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02/28/07 DISC: KS/MO

Was this the "violent wedge" that I was hearing about, or was that another tornado? IIRC, there was another tornado reported farther ENE (in EAX's CWA), but I'm not sure which one was invoking the dire language in the warning texts and severe weather statements?
 
Well I think there are plenty pictures of the "violent wedge" floating around. I may be wrong, but I dont think any wedge tornado will be weaker than an EF2. The tornado afischer mentioned was probably another one. I remember looking at radar Wed evening and there is no way the supercell with the "violent wedge" was only putting down an EF1, the hook echo was almost as classic as the 5-3-99 echoes prior to hitting Moore.
 
I was within a mile of the Colony-Lone Elm tornado when it initially developed. It started as an ugly multiple vortex and then started changing shapes, sometimes looking like a wedge. It looked rather weak to me.

The stronger wedge seemed to be a separate tornado that developed in Linn County around 735pm. This is the one that did more significant damage and took on a solid wedge appearance north of Blue Mound. And Jeff is right, that is EAX's CWA... should be interesting to see their survey when it comes out.
 
Well I think there are plenty pictures of the "violent wedge" floating around. I may be wrong, but I dont think any wedge tornado will be weaker than an EF2. The tornado afischer mentioned was probably another one. I remember looking at radar Wed evening and there is no way the supercell with the "violent wedge" was only putting down an EF1, the hook echo was almost as classic as the 5-3-99 echoes prior to hitting Moore.

Size of a tornado doesnt matter when it comes to strength. Two extremes of this are the Pampa and Happy Texas tornados. The Pampa tornado was narrow but very intense, and rated F4. The first Happy Texas tornado of 5/5/02 was a borderline wedge tornado, but it was very weak. If you watch it on video, it has very littel visible rotation.
 
Yes that is correct...the Linn Co. tornado was indeed in the very strong or possibly violent category . Damage video shows that houses were swept from foundations. Sure looks EF4 damage to me...but construction of the houses was not exactly known. The big tornado also seriously mangled a sizeable power sub-station and brought down the adjacent high tension lines/towers. I imagine the damage survey will be forthcoming shortly from the NWS Pleasant Hill. I believe this nasty Linn Co. tornado was the third tornado segment cycle of the very intense supercell (at least after watching the SR velocity images that night).
 
Yes that is correct...the Linn Co. tornado was indeed in the very strong or possibly violent category . Damage video shows that houses were swept from foundations. Sure looks EF4 damage to me...but construction of the houses was not exactly known. The big tornado also seriously mangled a sizeable power sub-station and brought down the adjacent high tension lines/towers. I imagine the damage survey will be forthcoming shortly from the NWS Pleasant Hill. I believe this nasty Linn Co. tornado was the third tornado segment cycle of the very intense supercell (at least after watching the SR velocity images that night).

I haven't reviewed radar yet from this event at all yet but this makes sense to me. I was out of position for the tornado near Neosho Falls, but when I got out ahead of it north of Iola I didn't see any tornado whatsoever. (On that note, there seem to be conflicting reports w.r.t. what happened between Neosho Falls and Colony; should be interesting to see a damage survey if ICT comes out with one). Anyway, it appeared to me that the storm cycled a brand new tornado there east of Colony which is supported by the TOP storm survey. Then between about 7:20 and 7:35 (though some of that time I was out of position again), I didn't see any tornado whatsoever. A radar loop I saw on Fox 4 news the day after seemed to show the storm cycling a new meso at that time, which would correspond with the down time between tornadoes. Then the third tornado was apparent in a hurry shortly after 7:35pm in Linn County.

The damage north of Blue Mound was extensive (what appeared to be a small home completely blown apart and spread across the highway), but like Brian said we don't know the quality with which the home was built.
 
The rating on the Colony tornado doesn't surprise me. We saw a lot of power flashes, but in all my video stills the funnels are still pretty far of the ground and there is no debris visible in the air (about 7:01). There was definitely a fresh smell of torn up vegetation in this area when we drove through. The mulivortex that followed to the East of Colony might have been a little bit stronger than the Colony considering it duration it was down (about 10 mins by my video, 7:05 to 7:14) and size. When we stopped to try and set up tripods at 7:15, it had lifted but the was large bowl lowering beginning to take shape. This was the beginning of the Blue Mound tornado. After this point there was atleast a large lowering spotted everytime the lightning flashed. The east road we were using was closed so we had to drive North which put us within a couple miles of it. There were points when we came over hills you could see a lowering that was atleast a 1/4 mile wide and was 90% of the way to the ground. It looked to be skimming the surface at this point. The large lowering then made obvious connection to the ground as well as having atleast 1 satellite tornado. I really expect the Blue Mound to be atleast EF-3 by what we saw that night and the the video of the damage shown on tv. Thats just my opinion.
 
