06/12/04 REPORTS: NE, KS, IA, MO, TX, KY

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Larry J. Kosch

After a busy day of severe weather activity that started at 8:30 a.m. in the morning :shock: , it's time for the first-hand chase reports. Post your reports here. 8) LJK.
Reporting a bust

Well, I have to report a bust. We were on the Wichita Storm as it started getting some good motion to it over Conway Springs. As we followed it east out of Conway Springs, the storm would pulse and lose something then really took off.

Unfortunately, this was pretty much out of the Radio listening area and we were called back south for a small storm that died a miserable death over Great Salt Plains lake.

Driving back into Ponca, we could see this storm had really gone wild. Vertical towers, into a perfectly shaped anvil. We actually watched a portion of this storm as we turned south on US 81 in Wellington.

I wait patiently for the reports to roll in tomorrow for this storm. I am absolutely sure it was an awesome sight of nature.

Hallam Revisited

Left St. Joseph around noon, headed west to Washington, KS, where we arrived at 2:30 to a building CU field. Early convection had initiated, with one storm moving to the north of the state line east of Beatrice and another that was quickly weakening closer to Topeka. We decided to ignore the northern cell ... it stayed in good view of hwy 36, but appeared fragmented to us, and we were more interested in what would come a bit later down the line. So we stuck with the plan to head west. Tower went up to our north over Nebraska, and we intercepted near Tobias in Saline County as the storm became tornado-warned. Great looking wall cloud and occasional funnels with beautiful green RFD wrapping around it ... just never could get it together enough to put one out. We followed eastward as rain wrapped the meso several times. As the initial meso pushed off to the northeast, it became less interesting and more outflowy, so we headed south to a newly formed meso that was taking shape almost directly over the damage path from the Hallam storms. In fact, quite a bit of my video tonight of this wall cloud/funnel has a badly damaged house with stripped trees in the foreground from the Hallam storm a couple weeks ago. Those poor people must have been scared tonight. We actually followed the cell through Hallam and to the north again, where it again became very outflowish ... this time developing a stack of plates appearance backed by some heavy duty winds. So we decided to book south and west and hope to catch any western development ... had to get through some big time winds under the gust front ... but nothing like what would come once we got southwest of Beatrice near Fairbury ... this was one MOTHER of a gust front ... unbelievable motion in this baby - several HUGE dust plumes sucked up into the cloud base ... really eerie and extremely powerful. We just kept booking south to try to stay ahead of it, afraid of what would happen if we got caught. Finally arrived back at hwy 36 in Kansas, where we cut back to the east to head home ... got behind a SCAT van who was also mounting an escape and we just went and went trying to stay ahead of this thing. Got caught by it once in Marysville (super footage of the dust blowing through town there), and finally managed to get out ahead of the line. If we would have slowed down for a second at any time we would have been caught by the 80 mph winds. Got back to St. Joe, where additional tornadic cells had developed in Andrew County. Could see it, but couldn't get up there in time - and we were still being pursued by the gust front from hell that was just constantly in the rear view mirror, so we came back to town ... literally got the car in the garage, and it hit like 10 minutes later ... so a lot of the town is without power (ours has been flickering). Got some cool video and shots today in spite of there not being a tornado.

Would love it if someone came up with one somewhere, but I can't figure out where it would have been. The storm was most capable right after initiation, and it was close to touching down as we came upon it, but I just never saw it if it did.

