04/15/06 Reports NE KS IA

Mike Hollingshead

Saw the Beatrice supercell from near Adams. It was quite the big round barrel of an updraft when viewed to the ne. I tried to go ne with it but the stupid road was not good. I turned around and had to drive right into the bear's cage. As rain screams east I get a call from another chaser reporting he'd just see the tornado in there and some damage from it and it was extreme rain-wrapped at the time he saw it. I get out of there and head to the storm that moved nw of St. Joe. The Beatrice storm was much more impressive structurewise. But anyway, on the way back and thought I'd "confirm" that tornado through another chaser and note the impressive structure of the storm at that time.

EDIT: Holy crap!!!! I just had the most fear all day. I sent this and looked up and this object is RIGHT at my windshield. It took me a second before I realized it was a cat looking right at me. lol
I got two tornadoes. The first one was South of Beatrice and I am guessing it was high end F2 low end F3. It was on the ground for about five minutes and was a very impressive cone. My video should be on CNN shortly. The second one was a short live rope 2 miles North of St. Marys. I will post pictures tomorrow morning.
I caught this cone tornado just se of Beatrice, NE about 4:37 CDT. I have several minutes of video with the tornado on the ground with a nice debris cloud. I’ll try to post some vid grabs later and maybe a small clip. I stayed put with the tornado coming towards me until it dissipated and the RFD started to wrap around. Right after I took off to the east I was blasted from the south with very intense winds, and a large Cotton Wood tree just to my left split in half and crashed to the ground. Scared the Sh*t out of me. This became very heavily rain wrapped and it was hard to anything else. I stayed with this storm quite a while, but finally gave up as they were heading into Iowa.


Hopefully images will come out all right this is my first attempt to add images via photobucket.com.

Left Omaha at 1:30PM targeting Fairbury, NE. Drove past that bad accident on I-80 just as first patrolman arrived. It appeared that an SUV traveling east crossed the median and flip several times ejecting the driver. I pray they survived, it looked real bad. Well back to the chase, my chase partner and I arrived in Beatrice around 3PM. we could see towers going up along the dryline to our west and northwest. Checked WXWORX, decided not to go after any storms that were moving NW do to reduced storm relative shear. We headed west on NE route 4 for about ten miles as we watched the towers build to the SW.

As soon as we determined the motion of the storms, near Fairbury, were to the NE we doubled back keeping just east of these storms being sure to avoid the "traffic" in Beatrice. Today luck bounced our way. We were planning to continue east but the road, that according to De Lorme went through to the east, was gated and we could only go south. We had been watching what appeared to be an inflow band protruding from behind the rain core for several miles. As we moved south, more and more of it was revealed until we came over a big hill NE of Beatrice and then we could see the entire wall cloud and meso.


It took about 5 min or so for a funnel to develop and touch down. This shot was taken about 5 miles ENE of Beatrice.


As we watched this tornado for 5 or 6 minutes we noticed it was not moving left or right and we had to travel about 3 miles east to reach a N-S road, coincidentally the same road we traveled on 4-6, we had to jet. We raced north now being chased by this HP monster moving NNE at 50mph. This shot was taken about 10 miles S of Adams, NE


It finally caught us in Adams, NE. Thanks to WXWORX we were confident enough to go west into the NW fringe of the core. We encountered some .75" to about 1.25" diameter hail, no dents fortunately. As we emerged from the core we looked back to see what we left behind and we were treated to on more beautiful view about 6 miles W of Adams, NE.

I can't seem to get this photo to upload properly, it is a beautiful double rainbow, very close and very bright.

I found it interesting that my chases have been more successful when I rely less on WXWORX. From the time we decided on which storm we were going to chase to the time we reached Adams and needed an escape, I never looked at WXWORX. Don't get me wrong it was very helpful in deciding which storm to go after and in determining an escape route, but last week when I couldn't get it to work and this week when I made a concerted effort to use it as little as possible; I caught tornadoes on both chases for the first time since before I had WXWORX.
This seems to be my year for getting spooky nocturnal twisters. I caught a tornado tonight about 20 mi east of St. Joe. It was another case of being a completely inadvertant catch, but this time I avoided the imminent death scenario.

I caught the remnants of the Brown Co. storm north of St. Joe, with a great horseshoe that was close to producing north of Fillmore (poor Fillmore) ... it didn't quite seem to make it, and then I got clobbered by rain as I decided to go ahead and try to keep chasing northeast of Savannah.

