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04/10/05 REPORTS: Central and Southern Plains

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Well, our burger at Braum's here has gone better than the day's chasing, so far.....

Highlight of the chase was being visited for some time by a Kingfisher (bird) near Attica, KS.....as we dawdled around the southern portion of the state looking at nothing-very-much. Don't know if I would have left home this morning, though - knowing that the only highlight of the journey was going to be of the avian-variety....



Some afterthoughts this morning.....

It's a pretty simple equasion, really. Tornadoes need shear, first and foremost, no. 1 priority - not CAPE. You can have all the CAPE in the world and no shear - and you're likely not going to get a tornado. You can have all the shear in the world - and very low (but some!) CAPE - and it's completely possible to get tornadoes. The only place these parameters were available yesterday was in the bent-back section of the dryline up as it wound into the low. Hence - everybody else busted.

Looking back - we would have been better off not bothering to leave home - and having a supercell train over Cleveland County in our absence doesn't make it feel any nicer. We weren't targeting NW KS - we just weren't! In fact - most of you will note that I didn't post ANY forecasts or target areas for this system - because we were 90% sure it was not going to get us out the door.

But then......what're ya going to do? Just leave that sliver of a T-box in north-central OK to its lonesome? Hmmmm......it's like tossing a piece of baloney out to a bunch of starving hyenahs. So close....and yet so far.

I am not upset at missing yesterday's tornadoes. Obviously I would have loved to have been on them - but we sat near Wellington, KS all afternoon and watched those storms drift off to our north on radar. It was.....well, quite boring. There was no chance in hell of us shooting off to northwestern KS after some of that cold-core, low-topped, highly-sheared tornadojunk......LMAO! So - the only way that our day yesterday seemed to differ from Shane's (apart from non-meteorological circumstances) was that we didn't even try to chase the tornado-warned stuff.....

Oh - BTW Shane ROFL......ummmm, we exited at Guthrie for a burger.
But luckily we were driving my little red '92 Mazda Protege......so you're pretty safe.

I don't think I was that tired.......and I was driving.

I hope others faired better than I. Set up shop south of Manchester Oklahoma on OK 132. Watched lots of turkey towers go up and down. Looked like one of those hit the gopher on the head games. Watched as several chasers (good lord I thought my vehicle had stuff on it. I do't even come close!) streamed northward heading towards Kansas. I'm assuming they were all headed to the Low. If they were, then they may have seen something...

Anyway, after watching several towers shoot up in the distance, moved to just south of Cherokee, OK where we sat, and sat, and sat... threw a few rocks at puddles, made silly faces at the local domestic life and watched the gopher game a bit closer up.

Basically, it was a total bust. NOAA Weather Radio out of OUN was still sending the same message they had all day. Woodward NOAA Radio wasa little bit better. I believe we were busted by a number of things though.

1. CAP that was there and wasn't supposed to be.
2. Cooler temps and not near enough local heating.
3. Lack of quality moisture
4. a Dryline that stalled out way early

Now that I'm home, I see cells starting to form in the area in which a gave my afternoon and evening too. Whaaaa!

Same song different person.
I originally set out as Edmond to be my TA but in Chickasha I looked at more current data and decided to play the RR area down by Durant, OK. While I did get some 1" hail, lightning, heavy rain and major winds, I wish I would have stuck with my TA. IF I would have done that I would have had a great location for the future storms that rolled through the Metro. Oh well, have take the good with the bad. :roll:
I keep thinking of Shane's video where he said "something to be said for aging and patience" 8) sucks because I am even older than he is!
I hope others had more luck!
Ben Prusia, Darin Brunin and I chose Pratt for initiation, then split and Ben and I took 281 up to basically Great Bend. We caught some rotation southwest of GB, but no funnel. Other than that, a truckload of pea-1/4 and MAYBE some 1/2" hail. I managed to shoot some okay structure shots. Definately an HP day too.
I played the dryline game today too in Oklahoma with my intitial target as Lawton, OK. I left Norman around 11:30 am and arrived in Lawton at 1 pm. I soon realized that it wasn't a good day to chase alone as I was short on entertainment during the four hours of sitting on the dryline waiting for the cap to break....thank goodness they broadcast the Masters on the radio haha, thanks 640 AM.

