2016-05-25 REPORTS: KS/OK

Jan 14, 2011
St. Louis
Targeted Mcpherson, KS, the halfway point between two targets. Eventually became clear the northern target was the favored one, and arrived on the storm at Bennington just in time to see it produce its first small tornado west of Highway 81. Followed the storm east and was right on it for the genesis of a violent, long-track tornado that stayed on the ground from near Solomon all the way past Chapman. I was able to get two close passes of the tornado, once north of Solomon and the second north of Abilene. The roar north of Solomon was the loudest and deepest I've heard.

Unfortunately, it was obvious this was going to a bad situation. I witnessed several structures being hit north of Abilene. I went up to the damage path to check on the residents, but thankfully all of the homes were largely intact, though some had significant damage.

Chase account with stills and full video is here:





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Jan 17, 2008
Started the day in Dodge City, and I was originally targeting the OFB/triple point near Salina. Changed my mind upon arrival at McPherson when I saw towering CU to my south, and none to my north. This was enough to start suckering me to the southern target. Thankfully, I stopped at Newton to reevaluate things again, and by that time, I could see some towering CU had formed in the northern target, and radar was showing a cell just starting to fire there as well. I booked it back north, and arrived on the storm just as it was producing a brief tornado in almost the same spot as where I saw the Bennington tornado back in 2013. The storm took a while to get its act together, but once it got started, it simply did not want to stop. I'm absolutely amazed at the duration of time that this tornado was on the ground! 594211b7bee9417823599f8a9e0a018c.jpg 707331baf447505e445ab0288d7480ab.jpg 254de523c883543bb03321e57f99e222.jpg
Aug 10, 2009
Godalming, England
We too started in McPherson and headed north at the sight of towers going up. We caught the storm in its early stages northwest of Bennington where we watched it produce the first tornado. We then tracked with it but much further south on the old US40 after realising the farm road we were on didn't intersect with the I70 east. We stayed with it until just past Chapman where we decided to hang back and get some behind the storm lightning shots.


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Apr 29, 2009
Jacksonville, IL
I too managed to catch the Abilene-Chapman tornado. It was certainly one of the best of my career, made even more remarkable by the fact that as late as midday I was relaxing in my hotel room in Woodward, OK and planning on taking a down day. Around 1 p.m., though, I suddenly changed my mind, quickly packed, checked out, and started the three-hour drive to Hutchinson, KS to try the triple point play. Never have I been more grateful for a stout cap! After arriving in Hutchison I opted to move east to Newton but I got caught in two frustrating construction/pilot car delays on U.S. 50. I then decided to blast north on I-135 toward a set of towers that were going up off of the dryline. One was a storm that was already orphaning west of Lindsborg, KS, so I continued north toward the much more impressive looking storm to my northwest. This first picture looks northwest from northbound I-135 south of Salina at the storm, which was then roughly over the Minneapolis, KS area:


I missed the cell's first brief tornado, but I arrived under the base just as the storm appeared to be weakening over the hallowed (and still familiar) ground just west of Bennington, KS. I moved a bit east with the storm and saw a few small midlevel shear funnels before turning south on old highway 81. Once in Salina I decided to get ahead of the storm by hauling east on I-70, and this turned out to be a good move. I got off of the interstate at the Solomon Road exit, set up my tripod, and waited as the storm - now much better organized - moved closer from the northwest:


A tornado soon lowered from a beefy wall cloud beneath the storm's base, and I knew we were in business. This picture looks northwest from the I-70 Solomon Road exit:


I managed to get about 15 minutes of video from this location as the storm moved slowly to the east just north of my location. The tornado also began to fatten up nicely. The next shot shows the storm's overall structure at this point:


I then gradually lost sight of the tornado as it became rain-wrapped to my northeast. So I continued east on 1-70, eventually stopping at the Jeep Road exit just east of Abilene. Once again I was able to tripod and capture another 15 minutes or so of the tornado, now fully visible and wedge-like after briefly thinning out into a straight pipe. The next two pictures and video look north from this exit ramp:



I then cautiously moved a bit further east on I-70, took some small hail, and let this beast move across the interstate in front of me. I made a half-hearted attempt to keep up with it on the backroads south of the interstate near the small town of Chapman, KS, but it was soon out of reach. As daylight faded I headed back to my hotel in Salina.
Apr 8, 2015
Plainfield, IL
I began this day doing a damage survey with Tim Marshall and Brandon Molyneaux of TWIRL after the Dodge City tornadoes. We had just finished locating the deployed pod locations when we got an email from Karen Kosiba to race northeast and get to the dryline. We where about 100 miles south of the storm when it was first tornado warned, and we had just gotten there in time to witness the strongest tornado I've ever seen. We watched it from North of Solomon to as it passed south of Chapman, and for a while I was incredibly nervous for the town of Chapman. This was an absolutely unbelievable tornado the day after getting over a dozen tornadoes in Dodge City. Overall my week in the plains consisted of about 20 tornadoes. This was the last one, and what a tornado it was. Here's my full video:
Just a few of the pictures: 49ad5d3880db99c47f8904fe1336ef15.jpg 3383a1d82859e4097b45110589f37d4b.jpg dcfad10aadcd03dd3a45cdfb2111bd06.jpg 2aa894d53dd7486b345e783f5a042580.jpg 78d50c3d7858183735dc6a5b69b8d979.jpg 546199dc0f871ab90a51584fccb76773.jpg

Sent from my SM-N920V using Stormtrack mobile app
Mar 27, 2014
Kansas City Mo
Targeted the southern outflow boundary, and ended up waiting for storms to fire in Newton KS. On the drive out there I noticed a boundary to the North as well and said to myself reminds me of the Bennington setup. Towers went up well to my North and just to my South at about the same time. I stuck to the southern target t0o long (first picture), booked it north when the storm failed to maintain itself and I saw the beast on radar as well as on the horizon with an overshooting top. I was well late to the show but still got to see the finale after an hour hail marry drive up to Junction City KS.

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Oct 26, 2007
Topeka, Kansas
I finally got these ready for posting. Like most everyone else, I was able to change position 4 times to get in front of this beast. I only had 1 encounter with the law, which was a road block on the road to Talmage, I believe. One of the most exiting and satisfying chases I have done, with nearly minimal effort. I wasn't even going to go, but checked the radar after mowing the yard, and figured I might be able to catch up with it. I have missed so many significant tornadoes by 15 to 30 minutes, so this one makes up for the goofs.


Jeremy Perez

We started the day out in Dodge City where we had experienced tornado overload the day before. As we made our way east on Hwy 50, we stopped at a couple abandoned buildings east of Spearville, at a spot on the map called Ardell. We had passed these the day before while shooting some sunset pics after the Dodge City storm. My daughter is a bit of an explorer and spent a lot of time checking things out, including peeking into a window where she was hissed at by a huge, cranky gopher snake that had wound itself around some pipes dangling over an inky abyss.

Exploring a towering abandoned building in Ardell.

As we got further east, a long arc of clouds bordering hazy skies announced the dryline bulge. It was extremely cool to see it stretched out like that visually without even needing satellite. Although the satellite view was pretty impressive too, showing both the arc of the dryline and a boundary further east. Towers were trying to build on this eastern boundary, while others were brewing to our north near the triple (quadruple?) point. We gradually made our way eastward shooting landscapes along the way, watching the boundaries percolate, trying to decide between east or north.

By the time we reached Hutchinson around 2145Z, convection was gushing anvils to our north near Claflin while the Wichita towers appeared to still be working on the cap, so we headed northwest for the ongoing convection. When we got to a few miles southeast of Lyons by 2215Z, those anvils had gone orphan while a Wichita storm was finally taking off and looked like it had a nice, muscular updraft going. More self doubt followed as we drifted eastward and a new growing tower between Minneapolis and Lincoln to our north got going. I watched these two towers compete for attention north and southeast until Rt 61 a few miles southwest of McPherson when a final decision had to be made. I opted north, thinking that storm’s convection looked sturdier, had a backsheared anvil, overshooting top, hopefully the benefit of a boundary and better backed inflow to work with, and an easier intercept by this point.

By 2254Z, southwest of McPherson, the choice of storm target was clear. (Left: storm northwest of Salina—check! / Right: storm east of Wichita—adios)

As we got further north on I-135, the storm was looking pretty impressive as it approached the north side of Salina. I wondered if Bennington would see a repeat 2013 performance—I appreciated seeing Cammie's photo of that first touchdown above.