Had a blast today - - - saw many of you out there several times.
Just talked to a friend on the phone, and he said that he and his group saw at least 2 tornados with the storm south of Wichita. Shucks! I should have gone!
WHAT A DAY!!! We were on the storm that formed SW of wichita. Kind of had LP characteristics for a while before turning classic. soon the inflow began picking up and a needle tornado touched down breifly. We followed the storm east where it produced a large cone-stove pipe tornado. Looked to be a strong tornado even as it was roping out with a debris cloud high in the air. Followed the storm a little further east and watched as it exploded into the atmsophere. We looked up and you could watch as the rock hard convection skyrocketed into the air. Soon 2 large beaver tails were wrapping into the storm and a large wall cloud formed dropping the 3rd and final tornado that we saw. Best chase day ever with awesome structure, 3 tornados, multiple funnels. WE NEVER GOT INTO RAIN OR HAIL. We stayed on the southern and south east side of the storm the entire time. TORNADOFEST.
I was on the storm by Hutchinson until it collapsed at about 6. Hauled butt down South to catch the storm South of Wichita. I caugth the storm at Douglas where there was a well defined wall cloud. As the storm came close to Rock the wall cloud starting rotating faster with good vertical motion at the base. NE of Rock it put down a rope tornado that lasted a few minutes. I followed the storm East and saw another rope tornado SE of Atlanta. They two tornadoes that I saw were short lived and weak but tornadoes none the less. I saw some minor damage in by Mulvane on the way home where news crews were broadcasting from, didn't look to bad from what I saw.
After an unforgiving and disappointing May, I returned to the growing ranks of successful chasers today SE of Wichita. Followed the storm from initiation on the dryline somewhere near Manchester, OK. Through Harper Co. where it briefly looked severe and then seemed to lose all steam and come close to falling apart. Actually considered throwing in the towel or blasting north to the McPherson Co. storm, but stuck around because...

Saw the small cells firing up S of Wellington and wondered what kind of boundary was there--come to find out later that it was a confluence line. And as my storm crossed that boundary, it went nuts. Missed the 1st tornado SE of Haysville, don't know how. Got the rest until dark, including W of Mulvane, E of Mulvane, NE of Rock, a brief spinup SE of Rock moments after the NE of Rock tornado dissipated, and a persistent needle that tracked S of Atlanta generally parallel to and just south of Crowley County Road 2. This one did some skipping, but I'll count it as a single.

Beatiful storm at times, sculpted vault and the like. A few occlusions that were fun to watch. The 3rd tornado (E of Mulvane) was the largest and I believe the one that did structural damage in that town. Glad to hear of no injuries to people or pets, wish that it had steered clear of the town altogether.

More tomorrow?

By the way, has anybody noticed the 6-11 and 6-12 SPC Storm Reports? Very peculiar how OK has essentially been left out in the cold the last 2 days while all other plains states got to play.
I had not really planned to chase today as my daughter's birthday party took place in the afternoon. However, after the party I saw how good things were looking and I took off from the Tulsa area with my chase partner Jeremiah Rosson around 4:15 (a really late start). We were targeting Wichita and I am certainly glad that we did.

As we were coming up I-35 toward the Kansas line, we could see an incredible tower and as we continued on into Kansas on I-35 (Kansas Turnpike) we began to see a wall cloud forming north of the Wellington area. I began looking for an exit road and couldn't find one, so we ended up pulling off of I-35 onto the shoulder and soon we got footage of tornado number 1. It didn't stay down long (3-5 minutes) and then it lifted. We finally found an exit to get off the turnpike (I think that it was Hwy 53) and headed toward Mulvane. As we headed toward Mulvane, we observed what we believed to be a tornado on the ground (however, due to our position it was rain wrapped and not clearly visible.) The tornado soon became quite visible however, and once again we got some really good video and stills.

We then had some trouble getting back to the storm as law enforcement officials blocked off part of Hwy 15 which we had planned to take to get both south and east of the storm. We finally managed to get back in position further east (north of Udall ?) and captured a third tornado on the ground. Once again the tornado was somewhat short lived (3 - 5 minutes) and we took off again.

Our final success was around Atlanta, KS where we managed to briefly see a tornado in very low light conditions.

I haven't reviewed the video yet as I just got home, but I plan to do so shortly and I will try to post some pic's tomorrow if I don't chase in the Missouri area. Have a good one!
Floss Ralston and I hooked up with "old friends" Chad Lawson, Chad's girlfriend Susan (Sorry...I don't remember your last name, Susan!), David Drummond, Graham Butler, Phillip Flory, and Shane Adams in Wichita.

