Silver Lining Tours vans rolled in Kansas

Jan 16, 2009
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Kansas City
What a "normally careful person" would do to me in this case is what a seasoned chaser would/should do. There was a tornado warning on a large HP cell with a report of a tornado already on the ground. Even if they did not see my report yet it is a warned cell that showed strong rotation coming right towards you.

No one drives through that cell getting in the path of the tornado especially with multiple lives on the line. Just a very bad decision and they were lucky no one was killed.
 
Sep 5, 2019
11
55
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Newtown, PA
Did SLT exercise reasonable care under the circumstances to protect us from harm? For more than half an hour before we were hit by the tornado, local news stations were warning of a “dangerous situation” with “intense circulation" cloaked by rain – including the “strong possibility of a tornado” hidden in the rain – moving NE towards and into SW Douglas County. One example on KCTV Kansas City at 5:52 p.m. (about 10 minutes before we were hit in the area covered by the warning): “What makes this storm so incredibly dangerous right now is that you just can’t see it. It’s completely camouflaged [by rain].” Residents were urged to take shelter.

I look forward to further analysis by chasers, but shouldn’t a highly-experienced storm chasing tour operator responsible for the lives and safety of tour guests (and who boasts of state-of-the-art weather data technology) know – or be expected to know – at least as much as anyone with a TV, radio or news app? If so, it’s hard to see how driving into that mess can be regarded as “reasonable.”
 
I’m not an attorney so I am only wondering, but it would be interesting to know whether the legal view would be:

“A normally careful person should have taken cover while in an area under tornado warning as instructed by the warning, therefore they are already viewed as negligent regardless of specific actions or routes taken under the HP”,

OR

“A normally careful person IN A GIVEN SITUATION is in this case a storm chasing tour operator with guests that wanted to see a tornado and therefore it is completely understandable that they were in the area and should not be expected to have taken cover; in other words, they were NOT negligent just by being in the vicinity, only their actions while under the HP are subject to evaluation for negligence”
This can depend on personal preference of whoever is judging the case I guess but I find the point interesting as taking storm chasing completely apart from meteorology would set precedents on what is recognized as a safe behavior from fellow storm chasers. There is some part of me that would be curious about how this would be debated in the legal system with people having authority but no experience on the matter.
 
Nov 13, 2017
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Illinois
I look forward to further analysis by chasers, but shouldn’t a highly-experienced storm chasing tour operator responsible for the lives and safety of tour guests (and who boasts of state-of-the-art weather data technology) know – or be expected to know – at least as much as anyone with a TV, radio or news app? If so, it’s hard to see how driving into that mess can be regarded as “reasonable.”
To answer your completely rhetorical question, they did. They were more than aware that they were not going to see that deeply rain-wrapped tornado, just as any veteran or even remotely seasoned chaser is, without making a dangerously close approach in conditions where they would not be in full control. It’s a risk many of us run when we’re chasing. Good luck finding any saints in here who have actually seen tornadoes and haven’t tried to get a buried and heavily HP tornado. But knowing how dangerous such maneuvers are and choosing to do so anyway with tour guests boggles my mind.
 
Sep 5, 2019
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Newtown, PA
It’s a risk many of us run when we’re chasing....But knowing how dangerous such maneuvers are and choosing to do so anyway with tour guests boggles my mind.
Yup. There’s a huge difference between chasing alone and being responsible for the safety of tour guests. Although a liability waiver may provide some protection, it's not unlimited. Enforcement of a waiver can be dependent on the gravity of the conduct that caused the guest's injuries.
 
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B. Dean Berry

Moderator
May 25, 2014
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It's been ruled before that, regardless of waivers, human rights to life and bodily integrity, can not be adequately waived.
 
Jun 1, 2008
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Trimble MO
www.jondavies.net
I don't post on forums much these days, as life is just too busy on a variety of fronts. But someone told me I should revisit this thread to clear up some possible misinterpretations of my recent work.

First, I need to say I feel deeply for anyone who was hurt in the May 28 northeast KS tornado. I've seen too many lives upended and damaged by tornadoes.

On a meteorological level, at no point did I indicate that any mesocyclones in the area southwest of Lawrence on May 28 were moving "southeastward" (not sure where Skip got that impression). On NWS Topeka radar images and from the tornado tracks I surveyed (even walking into some wooded areas), the two mesocyclones involved were both moving toward the east-northeast.