We headed off onto the grid about 4 miles north of I-70 and had our first look at the base. It was working on an RFD notch, but didn’t look too impressive at the moment.

A corkscrew in the updraft west of Bennington [2349Z]

We got a little behind for a few minutes, but worked some very nice dirt road grid to catch up. After heading west another 5 miles, the storm really pulled together and we caught sight of a hazy, dark, cone tornado behind a thin veil of RFD precipitation. The pace of the chase really picked up after that. As we paced and worked to gain ground on the storm, the tornado grew in size while the choppy barrel meso above it took on Bowdle stylings.

Growing tornado and chaotically detailed meso [0016Z]

At 240th road, I headed south and got onto I-70 to try and gain some ground on it, snagging blind photos out the window along the way. Just a bit before the Solomon exit, we encountered a sheriff hollering at a tour van operator who was parked on the side of the interstate while his tour group was loping across the median. Yikes.

Dashcam view of tour group getting busted for Interstate frolicking [0025Z]

We made our way to the east side of Abilene and Indy Road just north of I-70. It was a perfectly elevated spot to watch the dusty, stovepipe tornado approach and widen into a large cone as it crossed our road a little over 2 miles to the north. It served up the best set of photos and video I’ve ever gotten of a tornado. A couple of locals, a father and I think his teenage daughter pulled up and talked about this being the first they’d seen even though he’d lived in Abilene his entire life.

View from Indy Rd north of I-70/northeast of Abilene as a stovepipe moves across the landscape [0050Z]

Tornado and rippling RFD cut getting ready to cross Indy Rd. a little over 2 miles to the north [0054Z]

Tight video frame view of tornado base after crossing Indy Rd. [0057Z]

As it passed to the east, RFD shrouded the view and was pretty intent on knocking my tripods over, so we packed up and pulled back east onto Old US 40. Because the storm was nudging increasingly south and we didn’t want to play tag with the approaching tornado, we turned south on Rt 43 at Detroit to get some distance from it. I was concerned that by the time we found a good east-west road we might not catch back up until the river infested, choppy road network south of Junction City. So we lost it at that point and snagged sunset photos of a beautiful trailing cell before heading further south and shooting some nightscape shots with fireflies, stars and receding lightning near Antelope.

Sunset and striated structure on trailing supercell [0134Z]

Stars, lightning and headlights reach into the sky near Antelope [0411Z]

Zoomable/interactive chase map

Video highlights from the chase

Full chase report with more/larger photos: Storm Chase - Bennington/Solomon/Abilene, KS || 25 May 2016
May 16, 2011
Seattle , Wa
Made it to the EF4 Chapman tornado before it crossed I-70
I got to see the huge tornado for about 15 minutes before it went rain wrapped just east of Detroit KS
I lost the video that had a couple decent minutes of the tornado, although the photos still weren't great.
After it got wrapped in rain we hung out further SW and watched some anti-cyclonic rotation and the beast from a distance.
We checked out the damage the morning after.
That picture of me is on I-70, with a sign that had been twisted apart.
Those are the large girders, not the small type, I cant imagine the force it would take to twist one of those big boys like that.

I also found it interesting how it laid down the grass like that just south of Chapman. I haven't seen that before.
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Apr 29, 2009
Jacksonville, IL
I just posted three videos that encompass much of the 45 minutes or so of the long-track EF-4 Abilene, KS tornado that I was lucky enough to capture. The videos show the very beginning of the tornado and some of its middle and end stages. I missed quite a few minutes of the middle of the storm as I was repositioning from the Solomon Road exit off of eastbound I-70 to the Jeep Road exit. I also don't have footage of the tornado as it crossed the interstate in front of me and moved south of Chapman, KS.

Jun 16, 2015
Oklahoma City, OK
I didn't get nearly as close as some did to "Bennington 2.0" as others did, but from a distance we did watch the tornado nearly from start to finish. (Bailed a little early at the end to avoid getting into the hail core) The back to back days were my best pair of chase days, beating out Pilger/Coleridge in my opinion.

