06/09/05 REPORTS: Central Plains

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Interested to see what everyone else intercepted today. Here are a few photos from our chase SW of Stockton, KS. This was my husband's first tornado!




Caught a tornado about 8-9 miles SW of White Deer in the Tx panhandle (about 30 miles NE of amarillo) on hwy 1880 5 miles north of I-40. Jason Boggs also caught this one and I am sure he will post some pics or video since his video is digital its easier for him to capture and post than me. Biggest hail was about quarter size as I had to drive north then east through part of the core to stay on the storm. also heard numerous reports of a large multi-vortex tornado south of me near Floydada that was on the ground for over an hour. Hopefully tomorrow will be even better.
saw three tornadoes today from Hill City to Stockton KS.

the first tornado near Hill City was a stovepipe before it got wrapped up in rain. even after it got wrapped up I could see an intense inflow band and lots of dirt racing towards the tornado from the NE.


storm after it got rain wrapped - inflow band can be seen to the right of the precip


this is all precip - there is a tornado in there though

jogged east a little - got delayed a bit due to road construction on US 24 - then dropped south from Stockton on US 183. a few miles south of town I saw a couple more tornadoes - the one to the south was a pretty stovepipe which I was able to see until ropeout. the one to the north was more of a barrel shape which I eventually lost in the rain.

after that was over I went south to Hays then went west to get another storm near the Trego/Ellis county line. didn't see any tornadoes out of this storm but the structure was just something else.



all of the tornadoes are on video - I'll try to get some caps up after I get home.
Today made chase-cation 2005 worth while. I started about 20 miles east of Dodge City. After watching a little bitty storm to my northwest fizzle due to an unsustainable updraft (around 3PM I believe), I sat for an hour or so pondering shooting towards Trego County. At that time, a storm showed up in southern Meade County. It was pretty close, and had a little rotation, so I headed that way. It was a decision I won't soon regret. It was warned from reports of baseball-sized hail and had a nice little wall cloud by the time I got there. I shot some pics, and then moved into better position. By that time, it was a raging supercell with really excellent photogenic structure around the base. The only thing it had wrong was that everything got rain-wrapped in a hurry, so I had to move a lot. That's certainly nothing to complain about, though. It occluded and re-formed several more times before dark. Absolutely awesome. I can't wait to get back home and stitch together all the panoramics I shot.

For the record, I saw a whole lot of funnels, but only one small tornado that quickly was overtaken by rain. It was getting dark, and it didn't last long, but I might have gotten it in one of my lightning shots for the day.
Here are some video captures of the same tornado that Jay McCoy got 8-9 miles SW of White Deer, TX. The tornado was fairly brief and did not do any damage that I know of.



First I want to thank SCOTT OLSON and MIKE JOHNSTON and my nephew RYAN for their undying nowcast guidance.....their help put me into the kind of chase you dream about.
In short a 450 mile run that originated in Denver netting me a HUGE elephants trunk in Damar, Kansas on the ground for 12 minutes.
pics to follow....gotta get ready fore tomorrow.


Trego County, Kansas near Trego Center ~2235z

In chasing it is often better to be lucky than good, and today I was very lucky and only good enough to avoid screwing up one of the great chase days of the last few years. June 9 deserves a place alongside the best chase days in recent memory, producing a wide range of violent, photogenic tornadoes from south of Lubbock, Texas well into Nebraska.

I witnessed four tornadoes from the storm that began in central Ness County Kansas and moved into Trego County where it wound up and developed several large cones, funnels, and stovepipe tornadoes, along with the most violent rear flank downdraft winds I've ever seen.

I started in Sterling and raced south, thinking the outflow boundary and dryline would intersect somewhere in the eastern Texas panhandle. But the surface low in southeast Kansas was ejecting faster than the 9z RUC model had shown, and my intersection point was progressing steadily northward. This was a good thing, too, because construction slowed me terribly in Colorado. If there had only been the one storm near White Deer (which did produce a tornado, according to several chasers), I would have been hard pressed to arrive in time.