There's also been some assertion that the large EF3/EF4 tornado on May 28 came from the same mesocyclone that crossed into Douglas County KS southeast of Overbrook, and that the mesocyclone visible west of Lone Star Lake around 6:00 pm CDT was only "inflow" to the occluded meso wrapped up in rain to its south. Storm-relative velocity and other images below show that's not the case, where _new_ inflow velocities, convergence, and meso formation are evident _north_ of the original meso, causing the original meso (and small tornado) to interact and merge with the new and intensifying meso.

052819meso_merger_rdr_twx_3-pnl.jpg

052819meso_merger_map_crop.jpg

Also, I'll emphasize that things were evolving very rapidly over southwest Douglas County KS that afternoon. The average storm motion was 35-40 mph, and there's indication from radar that the small rain-wrapped EF2 tornado just south and east of Lone Star Lake was at one point moving as fast as 50 mph or more (see above) before it merged into the larger/newer mesocyclone and developing large tornado northeast of Lone Star Lake.

In such a rapidly evolving HP storm situation it is very difficult for both spotters and chasers (myself included, even with 30+ years experience) to interpret everything going on. I think we all fall prey at times to what's called hindsight bias in psychology, where there's a tendency to perceive events after the fact as having been more predictable and understandable than they actually were in real time. If I were chasing this storm, I can't say for sure that I wouldn't have gotten myself into trouble with the rapidly surging RFD from the southwest. Road options also weren't good to the east of Lone Star Lake, as that road becomes dirt and T-bones into a wooded area a couple miles east of the lake, not a good escape route.

With that said, I think this event is a great opportunity to push for better awareness and training on HP storms for spotters and chasers. HP supercells are often very confusing regarding visual structure and evolution, especially when the movement is rather fast, and surging wet RFDs are involved. Such supercells tend to get short shrift in spotter training seminars, even though HPs are very common in the eastern 1/2 of the US. Experienced spotters and chasers (myself included) misinterpret things more often than you'd think when evolution is fast and visibility not the greatest.

As Dan Robinson mentioned, this thread has also driven home the danger of different radar data sources, where the smaller meso and tornado were not really visible at times on level III data compared to level II (thanks to Darren Lo's earlier post). I had not seen such a graphic example of that problem before, and radar users need to really be _aware_ of that.

Thanks to posters like Dan Robinson and Lanny Dean who pointed out the similarities between this case and Hesston/Goessel in 1990, which really got me interested in it. I'm working on a paper documenting this and some other issues with HP supercells (as time permits). Some good discussion and information here.
 

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Back in the day, e.g., before mobile radar, the way we chased was based on experience and visuals. It was rare to enter any type of heavy precipitation, unless you were able to witness the cell's complete life cycle and had a good idea of how the storm was evolving and behaving. We concentrated almost exclusively on newly-formed storms with rain free updrafts, which offered the best chances of a good tornado with acceptable contrast. Identifying a HP cell by visuals was easy, even before we had access to upper air data and radar. We also treated HP's like a rhinoceros. After years of fighting heavy precipitation and driving for countless, stressful hours trying to get a glimpse of a brief, low-contrast tornado, I took HP's off my pursuit list. Anyone who chases with me is advised of this.

In some ways, I believe access to mobile radar has made chasing more dangerous. I think it's a fool's trap to try and surgically disect cells by the over use of radar. I've also noticed a serious disconnect between the visual references I've learned and timing. For example, calculating the critical "next road" to avoid a hail shaft by visual signs does not always match what the radar is suggesting. I've found myself going back to my "gut feelings" on numerous occasions and I was right. Radar can fail by any number of reasons including user error (missing updates), or by data loss. I use radar mostly to: decide where to chase, which storm to chase, avoid chaser convergence (Spotter Network), avoid hail, active tracking and determine velocities so I can set-up in time. Radar is my best friend at night when returning from a chase because visuals are not present. I do not get so close to the action that I need to study individual pixels to determine if velocities are just feet away. Storms simply evolve too fast for that to work. As always, chasing is a personal choice and I'm not implying any of this relates to the current situation, but new chasers should not become too reliant on chasing by radar only.
 
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Just want to jump back in here and thank @Jon Davies for taking time to post a detailed response and elaborate on the subject. Actually taking time and walking parts of the damage areas to do his analysis certainly reflects his level of commitment.