Finally around 5:15pm the first towers went up near Bray, OK that began the four hour lifecycle of the Oklahoma/Lincoln Co. tornadic supercell. I was able to follow it back home to Norman, with a five minute period in its early lifecycle that looked promising for a tornado, but no luck for me. I bailed on the storm in Norman due to fatigue, darkness and little confidence that it would tornado finally after spawning nothing in its previous three hours of existence. Congrats to Billy Griffin, who captured some excellent night-image video of the tornado near Harrah, OK that was shown on KOCO.

Overall today was a nice practice session to target the right area for convective initiation....just wishing the shear environment in KS would've been in place here today. I didn't run into many other chasers until I was back in Norman, so I think I was one of the few people crazy enough to sit on the dryline all day, which paid off as I witnessed the initial two hours of the supercell.

Check out my pictures and full report here:

One of the more difficult chase forecasts in my chasing career so far... My target had been along the Red River since about last Thursday. I made it down to ADM by about 1pm. I noticed clearing to the west, but winds were veering along a small-scale dryline bulge it appeared. So, I opted to head back north on I35 to place myself on the northeast side of the mini-bulge as it appeared to be. Well, being in mist and low clouds near Davis in the Arbukle "Mountains", and noting clearing immediately along the dryline, we opted to head west towards Duncan. Sat in Duncan for a bit, met up with some fellow chasers (Bryan Burkholder, Kiel Ortega, etc.), and realized that if storms were going to develop, they'd do so either north or south of us. With better moisture to the south, I figured that it'd be best to head south towards Waurika, then east from there. Well, I/we meandered between Waurika and Ringly, waiting some towers go up... and down. There appeared to be more persistent convective attempts to the north, so we slowly meandered north on Hwy 89 and 76 toward Ratliff City. At this time, it did appear that some updrafts were able to take hold to our north-northwest, so we jetted towards Lindsay. I filled up with gas in Lindsay, and we headed north on Hwy 59. Not too far out of Lindsay, a semi-decent updraft base came into view to our west. This storm SLOWLY increased in intensity and organization for the next while. The first wallcloud attempts we saw was some nice rising scud actions south-southeast of Dibble. At any rate, we followed this storm to the northeast through Norman, observing several pretty nice wall-clouds in the process. In fact, there was a pretty big wall-cloud sitting right over central/northern Norman for a while. With the sun beginning to set, the colors below cloud base were pretty awesome.

Despite the wall-clouds, I didn't really see much rotation until the storm neared Twin Lakes. We stoped at the Love's at I40 and Choctaw, thinking we'd watch it roll by before heading back to OUN. At this time, I noticed a very interesting funnel-like feature that developed immediately south of my location (or east-northeast of Lake Stanley Draper). OUN issued a tornado warning at this time, and we headed east on I40 before heading north on Harrah Road. Noting OUN reports on ham about tornado-scale circulation likely to the southwest of Harrah, we opted to jog eastward a bit towards McCloud before moving northward again. I saw numerous power flashed during this time, with the highest concentation as I was heading northward towards Harrah. At any rate, following the tornadic circulation, we headed north on 102, and got as far north as about 8 miles south of Wellston. At this time, OUN was mentioning very strong circulation 12 miles S-SW of Wellston, and a spotter reported a funnel cloud about 10 miles S-SW of Wellston. Hmm... Not wanting to head farther north, we tried to cut east to get out of the way of this thing, but the roads were pretty horrible here... So, we opted to just bite the bit, haul south, and call it a day.

All in all, it was an interesting day to say the least... by interesting, I mean VERY difficult. I was VERY surprised to see that the storm was only moving at 20-25mph, despite the strong mid-level flow.

EDIT: The 0z OUN sounding is probably an excellent sample of the near-storm environment near the supercell that went through Norman. The moisture is pretty shallow, which may have yielded a relatively cold RFD. Well, 0-3k helicity certainly wasn't good (~75 m2/s2), so it's no real wonder this thing wasn't able to transition from wall-cloud producing nontornadic supercell to a tornadic supercell.

