Silver Lining Tours vans rolled in Kansas

James K

EF2
Mar 26, 2019
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Colorado
Jeff Duda said:
As a resident of the Denver metro area for a little bit of time now, I can say I have never seen Roger Hill nor heard a mention of SLT on any of the local news broadcasts I have ever watched.
I've lived a bit outside Denver most of my life. Also never seen/heard anything of them on the local channels (but I also don't always watch the news)

John Farley said:
SLT used to have a pretty close relationship with Channel 7 in Denver. Not sure whether that is the case or not any more.
So you could probably skip Ch 7 then, but that still leaves all the others.
(Ch 7 doesn't come in all too well where I'm at, so its one I rarely watch)
 
Mar 2, 2004
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Wichita, KS
www.facebook.com
SLT used to have a pretty close relationship with Channel 7 in Denver. Not sure whether that is the case or not any more.
They had a pretty good relationship through the early 2010s, but I think they've parted ways a bit since then. I know Channel 7 was a big sponsor for the NSSC, but they stopped within the last few years. Obviously not having been in Denver since 2012, I cannot say what's become of the 7News/SLT relationship, but it was definitely on the decline when I left 7. Not sure it was anything more than just drifting apart, so don't think animosity was an issue.
 

Mark Blue

Staff member
Supporter
Feb 19, 2007
2,818
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Colorado
I think the guy who had to undergo spine surgery has a better than average chance to hire a local personal injury attorney from the KC area who would take the case on a contingency basis and go after the motor vehicle insurance.

For those who didn’t get physically injured but suffered real mental trauma it would be a bit trickier but not out of the question for a seasoned attorney to win damages for pain and suffering.

I wish we weren’t even having this conversation but due to the circumstances I hope everyone who was involved is getting along better now and that no one is suffering in pain or silence.
 
Sep 7, 2013
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Strasburg, CO
As a resident of the Denver metro area for a little bit of time now, I can say I have never seen Roger Hill nor heard a mention of SLT on any of the local news broadcasts I have ever watched. Granted, I don't watch a ton of local news, but I have seen dozens of weather segments, including those during spring severe season.
Welcome to Colorado Jeff!

FWIW, the only real mentions of chasing around here is the stickered up channel vehicles that are out and about.
 
May 1, 2004
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Springfield, IL
www.skip.cc
@Skip Talbot just wanted to check in and see when your video analysis of this event will be available. I am anxious to see it and I am sure many others are as well 😀
Just incredibly busy with family and work, but I am very much still working on this. Even though it's been over three months, additional information and material is emerging regularly. Just yesterday I received another video from one of SLT's guests showing the most critical decision making moment in the chase. The amount of material in and length of this project has really ballooned beyond what I anticipated, but I felt it was important to cover every relevant angle and precisely, even if it meant taking considerably longer to complete. I have pretty much all the material assembled and hope to have this posted in the next week or two.
 
Feb 27, 2009
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Texarkana, AR
I came into this discussion not really feeling empathy for those in the group that were injured and upset. I'm sure that ruffled feathers. I've not personally known someone killed or injured while chasing, so this did not effect me on a deeper emotional level. I do try to understand differing viewpoints. I feel bad for those involved. And I appreciate the passion some have in desiring safety for everyone.

I've looked at this several times now. I have tried to come to logical conclusions based on what is available. I'll share some questions I have.

SLT was to the NE of the meso early on with eyes back toward the SW. This is good positioning, especially on a storm like this with most of the forward flank rain extending to the North. After this incident maybe few tours will be getting into this position again, but it was good positioning. They probably were not even getting rained on. Then they drive east as the storm gets closer and a new area of broad rotation and convergence takes shape to the N of the previous velocity couplet, which seems to be weakening. They eventually turn North... then back South, and we're struck by a tornado in heavy rain that was associated with the previously mentioned couplet.

Its interesting to me that the smaller EF2 vortex was likely *becoming* satellite to the area to the North, even though this was certainly not a typical satellite. There may be disagreement with that statement...but how was SLT to know they were not hit by a satellite at the time? Would any of us in the same situation claim otherwise? Seems no one knew the ef2 existed until they were either impacted or nearly impacted. Looking at the high res data we can say with more certainty what happened and what those involved should have said and done, but of course, it's always easy to make judgements looking back.