Followed the storm up 169, where it remained organized, but lost interest and decided to set up to get some lightning shots ... so I came south on 169 toward St. Joe, then east again toward a little town called Helena. I set up to shoot lightning as the backside of a new cell passed to my east. Then through the strokes under the base, a perfect cone tornado formed and moved off to the northeast slowly. It was on the ground for every bit of five minutes I'd say (though my view of the ground was obscurred). Hoping that at least one or two of the shots with lightning behind the funnel came out.

This turned my evening around. I had been royally hacked off all day, after having a broken down car for the last two days. I spent all afternoon working on it, then gave up completely a little after 4:00 ... finally at 5:30, when I saw the radar signatures being returned, I knew I just had to use all the elbow grease I could muster and got it fixed at 6:00, just in time to head north and intercept the first cell near St. Joe. I'm still filthy and covered in grease ... as I was through the entire chase. But it was worth it.

Pics coming soon ... stay tuned. The lightning pics will be better than the tor ---

Big thanks to Mike Johnston for a great job nowcasting again tonight, too - thanks Mike. I was chasing completely blind tonight ... no maps, no GPS, no wx-radio. I listened to a St. Joe station for info. and then just used my memory of the roads up there. What a wild night.


Ok - here are a few pics ... we'll start with the tornado ... I have a feeling it was actually pretty good size - but I was quite a distance, as you can see. Have several other photos of lightning going off up in the updraft that shows that the storm was turning a pretty sweet corkscrew maneuver at the time. Also notice the single leader CGs pounding the ground around the meso ... lots of that again with this storm.



These lightning shots have me convinced that I need to use a different lens -



Here is a shot of the backsheared anvil coming off the original St. Joseph storm - taken north of Savannah:


This is a shot of some mammatus in the anvil of the St. Joe storm as I was coming up I-29:

Caught a cell and funnel SE of BIE about 20 mins after the tornado that did all the damage.

Kinda hard to shoot stills *and* take vid while in 40MPH inflow...the vidcaps hopefully are better. Timestamp isn't adjusted for the recent time change :-(

This was the storm that moved from Jackson Co, KS through Nemaha/Brown/Doniphan counties. I was just E of Robinson, KS about 710PM. I was listening to a radio staition out of Hiawatha that did a great job of nowcasting and interpreting radar--except for this storm. According to their nowcasts, this moved from 10 mi. S of US-36 to 10 mi. N within ten minutes...I went from worrying about being in the bear's cage to tsk-ing about missing the storm!
I have no clue as to what this is--but I saw no debris while driving on US-36.

Ran into Gene Moore at Fairview, KS. Glad to finally meet ya! And thanks for the look at your laptop--I had no idea that there was a line of storms west of us...I was about ready to park and let what was going to happen come to me.

Remind me not to buy property in Beatrice!
Pretty good chase day for me in spite of missing all the tornadoes. I caught two very impressive supercells. The first pic is looking W from, uh, I think KS Hwy16 just W of US75 (N of TOP) at 2235z. I left that one as the base seemed to get higher and higher, and the lowerings went away not too long after shooting that pic. I figured the storm was drifting over some lower Td's, and there were more storms developing to the S, so I headed S, then E, to Lawrence.

The second pic is a wc directly over Lawrence at 0050z. There was no obvious rotation to it. I then chased that to Linwood, where I sat watching some rotating cone-ish lowerings for about 10 minutes before the sirens suddenly sounded. Soon after, things got boring, and it was almost dark, so I called it a day.

I had kind of a rough time today with construction, cities, trees, rivers...and got blasted by dust with the windows open several times...but sometimes that's just how it goes.


:eek: Ok i bet one can wonder how i sat at beatrice but went west then came back, and i end up chasing the stuff up by Rising City and ending up in Columbus NE... on a serious note i had gotten a call that my grandma was feeling ill and the rescue squad had to be called and someone need to be at the house to lock it up and stuff... i tell you its HELL! getting old anymore .... so to the chase part... i topped the tank off at Rising City sat and watched as storms approached.... took some pics and followed it to columbus, it looked like it was intresting for awhile got some small hail but i stayed out of the precip core.. until im on backgroads going North and East i had to stop and check the map to see where my nearest Hwy was, at that point the storm quickly got up to me and i got blasted with rain.. it was nice to see it coming horizontally with the wind, after it calming a bit i hauled but north on county road V and thats when reality quickly set in.... i headed back stressed out about things... got on Hwy 92, took 77 south from Wahoo, shot East on I-80 to take 66 to louisville, and then took US 50 to Hwy 34 east and dropped south on 59 to Hwy 2 in hopes of catching the tornadic storm, well i continued east on Hwy 2 and i stopped in Creston IA, watched the lightning show, and headed home congrats on those who bagged...
all in all im just ready for SLOW MOVING STORMS!