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Wall-cloud near Washington, OK (I think... need to match with GPS log later)

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Blockish wall-cloud as seen from Hwy 9 and 24th Ave E. in Norman, looking to the north-northeast, so basically over Robinson area I think...
Ok a rough summary

Totaling 420 miles today I ended up with only needing just over 250. I went down to just about Duncan, OK. After deciding the cells headed for OKC seem to be all there was going to be I headed back north thru Lindsey and was able to catch the lowering around Blanchard followed the storm thru Norman and the chaser circus . Caught the funnel ? (still need to verify on video) just before it tornadoed around S.E. 15th. Went back east and up Triple x road then decided I needed more distance and went east to Pebbly Rd . I ended up going east on 62 then north on 102 to 66. Found multiple cars parked under the turnpike bridge on 66, later someone reported that 66 was blocked by the cars. I never really saw anything else but someone reported a powerflash in Warwick but I was driving thru there at the same time didn't see a thing,who knows. The cell started dieing shortly after it went north of I-44 ..
All in all I can't complain heres a link to the Blancard pics I'll see whats on video and put up tomorow after I get the taxes finally done.

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Still going on adrenaline I decided to look at some of the video from east of OKC here's a couple grabs.
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I am done and I've given up trying to salvage the video I took while driving down Dobbs Rd in eastern Oklahoma County. Somehow I hit some buttons while driving and which caused a more grainy video and of course this happened when the best views where appearing between ne 15th and ne 24th. Oh well live and learn but I sure miss my old Canon 8mm for night stuff.

Here is about the best grab from Dobbs road and north of ne15th I believe. Since I didn't plan a chase in OKC ,I didn't load the OKC area map on my PDA for the GPS to save memory and there for I was hendered some on exact locations

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Videos are located here:http://www.stormdriven.com/04102005video.html
Basically I drove in a big 300+ mile circle today to see a storm that passed within 5 miles of my apartment.

Sat under highly sheared turkey towers near the intersection of Hwy 8 and Hwy 58 for a long time this afternoon. The towers produced a few mid level funnels, but seeing the stratocumulus field dissipating off to my east told me moisture was going to be hard to come by, so I dropped further south to look for something else. Heard storms were firing in central OK, so went after those. Before long the storm came into view - quite low topped and with the anvil being shorn well downstream. Got to Norman right after the storm went through, saw a wall cloud to my east as I approached the Robinson exit and thought I might have a rare opportunity to get a picture of a wall cloud with the NSSL radar towers in the foreground - wasn't able to get it though as the storm was continuing to move northeast away from me. Decided to continue after the storm - had a nice circular updraft base with the RFD wrapping around the meso. Began having a lot of trouble with terrain, trees, darkness, and relative lack of lightning as I got northeast of Norman....so I wasn't able to see the tornado that passed west of Harrah. Power was out in the southern part of Harrah. Broke off the storm for good south of Wellston as lightning activity was diminishing and terrain and trees were a big problem.

Was amazed to see how many people were out chasing from Norman to Harrah to south of Wellston after dark....a lot more people than I saw chasing after dark on 5/29 last year.


Last post was deleted, so here I am again. I observed 5 tornadoes today in Central Kansas; 3 in Trego County and 2 in Russell County, including...

A WATERSPOUT IN KANSAS!!! Yes, we had a tornado touch down in Cedar Bluff Reservoir south of Trego Center, KS. Minutes later, we got the biggest tornado of the day about 3 miles up the road. A video still below..

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A digital still image with my A85...
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South of WaKeeney, we picked up on a long needle tornado.

After that, we hauled east on I-70 into Hays to intercept another storm which didn't produce. We then punched the core of a storm to emerge on Exit 180 from I-70 with a tornado in the field to our Northeast. We followed Hwy 281 north of Russell, KS where we intercepted our 5th tornado of the day!

More later as I get images up and a log written. I'll post the log here upon completion. Right now, we're in Hays, KS at an Econolodge chilling for the night as I-70 remains closed due to the blizzard.

April 10, 2005


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Tony and Jon Merage Driving into vault - photos © Jon Merage

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Tornado with anticyclonic funnel

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Back building meso

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Tornado #4

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Ground Circulation


Chased the storms today just south of I-70 and Wakeeney and saw 4 tornadoes including a waterspout. This was the best tornado of the day that we saw. I'll have a full report soon but here is a 1.2M video!