Afischer is correct in his assessment regarding the "wedge" tornado within the Topeka CWA. The tornado within our CWA was weak for the most part per damage survey and photo analysis. I was present during the reported wedge tornado and I observed what most individuals observed which was a concentrated updraft region (per tornadic circulation) that was characterized by lots of updrafting/rotating scud. I'm skeptical this tornado ever truly wedged out for any great length of time, but more likely filled in at times with the appearance of a wedge tornado sporadically during lightning flashes. With lightning serving as the only existing light, it made it quite difficult for the observers present. If this was a true wedge tornado, I would have expected to see much more significant/consistent evidence in the way of photos, which just isn't the case.

Now Brian is also correct with regards to the strong/violent strength within WFO Pleasant Hill's CWA. This tornado will likely be rated an EF3/4 from what I understand. It appeared this tornado was stronger, perhaps due to INVOLF baroclinic boundary interaction and strengthening LLJ. Hard to say.

SFB
http://www.targetarea.net/
 
Im very confused with this chase. Part of my issue was i didnt have radar feed in the vehicle on this one. i started driving south kinda towards coffeyville when i seen the initiation begin south around chanute..

I shot back north, chasing by structure and site. Listening to the NWS radio it said there was a thunderstorm targeting through Yates Center

So i starategically drove as fast as i could North on 169 and went west through Leroy ( 58 hwy ). I set up about 3 miles to the West of Leroy.

I filmed a wall cloud and a lowering coming straight at me. It was High precip and Hail from dime to a little larger than quarter followed.

I become somewhat un nerved as the hail came down and we jumped in the car and drove into Leroy ( 58 Hwy ) to take cover somewhere from the larger hail. I must say I dont remember the time but it was dark.

Right after the hail subsided we proceded East back towards 169 hwy

The hail was litering the HWY ( 58 ) at this point and appeared as if it had snowed for almost the entire path to 169 Hwy. Im unsure if this is one storm cell with multiple mesos or it took a turn more Easterly.. The NWS basically had it on a more N - N - NE path.

When a mile or so from 169 Hwy on 58 Hwy We noticed what folks are calling the Colony Wedge in the lightning. It was my belief at the time this was the same storm or meso we initially intercepted west of Leroy.

About midpoint between Leroy and Colony We could smell a strong odor of Pine trees (prior to seeing the supposed wedge in colony)that were obviously uprooted. Ok so my question is was it winds from the outflow from Colony bringing this to us or was it at the time as we thought we were in the damage path of this tornado.

We thought the later.. we thought the storm we intercepted West of Leroy dropped the tornado shortly after Leroy on a more easterly path and then did what it did in Colony.

Either way im with Scott Blair on this that the scud and updraft appeared to POSSIBLY be a giant tornado.. And after seeing the pics here in this thread we can definetly asume that it was.. But with the limited visibility mostly due to darkness etc.. We couldnt be definetly sure what we were seeing was a wedge a mulit votice tornado or whatever at the time.

Hopefully my post doesnt confuse anyone but shed some light of what I experienced.
 
Scott and afischer are dead on in their assessment of the nights events in and around the city of Colony. Scott you are very accurate in stating that it was very difficult to judge accurately what the tornado/wall cloud was doing at any specific moment due to the blackness of the night. There was literally NO indication of any structure at all until lightning would back light the storm. From my location (exactly 3 miles south of Colony) it was almost impossible to detect ground circulation. The amount of visible light during most flashes was so quick that unless you had your eyes trained right on the storm it was hard to pick out exact details of the tornado. As you can see from my pictures in the REPORTS section, the tornado had the appearance of a wedge and then, within the next lightning flash or two, it had lifted completely up as it passed HWY 169 and entered Colony. I could never detect any rotation due to the fact that there was not enough constant light to judge movement by. I cannot testify to the "violence" of the rotation. All I could do was report what I could see at that moment.

