YOUR top 10 chase days of the 2010s

Jan 7, 2006
515
479
21
32
Norman, OK
www.skyinmotion.com
In keeping with the end-of-decade ranking theme, but shifting gears a bit: what were the best 10 days of chasing YOU had personally in the 2010s?

The idea is to focus strictly on your own experiences -- i.e., if you went out on 5/24/16 but busted or got stuck 15 miles away, that day probably wouldn't make your list (even if it's "objectively" a top chase day for people who scored). I know that for me, this means my personal top 10 contains a lot of days I'd also consider "objective" top days, but the order is shuffled around where maybe my personal #6 had a better set of tornadoes than my personal #3, but I was slightly out of position.

Criteria can be anything you want, although I'd suggest focusing mainly on storm-related qualities, as opposed to something like "this was my first chase with my wife." Reason being that it may prove useful to aggregate these into a collective ranking if we get enough replies.

If you started chasing after 2010, feel free to participate, but please note the period your list covers.
 
Sep 29, 2011
668
655
21
48
Fort Worth, TX
www.passiontwistvideo.com
I had to really dig deep to even complete this list, because the decade of 2010-2019 was garbage for me overall.....

1. October 24, 2010 - Rice, TX tornado
2. May 18, 2013 - Rozel/Sanford, KS tornadoes
3. April 14, 2012 - Woods/Alfalfa Co, OK - tornadofest
4. April 22, 2010 - Groom, TX tornadoes
5. May 18, 2017 - Chester/Waynoka, OK tornadoes
6. May 19, 2010 - Lacey/Hennessey/Loyal, OK tornadoes
7. May 10, 2010 - Wakita, OK tornadoes
8. May 16, 2017 - Wellington, TX - supercell & tornadoes
9. May 16, 2015 - Tipton, OK tornadoes
10. May 24, 2011 - Newcastle/Goldsby, OK tornadoes
 
Aug 9, 2012
354
596
21
Galesburg, IL
www.facebook.com
I chased the entire decade but most of my best days came in spurts between 2014-18. Most of these I was able to get fairly close to and get good photos or video so therefore they made my list.

1) 2014-06-16 Pilger/Stanton/Wakefield
2) 2015-07-16 Kirkwood/Cameron/Gulfport IL
3) 2018-12-01 Illinois December Outbreak
4) 2015-05-16 Elmer, OK
5) 2015-06-22 Edgington IL
6) 2013-05-20 South Central Oklahoma
7) 2014-04-28 Mississippi Outbreak
8) 2017-03-28 Central Texas
9) 2013-10-04 Movile, Iowa
10) 2018-05-01 Tescott, KS
 
I had a really hit or miss decade with some incredible peaks and some really, really bottom of the barrel lows. 2016 was my best year by far and probably the best year in second half of the decade where quality is concerned.

1. 24 May 2016 - Dodge City, KS (Tornadofest)
2. 9 May 2016 - Wynnewood/Sulphur/Bromide, OK (3 strong tornadoes)
3. 16 May 2015 - Elmer, OK (Tornado)
4. 16 November 2015 - Texas Panhandle (Tornadofest)
5. 18 May 2017 - Chester, OK (Tornado)
6. 25 May 2012 - Lacrosse, KS (Multiple tornadoes/supercell structure)
7. 2 March 2012 - Long Ridge, KY (Tornado outbreak)
8. 12 October 2012 - Hale Center, TX (Weak tornadoes and supercell structure after dark)
9. 1 September 2015 - Gouda Springs, KS (Supercell)
10. 25 March 2015 - Pocasset, OK (Supercell)

Edit: Completely whiffed a tornado day in there that I should have mentioned in October 12 of 2012.
 