EDIT: Full chase report now available here.

Well....LOL. The only picture I prepared was about the same one Tony posted from about the same angle, since that's my truck in his shot! Anyway, too tired to dig through and prepare anymore, so it will have to wait until the full chase report.

Tornado south of Ogallah, Kansas April 10, 2005 ~22z

We observed five tornadoes this afternoon and early evening on several supercells of different types, from an early cold-core, low-topped cell to more classic supercells firing along the dryline bulge. All times and locations are approximate until I can review footage and GPS logs, probably a day or two from now. Things were hectic and I shot more video than stills, but will take a few minutes to put up an unpolished still image, albeit with some hail streaks in the shot. I’ll post video grabs in a few days.

Our first tornado of the day was very small on a cell in extreme northwest Scott County around 1:30 or 2:00 PM. These storms fired as instability wrapped around the surface low and the dryline bulge began to impinge on the marginally unstable air. Easterly surface flow most likely contributed to steep low level shear as our Wx-Worx did not indicate any shear at the time of the first tornado. We observed a very small, but identifiable supercell on regular reflectivity (via GRLevel 3) about twenty minutes prior to that initial tornado.

Early tornado near Scott City ~19z

We hurried east as storms fired along the dryline sloping back to the southeast and south, continuing to pursue cells in Lane and Ness counties. Our next tornado was remarkable in that the circulation first became evident over water. We were crossing the dam on the eastern edge of the Cedar Bluff Reservoir in southeast Trego County when a low-hanging wall cloud produced a visible and violent rotation on the surface of the small lake. This was amazing as we had just joked about how the turnoff from the dam would be a perfect location for our storm to produce a picturesque tornado. Unfortunately, the entire funnel did not fill in, but the storm was only getting started. We observed another tornado shortly thereafter, a tall white cone that swirled tumbleweeds on ground and kicked up black dirt. This was south of Ogallah, Kansas by about six miles, but I will have to check video for the timestamp.

At this point we realized that many of these storms were advancing north and interacting with some boundary draped west to east---perhaps an outflow boundary from earlier convection, and dropping tornadoes while simultaneously slowing down. Surface winds along this feature were due east into the storms. Even storms which ingested inflow coming through the downstream precipitation of the storms to the south or southeast seemed to strengthen and rotate much more violently when interacting with this boundary. Once they moved north and into the cooler air, they weakened.

Our fourth tornado was a dark, tall stovepipe, the best-looking and longest-lived tornado of the day, which stayed on the ground for probably five to seven minutes and went through several graceful mutations, with a sleek funnel to the ground and a roiling debris curtain at the base. This was about three miles south of Ogallah on State Road 147. Again, I may have to correct some of the locations in later updates to this report. I’m basing this off a GPS logfile I’m running quickly and trying to match tornadoes with location where we’re stopped.

Near Ogallah

Ogallah ropes out

By now we understood the magic of the boundary and hurried to get south for the supercell then entering Hays, Kansas. There was another storm to the southeast of that, and a third even, which we called the “Great Bend†storm. Eventually, the second storm in this train would produce another tornado, which we did not see, near Interstate 70 about one mile west of Russell. At last we reached Russell and raced north on 281 in time to see our final tornado, another tall stovepipe, about six miles north of Russell. That would be the last productive storm of the day for us, and we retired to Salina and dinner at Spangler’s along I-135.

Final tornado of the day south of Russell, Kansas ~2349z

I want to thank Eric Nguyen and Scott Currens for a remarkable forecast that included playing extremely close to the low early in the setup and assuming there would be enough time to move out ahead of the dryline for the more conventional, classic supercells. There was, and both areas produced for us. I want to thank the outflow boundary without which I don’t know that anything but that first low-topped storm would have produced. As well, there is no question that chasing a day like this without some form of uninterrupted data would be very difficult or impossible. Many things came together perfectly for the best April chase of my life. It was fun as hell.
Pretty long drive today outta Lincoln, NE! I picked Stormtrack member & friend Darren Addy at around 16Z we and arrowed south into central KS.

