiful view of the EF-4 tornado just SW of Quinter. We watched this tornado from just SW of Quinter until it crossed the interstate and became shrouded in rain. We also witnessed a short-lived satellite tornado west of the main tornado. We blasted east after this storm to make it to Ellis just before two tornadic supercells plowed through, one of which caused some damage in the town of Ellis. We ended up taking cover in a gas station from both of these storms due to the fact that we were losing daylight and the core of the first storm was already upon us. A couple of fellow chasers also took cover and we all huddled in a 10'X10' bathroom (three of us and about 15 other people) just waiting for the roof to fly off. One of those two tornadoes should have hit that gas station, but by some miracle, neither of them did. We ended up going east on I-70 and filmed what looked to be one large and one small tornado on the ground at the same time just north of Ellis. This was also on the reports page of SPC. Below are some pictures from this excellent chase day!

First tornado WSW of Quinter, KS

Second Quinter, KS area tornado from just SW of Quinter.

The tornado hit several structures just SW of Quinter. I'm not sure if these were houses or farm buildings. The large piece of debris appears to be a roof.

As the tornado continued on a northerly track, it grew quickly taking on wedge-like characteristics

The tornado then morphed into a beautiful white cone just before crossing I-70

Most of these pics are vid caps, so the quality isn't the best, but the video is excellent! I'll post some video clips soon!
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Quinter tornadoes

This was the shortest chase of my 5 day Central-Plains excursion, but I still saw more tornadoes this day than the rest combined. Intercepted both tornadic Quinter supercells. Story is the same as many other chasers. I was in the pack dodging the initial tornado and subsequent rotation that crossed I-70. Got screwed as there is no exit between Quinter and Park, and I chickened out on doing a U-turn in the median (there were cops-a-plenty).

Moved back SE to intercept the next supercell. Caught the EF4 tornado south of Quinter from Gove-W. Contrast was poor, but had a nice view of it for several minutes as it went from wedge to stovepipe.

Moved east to a road overlooking Cedar Bluff resevoir and watched two training supercells go by there. Caught a couple of brief probable tornadoes with the camera's low-light mode over the resevoir, then moved up through Ellis, where power was out. Continued North and east for a while as the storms pulled away from me. Still going through footage I shot during that time.

More images can be found here:

Thanks to Aaron Dooley for the nowcasting help.

280 miles
11.5 hours

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Jan 7, 2008
Bryan, TX
Well, other people already have such impressive footage and pics out there, not much to add, but here's two pics and three videos:

1. The wall cloud that was rapidly rotating on the edge of Dighton Kansas. We stayed on this storm and later got a couple tornadoes from it; the easiest to see is the next pic that is an elephant trunk.

Here's video for the rotating wall cloud also:

2. Here's the pic of the elephant trunk--amazing earlier pics from other posts that had debris with this that we couldn't see.
video too:

3. Here's video that captures the same flying roof that Mike Kovalchick presented (Bill and Tom Oosterbaan and Bob Hartig are there too) from this same supercell: this was preceded by a little rotating dust right ont eh side of the road, so we stopped, and looked around at the upper level situation, and suddenly this gustanado or EF-0 (Maybe even weak Ef-1?) tornado blasted the roof off and crossed the road. You get a lot of our commentary too in the heat of the moment.



Michael Towers

Jun 28, 2007
Machesney Park, IL
Follow up video & video stills

The following are video stills in sequence from the multi-vortex tornado that became a wedge, ultimately weakening but then intensifying just before it crossed I-70:

http://s287.photobucket.com/albums/ll155/scorpionstorm/2008-05-23 Tornado_Quinter Kansas/