Here is a time-lapse of about one hour's worth of tornado footage cut back to just over a minute a half. (some segments were removed where trees/vehicles got in the way and when contrast was too poor to clearly make out the tornado)
After having missed the 24th DDC event due to miscommunication and being out of position for whatever reason, we finally arrived and staged in McPherson early afternoon with many other folks. Watching the northern boundary, we collectively decided to go north on the developing cell nw of Salina. While we had the tour guests, we also had a support vehicle (@Marcus Diaz )

Racing north on 35 past Salina, a large lowered base came into view with attendant large wall cloud. Roughly 3 miles south of 18 HWY we documented the first cone type tornado while still continuing north. at HWY 18 and HWY 81 we went west on 18 and stopped just east of the intersection to reassess. At this location, I decided to try and make a play in getting the INPAR placed. As such, Marcus and I raced west on HWY 18 ultimately stopping and dropping the INPAR location: -"W. At this location we noticed a bowl shaped funnel but did not see any ground contact. After placing the INPAR in the ditch, we decided to move back east towards our group and let the supercell and associated funnel move towards the INPAR and towards us. While difficult to tell if any ground circulation was present, Marcus did notice grass falling from the sky at our location: - Just west of this location a small cone type funnel was documented and then a thin slender rope that passed roughly 60-65meters south of our location. Video documented complete Tornadogenesis twice well before the tornado really anchored east of Bennington.

Prelim results and findings from PACRITEX project from the 25th and documentation from the INPAR suggested that the circulation and attendant funnel/small tornado had passed directly over the INPAR.
A full data set was obtained including pressure perturbations and acoustics. A preliminary 63mb free stream pressure drop was documented on HWY 18 west of Bennington, KS: -"W. However, after gain adjustments, (noting gain set too high) the correct pressure drop was 23.2mb at that location.

Moving east we positioned ourselves right up under the updraft base after encountering a few baseballs trying to hook slice as we had no choice but to get closer. Upon receiving northerlies we retreated back north and stopped just in time to watch the main tornado anchor roughly 200 yards from our previous position.
After the tornado anchored east of Bennington, KS, it became a very strong stove pipe as it continued to ride the boundary, ultimately becoming a very long track tornado. The tornado remained on the ground for almost 90min and has been rated as an EF-4 prelim with estimated wind speeds of 180mph. A second attempt to place the INPAR in the direct path was discussed by Dean and Diaz but the tornado shrouded itself (pulling an El Reno) and the angle of approach was canceled. However, at 01:16:10 Dean did place the INPAR on the ground: 38.917797N -97.120953 and recorded a signature at 4.4Hz with an increase in amplitude nearing 27db. It should be noted that the strongest TSF was documented and recorded at 01:21:37 with an increase in amplitude nearing 32db at 6.9Hz.

As of this post date, documentation clearly show 2 separate frequency signatures @ 4.4Hz and 6.9 to 7.2Hz. At roughly 1:23:10 onwards, the frequencies changed dramatically in amplitude and signature. I suspect these changes due to the Doppler effect with regards to our position. Many thanks to Marcus Diaz and @Conor O'Neill for assisting and shooting video as I drove and concentrated on the tornado. Many thanks to Jodi Mair and Jeffery Thornton for assisting with road networks after the cluster and literal fist fight we saw on the county road.

Video link below as we placed the INPAR probe and tried to stay with the supercell.

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Jun 12, 2004
Sunrise, Florida
Good day all,

May 25 was a pretty interesting chase day for me, with interception of an LP storm near El Dorado, Kansas, THEN a long range intercept of the long-track violent tornado from Solomon to Chapman, catching the most intense phase of that storm's end of its 90+ minute on-the-ground lifecycle! What a day, and here's the long-awaited log for this chase day below...

1). May 25, 6:00 PM - Interception and observation of a severe thunderstorm near El Dorado, Kansas in Butler County near Highways 254 and 77. This storm was an LP supercell storm, with an impressive "barber pole" updraft, and striking visual appearance despite its small size. The storm core was small and probably had 1" hail, but was not penetrated. The storm undergone downscale evolution and basically evaporated after a couple of hours. Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, a dryline, low pressure trough, and upper trough. A 2009 Ford Escape SUV was used to chase the storms. Documentation was HD video, time-lapse, and digital stills. A tornado watch was in effect for the area until 9PM CDT.