This was a challenging chase, as the data port on my cellphone is broken at the moment, meaning no data other than what we could negotiate in back alley "deals" near open routers. 8) (At one point, the manager of a Days Inn peeked out of his little office window and saw us parked in his completely empty lot, hammering away at our laptops. He promptly shut the router off. Aparently he didn't have enough internets to go around, considering all the transient, carless guests he apparently had staying there.)

The cloudcover was pretty much continuous until Ellsworth at 19Z -- once we got outta the lowlevel cloud/drizzle field and found the boundary (near which the temps went from the low 60s to the low 70s with air humid enough to feel), we knew we were set.

I was a bit surprised that a lot of the good stuff fired further north of us; I it looked like the best backing winds were with us further south. Still, we caught plenty of rain, some dime hail, some driving winds, and one tornado as it roped out just west of Great Bend. Only saw a few chasers out and about; law enforcement was going nuts, however, as apparently there was a tornado out that way last year. Now, as the locals say, "every time a cloud passes over they blow the sirens".

Fun time! If this is a hint of things to come, then I heartily welcome in the 2005 season!
Chased with Fritz Kruse today. We chilled for awhile with the Colorado Clan (Carlson, Laubach, et al.) and then parted ways just as the Ness-Trego County storm was really getting its act together. We went north when they continued west. We remained east of Cedar Bluff Reservoir.

We saw two simultaneous, very brief tornadoes, initially around the Cedar Bluff area, then we observed a big, low contrast cone to the northwest. This tornado lifted and another classic tornado developed from the same circulation about 3 miles northwest of our location near I-70. I need to review the video with Fritz and find out exact locations and times, cuz things were happening fast. This classic tube was on the ground ~ 7 to 10 minutes?? It dissipated then was hanging on to life as this landspout-ish looking tornado when roping out. Pretty neat.

We then intercepted the Russel county storm where we saw two more tornadoes, for a liberal total of 6 on the day. The somewhat large tornado ~9 SW Russel was moving northeast towards our location on I-70. It was a truncated cone that evolved into a more slender condensation funnel to the surface at times. The last tornado of the day was a fairly short lived, full condensation funnel just west-northwest of the Russel city limits. Surreal having the sirens blaring on the west side of town with a full condensation tornado in view! Russel is a fairly lucky place this evening. A sampling of images follows.... more posted later this week along with video clips on my website.

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near Ogallah, KS (Trego County)

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~9 SW Russel (SW Russel County)

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~9 SW Russel (SW Russel County)

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within Russel city limits, looking WNW (Russel County)

Mike U
Decided to target the area of NW OK where the earliest clearing was occuring ahead of the DL within a nice area of moisture convergence and backed surface winds. Ended up near Anthony instead, as towers exploded to the distant northwest. We raced west on US160 (the new Highway to Heaven) to Medicine Lodge, then north on US281, with bases starting to come into view. We were well-south of the first tornado warning near Macksville, and tried in vain to catch up, all the while monitering the cells to our immediate west and northwest. We stayed a half hour behind all the tornadoes while ending up right between two tornado-warned storms at the same time: right over St. John and 10 southwest of there. We went east on US50 to Stafford, intending to get north of town so we could view both mesos. We managed that feat, but unfortunately both our t-warned mesos quickly wrapped up, occluded, and were junk. The next half hour was spent driving through heavy rain until we could get our next east option, all the while listening to reports of tornadoes only a county north of us.

Finally got ahead of and away from the rainy mess, where we stopped to check out the chaotic motions south of Ellinwood. There we met Darin Brunin and friends, and we all stood there checking out the boiling clouds that looked ominous but were quite harmless. Moved east to get ahead of the storm again, and with impending darkness and the obvious outflowish nature of the cell, decided to call it quits.

I made a serious dumbass move today, while driving through Anthony, KS: I had my head in the map while driving, and rolled right through a red light in the center of town. I noticed two vehicles stopped on the opposite side of the road as I looked up from the map and said "did I just run a red light?" DUH. Fortunately no other cars were crossing so no harm done.