I uploaded an edited version of the video to YouTube. When I got home and finally watched the video I was expecting about 5 minutes of footage and was shocked to find the event lasted over 11 minutes. The edited upload starts about 37 seconds after I began filming and about 1 minute after the tornado first came into view. It ended up crossing the highway very near if not right over the location where filming began. Commentary is at a minimum until it approached the highway; I hope YouTube viewers take heed of my words with the local about not parking under an overpass. Watching the video you can see they were sitting ducks, at the mercy of the path of the tornado. With the apparent strength of the tornado at the time it crossed the highway, I have little doubt those parked under the overpass would have had their lives in jeopardy had it hit their “shelterâ€￾. Please excuse the shakiness of the film, for the majority of the time I was filming with one hand while steering with the other, watching not only the tornado but the road ahead and the skies nearby for signs of additional threats. Also, please don’t give me grief for saying it’s “becoming a stovepipeâ€￾ as it approached the highway. It indeed did not become a stovepipe but with its rapid intensification, its previous wedge status and contact with the highway imminent, I sure thought it was going to. It crossed instead as an elephant trunk, bad enough obviously for anyone in its path.


Bobby Prentice

Quinter, Kansas Tornado (Number 1) and Ransom, Kansas Tornadoes

The first Quinter tornado of May 23, 2008 was quite an easy cherry-pick target for Greg Breneman and me. The supercell formed on the diffuse dryline in Scott/Lane Counties at mid-afteroon and moved almost due north towards the stationary front positioned just south and parallel to Interstate Highway 70 (HPC Surface Analysis, May 23, 2008; 21 UTC). It was obvious that any supercell which crossed this juicy baroclinic zone would produce tornadoes and Quinter appeared to be ground zero. Both this day and the previous were basically "tube hunt" expeditions since good storm structure views were hard to come by in this messy environment.

We witnessed the (first) Quinter, Kansas tornado from the southwest side of Quinter, just north of the now familiar gas station along the north side I-70. Unfortunately, a well-placed building blocked our view of the tornado when it was south of I-70 and only briefly had condensation to the ground when we saw it pass just west and northwest of Quinter. Muddy roads prevented us from following the large tornado north of Quinter. A caravan of chasers drove north past us, but most turned back around.

That night I spoke with one of Tim Samaras's drivers who reported that they followed the tornado north of Quinter with some success. He stated that the well-marked dirt (mud) roads were passable, but the unmarked mud roads were like "cake batter." Oh well.

2008 May 23 Quinter, Kansas Tornado Number 1 - YouTube video

Our next target was another supercell moving north-northeast across Lane County towards Gove County, so we drove west on I-70 to Grainfield (great memories still fresh from the previous day) and then south on KS 23. Unfortunately, poor paved road options across Gove County prevented us from seeing the reported tornadoes around Dighton and Shields and the hail core chased us back north to I-70 at Grainfield. About this time we heard reports of a large tornado with the storm.

Our plan was to intercept the tornado at Quinter However, Greg and I needed to use the bathroom. Greg didn't feel safe stopping at the gas station in Quinter (I told him we'd have about 15-20 minutes to go before the tornado arrived), so we drove 7 miles further southeast to Collyer and used the bathroom there. When we tried to drive westbound back to Quinter the highway patrol had closed the interstate creating a giant traffic jam! Thus, we missed seeing the wedge then stovepipe cross I-70...everything! I'm envious of your incredible pictures and video Bill Hark! :(

One of these days we are going to have a mass casualty event due to this stupidity. A motorist was severely injured on I-70 anyway.

Our next target was a tornadic supercell tracking across Ness County, Kansas. Fortunately, we were able to cross the I-70 grassy median and drove east on I-70 to Wakeeney and then south on US 283 to Ransom, KS. We didn't want to core punch, so we drove 3-4 miles east on KS Highway 4 and parked about one mile south of the hamlet of Osgood, KS. We observed a tornado several miles to our southwest, probably along US 283 since we filmed a power flash.

2008 May 23 Ransom, Kansas Tornadoes - YouTube video

Paved road options were poor and I goofed up on navigation anyway so we missed the late evening/twilight tornadoes produced by this storm between Cedar Bluff Reservoir and Ellis, KS.
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