Last edited:
Dec 8, 2003
1,295
270
11
Southeast CO
www.youtube.com
1. Simla. Not even Campo tops Simla's hour and 15 minutes of action in my head.
2. Campo
3. Pilger
4. May 27 2015 Canadian
5. Bennington 2013
6. May 21 2011 Emporia KS
7. June 20 2011 NE (N of York)
8. November 16 2015 Liberal to DDC
9. June 12 2017 Pine Bluffs/Kimball NE
10. June 10 2010 Deer Trail CO

2015 was just an insane, insane year for me. Between Canadian, Simla and Liberal/DDC in November I observed tornadoes for a collective 3+ hours. No other year is even half that.
 

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,600
2,319
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
1.) 5/24/16 Dodge City
2.) 5/28/13 Bennington I
3.) 5/25/16 Bennington II
4.) 5/18/13 Rozel
5.) 10/10/18 Hurricane Michael
6.) 4/14/12 April 14, 2012 Outbreak
7.) 6/30/14 Chicago upward lightning bonanza
8.) 12/1/18 December 2018 Illinois Outbreak
9.) 9/25/12 Okawville, IL
10.) 6/12/17 Bushnell, NE

The first 6 on this list were easy. Beyond that, there are so many that could and probably should make the cut - I could list a good 20 events or more that deserve to be highlighted for one reason or another.
 
Last edited:
Jul 5, 2009
906
660
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
I can’t even come up with 10. It was a miserable decade for me. After listing the few tornado days I had in the decade, I just stopped; not much value in trying to figure out which other chases might have made the list for supercell structure or whatever. Looking back and realizing that Dodge City 2016 was my only tornado day in the last SEVEN YEARS is enough to make me wonder if I should even bother doing this anymore; the cost/benefit ratio has clearly not been in my favor during this period. Although some misses were of course just the result of chase vacation timing, there were plenty of screwups during the decade; I could much more easily complete a list of Top 10 screwups. In fact my list for 2013 screwups alone would be longer than the list below. Almost too ashamed to post this, but as a longtime chaser and frequent ST contributor I feel obligated to put it out there for the record. Who knows, maybe it will bring comfort to others.

1. Dodge City 2016
2. Campo 2010
3. Canton Lake OK 2011
4. Lacrosse KS 2012

Really tough choice between #1 and #2. I remember on the day of Dodge City I thought it was the best day ever, and it is objectively considered one of the best, so maybe I am influenced by that and by recency bias. In some ways I feel like Campo was better but maybe that’s because I tend to look at those pictures much more often and it was just so photogenic. But Campo was also a surprise and I almost blew off chasing that day; I went after that storm from 90 miles away when it was already in progress (but still was on it hours before the tornado). Dodge City was the whole experience of a good forecast and being in the target area well before initiation, so I’ll go with that as my personal #1.
 
Jan 16, 2009
576
511
21
Kansas City
Tough question but here is my list ... some of these days were amazing and fun to chase while others were hard due to loss of lives.
  • 2016 Dodge City KS Tornado fest
  • 2015 Eads Colorado day /Rexford KS night
  • 2013 Wayne NE EF-4
  • 2012 Lyons KS EF-4
  • 2013 Moore OK EF-5
  • 2016 Wray CO EF-2
  • 2013 El Reno OK EF-3
  • 2018 Tescott KS EF-3
  • 2019 Lawrence KS EF-4
  • 2014 Cordova NE Wedge EF-3
 

Jeff Duda

Resident meteorological expert
Staff member
Oct 7, 2008
3,092
1,656
21
Broomfield, CO
www.meteor.iastate.edu
I did a remarkably good job of missing most of the popularly biggest days of the 2010s for various reasons. Sometimes I chose not to chase at all because I didn't think it would be worthwhile. Other events I was out for, but on the wrong storm or somehow missed the best part of the show. Note: these are all events I reasonably *could have made*. I am not considering events that occurred when I was clearly unavailable or were way too far away from home for me to have ever had a chance of catching (e.g., Campo). These dates include...