I am curious as to the “merger/handoff” and look forward to any additional info or updated analysis. Please keep us updated Jon!

Spending about another 6-8 hours reviewing KTWX data (both reflectivity & velocity) as well as watching videos, it appears there is a little insight regarding the second mesocyclone formation. The data does not suggest or reflect that the second mesocyclone formed well behind the surging tornadic RFD, but rather in a very fluid, dynamic, and ever evolving area ahead of or right along (more likely) of it. From here it is very ambiguous - meaning it seems a little unclear as to the exacts of the original mesocyclone that was cloaked in rain and ultimately being pulled in to the secondary mesocyclone as explained in great detail by Jon. As such, I can now honestly say that as a 29 year veteran and from a meteorological standpoint - I very well may have been in a bad situation had I been on this event. Hell, I don’t even know what to call this exactly...a merger? A handoff? This is the question for the possible similarities and correlation between Hesston/Gossell event in 90’

As such, there are a few things of interest I noted and wanted to make mention of and or question:

1) Looking at the road network from near Lone Star Lake and the “east option” - it appears the east option turned into a road nightmare ultimately ending up in gravel roads with only a north/south options. For those that took this east option, what was the experience like? In other words, was it truly a safe and viable option in your opinions?
I believe @Quincy Vagell you went east correct? I’m trying to get a bearing on the exacts of this option because it would appear that the entire northern convergence and associated mesocyclone with a non tornadic RFD (at that point) and ultimate LARGE TORNADO engulfed the area just to the east. I mention this because I do not know if going east would have been an option that I would have personally chosen — given the fact that you would be placing yourself into an even worse position? The east option would have left me little to no room for error due to the road network. I would have not chosen this option.

2) The “north option” was obviously a bad call as one would basically be driving into a convergence area and newly formed mesocyclone right overhead as it moved east northeast. Thus, this would lead me to question that option had I been there in the exact spot as Roger/SLT. I would have avoided this option as well.

3) Obviously no west option existed.

4) Thinking totally analytical here... the south option has the least possible “associated threats” *from experience* understanding that I am referring to *at the exact time SLT decided to move south*. In short, I don’t know that I would have done anything different *if* put in the same position. Which actually scares the hell out of me. Obviously I am playing Monday morning quarterback here.

If we didn’t know, we obviously learned that you do not place yourself in the path of the oncoming HP on 5-31-2013. But this is an entirely different situation. As mentioned, very fluid, dynamic and ever changing. Given all relevant facts (data, position, topography, road network) the tornado was “small”, buried within the RFD surge and while an area of concern and should be given extreme caution, not likely an area that I myself would not have driven into to escape or reposition. Guests or no guests.

What I am saying publicly is that as another tour owner, a veteran of the game and meteorologically speaking, I would have likely made the same decisions *If* I had been in Rogers position and that I understand his thought process now. After spending almost 40 hours reviewing the data, and above listed topics, I think I understand his position totally (situational speaking).
I would also go so far to say that I even understand why he thought it was a satellite tornado *at the time*. Let me explain:

Given the distance (or lack of) between the mesocyclone’s times and locations as @Skip Talbot highlighted - it might be perceived that this was 1 mesocyclone/cyclical HP supercell. You decide to escape or even just reposition and less than a mile down the road to the south (less than 60-120 seconds @50-60mph later) you’ve got a tornado buried deep in the RFD surge that is coming right at you. We all knew pretty quick that it wasn’t a satellite tornado BUT ONLY *after the fact* or after those who were there were kind enough to share their video. How many times have we ALL done this or experienced this? Even other tour companies just as I mentioned in my original post. That’s a rhetorical question FYI.

Some have suggested and have questioned my stance and recently questioned my previous analogy as anecdotal and hinted at “character questioning”. This is absurd to me. Simply stated one more time for clarity sake, I have no hidden agenda here. Let’s look at this logically....If this situation causes the Hills/SLT go “belly up” would it not be beneficial for me as a business owner in the same line of established hard work? Of course it would. But that’s not my position. As far as my analogy, I was merely using a past event to highlight that we have ALL been in a position that may not be clearly defined or understood as dangerous. Nothing more, nothing less. Therefore I’m not going to reply to the last question/post directed at me as it would likely land me in ST “jail”. As I said in my original post, I’m just thankful everyone walked away. It certainly could have been much worse.