@Skip Talbot shared an annotated screen grab that puts the EF4 developing behind the EF2. Yes when the EF4 actually touched down they were very close, perhaps behind, but where was the EF4 predevelopment action going on previous to SLT getting hit? Generally new tornadoes come from new areas of the updraft. If the EF2 was basically spinning itself out, then I don't see that meso causing the EF4. A new area is what SLT would have been trying to get into position to see. And an area to watch for new development, based on velocity data, was to the North.

Another thing I have trouble with is that radar shows Quincy to be inside the bounds of rain produced by the storm rfd, but his video at the identical time seems to contradict that and shows what appears to be HP structure to the W. This is confusing. He even says something like "they were in the thick of it", When according to video the RFD gust front was still to the west. Keep in mind, this is 170 degree field of view. Is this HP structure in the video grab associated with only the small EF2 circulation and heavy rain wrapping it?... while they are in broader area of rear flank rain from the storm overall? That is the only thing that makes sense to me. Maybe something is going on that I'm not understanding.

Also, to have a new meso form somewhere downstream of a weakening roping tornado associated with an occlusion is common. @Devin Pitts shared a post on this. Major difference being the roping tornado in his image is not wrapped in rain. The occlusion usually trails off on a more northward path, but perhaps this small circulation and tornado got caught up in the overall effects of the storms broad rotation as it traveled slightly faster around the south side.

Just the way people use the term mesocyclone is confusing in this discussion and there are different ways to look at this. The new area, whatever you want to call it appears to be around a mile to a mile and one half N at the time of the incident. SLT claimed 2 miles. That is a reasonable misjudgement.

So is all of this occurring behind the rfd gust front and heavier rain, or is the new development N of there? I personally think velocity data in conjunction with the video frame shows it was N of the RFD gust front associated with the EF2. That is not a surprising scenario is it? That is why Quincy and SLT were there trying to lay eyes on something. Maybe there is video out there or something that would totally change my perspective. I obviously could have it all wrong. It would be only a few minutes later that the Ef4 touches down, so It had to come from somewhere. Looks like the EF2 slightly out paces the begginings of the EF4 as the broader area of rotation sort of shifts south and tightens up. The EF2 eventually winds up in front, or merges.

I very likely could be wrong with these assumptions. If anyone that has offered points of analysis wants to correct or add to, please do. I'm also content to wait for the video. No one else seems to be giving much feedback and If nothing else, questions can help with knowing what even needs to be addressed.
 
May 1, 2004
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Springfield, IL
www.skip.cc
SLT was to the NE of the meso early on with eyes back toward the SW. This is good positioning .... Then they drive east as the storm gets closer
Totally agree.

and a new area of broad rotation and convergence takes shape to the N of the previous velocity couplet, which seems to be weakening.
This is where both their chase starts to go bad, and where our understanding of this storm diverges. One of the points I'm going to try to convey is that, what appears to be the center of broad rotation on velocity, is not actually where the storm's low level mesocyclone is located. The area to the north is the inflow and RFD surge that kicked off tornadogenesis, and these surges are not located where tornadogenesis would eventually occur.

Davies' analysis shows the next cycle of the mesocyclone, the broad rotation indicated on velocity to the north, initially tracking southeast, before it then turns left to the northeast, just as it produced the EF4, following a very similar course as the previous EF2. Doesn't that southeast motion strike you as bizarre, and the turn to the northeast to follow the same track a strange coincidence? I'm suggesting the "storm" and mesocyclone were not moving southeast and then turned northeast. The rotation, and indeed convergence to the north, were winds feeding into a mesocyclone that was *always* to the south. The area to the north was converging inflow band. I hope to have some really strong visuals and analogs for the presentation so that you don't have to just take my word for it here, but that's the point I'm going to try to argue in case you guys have better ideas or additional feedback. But I think one can make a really strong case for this by not getting hung up on (and perhaps misinterpreting) the velocity. The reflectivity shows the same structure, moving northeast the entire time. The visuals of the storm itself, what should be the most important decision making "data", show the same structure, moving northeast the entire time. Yes, the EF4 may have actually turned left as it was developing. It was probably orbiting the rim of the mesocyclone before it settled in the center. The parent mesocyclone, however, was always moving northeast and was always on that same northeast track which produced both tornadoes.

