2016-05-24 REPORTS: KS/CO/TX/OK

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Apr 8, 2015
Plainfield, IL
Days like today are something that I know I will never forget. After catching the night time tornado in Turkey, TX we raced northbound and stayed in Woodward, OK for the night. Waking up and checking conditions we decided on a target city of Englewood, KS and made the drive to sit and wait for initation. We watched the storm that would later put down over a dozen tornadoes and as many as three at the same time form from a tower to death today. When the tower went up we drove to Minneola, KS and just watched in awe as the storm put on one of the most amazing shows I have ever witnessed, and probably ever will witness. Afterwards, we met up with Tim Marshall and Brandon Molyneaux of the TWIRL Scout 3 team and had dinner in Dodge City. The following day we went out in the morning and did a damage survey with Tim Marshall, before getting an email from Karen Kosiba to race northeast.. and that tale continues on the next thread. Here's some pictures from this day, and my video is located here:
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Sent from my SM-N920V using Stormtrack mobile app
Jul 27, 2012
Grand Forks, ND
Had the choice between the Colorado or Kansas targets, since E. Colorado has been a good place for me I decided that was my target. Of course in hindsight passing up the Kansas target was a huge mistake but at least the day wasn't a bust. Set up just east of Denver International Airport and watched storms fire on the mountains. It didn't take long for the southern storm to exhibit supercell features, A long inflow tail appeared as the storm approached the airport and the storm started moving a serious amount of moisture, the anvil looked like a river in the sky. Positive bolts soon started erupting from the anvil a good 20-30 miles downwind. The storm initially had a complete LP character with a totally rainfree and very high base. As I moved east ahead of the storm it seemed every rfd surge would push the storm a little bit further toward a classic supercell, eventually some low scud tags started appearing. The storm soon outright became a classic supercell and cycled some weak rotating wall clouds until finally a very large strongly rotating wall cloud appeared. A large tornado seemed imminent, but the wall cloud weakened a bit then produced the first funnel cloud. As the circulation that produced the funnel cloud weakened I could see the storm cycling a new area of rotation on radar about 20 miles east near Akron. After successfully navigating the back roads I arrived south of Akron just in time to see the tornado there, here is the video:

After filming this tornado I got sandblasted by the rfd and took a face full of pebbles. East of Akron the storm developed a very large and ominous circulation which i paralleled to the south, soon this disappeared behind precip and the storm had become a full-blown HP. I saw one additional funnel NE of Yuma which appeared to be anti-cyclonic before dark. This was a very interesting storm to watch as it transitioned through all three supercell types. Here is a timelapse of the entire life of this storm up until just before dark, it's pretty long but you can watch it make the transition from LP to classic and finally HP:

Our May 24th chase started out in Shamrock, OK. We got a really good rate at the Shamrock Country Inn—it was clean, new beds, recently refurbished by a motivated new owner. The doors are a bit sticky, but I can definitely recommend it.

We made our way north, looking for likely spots for storm initiation along the dryline or intersecting boundaries from the Oklahoma Panhandle up into southwest Kansas.

Eventually, satellite imagery showed the cumulus field getting more agitated north of Englewood, KS. This gave us a chance to drive through Englewood and revisit a view we had over four years ago when we chased a lonely, low-topped LP supercell north of town (14 March 2012).

We made our way to about six miles west of Ashland and shot time lapse of the building towers to see what would take hold. The one I was shooting wound up gaining strength and we headed off to watch it develop.

The storm of the day looms in the distance—west of Ashland, KS. [2156Z]

Roads were dry and in pretty good shape, so we stayed off the main highways for hopefully more unique perspectives and less crowds. It worked out pretty well. As we got about eight miles east-southeast of Minneola, the storm was developing a wall cloud that looked like it had potential.