I revised my target to Beaver, Oklahoma, then finally Dodge City, Kansas. I arrived at Dodge in time for the first small storm that fired ahead of the dry punch. At this time, the Hill City area storm was cranking up, and I knew my friends were up there bagging tornadoes like a shopping spree. My little cell by Dodge died rapidly, and I noticed the storm two counties north, in Ness County, was shaping up nicely. I hurried back up 183 and intercepted this storm about ten minutes before it began exhibiting rapid rotation---the most violent cloud base rotation I have ever seen. It spun and spun and I was amazed that such a violently turning storm was not condensing or even building downward. Then suddenly everything changed.

As the storm snagged the boundary, it began rapidly updrafting new condensation, and the show was on. The first and second tornadoes are so remarkably similar at one stage of their lives, it's nearly impossible to tell them apart, with the perfect collar cloud orbiting each. But the second tornado morphed into a large elephant trunk that touched down ~2240z and began to cross the road in front of me. This was about ten miles south of Wakeeney on 283, very near Trego Center, Kansas. This tornado was on the ground for nearly fifteen minutes. Then it lifted and another came down--not the same funnel; clearly separate post-occlusion tornadoes. This one began moving to the east northeast and I was behind, since I had allowed the tornado to cross the road in front of me. Unfortunately, my camera was zoomed all the way out and so my video makes it look as if I was further from the tornado than I was. Not that it matters, but it was so breathtaking that I stopped shooting digital stills at one point and stared in awe. I like doing that once in a while. The obsession with recording this stuff can sometimes interfere with the actual experience. It's good to put the cameras down for a few seconds and humble yourself before something so majestic.

I called Dodge City NWS to report the tornado (I had cell service for once!). Then as I turned east to follow, a large RFD plume was roiling in the field ahead of me. Then I observed an area of flattened vegetation moving rapidly, with some of the vegetation being pulled out of the ground and flung through the air! This was RFD--there's no question. But it was particularly violent and I turned south to escape and took the next east option. Strange as this sounds, that RFD was more unnerving than any of the tornadoes, including the one not far from me.

When I rounded the corner again, a white cone tornado was still on the ground. This was either the third tornado which had never lifted or simply a new one. After this, a new mesocyclone to the west produced another brief tube, and the show was over. The storm elongated and the shear weakened. Amazing what can happen in about four hours.

Special thanks today to EricN and ScottB for comparing notes on the forecast, and congrats to those guys for the getting the best of BOTH storms, Hill City and Trego County.

We have heard reports of damage to homes and property and hope the residents of northern Kansas made it through this dangerous night safely.

This is not my report.

Derek Shaffer, Ryan Herman, and Beau Hemel headed out of Dighton Kansas, after Ness county cell was warned, caught up to them in Trego Co. Here are some shots of damage and the tubes. ~10 south of Wakeeney.

Photos too big, CLICK ON THUMBNAILS.

Today was awesome. I was on the Meade county KS storm and got four tornadoes. I was focusing on video today so I never even got out my digital camea (all I have is video grabs). There was a very broad area of rotation during the first three tornadoes. It wasn't the classic clear slot from the RFD, where you can tell where the tornado was going to develop. In most cases today, by the time you realized where a tornado was going to develop it was too late to get out of its way. There was also rain wrapping around the meso so you had to get in close. It was a bad combination and it made for tough chasing even though the storm was virtually stationary. The first tornado dropped a few miles SW of Fowler. It touched down about a half mile to a mile in front of me. I moved in closer and got good video of it crossing the road from about 100 yards away. Here are two pics of the first tornado. It didn't last very long.



I thought the car in the second picture was done. The tornado could not have missed it by much.

The second tornado was about a mile SW of Fowler. It was about 100-200 yard wide cone. It lasted a couple of minutes.