how was SLT to know they were not hit by a satellite at the time?
The visual structure indicates the impacting EF2 was colocated with the primary/mature mesocyclone cycle. The visual structure indicates this is where you'd expect the main tornado to be, not a satellite. It's a misinterpretation of the radar to think of it as a satellite at that point. That evolution came afterwards because, again, the area to the north was not the location of the next cycle, it was mainly the winds converging into the next cycle. This will make more sense with some visuals I hope.


Seems no one knew the ef2 existed until they were either impacted or nearly impacted.
Both the NWS and broadcast media had a really solid handle on the couplet that produced the EF2. I don't fault chasers for not following every second of the radio and matching it down to the street. But the tornado warning absolutely pegged this tornado. The media had the location down to a T. Both with ample lead time. I'd hope chasers are following one of those sources at least. This tornado was not a surprise.


Generally new tornadoes come from new areas of the updraft. If the EF2 was basically spinning itself out, then I don't see that meso causing the EF4. A new area is what SLT would have been trying to get into position to see. And an area to watch for new development, based on velocity data, was to the North.
You're totally right that the EF4 came from a new cycle. You often see that new cycle displaced to the north. But it wasn't on this storm. That cycle occurred in the immediate vicinity of the old one. That's probably why the EF2 acted like a satellite. There simply wasn't enough spacing as the storm cycled and it got entrained. I have a really good analog for this too (Pilger/Wakefield). For whatever reason, maybe shear vectors keeping the cycles on the same line, the new meso developed on the same track as the old one.

Another thing I have trouble with is that radar shows Quincy to be inside the bounds of rain produced by the storm rfd, but his video at the identical time seems to contradict that and shows what appears to be HP structure to the W.
I was really surprised to see how well the RFD core and RFD gust front were defined on this storm. Looking at the reflectivity initially, I'd have imagined SLT drove into steadily increasing rain with 0 structure and a tornado somewhere in the middle of that. But instead the visuals show really well defined Bear's Cage structure. I think this is simply a limitation of the reflectivity at that range. The beam is hitting a few thousand feet up into the storm, where there is no doubt a ton of precipitation loading. If the 88D was closer, you'd probably see a much tighter ball at the end of a hook. There was pretty decent precip falling ahead of the RFD gust front too, however, so it wouldn't have looked totally clean.

The new area, whatever you want to call it appears to be around a mile to a mile and one half N at the time of the incident. SLT claimed 2 miles. That is a reasonable misjudgement.
One might be mislead into thinking so looking at the velocity. The visuals, however, showed the new area forming basically on their heads.

So is all of this occurring behind the rfd gust front and heavier rain
Yes.

The chaser hopes that a cycle occurs in (relatively) clear air to the north/northeast when positioning in the notch of an HP, or at least on the RFD/inflow notch interface where it's still somewhat visible. And indeed this is probably what everyone was doing when they were gunning for that position (if they knew what they were doing). However, this storm did not cycle in such a fashion, to the northeast in the notch. It cycled just behind the RFD gust front, maybe a half mile from the old cycle and ongoing tornado. I really hope that visual examples in this presentation make a strong case for this. It's a grave mistake to get in the notch, see no tornado, and then turn a blind eye on the dangers lurking in the mature Bear's Cage of which you're about to core punch.

If nothing else, questions can help with knowing what even needs to be addressed.
Yes, thank you. These discussion have helped tremendously in highlighting the areas that most need our attention. Hopefully a video presentation with such focus can do some real good in advancing chaser safety, rather than simply describing how a colossal screw-up happened.
 
Jul 5, 2009
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I wasn't aware a person could sue on the grounds another person contacted another person. Is there some language in the waiver that gives SLT rights over all guests' future communications?
Quincy said legal action is being taken against him for his analysis and statements about the incident, so I assume the charges are along the lines of slander/libel and probably has nothing to do with agreements/waivers between SLT and its tour guests (although I get what you are saying, if SLT did have rights over post-trip communications, this could be about Quincy sharing those communications).