I hated to leave our spot in case it put down a brief tornado while we were on the move, but we needed to keep up. We made our way north and by the time we were a couple miles north of Bloom, the tendrils dropping out of the wall cloud looked pretty imminent. So we stopped in time to capture a developing condensation funnel touch down for our first tornado of the day. It turned out to be a great spot, with enough altitude to capture some intervening countryside as the silhouetted funnel danced and twisted against a distant tree line. We were about 12 miles away at this point, but the view was still great. We hung out at this spot for nearly 15 minutes as it grew in size. At one point I was thinking that this must be how Rozel looked in silhouette—not surprised it's being referred to as Rozel #2 : )

Tornado #1 churns in silhouette west of Minneola—about 12 miles from our location. [2303Z]

Tornado #1 bulking up as it moves northward. [2313Z]

We eventually had to keep moving to stay with the storm. While repositioning, the original tornado began to occlude behind a haze of precipitation. My daughter asked if there was a different tornado forming further to the right. Sure enough, a thin rope had descended from the fresher wall cloud while the previous tornado was still in progress. This was our first tornado pair. I couldn't make myself call them twins, because the emaciated second one wasn't even close in appearance to the first—more like the mole that shows up on the stronger twin when it absorbs its sibling I guess.

Tornado #1 occludes while whisker-thin tornado #2 reaches down to the right. [2321Z]

About seven miles south of Dodge City and still on the dirt roads, we found a really good spot to watch as a new tornado took on Rozel-like proportions as a thin rope tornado flicked around on the east edge of the elongated wall cloud. There may even have been another tornado intertwined with that rope, but from my perspective I couldn't tell if it was just extra scud tendrils. The view of the main tornado at this point was spectacular. We were further south of it, so now it had some side lighting and showed a lot of dimension. We hung out at this spot for another 13 minutes or so before heading off to the dreaded main highway. (Rain was starting to effect the area and I didn't want to get us stuck in the mud.)

Tornado #3 gains strength while at least one rope—tornado #4—reaches down at far right. [2330Z]

Tornado #3 taking on Rozel characteristics. [2332Z]

Hwy 283 was about as insane as I was worried it would be—absolutely packed with chasers and locals. Despite how crowded it was, most everyone was driving, parking and loitering in an orderly fashion. We parked at a couple spots to get photos as a fifth tornado morphed into various forms—barrel/multi-vortex/cone/elephant trunk/rope—west of Dodge City. We took the highways around the east side of the city, watching as the #5 occluded and roped out while a new, sixth tornado descended from the apex of a wasp-nest shaped meso. The highway was at a decent elevation, so we had pretty good views of the action north of the city as we made our way around. By the time we got northeast of Dodge, the sixth tornado had sprouted a satellite rope funnel of its own—video from other chasers shows this in contact with the ground as well, so—tornado number seven.

One of the many forms of tornado #5 as it was moving northwest of Dodge City—as seen from Hwy 283, about 9 miles away. [0002Z]

Tornado #5 occludes while tornado #6 drops north of Dodge City. [0010Z]

Tornado #6 sports a satellite, tornado #7 north of Dodge City—about 9 miles to our northwest. [0016Z]

By this time, new supercells were encroaching from the south it looked like our original cell was jogging to the east. So to avoid getting pinched, we bailed out to the east and made a half-hearted attempt to get on some other tornado warned cells east of Kinsley. That wound up seeming like more effort than it was worth, especially after the spectacle we just experienced, so we hung out for a while just west of Lewis on Hwy 50 and grabbed sunset photos.

A spectacular roll cloud sporting Kelvin-Helmholtz waves drifts by west of Lewis, KS. [0215Z]

After the stunning sunset, we headed back to Dodge City for dinner and a hotel for the night. While eating dinner, Arizona storm chasers Adri Mozeris, Trey Greenwood and Corbin Jaeger stopped by to say hi and we got a chance to talk about all the unbelievable things we had seen that afternoon.