NOTE( might as well call funnels tornadoes now"... thats all i heard on the radio stations, a funnel was on the ground , sherrifs and local spotters were reporting a funnel touching the ground , at the point the NWS had a severe thunderstorm warning for Aubdoubon IA , but local law enforcement reported a funnel on the ground moving ENE at 45 mph.... you figure NWS would issue a tornado warning right?.... nothing came out , but then again sherrifs eyes view of something , is there word.... i feel a couple reports were nothing more then low scud moving through the heavy rain/hail area, and the others were actual funnel cloud/ tornado reports..

Oh well no ones perfect ;-)







I'll try not to make it too long.

Left Hutchinson kind of late, around noon, so we weren't able to make it all the way to the beatrice storm. We did however intercept a nice supercell NW of Topeka and watched a rotating wall cloud (and I estimate 60 mph inflow winds :eek: ) until it put down a weak tornado south Onaga, ks. Road option east however were non-existant so we weren't able to stay with the storm when it produced the brown county tornadoes later that evening. After that just drove through a little hail and decided to call it quits for the day.
Not much to add as everyone seems to have been on the Beatrice tornado. It reminded me a lot of Laverne '91. Saw a possible second tornado later on somewhere between Burchard and Steinauer at 5:14pm CDT. I looked over my shoulder while driving north and saw a skinny funnel about 1/3 to the ground, complete with RFD notch. It was well underway when we first saw it and lasted about a minute or so after we stopped to watch. We had trees along the ground so we couldn't see below it. This came from the storm south of the Beatrice storm. If anyone can confirm this or not, I'd appreciate a PM.

Aside: Passed Mike Hollingshead in Brownville, NE just before the river, making this the first time I've ever seen him on a chase. But I don't think he saw me LOL.
I also made it out today from Denver. Missed the Beatrice tornado by 5 minutes, but the structure was magnificant! Caught the cell down the line south and observed a gorgeous white tapered cone tornado as it moved into Otoe county, near Julian. I'll have an account and pics on line later today. Right now, it is 5:30 and I JUST got home! Mike H, I agree, the St Joe storm didn't hold a candle to the Gage county storm.

Roger Hill
I completely blew a tornado in my own backyard. I left home around 3:00 or so headed for the Fairbury area trying to get in position, but by then the storms had moved north of there (moving faster than I thought). From there I went to Plymouth while still trying to keep up with the storm. The whole time the storm had a fairly impressive structure that convinced me it wanted to spin. From Plymouth I wound up heading into Clatonia where the tornado sirens informed me that I was a day late for the show. From Clatonia I went to Crab Orchard in an attempt to catch up with another impressive looking cell, but I couldn't catch up with it. On my way to Crab Orchard I did pass near Adams and saw where the tornado had knocked down someone's kiddy play set. After farting around at Crab Orchard (and getting lost on good ol' Nebraska dirt roads) I decided it was time to call it a day. Just east of Beatrice I saw where the tornado had caused minor damage to some homes and tried to yank an "X miles to Beatrice, X miles to Wherever" sign out of the ground. The thing was leaning to the right real bad and had bowed out, but it didn't pull it out of the ground. A friend of my brother lives about five miles east of Beatrice and his home received much more serious damage. It tore off part of his roof, moved part of the house off the foundation, blew out the windows on his truck he bought yesterday (and moved it 40 feet, but didn't do any real damage to the body), and took a grain bin and relocated it a ways down in a field. Somehow his dog went through the tornado without a scratch.

So that is my manual on How You Too Can Screw Up A Chase In Your Own Backyard.

Total miles: 140
Peggy and I had targeted Beatrice for a couple days ahead of the event BUT we still didn't make it there on time! We arrived just 5-10 minutes too late for the touchdown south of Beatrice. Congrats to those who were there! We were coming in from the WNW and saw the lovely back side of the storm while the tornado was on the ground. There was a beautiful, very low rainbow at least. We finlly got under the meso immediately East of Beatrice and followed the cell for a while. We saw a very nice wall cloud and funnel. Then we went south and caught a rotating storm coming up that eventually went through Nebraska City and warrented a tornado warning. Next we dropped south to St. Joseph and saw a very well defined wall cloud before feasting on lobster (since we didn't earn a steak dinner!).

Pics from the day:






Melanie Metz