Quincy is not the only one that offered analysis and opinion about this incident, so I don’t know why he is being targeted; the only difference is that he had contact with a tour guest, and I really can’t imagine anything that could be wrong with that.

Quincy is probably constrained in how much he can say about this situation here, but any such action is unfortunate and seems completely without merit. I would be hugely disappointed if it were SLT threatening action just to coerce him into not assisting the guest that contacted him. Quincy I hope everything turns out OK with this.
 
Jun 16, 2015
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quincyvagell.com
I am limiting how much I discuss this publicly, but I do find it odd that after my video analysis was posted, no one contacted me to refute the video, or to request that I take it down. Instead, two tour members commented with replies that appeared to have negative intent. It wasn’t until the past week, about 8 weeks after the video was published, that I was contacted by a law firm. This, in my opinion, was triggered immediately after at least two past tour guests initiated contact with/toward me on the subject. I will also say that anything said in this thread is being closely monitored by several parties. It’s a shame that it’s come to all this, but I am taking a stand for what I believe is right.
 

Peter Potvin

Staff member
May 20, 2018
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Pembroke, ON, Canada
It has been brought to my attention that there is some speculation making it's rounds on the internet regarding some posts in this thread being deleted by Moderation. Please note that this thread (and most of our website) is constantly being moderated, in order to control the quality of content posted to our platform(s). Also, any posts and/or content that violate our Terms of Service will be removed at the discretion of Moderation.

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Peter Potvin
Stormtrack Forum & Discord Administrator
 
I have refrained from posting since my initial responses to this thread. However, I am confused and would like some clarification and have a few questions.

What are we actually saying or implying in this thread?

@Skip Talbot are “we” saying/suggesting that Jon Davies, a 40+ year meteorologist who has written a number of peer review publications is wrong in his analysis?

Are “we” saying that the Hills acted with gross negligence? And thus should be held accountable?

Are “we” saying that the Hills lost situational awareness which led to this incident?

Are “we” saying that this incident was totally preventable and by proxy, why YOU are reviewing and doing a safety “guideline” for such situation?

Are “we” saying that in light of all relevant facts (in relationship to the RFD surge/tornado) the Hills made a crucial error in judgment?

Or are “we” saying/validating all of the above questions/comments?

I gotta say, I’m pretty damned confused as to the actual dialog we are trying to have here. Furthermore, I’m VERY confused as to the outlined “safety guideline/diagram” explained to @Dan Robinson.
While I more than applauded the effort to educate, I have disdain for the manner in which it is being done. Let me elaborate...

I recall an incident in May of 2010 when you helped me on one of my tours @Skip Talbot. As is outlined on your website, Skip, The event unfolded just south of Woodward, OK with a tornado warned HP supercell (as I’m sure you will remember)
I HALTED the tour as we were traveling towards Woodward due to this VERY issue. The supercell exhibited classic RFD surge with absolutely NO noticeable tornado from our view point to the west northwest or due west/southwest. However, the northern end of the whales mouth was evident to overtake us had we continued on current course. If you recall, I halted the tour, moved us back southeast and waited. You almost blew a gasket at my decision, citing that “you didn’t understand why we were not moving into position and that you didn’t understand because the RFD was just outflow gust front”.

I tried to explain to you, Matt G, Phill and all guests, the dangerous position we would ultimately be putting ourselves in by showing you velocity from KVNX, KDDC and KTLX reflectivity. Our discussion evolved around just how dangerous the RFF would or could be. I’m guessing I don’t have to share the video to jog your memory. I discussed the special that was launched with you and I explained the Skew-t in regards to the TD spread to validate the HP and to try and reflect our low vis. conundrum we would be in should we continue. This wasn’t fear talking ...it was experience. The mood then became somber and went so far as to question my ability or more descriptive, my inability and lack of wanting to “get close”.

In all actuality, it had nothing to do with getting “close” but simply stated - not being stupid. Admittedly, I do not believe the supercell ever produced a tornado. That should be stated. However, it should also be understood and stated that YOU wanted to chance the situation - with tour guests no less. A situation with a surging RFD - much the same as has been described.