The third tornado touched down about 100 yards in front of me. I never got any video when it had a good condensation funnel. I had to put the camera down and sprint down the road because the tornado was coming South towards me. The first picture was of the funnel right before the circulation became visible at the ground. You can't make it out very well. The second picture is the circulation at the ground with a little bit of debris. It crossed the road about 100 yards South of me and died quickly.

After that tornado I moved East where a new mesocyclone developed. I saw several funnels close to the ground, but I never saw any circulation at the surface. The storm began building back to the South after about 20 minutes. I dropped South on 283 and went West on 160 where I saw the fourth tornado. It touched down once when I didn't have my camera on and then touched down a second time once I had my camera ready. Here is a video grab.


The span of time around the fourth tornado was quite scary. There were tons of cloud to ground strikes going on all around. It was the worst lightning I have been stuck under. I have a soft top Jeep, so I was sweating bullets over the CGs. There were several that hit very close to my car.
In conclusion, 2005 just got a little bit better today. I wasn't real happy with the tornadoes, but I can't complain. I got some real good video out of the deal because of how close the tornadoes were. This was the first time I have ever felt truly vulnerable when chasing. It wasn't that the tornadoes were strong or anything like that. It was just that the combination of having to be in close, rain wrapping, and the very broad area of rotation for the first three tornadoes made it difficult to find a safe place to view from. I had several close calls with funnels and tornadoes today. I kind of wish I had stayed up North. I originally went to Hays this morning before haulling South around noon. It was still a great chase though and I certainly won't complain. I am spending the night in DDC and can't wait to see what tomorrow will bring.
Congratulations to everyone else who bagged tubes today.
Excellent day. We go onto the first supercell (the one that produced the Hill City wedge) early on in it's lifespan, and got a couple funnels (after getting stuck on a dirt road, and wasting time), and had to deal with idiot construction workers, who were absolutely oblivious to the oncoming LARGE tornado that was ongoing. All in all, I probably got around a half dozen tornadoes today, likey more. Here's just one still I got to upload...

structure w/cone tornado - and developing large funnel to the right of it

Will have a log/photo set on my website soon, but am so darn busy, lol...

Onto tomorrow!
A very frustrating day for Brian M, Kinney A, and myself. Began the
day in Ogallala, NE videotaping a humorous t-shirt transaction
between Kinney "the gardener" Adams and Dave Fogel. This ended up
being the high point of the day. Headed S to Imperial for brunch;
with plans to head S into NW KS. Noticed early CB-o-genesis
transpiring E of Benkleman. Headed S to Oberlin, arriving to tornado
warned convection. Got hailed on briefly before turning around to
target the beast towards Morland (Sheridan/Graham Co). Sirens blasted
off in Oberlin as we headed S on HW83; yet was perplexed as to why
(nothing visually; nor on threatnet). Apparently a tornado was
reported 20 minutes after we abandoned the cell.

Expedited southbound on 83; then cut S on 23 to 24 east. Finally on
course to Hill City; Keith Brown phoned to report a large wedge
tornado SW of the HLC. A large hail/precip. shaft was visible east;
so in an attempt to dodge that bullet; our entourage cut S at
Penokee. Big mistake. While skirting eastbound on a dirt road; it was
decided not to proceed and return to 24. During this; I attempted to
turn around into a small driveway, under-estimated the turn and
slipped into a deep ditch. #@$#@!!! This qualifies me for the
jackassery of the year award. Fortunately, a local farmer had us
out of there in 15 minutes!

Headed N to 24 and proceeded E. Decided to leave the TOR warned cell;
and headed S to the Eillis Co. sup. Managed to make it to I-70 to
witness two brief tornadoes; low contrast; one just SW of I-70 near
Riga (or Ogalla); followed by a brief tornado N of I-70 NE of Riga.
Storm quickly transitioned into HP mode; and regardless of additional
attempts N of Hays.. only a rotating wall cloud was observed. Chase
ended at Arbys in Hays, oogling over Bill Reid's multiple tornado
video bonanza.