Now that the sun has risen and the damage/lack of damage can be seen and judged, maybe the description of a "wedge" might not be the most accurate of adjectives. All I do know is that from the very limited amount of information available to me in the field (basically my eyes) I believe that the description of "wedge" was appropriate at that time for describing the tornado east and west of Colony but not directly over the town. Now, I was not the one that called ICT or any other NWS office but I did use the term "wedge" in my report here so that is why I have chimed in.

I went out and looked at the damage around Colony yesterday and to my untrained eye, it appeared that the damage path was spotty. It seemed that the tornado might have been hopscotching around the country side. Obviously, if that is the case, then this was not a true "wedge" tornado.

The scary part to me is that as the tornado/wall cloud/elevated mulitvortex/whatever you want to call it was moving into Colony, the radio was reporting the tornado to be everywhere BUT where it was. It is truly unfortunate that there was damage but thank God there was not injuries or deaths. Bottom line is that night chases are not conducive to accuracy in reporting sometimes. I would cut a little slack to those who may have used terminology that was a little dramatic for the occasion. It was a surprise to be chasing such a wild storm to begin with and an honor to be witnessing such an act of mother nature.
 
Does anyone have a radar pic or data of this event? Preferably with stormtrack info i would like to see it so I know what the hell happened to me in relation to my experience west of Leroy and then again at Colony...
 
I managed to get a couple of grabs. Both of these were right on top of Colony.

02-28-07.png


02-28-07SRV.png
 
As you can see from my pictures in the REPORTS section, the tornado had the appearance of a wedge and then, within the next lightning flash or two, it had lifted completely up as it passed HWY 169 and entered Colony.

Are you sure the tornado initially touched down west of Colony?

I was maybe 2 miles south of town, looking in every direction... the mesocyclone was so high-based and flat that I thought instead I was seeing some sort of inflow tail stemming from an HP supercell. I couldn't see any signs of rotation when the lightning flashed. I guess it's possible it touched down as I ventured into the town and had my "back turned." That would explain how I somehow got through town without seeing the tornado (especially if it temporarily lifted while skirting the south side of town).

About halfway down the street through Colony, leaves (lots of them) were literally floating in the street a few feet off the ground. Then they began accelerating toward my car as stiff northeast winds picked up. I became alarmed and gunned it out of town, thinking this was inflow into a tornado behind me. In fact it was strong cyclonic flow on the back side of the tornadocyclone. (Just east of Colony I saw the tornado about 1 mile to my east-northeast.) Not my most shining moment as a chaser, but I was convinced I'd fallen well behind the meso when I first ventured into Colony due to the lack of structure.
 
Are you sure the tornado initially touched down west of Colony?

I was maybe 2 miles south of town, looking in every direction... the mesocyclone was so high-based and flat that I thought instead I was seeing some sort of inflow tail stemming from an HP supercell. I couldn't see any signs of rotation when the lightning flashed. I guess it's possible it touched down as I ventured into the town and had my "back turned." That would explain how I somehow got through town without seeing the tornado (especially if it lifted while skirting the south side of town).

About halfway down the street through Colony, leaves (lots of them) were literally floating in the street. Then they began accelerating toward my car as stiff northeast winds picked up. I became alarmed and gunned it out of town, thinking this was inflow into a tornado behind me. In fact it was strong cyclonic flow on the back side of the tornadocyclone. (Just east of Colony I saw the tornado about 1 mile to my east-northeast.) Not my most shining moment as a chaser, but I was convinced I'd fallen well behind the meso when I first ventured into Colony due to the lack of structure.

Afischer

Read my account on page 1.. I feel that it did set down - and then possibly reorganize ??????

Only reason for this was the wall and black lowering west of Leroy and then the smell of pine trees in between leroy and colony.. maybe about half way in between... We slowly drove towards colony trying not to enter the hail core if you want to call it that.. As we sped up we would get hail.. slow down.. it would subside.. strange..

Man I cant tell .. I feel like Dirty Harry.. " in all the excitement was it two twisters or only one? Do you feel lucky? lol
 
I am not 100% sure, no. Like I said, it was nearly impossible form my location to see ground circulation. All I could see was millisecond flashes of what "appeared" to be a rather wide looking tornado that looked to be on the ground. I went back to the exact location that I assumed the tornado would have crossed 169 and I saw no visible damage. I did notice that west of Colony is a rather hilly and treeless terrain. There is nothing there to damage even if it was touching down. I do know it was most definitely not on the ground as it went into Colony. That is plain as day from my video. You can plainly see cars that are traveling on 169 between me and the wall cloud.