Had a good laugh on I-35 north of Guthrie on the way home. On a lonely stretch with no other cars, a mysterious SUV pulled up to pass, but instead held up beside us. I looked over because they seemed to behave like they knew us, though I didn't recognize the vehicle. Well, I tried to pass them but they sped up, so I braked to let them pass and they slowed back down. The next thing I know, I have an a$$ sticking out the rear passenger's side window. I still didn't know who they were, but it seemed hilarious so I sped back up to pass them and gave them a finger. Once I cleared them, Chad and I flanked one another and slowed to 50mph (no other vehicles were within sight) to block them, but they never came close to us after I passed them. Whoever that was exited at Guthrie, so we may never know who the mystery arse belongs to.

First chase of the year for our little Nissan, and the result was fantastic. Chad and I tuned it up last month, and the mileage was phenomenal, over 400 miles to a tank. 646 miles only cost $41, and with an average price today of about $2.23/gallon, that's very efficient. We missed tornadoes yet again, but we were there. Just wasn't our day again.

Note: I thought of Philip Flory as I heard the first t-warning for the Macksville area; his target was Larned. I haven't read any reports yet but I know he must've nailed tubes today.
Unfortunately i did not have the same luck as others did. I started off the day driving to Newton KS in the morning and looking at models for about 45 minutes. Then i had to be in ICT for the storm expo at Century 2. Met some great people there (Ross Janssen and Rodney Price from KWCH, Dan Dillon,John Wright, Jared Curello and Greg from KFDI). I left ICT around 230 and went for a quick data check and then headed to Medicine Lodge. I should have drivien north instead of waiting for the end of the line storm to come. It never developed into a supercell. Between 1900 and 2000 a 40 mile long shelf cloud developed and it looked interesting with the setting sun in the background. Next time i will know to go the ene quadrant of the low. Im not sure the low ever moved much in the evening, just the dryline bulge. Congrats to everyone who saw naders today.

Thanks to Kent Faudel and Scott Roberts for the nowcast info.
4/10/2005 Chase Report

I'll keep this short since Amos, Tony and Mike covered a lot of the details. Chased with Dean Cosgrove yesterday and we were in Hays
Kansas by noon to get into position for the day.

I shot lots of video which was on the "Forbes Cast" on The Weather Channel last night (4/10/2005)

The video is on http://www.lightningboy.com
Here is one of the photos yesterday.

p.s. Anyone know who the yahoo was with the Red Car and the big wanna be fast and fury loud exhaust and tail fin on their toyota or
honda? Stop Blocking The Road!

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Targeted Pratt yesterday. Then split up with Ben and Travis shortly after initiation due to a muddy road from hell which I barely made it through. After this I got on the two tornado warned storms for Stafford Co. The first storm had a decent wall cloud with moderate rotation but was soon undercut by outflow from the second storm which was moving right on its ass. The wall cloud from the first storm passed over the road about 100 feet in front of us and then we gave up on it because it fell apart. It was about this time that we felt the second storms furry as we were blasted by some pretty strong winds, rain, and quarter sized hail. After jetting back east on Highway 50 we had a tiny bit of hope that the southern storm would produce. But as Shane said both storms quickly wrapped up, occluded, and were junk and it was worthless to even try chase the southern storm because it fell apart just as quickly as the northern storm.

After moving northeast we ran into Shane, Chad, and a few others after a while and stood around for a few minutes and hoped for a miracle. After that we decided to call it quits and head back to home. On the way to I-70 we witnessed in my opinion the most beautiful sunset that I have ever seen. We parked on top of a hill near Ellsworth and soaked in the great view.

Overall, I would not call the day a failure at all. I just think that low level shear was pretty weak in our area and just a few counties north made the difference. I thought overall most of the conditions in our area were more favorable than north but one factor came into play and we came away with nothing. Congrats to all who achieved tornadic success yesterday and may there not be any more cold core low systems this year!

Thank you Mike Deason and Matt Jacobs for the great nowcasting!

Here are a few pics from the day.....


wall cloud near Dillwyn




Trego County, KS tornadoes

I was on the Trego County storms too. Here's an additional, but similar, perspective on the Trego County storm as previous posts:


We got dragged along by other temptations and sadly missed the Russell, KS naders, but the Trego ones seem very similar and were quite rewarding.

Unfortunately, I failed to successfully intercept Verne and Company, and only had a short spin-up of contact with Tony Laubach but I'm glad we were all there to enjoy a nice day in the Plains.

Chased with several friends in C. OK.