Currently in Pratt; drinking a Dr. Pepper and analyzing data for the
next several days.

What an awesome day. What an HP beast!!

Very close report to Michael Gribble's above.

Did not leave ICT until around 3:30 pm, not originally planning to chase today. After looking over some data, decided SW KS was a must-go and decided I had a shot to make it by 6.

Arrived near Fowler, KS Around 6:30pm right when the first tornado warning was issued. Persistent wall cloud was present just west of Fowler. Watched this feature as it spun itself out over the next 10-15 minutes, was almost positive it would produce a tornado, never did. Watched as another area of rotation began to develop right near HW 54 W of Fowler. This feature quickly began spinning rapidly and the first tornado formed around 6:47pm, it began as a very thin rope tornado and transitioned into a decent sized tornado as it neared HW 54. The tornado moved right over HW 54 (I was about 1 mile E at the time) with a full condensation funnel and some fairly strong rotation. Followed the storm south and was able to observe tornado #2 from S of Fowler, it was a good size cone that lasted around 2 minutes, barely visible from my location due to rain wrapping around the tornado. Continued south and was able to observe a 3rd tornado closer to sunset, thin rope tornado.

The real treat was not the tornadoes but the unbelievable structure shots I was able to take after setting up shot for about an hour about 5 miles E of the storm, watching it sit and spin. I was able to witness and tripod the most amazing CG show I have seen in my life!!!! You really had to be there to believe, it was worth the trip 5 million times over.

Overall, great day, especially considering I was originally not even heading out. Was a very difficult storm to chase early on considering every tornado was quickly rain-wrapped. The hilly area S of Fowler did not help much either with viewing. Best decision of the day by far was deciding to screw trying to get close to another tornado and just take in the sights of a raging HP supercell over the KS prarie complete with a CG show and tornado #3, I can't ask for more.

Congrats to all others who nabbed the tornadoes today!
What more can I say that hasn't already been said? :)

From Stockton, KS:






Northern Ellis County, KS

Trego County, KS

Congrats to everyone out today; it certainly was, IMO, THE day we've all been waiting for (so far) of 2005!

BTW, I'd be remiss if I didn't thank my wife for leaving work early today and coming along with me. She lost her tornado virginity today! :)

EDIT: Wow. Melanie's husband and my wife see their first tornadoes today and it's the same exact ones! Got to appreciate the coincidence in that! :)


Wow what a day. Stewart Manning and I observed atleast 8 tornadoes in Western KS. No sleep for me tonight as I just got back home and am heading out west again. Will post pics later but here is a preview picture of two tornadoes. For people in the NE KS/ Kansas City area. Video will be shown on WIBW 13 in Topeka and KMBC channel 9 in KC.

June 9, 2005 - Kansas Tornado Outbreak



Not much time for a detailed summary. Eric Nguyen and I observed 8 tornadoes with two supercells across Kansas. The highlight included a long-lived strong tornado southwest of Hill City, KS. The tornado became a wedge and was observed from close range. The wedge contained an amazing roar and the video is awesome! Other tornadoes were noted with this supercell including two at the same time. We then observed another supercell with more tornadoes near Ellis, KS by evening.

More photos are currently on my site and additional photos will be included soon.

Scott Blair


I’m certainly behind updating my chase accounts and photos from the season. However, I’ve completed the summary from June 9, 2005. This features the incredible Hill City, Kansas tornado intercept. I hope to finish updating several other chases in the near future. Enjoy!


Scott Blair
Intercepted the storm in Trego County, Kansas, and watched it produce three tornadoes. A needle touched down near Trego Center at 6:00 pm, then a second tornado touched down at 6:04 pm:


A cone developed a few minutes later, but from my position to the east, it was mostly obscured by rain. However, I had a good view as it moved south of Ogallah and began to dissipate.