Andy, which way did you exit Colony? Was it East? If you were on that blacktop road heading east then you barely escaped the tornado as it touched back down. There is plenty of damage starting about 2 miles east of Colony and just a quarter mile north of the blacktop.
 
This is a picture of the apparent wedge, west of Colony. I am about 1-2 miles south of Neosho Falls here. To me it looks more like dust than scud. IMO i don't think that is hail either because that is right where the clear slot is and the hailcore is being illuminated behind the tornado.

2_28_20078_10PM_0001.jpg
 
I am not 100% sure, no. Like I said, it was nearly impossible form my location to see ground circulation. All I could see was millisecond flashes of what "appeared" to be a rather wide looking tornado that looked to be on the ground. I went back to the exact location that I assumed the tornado would have crossed 169 and I saw no visible damage. I did notice that west of Colony is a rather hilly and treeless terrain. There is nothing there to damage even if it was touching down. I do know it was most definitely not on the ground as it went into Colony. That is plain as day from my video. You can plainly see cars that are traveling on 169 between me and the wall cloud.

Andy, which way did you exit Colony? Was it East? If you were on that blacktop road heading east then you barely escaped the tornado as it touched back down. There is plenty of damage starting about 2 miles east of Colony and just a quarter mile north of the blacktop.

Mike, yeah, I took the main drag (300 St SW or whatever) through Colony and stayed on it... it remains a paved road over to Lone Elm. I encountered that damage along the road a couple miles east of town via two downed powerpoles (one powerline hanging diagonally across the road) and two barbed wire fences stretched across the road. I was delayed about five minutes here.

I wouldn't be surprised if it did touch down SW of Colony (and I somehow missed it), then "skipped" over the southern outskirts of Colony. After it did the powerpole-snapping and I saw it for the first time... it was hardly even showing any rotation... just looked like ominous scud fingers hanging from a high-based flat mesocyclone... so it coulda been "skipping" then, too. Looked better later on (around 715)... like an actual tornado, that is. lol
 
I will say that this particular storm was pretty challenging from a spotter/chaser perspective. The reason for this in my mind amounts to the fact that the meso was very large, and any lightning was occurring in the precip core off to the northeast for the most part, putting it a ways off from the tornado at any given time. Sheet lightning seemed weak to me (especially for the size storm we were working with), and in general the lightning was sporadic. I got like one or two decent freezes from video (hasn't been posted yet), which shows what it was like - since I had that camera trained on it for like 10 minutes. If I hadn't known exactly where I was in relation to the tornado, it would have been really difficult to spot. My guess is that the situation was pretty similar further upstream where you guys initially intercepted. I'm anxious to see EAX's assessments.
 
There seems to be a theme I am detecting. I have talked to two separate chasers that were basically in Colony as the storm approached. Both said that they could not see anything west of them. One of the chasers (he is a member of this board and can chime in if he wishes) moved a few miles south and could plainly see the meso. The other chaser stayed there and never saw the meso until it literally was on top of them. So, for some reason, if you were looking west form Colony, the view of the storm appears to have been obstructed by something but by moving just a bit south, things became in focus. Just an observation that may or may not be relevant.
 
I guess I might as well throw in my opinion........

We got back to highway 169 and were in Colony probably 3-4 minutes before the rotation got there. I totally agree with Andy that when it was on the west side of Colony there was no structure to be seen and we were saying "WTF is going on here" Just as it started to move over Colony a new wall cloud developed and a tightly wrapped funnel maybe 1/4 of the way to the ground formed over the city or just east of it. So in my opinion the storm was cycling for a few minutes before it approched Colony. I haven't looked at radar of it yet so that is just my guess of what happened. We then moved east out of Colony on 350th road and saw the tornado touch down for the first time right on or just a little north of 350th road 1-2 miles east of Colony. If you look it up on Google Maps, it's the gravel road that goes east of out of the north side of Colony.