Waited along the dryline just N. of the Wichitas and on E. Cu field quickly grew in the late afternoon. Storm finally fired NE of Rush Springs, and we followed this NE past Dibbles, Blanchard, and Norman. Darkness hit us after chasing it NE of OUN, and we called off the chase. To my eyes, the storm still appeared to be pretty disorganized and I didn't see any evidence that it would want to drop a tube shortly. Channel 5 got some shots of the only tornado near Harrah shortly after we called the chase off. Doh ; )

All-in-All, not a bad chase considering I wasn't expecting tornadoes. I wasn't sold on the low and associated warm front (not to mention the distance/chaseability) so I was/am comfortable with my decision to stay closer to home. Congrads to all that caught them... you had more confidence than me ;).

April 10, 2005

Jay and I had our 2nd chase of the year. I am glad mother nature is finally getting her act together. I went up to Jay's work to look at data and to pick my first ever target. Looking at SPC and current weather parameters, I chose Weatherford, OK as my target. Jay had already chosen his target and had posted it on ST and his target was Clinton, OK. I was pretty proud of my choice due to the targets being within 20 miles of each other. As the morning progressed it showed that everything was coming together around Woodward, OK so we adjusted our target area for SE of Woodward in a town called Seiling. At 11:00 am we were on the road headed for OK on Hwy 60.

We got to Seiling about 2:00 pm and relized that we had not past the dryline yet so we once again adjusted the target area. This time we went north on Hwy 281 to a town called Alva. At this time we lots of CU going up along the dryline and some towers did try to form but were ripped apart before they could get going. Bill (nowcaster) called and told us there had been a tornado watch issued for NW OKM into Southern KS so we were getting excited. At 3:30 we decided to camp out at a picnic table on the OK/KS line on 281. We got the cameras ready and deployed Annie (anemometer) in anticipation of a chase. We didn't have to wait long as we had a good looking tower go up to our NW. We went north on 281 to Medicine Lodge, KS. Jay was worried about the storms direction due to the low but we were advised that the storms were moving north and drifting east by Bill. We continued north to Pratt, KS and still had not had a significant tower go up but you could tell it was trying. We finally got a storm west of Pratt that looked could but then it seemed to crap out. Bill was on the phone nowcasting for us but all the tornadoes were taking place to our northern counties. Too far to chase when they were 60 miles away moving away from us at 40 mph. We decided to camp out in Pratt for awhile waiting for the southern end of there storms to blow up.

We sat in a gravel driveway waiting when a storm passed to the west of us. It had some good lightning and thunder. It was nice to eat my frosted animal crackers and enjoy the storm. Suddenly Bill calls telling us that they had issued a Tornado Warning for Stafford county! We had been trying to get a radar on the laptop or the TV but had no luck. The wx radio then issued the tornado warning and named the town of Macksville,KS. We were 20 miles south of Macksville so we went into chase mode. I was driving and Jay navigated using GPS. Big lesson learned today. Just because GPS shows a road as paved doesn't always mean it is. We took 70th Ave. north to try and catch the storm. Jay told me to take 110th east but unfortunately when I turned onto it it was nothing but mud. We ended up having to backtrack to 90th to get a paved road and by then we were losing the base. Now I am unable to give up even when it seems like it is the smartest thing to do. We ended up getting back onto Hwy 281 and went north to catch back up. When we finally caught it again we zigzagged north and east on county roads to keep east of the base.

The RFD notch on the storm was great and the inflow tail was freakin incredible. The wall cloud kept rain wrapping itself and occluding. The rotation would then take over in the new wall. We saw a couple of funnels but never a tornado. We followed the storm hoping for a tornado but it just wasn't meant to be. We were not able to chase far enough north to catch the confirmed tornadoes up here. But we did end up with alot of rain, nickel sized hail, and 4 or 5 rainbows. Not a bad chase in my book!

We decided to break off the chase in Great Bend, KS seeing how it was 7pm and we were 350+ miles from home. We headed south out of Great Bend so we could avoid driving home in the sun. The drive home we paralleled the storms that had finally blown up and had become a line to our east. They had huge towers and nice anvils. I was waiting for it to get dark so I could see some lightning. WELL, little did I know that mother nature had some thing else in store for us. About 9pm near Kiowa, KS we had a storm just blow up right on top of us. I am kicked back listening to XM when suddenly there was lightning overhead. Out of one the lightning strikes we were able to make out a base! After all the miles we had done during the day to keep up with a base one formed right in front of us. We drove through it and had heavy rain and lost visual of the base, but we had a beautiful lightning storm to enjoy. We sat on the side of the road for a good 30 minutes just watching the CG. It was great! What an awesome way to end the chase!!!!