I anxiously await @Skip Talbot s analysis with the hopes that it might shed additional light on the subject.
 
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anthonyj

Enthusiast
Sep 16, 2019
3
7
1
Daytona Beach
Good morning fellow chasers, I’ve been watching this story for some time now and felt I should share some of what I thought were obvious conclusions and some conflicts of interest.

First, according to the meteorological data/damage path, analysis showed this was a mistake to drive into the path of a tornado warned HP supercell with vans loaded full of tourists. Visibility was poor and this was not a surprise event. It seems very few people continue to try and defend the obvious and still suggest “they did the right thing.” This is not a reasonable nor scientific/safe stance to hold, according to the evidence we have now.

There was a tornado warning and a tornado was on the ground for some time. The tornado warning was spot on for the area to be hit. And this was not the first time Roger got “too close.” There appears to be some YouTube videos and major media articles where he did something similar. Why beep a horn and speed in a van loaded with people as if you’re an emergency vehicle dispatched to a call fighting traffic? Why suggest “don’t stop for nothing” when we all know chasers have a high risk for traffic accident fatalities from crashing into someone else as in not even from a tornado but the traffic itself? Have we not learned anything? Besides getting hit by a tornado, Silver Lining Tours seems to be at high risk of a traffic accident based on numerous videos of them and news articles that described past events. Has anyone seen the videos or read the articles like the one from Joplin KSPR?

Quote: "We're not stopping. I don't care what happens. You gotta go gang, you gotta go! We're about to get wacked right here." Does not stopping mean for stop lights and stop signs too?

Quote: “Roger Hill, lead storm chaser, came over the intercom in the van saying ""Don't even stop! Just go! Go! Get the hell out of here!" This is when Matt says he thought he was going to die.”

Here we have it again… don’t even stop. To any reasonable person that means a suggestion to run stop signs and red lights. What kind of a reasonable person thinks this is a good idea with vans loaded full of people rushing around inclement weather situations? And then now we have the Douglas County, KS situation. Surprised?

So we have this being done during low visibility, poor surface conditions, and we all know how the general public behaves during tornado warnings. Water makes things slick. You’re going to have these vans full of people, low visibility, heavy rain, and then a tornado, rushing to do what? Talk about traffic fatalities waiting to happen. I think they are at a higher risk of a fatal traffic collision than a tornado but the tornado got them first.

Second, it was bizarre to see a very small handful of people running around defending Roger/SLT, mostly through insulting and personal attacks and flat out denial of the scientific obvious evidence in front of them. What I think accounts for some of this is a personal conflict of interest. It seems some of the people doing mental gymnastics to defend what Roger did have some kind of personal conflict going on that makes them biased.

I couldn’t believe any storm chaser and especially experienced meteorologist could even try and defend driving vans loaded with people this close. Don’t forget the suggestion of speeding and running stop signs with vans loaded full of people in stormy weather?????? Numerous media interviews like the California paper interview had a tour guest that said Roger told them they were expecting a tornado and that visibility was bad, and that’s what Roger told the tourists before the event happened. The tornado didn’t suddenly form on top of them. This was not a surprise. Nobody else that day got hit. According to KC meteorologists in the TV industry, they mentioned there were a lot of people out watching that day. None of them got hit except Roger.

Back to the conflict of interest issue...

Quote: “John Davies recommends signing up with a storm tour like those led by Denver-based Roger Hill” From Google…

Anyone that has this kind of relationship with Roger Hill could be interpreted as having a conflict of interest relationship and should probably excuse themselves from unbiased analysis of this event, that’s how it should work professionally. I would imagine a court would dismiss an “expert witness” if there was any evidence of a conflict of interest.

I think it’s good that some high profile meteorologists have YouTube videos and articles about this event to clearly communicate with the public that HP supercell tornadoes are hard to see and that you should never get this close. I was so interested in this story I reached out to at least a dozen practicing atmospheric science professors and TV weather figures. Every full time employed meteorologist I've interviewed regarding this event has come to the same conclusion. 1. They got too close. 2. This was not a surprise. 3. This was not a satellite tornado. 4. Similar situations have happened before. 5. Driving fast or running stop signs during stormy weather is not safe. They took a stand for science and safety. It’s important to be safe and to have situational awareness. I've asked them to come post what they emailed me here but they declined. I did hear that there may be a Kansas newpaper article about this story coming out but no publish date was mentioned.