Low precipitation (LP) supercell rotating hard near El Dorado, Kansas on May 25, 2016. This storm weakened via downscale evolution and essentially evaporated in a stronger cap. Attention turned to a distant tornadic supercell in the northern fringes of the target area for the day.

2). May 25, 8:30 PM - Long-range interception, observation, and indirect penetration of an extremely severe and violent cyclic long-track thunderstorm from near Abilene, Kansas and I-70 in Dickinson County. This storm was first observed from a 100 mile distance, with an overshooting top (probably to 60,000 feet) and a long-range intercept was done given the fact that is was in a great environment for tornadoes, despite SPC outlooks. When the storm was finally intercepted east of Abilene, a large and violent wedge tornado, up a mile and a half wide, was observed at close range west of Chapman and crossing I-70. This was an extremely powerful tornado, which was supposedly on the ground for a staggering 90+ minutes! Damage observed was trees debarked and ground scouring. The tornado did extensive damage to anything it hit. In addition, 70 MPH winds, tennis ball sized hail, frequent lightning, and horizontal rain was encountered with this storm. Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, a dryline, low pressure area, and upper trough. A 2009 Ford Escape SUV was used to chase the storms. Documentation was HD video, time-lapse, audio, and digital stills. A tornado watch was in effect for the area until 9PM CDT.


Above: Here is a picture of an overshooting top, probably 60,000 feet high, from 75 miles distance of a tornadic supercell storm currently near Salina, Kansas. This was the storm that will have a tornado on the ground for nearly two hours! I am heading north (after being "suckered" south to a dying LP storm) for a long-range intercept.


Above: RFD clear slot and violent tornado from 5 miles away, and to the ESE of Abilene, Kansas approaching I-70.


Violent wedge tornado near Interstate 70 and not far from Chapman, Kansas. This is about a half of a mile away, close enough to FEEL the roar of it!


Wedge tornado at its most intense crossing the ENE jog of I-70 and headed just south of Chapman, Kansas after being on the ground for 90 minutes. The white streaks falling are hail stones to tennis ball sized. The object in the highway to the lower left is a large turtle crossing the road!


Above: Tornado now over the Interstate. Traffic stopped and police creating a rolling roadblock so no one drives into it. Incredible motion. Wedge tornado now about to graze the south side of Chapman, Kansas. This tornado was rated at LEAST EF-4, with winds strong enough to bend railroad tracks!


Above: A pile of debarked mangled trees swept up the embankment on the south side of I-70 near Chapman, Kansas. Also note the grass is almost gone and the ground has been scoured to bare dirt.
Oct 9, 2008
Lawrence, KS
Gotta give an assist to my chase partner for this day. I was all set to have a day off after the previous 5 days were so active, and the next day was anticipated to be the big coup de gras. We decided to have lunch in Hutchinson to wait out the day and tell stories about the previous tornado fest near Dodge City. Like others, we were tempted by a few decent towers to our south, but ultimately opted to head north/northwest to some developing CU in NC Kansas.

The storm became mature while we were entering McPherson from the west, causing the slow creep through McPherson to be borderline torturous. Finally, we made it to I-135 and raced north to I-70. We found a nice little vantage point, with a bunch of other chasers at I-70 and Niles Road. Our initial impressions of the storm were somewhat unfavorable, mainly because the base appeared to be a bit skinny, and radar representation seemed like it was maybe on a down cycle. Just about the time we remarked about how the storm needed some help, the base immediately expanded with new updrafts and all of a sudden it looked much healthier. Not much longer after that the initial cone tornado formed, and quickly grew into the beast that it was. We generally kept our distance from the tornado and paralleled it along I-70, until it crossed somewhere near Enterprise. We ultimately lost sight of the tornado as we were about 1 mile or 2 south of Chapman, but we could certainly hear it's jet-like rumble coming from within the rain.

For a more detailed account of this day as well as more photos, see my full write-up.

We never got incredibly close to the tornado, but the long distance vantage points offered some fun shots of the entire storm/tornado structure.

This shot was taken shortly after initial formation looking north on Niles Road, just north of I-70.

Same vantage point as the previous photo, but after the tornado grew in size.