Here are the photos, beginning with the early stage of the storm as it moved into Trego County:

Dickens County Tornado, Wallclouds, Funnels

Went out with David Douglas a chase friend from Austin. We got a late start cause David had to wait to get off of work. Went north quickly through Abilene, Aspermont, to north of Spur and caught the incredible ongoing night supercell in Dickens county. This storm had oodles of violent forked lighting. We got out in front of the area of rotation for awhile as large wallclouds approached. Brilliant lightning was hitting nearby so we backed off closer to the town of Spur where we stayed for a couple of hours monitoring the storm and taking pictures. I had a little trouble getting my camera set up right for nightime shooting plus I was afraid I was about to get struck - so a bit distracted. David shot some phenomenal storm / lightning pictures. One looks like a shot from the movie Independence Day where the mothership is destroying the building in downtown Washington DC. May post it in a bit.

After a while the town of Spur set off their tornado sirens and we were seeing Threatnet shear markers of 138mph as very dark and wide wallclouds / funnels approached. Some of these appeared very close to the ground in the distance and one of them may have been the logged storm north of Dickens. Eventually this part of the storm weakened and moved to the east. After awhile as the storm was moving away I suddenly noticed rotation and a debris swirl to our NNE under the edge of the base. We were amazed to see a landspout with mostly a clear funnel attached to cloud base above with small condensation fingers! I turned on the dashcam, and we both shot pictures with our digital cameras. Mine didn't turn out so great. You can tell a little from Davids.

For a last minute late night catch it was an excellent chase!

"INDEPENDENCE DAY!" by David Douglas
Started the day in Ogallala, NE. Everything shifted to KS in the outlooks. So we targeted Oberlin, KS based on outflow boundaries and surface obs and some of the RUC (Weather Model) guidance’s. Dan, Nick, and I went to Pizza Hut just before storms started to initiate. We then got a quick data update and headed a few miles west out of Oberlin to observe a developing Supercell. We then saw a very dominate Supercell develop near Oakley, KS. We then decided that this was going to be the player of the day. We headed south on 83 to 23 that led to Hoxie and east on 24. We saw a wall cloud develop and a few nice funnels try to reach the ground, as we were looking SE. Dan decided to try and take a dirt road. Never ever do that after it had just rained there. We went two miles and we drove on what seemed to be a topsoil based road sprinkled with sand. There was a car ahead of us that fish tailed and stopped moving. We passed them and we asked if they were stuck. If we stopped we would of gotten stuck to. We almost did so we turned around and passed them again. We tried to tell them we would call some one for them. I don’t know if they heard us or if they even got out. So I called 911 and gave them there location, 2 miles SW of Tasco. We then began our route east again. Dan didn’t want to punch the core, that is the reason we headed down the dirt road. But just before we punched we saw a tornado form SE of us, and lost sight of it. I was watching radar as we dodged 1-3 inch hail stones and drove 9 more miles to Hill City. As we entered Hill City we saw a large mass to our south. I heard Scott Blair on the radio and asked him what was south of us. Then the power went out, and i heard him say a large wedge tornado was headed our way. So needless to say we drove fast. I could just make out the edges of the monster and didn't really show up on video. So after that we got held up on the way to Stockton for 15 minutes by construction. We urged them to let all of us through and told them to take shelter as a large tornado and very dangerous storm was coming our way. Just then a new Meso/ Wall Cloud formed to our south west and gained a funnel. Finally they let us through. As we got a few miles down the road I call out tornado on the ground though my camera was not on. It was fully condensed thin tornado on the ground for a brief moment. We then head to Stockton and Head south on 183. We get about 5 miles south and we stop and observe one tornado occlude as another one formed to the right of it and moved north. There was 2 tornadoes on the ground at the same time. After the elephant trunk tornado dissipated we turned north to watch a truncated cone turn into a stove pipe tornado, to a large cone tornado. The contrast was poor on this one but very excellent to witness. No damage to my knowledge was done by this. We then head to a storm south of ours and witness two more Tornadoes. We ended the day at Hay KS, with Amos Magliocco, Scott Blair, Eric Nyguen, Steve Miller, Dan Robinson, and Nick Grillo. A day that will never forget.