We got to a developing storm SW of Wichita a bit after 4PM, and followed it NE and E towards Mulvane KS.

It dropped tornadoes at 3 different times, once destroying a home, which to my untrained eye may have been an F4, as the house was pretty much reduced to it's foundation, though I am unaware of the house's (previous) construction, etc. We hear the occupants were unhurt, thank goodness.

The second (and house destroying) tornado was by far the most dramatic, starting as a truncated cone with debris, then a large cone, then a stovepipe, then an elephant trunk, finally roping out 10 minutes later. It apparently passed over a small lake at one point and became white with the lake water it picked up, making for a fantasticly photogenic scene.


EDIT: There are 6 pics posted now, which may be seen from here:


(The first 6 on the page.)
SW Missouri Chase...

Hey all. here is my chase account today... pics and details in link... We had just got finished with a DJ gig and headed home.... I got home, took a peek at the radar and WOW!! it just POPPED up out of no where, wasn't there when we left joplin anyway... anyway, I got some good shots of a wallcloud and a funnel.. :) yip, my first funnel... it's small, short lived... but it's there...

Here is the link, check it out..

Today was a dream chase day - best of this year for me. We saw 3 incredible tornadoes south of Wichita, Kansas. All were very photogenic, and we were within 1 to 2 miles of all three. Full report eventually (when I get back to WV). Here are some video grabs:

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/2004/june12a1.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/2004/june12b1.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/2004/june12c1.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/2004/june12d1.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/2004/june12e1.jpg

Bigger versions:

Digital camera photos:

Tornado #2

Tornado #3

Tornado #1

Video clip!!! :


RealVideo, 10MB

This latest Plains trip has been great - I still have a vast amount of lightning video to go through from the past three days.
Just got back from a long day in Southern KS.....just thought I would say what an awesome day it was -- 5 tornadoes total from another cyclic supercell in southern KS.

Hey Dan, we saw you drive by while the white tornado was ongoing.....noticed the wvlightning sticker on the side of the truck and figured that was you. Your pics of that tornado are exactly the same as mine.

I am extremely tired, so I will post a full report tomorrow.
saw as many as 6 tornadoes SE of Wichita Saturday afternoon evening...

7:09pm.....west of Mulvane - truncated cone - lasted about 3-4 min

7:23pm.....east of Mulvane - lasted 10+ minutes - ghostly white - looked quite strong towards its rope out stage - threw lots of dust/debris in the air - moved southeast

8:24pm....near Rock - lasted about 5 minutes - truncated cone/elephant trunk all the way to the ground/rope

8:54pm....south-southeast of Atlanta - narrow cone funnel briefly came a little more than halfway to the ground - but funnel itself persisted for at least 5 minutes

9:03pm....southeast of Atlanta - needle funnel all the way to the ground - appeared to be fairly brief - not sure if this is a separate event from the first Atlanta tornado

9:12pm....southeast of Atlanta (due north of Cambridge) - needle funnel all the way to the ground (brief)

almost ideal storm to chase....forward motion was quite slow....none of the tornadoes were ever obscured by precip....think I had about 3 drops of rain hit my car the whole chase.
Just got home from the long trip to Kansas, but it was well worth it. I almost gave up on the storm in south Kansas, but it finally got it together. Saw 3 tornadoes, lots of funnels. Here's some quick pics:

[Broken External Image]:http://www.visibleimagery.com/photos/20040612_tor1.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://www.visibleimagery.com/photos/20040612_tor2.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://www.visibleimagery.com/photos/20040612_tor3.jpg

Because of the trees I could not see if the one in the last pic was on the ground. But radio reports at the time were saying it was. I'll have to do some research.

Best chase for me so far. I echo what Chris said....I never saw one hail stone and was never in rain.
no pics yet...but will post them tomorrow. 5 tornadoes S to SE of Wichita today, 3 near the town of Mulvane, KS....