Throughout our chase, I'm pretty sure we observed seven tornadoes, where two were on the ground at the same time on four occasions. I'm still having trouble believing we actually witnessed all of this. Other chasers reported seeing on the order of twelve tornadoes. So the numbers in my account don't represent the actual sequence of tornadoes on the storm—just the ones we saw ourselves. Like the Rozel/Sanford tornadoes, I could be convinced that what I counted as two tornadoes may have been continuations—where say one of the thin ropes seemed to disappear, but may have actually still been stirring up ground circulation before turning into a larger tornado later. I'll update things if I find out differently.

Zoomable/interactive chase map

Full chase report including all/larger images: Storm Chase - Minneola-Dodge City, KS || 24 May 2016

Video highlights from the chase

Jun 1, 2008
Chattanooga, TN
First picture is from Ford KS, while driving in a Ford. Upper left is mid-level inflow. Left-center is inflow to the flanking line and wall cloud. Sometimes it looks like the textbook or spotter pamphlet...

Second picture is from north of Dodge City near the airport. Dark pizza slice has descended from mesocyclone 4. Lighter tube left I think is the remains of mesocyclone 3.
We approached DDC on US-400 from the southeast, avoiding the 283 mess. We picked up 283 to US-50 by the airport before departing on 50 to the east.

Started out at the rest stop junction of 283/160 with @djburnette and many others. Most headed north on 283. We went east on US-160 through Ashland and back north on KS-34 to Bucklin. Saw cycle 1 from Bucklin. While we did not know 283 would get blocked, we did like road choices out of Bucklin. Storm motion to the NNE vs right turning we went with 400 through Ford toward Dodge. Saw cycle 2 from Ford. Eventually circumnavigated DDC to the east, watching cycles 3-4, before departing on US-50. Had to wait for a storm in Kinsley, along with a tornado warning, for a bit.
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Jun 16, 2015
Oklahoma City, OK
I'm a bit late to the party for getting footage up, but it was a very wild end of May. Nothing here is all that different from what a few others have posted, but it was great to meet up with Andy and few other board members, as well as seeing some of you in the field/photographs/videos.

In chronological order first with some photos and video screengrabs between Minneola and Dodge City:
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I have a bunch of videos and only got around to uploading maybe 2/3 of them. The first captures some of the early stages of the first tornado:

Below are a few longer videos showing the evolution of the initial two larger tornadoes from rooftop cameras. I was juggling five different video recording devices, so the fact that I had those pointed at the tornadoes for most of their life spans was huge. Still, I couldn't resist some handheld shots at closer range, which I will insert below the first two clips:

A few iphone clips:

A brief close-range video when the second tornado was kicking up dust/dirt:

This was the best chase day of my career and it really helped that I had Ian Livingston as a co-pilot. My previous benchmark chase day had been a toss-up between Pilger and Coleridge, but I was able to get much, much closer this time around, for a variety of reasons. Interestingly enough, 5/24 was also followed up with a career day on the 25th, much make 6/16 and 6/17 in 2014.

Todd Lemery

Staff member
Jun 2, 2014
Menominee, MI
Might not be the space for this, but I've got video of three tornados on the ground at the same time at Dodge city. Did anyone take any still shots with three on the ground at the same time? I've got two, but not the three..


Jun 12, 2004
Sunrise, Florida
Good day all,

Like many others who targeted SW Kansas this day, I was on the multiple tornadoes this day as well. Although posting on this late, here is my logs for May 24, 2016...