Now for the description.....I don't think that it really matters what shape the tornado was....A tornado is a tornado and will do equal damage no matter the shape of it is. Before the tornado formed there was definitely a lot of scud underneath the base and we even used the word "scud bomb" when looking at it. Then a definite funnel emerged on the right side on of the wall cloud and that was when we called it a tornado because the other two "vortices" on the left side really looked raggedy and weak as seen in the photo below but still had circulation beneath them. When it first formed it was definitely a multivortex.

multivortex.jpg


After we were stopped by powerlines down across the road at SW Grant we watched the tornado morph into what I called a barrel kind of stovepipe and then it grew even a little larger from what I can tell as it moved east away from us. It was getting big enough that I could see why someone might call it a wedge but in my honest opinion it seemed like it was changing shapes everytime that there was a flash of lightning to illuminate it so trying to coin it with one term is definitely not the right thing to do.

Whether someone called it violent or not at the time shouldn't have been taken seriously then and shouldn't now because in the heat of the chase it is easy to get over excited as well all know.

Darin
 
I would have really enjoyed chasing this beast but It wasn't too bad watching it unfold on radar. As it entered Missorui it displayed behavior of a very mature supercell, in some instances forming having a new updraft couplet form to the east in just a single scan. I'm going to try and do a full recap of the first part of the supercell's journey using the saved L2 data and the information you all have provided. I hope to have this together tonight or by tommorow.
 
Here is a picture from west of Colony looking east towards Colony. There are power flashes every couple of seconds at this point and it looks like one in the picture (maybe?). This was about 2 or 3 minutes after the tornado report came out. The funnel on the right i believe is the main event. You can see see the clear slot just to the right, above it.


Here is a picture from maybe 10 seconds later. You can see obvious scud filling from the left. Whatever it is, is very low to the ground.


That big mass hanging down did not last long, but the multivortex followed about 5 minutes later well east of town.
 
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Darin Brunin wrote:
Now for the description.....I don't think that it really matters what shape the tornado was....A tornado is a tornado and will do equal damage no matter the shape of it is.


ALSO...

Whether someone called it violent or not at the time shouldn't have been taken seriously then and shouldn't now because in the heat of the chase it is easy to get over excited as well all know.

[FONT=&quot]I couldn't disagree more with the above statements. Listen folks, specific/detailed reports of exactly what is occurring with a tornado are critical to the NWS mission to save life and property. If there is any degree in question to what you're observing, then DO NOT jump the gun and label something that isn't...especially if you are reporting something in. I don't care if somewhat is excited or not...calm down...make a GOOD observation...and then call in a QUALITY report. There is NO excuse for saying I was overly excited at the time...oops...sorry about that report. That report has already been implemented into the warning decisions at the local NWS offices. Bad reports for whatever reason bring down the warning process as a whole. For those newer chasers out there, please take the time to carefully examine what you're observing.

Just my two cents from a chaser/radar operator perspective.

SFB
[/FONT]
 
Darin Brunin wrote:
Now for the description.....I don't think that it really matters what shape the tornado was....A tornado is a tornado and will do equal damage no matter the shape of it is.


ALSO...

Whether someone called it violent or not at the time shouldn't have been taken seriously then and shouldn't now because in the heat of the chase it is easy to get over excited as well all know.

[FONT=&quot]I couldn't disagree more with the above statements. Listen folks, specific/detailed reports of exactly what is occurring with a tornado are critical to the NWS mission to save life and property. If there is any degree in question to what you're observing, then DO NOT jump the gun and label something that isn't...especially if you are reporting something in. I don't care if somewhat is excited or not...calm down...make a GOOD observation...and then call in a QUALITY report. There is NO excuse for saying I was overly excited at the time...oops...sorry about that report. That report has already been implemented into the warning decisions at the local NWS offices. Bad reports for whatever reason bring down the warning process as a whole. For those newer chasers out there, please take the time to carefully examine what you're observing.

Just my two cents from a chaser/radar operator perspective.

SFB
[/FONT]

Since when did Mr. Brunin say that he called in a report to "your office." ?

Does it MATTER if it is a wedge or a stovepipe? A tornado is a TORNADO and regardless, people should take cover.

You can't sit here and tell me that Mr. Smith won't take cover for a rope tornado, but will for a wedge. Give me a break.

PS: Darin never reported anything to your office (neither did I), and if you are going to sit here and ridicule chasers for what they OBSERVED, then maybe you can just rely on your spotters next time.
 
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