Shelia...I can confirm that your last photograph was indeed a tornado...will have both great stills and video of full condensation to the sfc and debris cloud...was on the ground for ~1 min (maybe more).
My target was Wichita, but I got a late start. Storm looked incredible moving north on I-35 torward the Kansas border. Took the last free exit in Kansas (exit 4), and moved east to 77, then north. After that, I saw pretty much what everyone else did: several photogenic tornadoes, which I captured on video and took stills of. My pics don't look much different than what's been posted, so I won't bother taking up space. The chase day was incredible, and was worth 10x what it cost in gas.

Did notice a whole horde of locals clogging the roads, including several with the wives and kids in tow (saw whole families standing outside in the lightning). I quickly tired of this, so I hunted down a desolate county road, where I was not bothered until just before I decided to head back home. As I was getting into my car, this truck drove up with four adults crammed into the cab.

The driver said, "A friend of mine told me there were some tornadoes out here, and I told him he was full of shit. But we thought we'd come out and see." He had just missed a very nice 1-2 minute rope. :wink: They were drinking Keystone, by the way, and made no attempt to hide it.

I wonder how many of the bad reports chasers get from law enforcement and EMs actually are initiated by locals?

Yes, I DID notice that Oklahoma has had practically nothing this year. First we have 9+ months with no tornadoes (longest in recorded OK history), and then this tornado-handicapped spring. Makes it rough on the budget to travel to Kansas week after week. Maybe next year the SPC can move the good stuff back down south where it belongs. :p
Just for the benefit of those obscured by trees, I never saw the SC Kansas storm produce a funnel that _didn't_ have ground circulation at some point. Not always condensation to the ground though (this goes especially for the twilight needle that skipped east S of Atlanta, as well as the very brief circulation S of Crowley County 2 that closely followed the dissipation of the NE of Rock tornado).
Graham Butler, David Drummond, and I observed 5 tornadoes ESE of ICT yesterday, including two near Mulvane, one of whch we were within 300 yards of as it obliterated a structure. The roar was unbelievable, first time I've ever experienced the sound/feel up close. We broke off the chase to check on the occupants, but were blocked by downed powerlines along the road leading up to the damage. There were already several people on the scene, including some emergency vehicle (they got there FAST).

We then contnued to the chase, and saw three more tornadoes, SE of Mulvane, wst of Atlanta, and just SE of Atlanta. We called in the tornadoes and storm situations constantly, sometimes with the help of locals (who would tel us exactly where we were in some rural areas). It was a great day of locals, chasers, and the NWS working together.

Sitting in ICT watching Bruce Almighty, getting ready to head out again for another possible round of action today.
Pretty much similar story as others who were on the Mulvane storm... Saw four tornadoes today...

1. West of Mulvane ... relatively brief tornado
2. Relatively long-lasting tornado from in Mulvane to southeast of Mulvane
3. Tornado near Rock ...
4. Small rope Tornado south of Atlanta after sunset

I again forgot to record my GPS tracks, so I'll have to await the video review before getting more specific. This storm had awesome structure and numerous areas of rotations a few times... An occluding wallcloud to the west, and mature wall cloud in the middle, and a developnig wallcloud to the east. Awesome.

Oh, yeah, one more thing... I will NEVER try to go through a small town which had a close encounter with a tornado... A couldn't-happen-at-a-worse-time bridge closure on K55 south of Mulvane caused us to have to go through the town... It took us, no doubt, probably 30 minutes to work 5 miles before we could clear the incredible traffic in Mulvane. It was the most ridiculous traffic I have ever seen in a small town. People parked in the middle of the road, people stopped in large intersections pointing out the window with 15-20 cars behind them. Folks just walking clear across large roadways. UGH! 99% of them were locals too... And ya know, people question how storm chasers get happy over tornado (which can cause destruction) yet I saw tons of families with their kids on the front lawn looking at the tornado, all hooping and hollering with camera in hand...