Great Chase Days MISSED
1-3) 18-20 May 2013: this three-day streak remains at the top of my all-time wall of shame. Those of you who have followed me are well aware of the sequence of massively bad decisions and overall failures (on each day) that led to this.
4) 24 May 2016: talked myself out of going - didn't think it would happen; nuff said.
5) 9 May 2016: was trading divorce papers with my ex-wife this day and was an emotional wreck; did not think to head out until after the Katie tornado showed up on KOCO-5. Ended up going after a weaker, largely non-tornadic supercell in Cleveland County instead.
6) 16 May 2015: was on the Elmer-Tipton storm, initially in a perfect location to see that beast, but left too early and ended up way too far east to catch most of it. Only saw it at the very end when it was a stovepipe.
7) 16-18 June 2014: Didn't chase; I chased S NE two days prior (and busted). On each of these days I argued against going out the following day and was subsequently proven stupid.
8) 25 May 2016: Was messing around in SC KS as the Chapman tornado was beginning. Math showed I could have made it north in time to catch the later part of that tornado. Was too late to the after-dark Enid tornadic supercell as well.
9) 31 May 2013: Was home the entire time - 40 miles away. Had plans to travel out-of-region that weekend that I ended up canceling, but still did not chase.
10) 25 May 2012: had every intention to chase C KS, but my grad student advisor switched our weekly meeting to this day and would not let me skip it.
11) 16 November 2015: at one point pre-CI was literally sitting in a spot in a field that would, a few hours later, almost certainly be within the early stages of what would become a massive wedge tornado. Not only missed all tornadoes, but hit a deer in the middle of nowhere just after breaking off the chase.
12) 12 June 2017: knew I wanted to chase several days in advance, but post-doc advisor would not approve the time off for me.
Honorable mention: 28 May 2013 (Bennington): technically was busy at HWT in Norman this day, but could have cut out had I wanted to.

As a result, my actual list of best chases of the decade is likely quite different from that most others are presenting:
Best chases of 2010-2019 (in no particular order)
  • 17 June 2010: this remains my lifetime best chase.
  • 22 May 2010: got lucky to be out with TWISTEX and caught Bowdle despite starting the day in NW NE.
  • 24 May 2010: just a weeeeeiiiiirrrrrd evolution of tornadoes in NW SD/SW ND; tornadoes everywhere.
  • 20 June 2011: still a top-three chase for me. Got within 2/3rds mi. of the Henderson tornado with no other chasers between us on a paved highway.
  • 14 April 2012: despite not getting the best of the event in KS, still wound up with a few nice tornadoes in NW OK, including my best shot of a rope.
  • 6 May 2015: ending a nearly-two-full-year tornado-less streak and also my first tornadic solo chase. 5 or 6 tornadoes in SW OK including one from across the street from my apartment in Norman that I narrowly beat home.
  • 27 May 2015: Got there a little late after much delay on the drive out, but made it in time for the big one, and in great position. Among my most well-documented tornadoes.
  • 15 April 2016: This one started out lame, but persistence paid off. Had unique positioning and experience with a tornado in the OK PH and got my career best structure shot in the N TX PH.
  • 28 May 2018: "The Great Colorado Memorial Day Landspout Fest of 2018" - was close enough to attempt a "field goal" maneuver between the two big ones.
  • Toss-up between 22 May 2011 (Ladora, IA tornado...I was nearly alone on that one and close enough for some quality shots) and 29 May 2012 (Kingfisher-Canadian County, OK...megastructure).
 
Last edited:
Mar 30, 2008
1,195
905
21
Norman, OK
www.benholcomb.com
This is a list that was quite easy for me actually. All great days
  1. May 24, 2011 – Oklahoma Tornado Outbreak
  2. May 22, 2010 – Bowdle, SD Tornadofest/Farmers Field Incident
  3. May 9, 2016 – South Central Oklahoma Tornadoes
  4. May 24, 2016 – Dodge City, KS Tornadoes
  5. June 20, 2011 – South Central Nebraska Outbreak
  6. November 7, 2011 – Oklahoma November Tornado Outbreak
  7. May 20, 2013 – Moore, OK EF-5 Tornado
  8. May 20, 2019 – Mangum, OK Close Intercept
  9. April 30, 2012 - Medford, OK Tornado
  10. November 16, 2015 - Texas Panhandle nocturnal tornado outbreak