Here are some pics from the chase:


So final statistics are:
Total Miles: 811
Total hours on the road: 15 1/2

Wow, I cant wait for the TX panhandle to have it's season. I am tired of driving 1600 miles in 1 week!

Special thanks to Bill Turner for nowcasting! Can't wait till you get to get out!

Come on May!!!!

I headed out West of Wichita around 12. My initial target was DDC, but I ended up stopping by Pratt because of the dryline bulge. I set up Northwest of Pratt and waited for storms to fire. I got on the first storm that went up and followed it for a little while. I dropped back to the South when a stronger cell developed close to Pratt. It was about this time when I made a critical mistake and learned an important lesson. Storms had started to go tornadic as they were reaching the area where winds became almost easterly. I knew there had to be some sort of boundary they were interacting with after the first couple tornado warnings. I was stuck trying to make the decision of whether I should head North to catch storms as they moved into the area of more backed surface winds/boundary or to stay where I was with higher CAPE and with dewpoints well into the 60s lingering just to our South and hope that a storm managed to stay somewhat isolated. I decided to stay and wait for a more islolated storm. I thought the Southeast winds we were having would be enough to get it done. I was wrong. The lesson I learned was never to under estimate the effect a boundary can have on producing tornadoes. This one is really hard to deal with since it was a consequence of my stupid decision. Congratulations to all you guys who bagged a couple of tubes on Sunday.
I pretty much targeted the same area as Jay and Kanani. I got to Fairview, OK around 1 and sat there with strong SE winds with a Td of about 56. I had towers going up to my East but was not too intent on going after them. I was waiting on something a little closer. Well, something a little closer never happened so I decided to call it the day around 5pm. The highlight of the day was the horseshoe vorticy that got me excited for a few minutes. Well, at least I did see some rotation in the sky today! The first photo was taken just south of Fairview and the last two photos of the horseshoe vorticies were taken about a mile west of Custer City. A full account can be found on my website.

Don't read this unless you'd like a lesson as to how to ROYALLY blow a chase.

ABQ chasers Bill and Chris Robertson and I stopped at the DDC NWSFO as the DL approached around noon. All week I had vowed, and said, to ignore the DL and target the wf near the low. We had barely stepped inside the door when the first Scott cty report came in, and one of the mets (sorry, I forget his name; I am terrible with names) said he didn't see any rotation on his radar. I thought "Okay, landspout."

The mets graciously sat me down in front of a terminal, and I pulled up radar and sat loops.

I then confused storm motion for synoptics, and believed the storms to the N were going to end up in NE well before we could intercept them. My chase autopsy also includes the possibility that those loops were running faster than the default speed you get when you d/l loops at home. That didn't dawn on me at the time. Anyone know?

Even so, as we left, I still told Bill and Chris we should head N. (It would be over 2 hours before KS tornadoes number 3, 4.......17, and we would have had only about 90-100 miles to drive to intercept.) I changed my mind about 2 minutes later.

We ended up near Great Bend, and saw virtually nothing all day.

Excuse me while I go throw household objects at the walls.

Congrats to everyone who scored, though. Well done. I hate you. Bite me.


[edit] Oh, BTW, I just happened to have d/l'ed and saved the ICT velocity image from CoD at the exact reporting time of the Barton cty ("Great Bend") tornado. The nice coupling appears NW of Great Bend, not W, due to meso tilt/scan elevation. If anyone wants it, PM me.
To lighten the mood here, allow me to join the ranks of "dumbassness" on Sunday. I blew through a redlight right in the center of downtown Anthony, KS because I had my nose in a map plotting our next move. Nothing came of it, but I'm sure to everyone else at the intersection I was an a$$. But I know I'm not.

Things happen, we all screw up, and we all call the one who messed up an idiot when we're on the other side of the fence. It's human nature.
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