Thus, the question begs an answer...what are “we” actually trying to say or what kind of dialog are we trying to have here regarding the Hills? Because if it’s truly safety related, then I would throw extreme caution when some of “us” are guilty of the very thing we are condemning. I’d also throw caution to this blame game that still seems to be a priority in this thread.

I look forward to your analysis @Skip Talbot
I highly appreciate and VALUE the contributions you have brought to the community immensely, most particularly since that fateful May Day in 2013. But I think it behooves is ALL to not forget our past prior to condemning the actions or inactions of the Hills.

If I may, I’d like to point out a few facts regarding the legalities of non disclosure, but only as it relates to tour guests. I will refrain from any talk/communication regarding liability waivers for obvious reasons.

1) No tour company could possibly obtain or otherwise hold tour guests to a non-disclosure agreement. To think or otherwise imply is outlandish. I have ALL my guides, drivers and anyone helping sign a non-disclosure (just as Skip was required). The legal ramifications of this should be self explanatory.
2) Even *if* a tour company required and obtained a non-disclosure from guests, it could NOT be upheld legally. I know this from experience.

@Quincy Vagell I know our view points differ MUCH on this situation but FWIW, I am sorry you have been contacted legally. I’m sorry all of this has happened to all parties. But I enjoyed the insight you brought due to your location and position in relationship to the supercell. Your video has been very helpful and while we may not have the same opinions or thought process, I do not believe that even Jon Davies would have been able to complete his analysis without knowledge of it.

Just as everyone else in this thread, I’m curious as to what transpires and how this evolves. I must say that as a friend of Rogers, and also a colleague, I continue to support him. I know that doesn’t win a popularity contest - but I’ve never much given a damn for being popular anyways. What you see is what you get.

As far as the meteorological aspect,
@Skip Talbot I am anxiously awaiting your video analysis with the hopes that it will also shed some additional light on the subject.
 
So I'm confused as someone with a journalism background. Has Quincy been served with an actual civil action or was he told to "cease and desist" regarding comments related to this event? A person cannot be pursued for comments or opinions, unless (basically) such comments are known to be false in nature and intended to harm. The bar is actually quite high and you would also have to prove damages. If a law firm is concerned about comments, it might be best for them to issue some kind of blanket statement if they are concerned about false or misleading information being distributed to avoid further damages. As I said before, I would suggest everyone wait until all the facts about this accident are known before making "factual" comments or reconstructing events in a detailed presentation.
 
So I'm confused as someone with a journalism background. Has Quincy been served with an actual civil action or was he told to "cease and desist" regarding comments related to this event? A person cannot be pursued for comments or opinions, unless (basically) such comments are known to be false in nature and intended to harm. The bar is actually quite high and you would also have to prove damages. If a law firm is concerned about comments, it might be best for them to issue some kind of blanket statement if they are concerned about false or misleading information being distributed to avoid further damages. As I said before, I would suggest everyone wait until all the facts about this accident are known before making "factual" comments or reconstructing events in a detailed presentation.
@Warren Faidley Very good question. The verbiage indicated he was contacted, but I’d only be assuming as to the degree. I agree totally with waiting until ALL relevant facts are in. Hence my original post hinting at such. Your post made me question if any additional surveys or analysis could be construed as admissible? IDK.

What I do know is that Roger and Caryn are good people despite what has transpired. I sure hope to heavens that nothing ever happens to anyone on this forum - as it would be a shit show like this has turned out to be.
 
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Jun 16, 2015
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Oklahoma City, OK
quincyvagell.com
I have been served with several legal documents, including a “notice of intent to commence legal action and demand for preservation of all evidence,” which relates back to posts in this thread not being deleted (unless they violate Terms of Service).

I would rather refrain from getting into every detail, but I will say that the Cease and Desist letter is very curious. It says that I must immediately cease all communication with all past tour guests of said company, but there is no legal standing for that. This is especially true when those parties have either initiated contact with me, engaged in comments on my YouTube video and/or posted replies in this thread regarding my analysis. The letter also makes detailed, but often inaccurate (or misleading) implications about me, the storm and even National Weather Service tornado warnings prior to and during the event in question.