1). May 24, 6:30 PM - Interception and observation of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm from north of Mineola, Kansas to and past Dodge City in Clark and Ford Counties from along Highway 283. This thunderstorm was a violent cyclic classic supercell producing multiple tornado "families". The storm developed to the northwest of Mineola and moved to the northeast, barely missing the western portions of Dodge City. The core of the storm, containing extremely large hail (one report had 5 inch hail, larger than a compact disc) and strong winds, was not penetrated. The storm produced at least 8 tornadoes with multiple cycles, and was observed from initiation to dissipation south of Jetmore, Kansas. The tornadoes were pretty much all varieties: stove pipe, elephant trunk, multiple vortices, cones, even a truncated wedge! Even more spectacularly, there were times when there were two (twins), or even three, tornadoes on the ground simultaneously (usually one from the original mesocyclone still on going, with a new tornado on the next new cycle)! The tornadoes remained mostly over open fields, and thankfully passed west of Dodge City, damaging mostly outbuildings. The supercell storm had an impressive and striking visual appearance (like an "upside down wedding cake" and striations). One of the last tornadoes onserved was even anticyclonic (revealed with time-lapse footage)! Frequent lightning with some close hits was also encountered, with isolated 1" hail stones falling in 50 to 60 MPH inflow. Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, a low pressure trough, dryline / boundary interactions, and upper trough. A 2009 Ford Escape SUV was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was in effect for the area until 12 AM CDT the next day.


Above: First tornado touches down during the afternoon / evening south of Dodge City, Kansas on May 24. This storm will be referred to as the "Dodge City Supercell", a classic and violent cyclic storm that will produce at least 8 tornadoes, some of which with multiple instances on the ground simultaneously!


Above: First tornado occludes, then begins to rope out slowly. This view is zoomed in to show the intense ground circulation and two chase vehicles in close proximity.


Above: With the near steady-state stove pipe tornado in progress, the new mesocyclone forms sympathetically east of the main one. This new area goes on to produce a multivortex tornado, along with a few smaller tornadoes, all while the stove pipe to its left is on-going!


Above: View of the main and most intense cyclic tornado of this storm. A large stove pipe quickly develops over the open country south of Dodge City (May 23).


Above: Both the old (left, with massive stove pipe tornado) and new (right, with tornado on the ground as well) mesocyclones. Twin, or even three, tornadoes (wow)!


Above: View a later showing a large truncated cone / wedge with a stove pipe (internal subvortex) in the middle of it! Note that another mesocyclone is about to form east (right) of this tornado, and will be part of the next storm "cycle".


Above: Twins again! Rope tornado from former mesocyclone still on the ground, and a large elephant trunk / stovepipe tornado on the newest mesocyclone to the right. The view is NW and the storm is north of Dodge City and south of Jetmore.

2). May 24, 10:00 PM - Penetration of a severe thunderstorm near Pratt, Kansas in Pratt County along Highway 54 / 400. This storm was a multicell severe / HP supercell storm. Very heavy rains, frequent lightning with close hits, hail up to half-dollar (1.5"), and winds gusting over 60 MPH. Conditions causing the storms were a low pressure trough, boundary interactions, and upper trough. A 2009 Ford Escape SUV was used to chase the storms. Documentation was audio. A tornado watch was in effect for the area until 12 AM CDT the next day.
Oct 9, 2008
Lawrence, KS
Well, I won't go into much detail about this day, as it seemed like just about everyone was there and has a similar story to tell. I guess the only thing about this day for me that was maybe a touch different than others was my determination to get this day right after failing pretty badly on 5/22 and 5/23. I woke up in Garden City on 5/22, then drove several hundred miles to the south, only to drive passed the Perryton tornadoes on my way back to Garden City, missing the tornado there that formed about 20 miles away from where I woke up that morning. On 5/23 my target was Woodward, but I got sucked south by the fickle CAMs and missed the evening tornadoes in my original target. Needless to say, I was determined. After waiting out initial CI in Cimmaron, I dropped south to between Minneola and Dodge, and the rest - as they say - is history.

For more detailed summary and other photos, see my full write-up.

Initial formation of the first well-formed tornado between DDC and Minneola

New meso forming/formed in the foreground, with mature tornado in the background, in a beautiful scene

North of DDC, looking south at the final (?) tornado that took out the landfill buildings. This tornado formed on the road behind me by about a mile. I caught this image when I stopped to look back.