The denial and personal attacks are sort of sad. One person (who is posting in this thread) actually attacked an earth and atmo science professor. I think the same one attacked a TV meteorologists accusing him of not being a "real meteorologist" because he said SLT got too close and made a mistake. Attacking professionals that come to reasonable evidence based conclusions really just makes you look bad. The harder you try to defend and deny, the worse you look. I’m not even addressing the injury accusations element here about supposidely not calling and checking on the people in the hospital. Or the remarks about minor injuries. I'm not sure who's telling the truth there. But the main issue is unsafe driving and getting too close with loads of people in vans. There just doesn’t appear to be any ownership or responsibility. I am astonished that a “tour” operator could walk away from this with no legal, financial, or reputation penalty.

I think it’s important to know when you’ve made a mistake and take ownership of it. I don’t see any ownership of this “mistake” and it’s almost comical to see such a small number of people continue to try and deny the obvious. The storm chasing community is doing the right thing by promoting safety. Nobody wants to see a van load of dead people and we almost had that in this situation. Safe storm chasing means you don’t put yourself in the position of having to run stop signs or speed in no visibility situations when there’s other traffic. You’re putting others in danger. Safe storm chasing also means not getting too close and that is even more important if you are carrying loads of people in your vehicle. Seriously where is the responsibility here?????
 
I do not think it makes much sense for anthonyj to decry personal attacks when he pretty much launched one against Jon Davies. Jon Davies is one of the best weather analysts I know, and I know him well enough to know he is a person of integrity who would not post something he does not believe to be true. And even in expressing his opinions about the difficulty of east options - an important issue in this discussion - he asked others who were there for more information. Yes, Jon is a long-time associate of Roger Hill, but the fact is that lots and lots of people on this list - probably the majority - know Roger and have some opinion about him, relationship with him, etc. If you disqualify Jon, then you have to disqualify most of the people in this discussion, including also some who have been critical of Roger. I haven't said much in this discussion for a variety of reasons, first and foremost that I wasn't there. I think that the people who have disagreed about this and presented some analysis to support their views, such as Jon, Quincy, and Skip, among others, have made reasonable and responsible efforts to understand what happened and why. Let's stick to the analysis and keep out personal attacks, accusations of conflict of interest, etc. As to the substance, I personally do no think it is a good idea to get anywhere close in the path of an HP supercell unless you have a viable escape option, usually to the east or northeast, that lets you escape without going into or being overtaken by the storm, because it is in the nature of an HP supercell that it is hard to know what is in there behind the rain. Not just tornadoes, but big hail, flooded roads, etc. And of course, this is even more true if you are carrying tour guests. For this reason, I think the presence or absence of an eastward escape route is an important factor in discussions about what SLT did, and I would like to see further discussion of that. If there was not a viable eastward escape route, they really had no choice but to go south, as Lanny points out above. Although that still leaves the question of why they went into that position in the first place if indeed there was no viable east option, since it was clearly in the path of the HP supercell. I think it is important to understand the situation as best we can, not in order to place blame, but rather to learn from it so chasers can avoid getting into such situations in the future.
 
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anthonyj

Enthusiast
Sep 16, 2019
3
7
1
Daytona Beach
John, this is one of the problems with internet discussions. Facts are not personal attacks. The fact is, we have some blatant conflicts of interest here. It’s one thing to know a name, and those of us chasing for decades know the names. It’s another thing to offer an analysis in any official capacity of a huge event like this when a conflict of interest may play a role in any findings or discussion. Any court or professional scientist will tell you that. I’m confident this conflict of interest would be challenged in any court as well. It’s also a huge deal in science writing to make any conflicts of interest noted in the published paper. It’s not a personal attack to bring facts and conflicts of interest to the attention of others.

It’s obvious as I said that there are still people in denial, deflecting, and performing some kind of apologetic routine. I’m not sure at this point why anyone is saying they need to understand what happened. It would actually be nice if Roger or more of those people in the vans released the entire video unedited from start to finish of this event so we can hear and see everything that happened. I’m curious what we would see?

I've also been informed of some very unethical behavior and question the motives behind it. An example would be defenders of SLT going around to businesses and writing negative reviews because they disagreed with Roger/SLT's version of the story. Lots of very bad behavior going on and I'm curious how it is associated and if at all with SLT and their group of supporters.
 