On that note, I have to give props to the chasers I saw out there.. I think we, as a group, practiced excellent driving habits... I don't think I saw a single 'chaser' car (yes, ambiguous, but antennas give it away sometimes, or tripoded cameras/camcorders, etc) that wasn't pulled completely off the roadway. It was excellent to see some of you out there that were indeed very safe as far as parking is concerned. It just greatly frustrated me to see the locals creating all the traffic problems (parking in the MIDDLE of the road, driving 5mph down a state highway, parking in intersections, UGH!)...
We began our day headed to Harper Co. We saw a small group of chasers pulled off of Hwy 160 and stopped to talk. After reading a couple of reports here and trying to recall some first names, I've put the pieces together and realized it was Bob Schafer, Chad Lawson, Shane Adams and David Drummond. We only actually got to chat with Bob and Chad (and one of the ladies with the group, sorry, forgot her name), but Chad invited us to tag along. And I want to personally thank all you guys and gals in that group for allowing us to join your chase.

I won't add anything to Bob and Shane's reports, except to say that last night was our first tornado experience, for which my wife and I are very appreciative. Thanks again Chad and others!

Most of all, it was good to hear that the people who's home was destroyed SE of Mulvane were on vacation and their teenage daughters were not home at the time.
Just some quick notes and observations from Saturday:

- One of the remarkable features of the Kansas supercell was the intense lightning activity throughout the life of the storm. I have about 15 or 20 lightning-with-tornado events on video. CGs were hitting all around the tornadoes, in front, behind, all around. Amazing sight!

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/2004/june12cg3.jpg

GIF Animation here:

- The third tornado of the day near Rock, KS was moving *west* - I had to keep panning my video camera to the *left* during its lifespan.

- We witnessed debris falling from the sky (possibly insulation) for up to 30 minutes after the Mulvane tornado.

- The wall cloud/meso prior to the tornadoes exhibited unbelievable motion/rotation, especially west of I-35. I almost got dizzy staring up at it, it almost gave the sensation that I was spinning!

- We encountered a few raindrops near Rock, the only precip we experienced - as others have attested to.

- At sunset, the updraft took on a spectacular mothership appearance with smooth striated sides, with frequent lightning of every type.

- A couple more video grabs of the Mulvane tornado as it is apparently hitting a structure:

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/2004/june12frame1.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://wvlightning.com/2004/june12frame2.jpg
Would like to thank George Tincher, Angie Norris, Mike Geukes and everyone else from the storm chase chat for advising me on the storm developing near ICT.
Last Night's Bow Echo Event

Just finished a tour of St. Joseph, which was hit hard last night by a damaging bow echo event shortly after I got back home from the chase. The north end of the city appears to have sustained the greatest amount of damage ... very large trees down - over a foot in diameter - healthy, younger trees as well as older ones. Roof damage in multiple locations ... very powerful storm. St. Joseph sustained a pretty heavy hit this time, with power being out just about all night - and still not restored completely.

One interesting thing we noticed - as the bow first started to form in southern Nebraska, all of the smaller towns began setting off their tornado sirens ... possibly either a result of the damaging straight line winds coming, or possibly because people were seeing the huge gustnadoes and dust plumes and thinking they were tornadoes ... in any event, after all of the tornadic storms that have been moving through - people were out in droves to see the storms (which were highly visual), probably hoping to see a tornado. Wish there was some way to hit this home with some of these communities somehow - - that these warnings aren't JUST for tornadoes ... you can't hardly escape a damaging straight-line event that envelops your entire town - - - and last night we were seeing lots of whole families - little kids and everyone - out to watch the gust front blow through. It was really entertaining, but a very destructive situation.

Found out that a friend of mine's home was hit by one of the tornadoes near Albany. Scoured the paint from the house and knocked out all the windows, depositing everything (paint, glass and farm equipment) inside the house. All are well and no major structural damage that can't be repaired ... life goes on in the alley!
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