These are some bad days I'd rather forget

  1. May 19, 2013 – Shawnee, OK Tornado (Suckered to Wichita)
  2. June 17, 2010 – Minnesota Outbreak (Missed Wadena by 15 minutes, out of position for everything else)
  3. June 5, 2010 – Elmwood, IL (Got suckered to lieowa)
  4. June 12, 2017 – WY/NE Tornadoes/car problems
  5. June 16-18, 2014 – Pilger/Coleridge/Wessington Springs (Had to work)
  6. May 28, 2013 – Bennington 1 (Left Salina in am and drove to OK PH)
  7. April 29, 2017 – Canton, TX tornado (Was being lazy)
  8. May 15, 2013 – Texas Tornadoes (Went to a hockey game instead)
  9. April 12, 2012 - Stayed on middle storm all day
  10. April 22, 2010 - Wrong Storm
 
Last edited:
Jan 7, 2006
515
479
21
32
Norman, OK
www.skyinmotion.com
Great response so far. If we get at least 10-15 comprehensive lists from people who chased a lot of events throughout decade, I'll start tracking the composite ranking. It'll be interesting to see how that differs from external perceptions of what the best events were -- if some really great storms were hard to forecast or position correctly on, they'll naturally see a penalty in these personal lists, so we'll end up with a good idea of which days were both prolific *and* highly chaseable.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dan Robinson

Staff member
Jan 14, 2011
2,600
2,319
21
St. Louis
stormhighway.com
I haven't worked on this since I last posted in the original thread about it in 2018, but here is the output of the last version (v6) of the "QI" or chase quality index I was playing around with, this time focused only on the 2010-2019 period. This isn't a comprehensive list of chases, just the most significant ones I could think of. The idea was to try and objectively evaluate the quality of a chase day using metrics that most chasers would probably agree on. The current version of this formula puts any event with a score over 10 as "good", a score over 20 is "excellent", over 30 is "exceptional".

qi-v6-topten.png

I haven't run any 2018 or 2019 events through this formula, if anyone wants to go through and enter the stats of a particular day, I have a javascript calculator for it on my blog:


Let me know if you do this and find a 2018-2019 event that cracks the top ten above, although possibly other than Laramie I seriously doubt that any day would.

The original thread for the QI is here with an explanation of the metrics and even the spreadsheet files you can download:

 
Last edited:
The last decade no doubt produced the biggest changes ever in the history of storm chasing. A host of events altered the way we will chase forever. For example: the demise of stock photography, the drought, the social media explosion, increasing chasing-related deaths / injuries, and hazardous crowding of public roadways. It might be hard for someone who only began chasing in the last decade to understand or appreciate these changes.

For me, the 2010's were the least productive of the last three in terms of photography and chase-related business ventures. The was due mostly to cutting back on aggressively going after every set-up in favor of pursuing the mother lode. The aforementioned issues with stock photography and dangerous crowds were major negative factors. Public (and commercial clients) perception of chasing and chasers had a major impact on my work.

Hurricane Irma topped the tropical list of the period, producing some very marketable footage accomplished within the cityscapes of Miami.

The Simla, CO event produced the best tornado images.

Covering the aftermath of Joplin, Moore and others was interesting as a journalist and being able to assist at multiple disasters including the Lamar, CO dust storm tragedy was humbling.

Several Phoenix dust storms produced excellent images.

I can't wait until spring!
 
  • Like
Reactions: JamesCaruso
Jun 24, 2010
103
81
11
Norman, OK
My top ten chase days of the decade are as follows.

1. Rozel-Sanford, KS tornadoes May 18, 2013
2. McCook-Stockville-Farnam, NE tornadoes May 17, 2019
3. Spearman, TX tornadoes May 22, 2016
4. Bridge Creek-Norman, OK tornadoes May 6, 2015
5. Hereford, TX tornado October 7, 2018
6. Blanchard-Newcastle-Goldsby, OK tornadoes May 24, 2011
7. Custer County, OK tornado June 15, 2019
8. Leoti, KS tornadoes May 21, 2016
9. Central High, OK tornado May 8, 2016
10. Moundridge-Hesston-Goessel, KS tornadoes April 14, 2012


My top ten chase days I wish I could redo or chased.