John, this is one of the problems with internet discussions. Facts are not personal attacks. The fact is, we have some blatant conflicts of interest here. It’s one thing to know a name, and those of us chasing for decades know the names. It’s another thing to offer an analysis in any official capacity of a huge event like this when a conflict of interest may play a role in any findings or discussion. Any court or professional scientist will tell you that. I’m confident this conflict of interest would be challenged in any court as well. It’s also a huge deal in science writing to make any conflicts of interest noted in the published paper. It’s not a personal attack to bring facts and conflicts of interest to the attention of others.
I was trying to make the point that you can't single out one person and say they have a conflict of interest when there are many that do. There are people arguing this on both sides who know Roger very well. Regulars, including presenters and vendors at Chasercon, at least one competing tour operator, etc. Some are defending SLT, some are criticizing it. If, as you suggest, we should disregard one person because of an alleged conflict of interest, we might as well disregard about half of the posts in this thread because there are lots of people who lawyers could say have conflicts of interest. When you ignore that reality and single out one person with whom you disagree, it looks personal.
 
Feb 27, 2009
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Texarkana, AR
No one drives through that cell getting in the path of the tornado especially with multiple lives on the line. Just a very bad decision and they were lucky no one was killed.
"No one drives through that cell getting in the path of the tornado...with multiple lives on the line"

Why were you hit by the tornado? How many people were in the car with you? You even had level2 data, so you can't claim you weren't aware. I'm totally fine with however you want to chase, perhaps your guests did not care about the risk of a tornado impacting them. You keep sharing with us and thank you for that, but I thought you might like to share the whole story.
 
Feb 27, 2009
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Texarkana, AR
@anthonyj see post above. Someone that was hit by the tornado. Have you read the whole thread? I went back and read the whole thing again when i was trying to figure out what happened for myself. There were at least 2 others here that admitted to nearly being hit. One of them was unaware of the tornado at the time but had level2 data also. The other said they had a hiccup in data updates and filmed it traveling close across the road in front of their vehicle. There were several other cars in the area, plenty I'm sure that were "too close". Sort of hard to say where I would have been, but it's really easy to criticize after the fact.

I could comment on several things you said, but I'll choose just one other. Lets say you made an error in judgement one day... one of the 3 months out of the year or so that you chase. You made a mistake, you misinterpreted something and a tornado was close and approaching. How would you advise on handling red lights and stop signs?
 
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James K

EF2
Mar 26, 2019
174
71
6
Colorado
Joshua Nall said:
you misinterpreted something and a tornado was close and approaching. How would you advise on handling red lights and stop signs?
I for one would at minimum slow down and look before simply blowing through a stopsign. A red light I would stop at .... personally I'd rather the tornado get me than run into someone.
 
Jan 16, 2009
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Kansas City
"No one drives through that cell getting in the path of the tornado...with multiple lives on the line"

Why were you hit by the tornado? How many people were in the car with you? You even had level2 data, so you can't claim you weren't aware. I'm totally fine with however you want to chase, perhaps your guests did not care about the risk of a tornado impacting them. You keep sharing with us and thank you for that, but I thought you might like to share the whole story.
You misunderstood what I said or I did not convey it clearly. We were not hit by the earlier start of the EF-2. We were driving east on 56 and watched the rotation from the west of the forming tornado and watched it go across the highway and head NE. With the wind shifts on the road ahead of us we technically could have been in the outer circulation of the start of a tornado and that is what was said to my chase partner. It was moving away from us and never did we get in front or in it. We stopped and once it passed 56 we continued to 59 where we watched the EF4 cross the road about ½ mile in front of us. We were never in danger and I think I played that storm correctly.
 
Jul 5, 2009
874
590
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Newtown, Pennsylvania
I for one would at minimum slow down and look before simply blowing through a stopsign. A red light I would stop at .... personally I'd rather the tornado get me than run into someone.
I would like to think this is the same way the SLT drivers or anyone would approach it, despite hearing anything along the lines of “Keep going and don’t stop” on a video. I take outburst like that to mean, “We need to keep moving and can’t afford to wait at traffic lights (but obviously we are not going to just blow through without even looking).”
 

James K

EF2
Mar 26, 2019
174
71
6
Colorado
JamesCaruso said:
“We need to keep moving and can’t afford to wait at traffic lights (but obviously we are not going to just blow through without even looking).”
I would sure hope for the safety of their passengers (and other drivers) that that is what they meant.
 
Apr 22, 2010
33
20
6
Richmond, VA
I would like to think this is the same way the SLT drivers or anyone would approach it, despite hearing anything along the lines of “Keep going and don’t stop” on a video. I take outburst like that to mean, “We need to keep moving and can’t afford to wait at traffic lights (but obviously we are not going to just blow through without even looking).”
I'm guessing he was referring to the Joplin video. My take on that is the tour drivers were talking aloud about other cars, that were oblivious to the threat, ahead of them on Ridgeline road. But whatever they were talking about, Silver Lining put themselves in that situation as, according to one of the tour drivers in that video, they were attempting to get south of the approaching tornado located to their southwest.
 
Feb 27, 2009
463
75
11
Texarkana, AR
You misunderstood what I said or I did not convey it clearly. We were not hit by the earlier start of the EF-2. We were driving east on 56 and watched the rotation from the west of the forming tornado and watched it go across the highway and head NE. With the wind shifts on the road ahead of us we technically could have been in the outer circulation of the start of a tornado and that is what was said to my chase partner. It was moving away from us and never did we get in front or in it. We stopped and once it passed 56 we continued to 59 where we watched the EF4 cross the road about ½ mile in front of us. We were never in danger and I think I played that storm correctly.
According to NWS survey the tornado was on the ground for 2 miles before it crossed 56 so it wasn't just forming.

You said, "I can confirm the rotation at this location as we drove in this exact spot on 56 highway and had winds shift around us from south then to north. I told the people in the vehicle that we had just drove through a weak tornado."

Then later you said, "I can tell you the rotation was on us and that we saw nothing as for as structure or tornado features. Winds south then north that is about all we could see. Very HP."

You had "people" in the car with you. I really dont care where or how you chase but approaching a rain wrapped tornado from the rear is a dangerous spot. No visibility, only the wind and radar to tell you where you are. You would have to factor in the tilt of the meso according to how for you were from the radar site. How do you know where the tornado is under those few pixels? Not to mention the time delay on the data getting to you. There was no way to tell exactly where the tornado was, an EFO at this point lucky for you, and you got in it. I honestly don't care how you and your people chase as I never have the desire to burden other chasers with the same burden of caution I place on myself. But you are critical of SLT and yet you were in a very dangerous spot.

I decided earlier in this thread to withdraw everything I said regarding risk levels concerning driving through RFD. Because I finally figured out when people were saying RFD they where meaning driving across or into the bears cage from the outside. And I did not want new chasers reading what i said and thinking that was a low risk thing to do.

New chasers are reading what you say about handling this storm correctly. Yet you got in it. In fact most chasers would consider driving blind into a bears cage from the rear more dangerous than getting in the notch because if rain is heavy you have no visibility. You overshot the tornado as it came at you from the SW. My main reason for saying any of this is if newer chasers are concerned about safety at all, this is not a correct way to approach a storm.
 
Jan 16, 2009
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Kansas City
I have been doing this for a long time and know what I am doing … you were not there. I was on the cell for a long time before the tornado started. I have watched many tornadoes pass in front of me not a big deal if you are aware of what you are looking at. If you look at the two minute old radar image we were safe and I could tell where the tornado was and it was at least a 1/4 mile in front of us. We could not see a funnel on the ground just wind shifts so that is why I said we could not see anything. It did not mean we were wrapped in rain and blind. @Skip Talbot has my video and he can tell you I could see just fine … the road is visible for at least a ¼ mile.

Again you were not there and are only guessing and I am done with this conversation. This situation is totally different than waiting for a tornado to come to you.
 

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Jul 2, 2016
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Independence, Mo.
One example on KCTV Kansas City at 5:52 p.m. (about 10 minutes before we were hit in the area covered by the warning): “What makes this storm so incredibly dangerous right now is that you just can’t see it. It’s completely camouflaged [by rain].” Residents were urged to take shelter.

I look forward to further analysis by chasers, but shouldn’t a highly-experienced storm chasing tour operator responsible for the lives and safety of tour guests (and who boasts of state-of-the-art weather data technology) know – or be expected to know – at least as much as anyone with a TV, radio or news app? If so, it’s hard to see how driving into that mess can be regarded as “reasonable.”
[/QUOTE]
"STOP WATCHING TELEVISION WHILE CHASING"!
It's against the law in Kansas.