Full account http://midwetchasers.com
Floss DeHart and I first went after the meso that went north from near Oakley KS. I soon didn't like the looks of it, though (and the fact that it had storms SE of it), so turned around and headed for Hill City.

We approached cautiously as the Graham cty storm refused to get out of our way, and sporadically saw the tornado S of Hill City through rain shafts, but finally got frustrated and broke off that chase to pursue convection to the south.

After going all the way back to Hoxie, then back down Hwy23... E on 70 to near WaKeeney, we then saw the tornado near Trego Center, again sporadically when the rain wraps relented and allowed us a peek.

We finally got to 283, where I got some gas.

I went into the men's room, noticed a young man underneath the sink, but proceeded to accomplish my mission. I finally realized why he was under there, and assured him that he was safe, if only for awhile.

Then we saw another healthy storm to the SW, and drove back W on I-70 to the Collyer exit (baptizing my truck with hail damage), went a ways S and proceeded to film this little beauty for 21 minutes:


(Cool vid, Verne...same tornado at the end of it)

What a trip it's been!

Off topic a bit, but briefly: Floss and I have been in battle mode since Memorial Day, and have so far logged 7 tornadoes, I-don't-even-know how many sups, and 4934 miles. We have over 3 hours of vid.

Most of our imagery will be in the form of vid, and I forgot to bring patch cords that would facilitate vidcaps.

Also, most of the time we have been without internet connections in our rooms, thus this is my first post on this marathon.

Special thanks to Bill Robertson and George Tinscher for the nowcasting. You guys rock. You've been there right when it mattered.

My page on the chase is finally up on my website, Click here. I had a video interlace problem with some of the tornadoes during the vid caps, but still a few of the tornadoes I had no problem with...
Finally got some time to get my stuff up. Brief synopsis of the chase. Got on the cell building over Abernathy, TX north of Lubbock. At first only seeing some large hail on the ground up to Tennis ball size. Stayed with it as it organized more and more and started turning from NE to E around Petersburg.

Produced the first tornado a few miles east of Petersburg at the intersection of FM54 and FM378. Tornado danced around just south of this intersection for more than 15 minutes in "Wizard of Oz tornado" form before finally making a decidedly eastward push:




when it made it's eastward push it got to be a pretty large stovepipe. I shot most of it dancing around the intersection until RFD blew my tripod over and knocked the battery off the camera. We decided to go up and follow it at that point.


We lost it in the rain wrap but it was just as well as the road was covered in downed high tension power lines an not passable, so we had to retreat and regroup back to the south and east where we picked it up again at FM54 and HWY70 south of Floydada where it apparantly was just forming a new tornado as we pulled up which got bigger and bigger and bigger until we had a LARGE wedge and a rotating wall cloud so low it looked like you could reach up and touch it. I had to to some adjustments on the pics/video because a number of things was really ruining the contrast, i.e. large amounts of dirt being sucked in, low light (sun was already going down), and my camera lens decided to fog up and I didn't catch it at the time.

Unfortunately, it was moving off the caprock at this time and road networks prevented staying in view range so I lost it there. Stayed with the storm all the way to Dickens county where there was a brief touchdown NW of Dickens. The lightning on this storm several times was just incredible, mostly continuous with several episodes of CG barrage much like the Mulvane, KS storm last year.





I am pleased! 7 good tornadoes so far this year and all of them within 70 miles of home!

Here are a couple of videos, you really have to see the first one for sure.

First Petersburg tornado:


34 megs 5:03 runtime WMV

Second Floydada tornado:


20 megs 5:13 WMV
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