While I will not go into every detail, I will continue to stand my ground on what I believe is right. As a meteorologist and a storm chaser who was very close to the incident, in both time and location, I feel as if I have the right and arguably a moral obligation to share my opinions of what took place.

As I said from the start, I acknowledge and admit that I was too close to the initial tornado. Whether or not there was convincing evidence that the first tornado had been in progress for more than 10+ minutes prior to the incident, I will continue to argue that it is hard to defend a position that would have put anyone in the direct path of the initial tornado. Just because you cannot see a tornado does not mean that there is not one and if should be noted that tour drivers, after my analysis and well after the final storm surveys and public statements from the National Weather Service, made factually false, or at the very least, misleading, claims in order to justify decisions made on May 28, 2019.

Reference this publically posted safety statement
We will NEVER stop in close proximity to a tornado unless there is a proper escape route. We do not take unneeded risks around a storm and view them from safe distances and safe vantage points.
and decide for yourself if this seems to coincide with what happened leading up to and during the time of the incident.

UPDATE: Speaking of irony, while I was served a “demand for preservation of all evidence,” I just noticed that within the past 24 hours, at least one tour van driver has deleted their comment(s) on my analysis video. I will not delete any comments, in order to preserve evidence, but it makes you wonder why tour driver(s) are now deleting their comments after the demand was served. Maybe it was to take back misleading claims. Again, I’ll leave that for you to decide.

For the record, I did save those comment(s) prior to deletion.
 
Nov 13, 2017
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What I do know is that Roger and Caryn are good people despite what has transpired.
I have never met the Hills, or you, or as far as I know anyone actually involved in this situation, but I gotta say that "what has transpired" leads me to believe that you are wrong. If you want to stick your neck out for your friends, you might consider reaching out to them and suggest they start doing the right thing as opposed to, oh, I don't know, literally everything they have done since the afternoon of May 28.
 
Jan 31, 2017
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I have been served with several legal documents, including a “notice of intent to commence legal action and demand for preservation of all evidence,” which relates back to posts in this thread not being deleted (unless they violate Terms of Service).

I would rather refrain from getting into every detail, but I will say that the Cease and Desist letter is very curious. It says that I must immediately cease all communication with all past tour guests of said company, but there is no legal standing for that. This is especially true when those parties have either initiated contact with me, engaged in comments on my YouTube video and/or posted replies in this thread regarding my analysis. The letter also makes detailed, but often inaccurate (or misleading) implications about me, the storm and even National Weather Service tornado warnings prior to and during the event in question.
It sounds like intimidation, a Hail Mary effort to muzzle a credible critic. They seek to regulate who you can talk to. That's fishy. A lawyer once told me, "You can sue anyone for anything, but that doesn't mean you'll win." I haven't read your analysis because, frankly, I would not understand. You'd have better luck teaching a dog to use a can opener. But you seem mature enough to refrain from libelous and slanderous statements like, "SLT deliberately put people's lives at risk." That *would* invite a lawsuit.

I hate bullies. If you start a legal defense fund, let me know. I will contribute.
 
I have never met the Hills, or you, or as far as I know anyone actually involved in this situation, but I gotta say that "what has transpired" leads me to believe that you are wrong. If you want to stick your neck out for your friends, you might consider reaching out to them and suggest they start doing the right thing as opposed to, oh, I don't know, literally everything they have done since the afternoon of May 28.
I have remained civil, forthcoming and transparent with my posting. I’ve kept posting to a minimum because Ive had nothing of value to add and because I did not want my views or replies to be misconstrued as personal attacks ad -hock or the like. I would ask the same of you, Spencer.
-LFD
 
Nov 13, 2017
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As far as I know, I’ve remained civil and will continue to do so, and I have avoided personal attacks. Could you please direct me to where that is not so so that I may correct it?

Is digging up decade old dirt on someone arranging and presenting facts for public consumption your way of remaining “transparent” and “forthcoming?” It seems like you are more inclined to take a shot at the knees, or, in your words, engaging in “personal attacks.”

I’d love to have a discussion with you about your motivations for being here, but you seem unwilling to hold yourself to the same standards you apparently expect of me.