1. Moore, OK May 20, 2013 (busted)
2. Dodge City Outbreak May 24, 2016 (didn't chase)
3. Pilger, NE June 16, 2014 (didn't chase)
4. Chapman, KS May 25, 2016 (didn't chase)
5. El Reno, OK May 31, 2013 (didn't chase)
6. Mangum, OK May 20, 2019 (busted)
7. Tahoka, TX May 5, 2019 (busted)
8. Tescott, KS May 1, 2018 (didn't chase)
9. Canadian, TX May 27, 2015 (didn't chase)
10. Simla, CO June 4, 2015 (didn't chase)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Todd Lemery
Jun 16, 2019
11
20
1
New Zealand
For me, a chasecationer, I've chased a total of about 30 days this decade, so only a small sample size to choose from.

#1 May 24, 2016 Dodge City, KS - What a day! So many tornadoes!
#2 May 25, 2016 Chapman, KS - Perfect views from tornadogenesis until it got completely rain wrapped near Chapman.
#3 May 22, 2016 Spearman, TX - Couple tornadoes to start the best week of chasing I'll probably ever get.
#4 May 23, 2016 Turkey, TX - Almost got nothing before that nighttime wedge showed up
#5 May 7, 2015 somewhere near Denton, TX - My first tornado and on my birthday no less.
#6 May 23, 2019 Booker/Canadian TX - Lovely tornado
#7 May 20, 2019 Mangum, OK - Got the tornado. Also, Biggest chaser convergence I've seen yet
#8 May 24, 2017 Roswell, NM - No tornado but a pretty storm.
#9 May 31, 2016 Lamesa, TX - no tornado but some nice structure
#10 May 26, 2017 Burlington, CO. No tornado but a pretty cool structured storm.


2015 was my first chasecation. Learned a bit, fed my chasing addiction 😂
2016 was the best chasecation, on a pretty special week. Started off with a couple on day one, Dodge on day three and Chapman on day four. Bloody brilliant. A week that will be hard to beat.
2017 was a lean week for big storms. I think there were maybe two tornado warned storms that week that I remember and I think we were on them both.
2018 I couldn't get over to chase.
2019 we got a few more tornadoes.
 

Attachments

Jul 5, 2009
906
660
21
Newtown, Pennsylvania
@TimMaynard That’s a damn good list for only 30 days of chasing and there were a couple lean years in there too since you started. I’m a chase vacationer too, but had a lot more total chase days for the full decade and couldn’t put together even half your list.
 
  • Like
Reactions: TimMaynard
Jun 16, 2019
11
20
1
New Zealand
@TimMaynard That’s a damn good list for only 30 days of chasing and there were a couple lean years in there too since you started. I’m a chase vacationer too, but had a lot more total chase days for the full decade and couldn’t put together even half your list.
Thanks James. I feel blessed to have chased the storms we got in 2016. We’ve had some missed opportunities too, but that’s chasing
 
Apr 18, 2010
189
25
11
Grand Island, NE
nnwx.us
Since 2019 marked the end of my first decade of chasing, my decade's top 10 will also be my career top 10 to date :) Most of my really good stuff skews towards the first half of the decade.

  1. 2016-05-24 - Dodge City, Kansas.
  2. 2010-05-22 - Bowdle, South Dakota
  3. 2012-04-14 - Lyons, Kansas
  4. 2010-05-24 - Howes, South Dakota
  5. 2018-06-06 - Laramie, Wyoming
  6. 2013-05-18 - Rozel, Kansas
  7. 2016-05-21 - Leoti, Kansas
  8. 2013-11-17 - Washington, Illinois
  9. 2015-05-09 - Eads, Colorado
  10. 2012-03-15 - Dexter, Michigan
Honorable Mentions: