1/28/2006 Reports: Central and Southern Plains

Scott Currens

Cold core does it again! I observed a tornado in northern Kansas near Waterville.

Edit: It was pointed out to me that this wasn't really a cold core setup as we had an open wave, not a cut off low at 500.

See images at www.violentplains.com

Latter,
Scott
 
Hey wheres the tornado dude all i see is a WEAK FUNNEL lol JK congrats cant beat that a tornado in January , hopefully there will be some more setups

sorry if i posted in the wrong forum :roll:
 
Originally posted by Daniel Christianson
Hey wheres the tornado dude all i see is a WEAK FUNNEL

I agree Daniel. I'm using a high def Lcd and used IE's zoom feature and still can't make out even clear tube or debris lifted on the ground. (Well, that's not entirely true. I can kind of see something possibly in the first and second photos - but unable to really tell for sure what it is.) Anyone see something I don't? I assume you were able to see this visually though with your eye - correct? If so, you might want to post a small segment of video and not just the vid grabs. That might do a better job of showing it with the motion. Also SPC has no logged tornadoes for this area so you might want to call in your catches.

Edit:
I might add that photos/videos can often do a poor job showing what you definitely could see with your eyes. I've had this occur on a numerous occasions. Sometimes it is photographic technique, and sometimes it is the equipment.
 
Daniel Christianson Wrote:
Hey wheres the tornado dude all i see is a WEAK FUNNEL

When I first spotted the tornado it was an elephant trunk with condensation all the way to the ground. Because the ground was saturated and I drive a rear wheel drive truck, it took me several minutes to find a safe place to pull over and start shooting video and stills. I believe I caught the very end of what might have been a decent tornado event.

The cell that produced the tornado looked much better on radar 30 minutes to an 1 hour before I reached it. With only 30 thousand foot tops it had a 67 dbz core and a 1 inch hail report. There were actually three discrete cells that looked very good on WXWorx considering the fact they were miniature low-topped supercells.

By the time I reached these storms they were congealing into a line and decreasing in intensity. I was about to give up and head home when I glanced to the west out my passenger side window only to see a nice elephant trunk tornado in the distance. I can only imagine what this storm was doing earlier when it looked good on radar.

Bill Tabor Wrote:

Also SPC has no logged tornadoes for this area so you might want to call in your catches.
I knew that the NWS would be very skeptical of a tornado report from a cell that is too small for the 88d to adequately sample, so I used every means possible to report it. Before I even found a place to stop I was on the phone with the 911 operator. That conversation went a lot like the well known Matt Biddle/911 call.

I gave her my full report will all the important details and mentioned that I am a trained spotter and asked her to relay it to the NWS.

911: "I can't do that unless a trained spotter calls it in."
Scott: "I said I am a trained spotter, and I am calling it in."
911: "You have to have taken the spotter class."
Scott: "I have."
911: "OK, I'll send someone out."
Scott: "silence"

She then sent a sheriff out to meet me. Of course the tornado was long gone by the time the sheriff found me. In the mean time I called NWS Topeka with my report. While the NWS Met. was friendly and polite I could sense a hint of skepticism in his voice.

When I made it home I emailed my report to Jennifer Stark, the WCM at NWS Topeka and used my espotter account to send in the report and images.

So what do I expect to come of this report? Nothing. If Jon Davies can't get his LT supercell tornado reports counted, I doubt mine will be.


Scott
 
When I first spotted the tornado it was an elephant trunk with condensation all the way to the ground. Because the ground was saturated and I drive a rear wheel drive truck, it took me several minutes to find a safe place to pull over and start shooting video and stills. I believe I caught the very end of what might have been a decent tornado event.

Oooo...That won't silence the critics. :? In a questionable case like that I would go see if I could find any damage...which you didn't say if you did or didn't (if you did you should include that on there). If you had that might make the NWS a little more eager to go investigate. In those photos its definately just a funnel...before that...not enough information for me to tell.
 
I've chased with Scott for many years, as have others on this site. If he said he saw a tornado, he saw a tornado. Period. End of story. Frankly, given his experience over ten years in the field, I think it's more than reasonable to assume he knows what he's looking at, and has seen enough storms to understand the process he's witnessing. If he didn't produce a single image, the tradition in this hobby when dealing with somebody with a known reputation is to take their word for it.

Of course that was before there were Google ads for TRADD on ST and tornadoes were a commodity tour groups sold with fake images and falsified pics.

As for the problems with NWS, once again, people who have chased even a short time know that this is common. No office is eager to confirm a non-warning. I'm not saying TOP is avoiding this report. I'm simply saying that sometimes it's tough to get a report in the database. Al Moller has a famously omitted tornado which he's talked about for years.

I'm pretty sure Scott will not only conduct his own damage survey, but it will likely be of high quality. His survey was preferred by NSSL staff over one conducted by a local office for the May 12, 2004 event.

Scott hasn't asked me to defend him here, and I bet he won't like it when he reads it, but I think the implications of this inexplicable change in the REPORT thread rules warrants it. Obviously when chasers post reports, they won't find the benefit of the doubt on Stormtrack anymore. Wow, have things ever changed.
 
Well said Amos. And if I came off as critical thats not what I was aiming for. I was aiming more for the...if theres damage out there and nobody's looking at it then thats a problem.
 
From what I see it looks like a very small mariginal mesocyclone with a Vr of 15 kts around or just before that time (3500ft AGL) which seems to extend to 7,000 ft AGL. There is an inflow notch in this location and also the presence of high Spectrum Width values of 20-25kts. Spectrum Width max is well positioned and tilt's up to 10,000 ft AGL as well. I've seen some of the cases of low topped supercell tornadoes which didn't look that much more impressive.
 
At the risk of ruffling feathers - I think it is still important that when you post a report to ST - you should expect scrutiny. Maybe there was a time this wasn't true - but this isn't that time, as aptly stated by Amos. Scott witnessed a tornado - but probably should have considered qualifying that he failed to catch it on film before sending folks to see the pictures. His credentials among those who know him will be satisfied given that report, but the doubters will be left with hard reason to be suspicous when it appears the 'proof' is inadequate - such as became the case here.

Certainly tornadoes have been reported in the past that made it into the SPC preliminary log, that shouldn't be there. The opposite happens as well - but we all wish that those events would at least be investigated by a ground survey. Guess what - no local spotter report, no damage report - no survey.

So, what I think is fair to point out is that the images that Scott shared do not show any degree of confirmation that a tornado either did or did not occur. The distance looks substantial - so the odds of being able to see the ground circulation from 5 miles away or more can be pretty dicey, even in some parts of Kansas. I think many of us have seen funnels dip within 100 ft of the ground and still never exhibit a ground circulation, so without seeing the ground circulation you can easily become suspicious of tornado reports made from considerable distances. Without seeing that ground circulation - you don't really know if it was a tornado or not. Scott says he saw it - which is fine by me, but to avoid people riding you here everyone should seriously consider adding a disclaimer to reports if you don't have photographic or video proof or confirmed reports of damage. Otherwise, we'll surely see more discussions such as this under the new reports thread format. Personally - I favor the new format, though some may see this as reason not to have it.

Glen
 
Be interesting to see how this exact same thread would be developing if it was Tim Marshall and May 28.
 
Clay County, KS

Hey Everyone,

Wow great start to the 2006 chase season!

I have just updated my "Latest Catch" page to include several shots and a January 28, 2006 chase summary .

Here is one pic from the Clay County, KS severe storm:

Jan%20%2028vid2.jpg


The rest of the pics and chase summary can be found at the following link:

http://windsweptchasetours.com/index_catch.html

Dean Cosgrove
 
Congrats on your great early season catch Scott!

BTW, since a debate has started, I will add my .2 cents. Since Scott is a veteran chaser with established credibility, I think I am more than willing to give him the benefit of the doubt here. Regardless of what is shown in that one photo, that doesn't confirm or deny the presence of a tornado. We can't see what was happening before or after. But Scott was there and he did. Therefore if he said it was a tornado, I am inclined to believe it was a tornado. That one photo can't tell us what was happening for the tornado's whole life cycle, just merely a tiny moment of it's existence.

I have seen reports without any photographic or video evidence to back up (i.e, the camcorder was on pause) claims of tornadoes on here before. Stuff like that happens. Yet we tend to to not be critical of such posts for a good reason. Considering this is a case of a funnel clearly being 50% down in the pic with an eyewitness report from the photographer (a credible chaser) saying it is was in fact on the ground, I really don't see what there is to debate.

-George
 
I've come out of lurk mode for the sole purpose of vouching for Scott Currens here. Not that my own credibility would hold water around here anymore with a few folks. LOL!! As others have said, if Scott said he saw a tornado, then I'm totally convinced 100% that he did. I strongly concur with Shane Adams' comment too. Congrats to Scott for nailing a Kansas tornado in January!! Those are some great pics too by the way.

Back to lurk mode......
 
Congratulations

Congratulations Scott for nailing the tornado. Its great when experience and knowledge pays off. If you say there was a tornado, I have absolutely no reason to doubt you. Great work!!!
 
Nice catch Scott. I'm glad everyone posting here explained things as it might help us later. It looked like the end of the event and there is a wall cloud after the funnel dissipated.

I ended up starting my chase from Manhattan about the time Scott saw the tornado. I went north to Randolph after finding out I was 10 minutes behind the severe storm. I did a definite no-no if it wasn't a cold core day and that was intercept the storm from the north (nothing looked very threatening and I knew to be fairly cautious because of the reports of funnels in Clay County and the severe thunderstorm warning had expired). I found some pea-sized hail at a couple miles west and south of the junction of KS highways 13 and 16 (the road was covered with small dots before I definitely confirmed the hail). Saw a double rainbow after I returned to Manhattan.

It was certainly the first time I've been hit with hail in January.
 
LOL, John I HAD to have seen you at some point in all of this :)

I was about ten miles north of Manhattan spotting for the local EMD. As I've mentioned in the other thread, I did spot a distinct funnel to the NW of Manhattan, and a couple of occasions of low-level weak rotation on the backsides of a couple of cells as they passed over Hwy 77.

The cell that Scott was on seemed to show more strength than the small cells that I was seeing the above in, so I would have little doubt, if any at all, that what he saw was a tornado. Had I not been in the area, I may find it a bit hard to believe based on the conditions (not his credibility), but having seen how odd things were around here I wouldn't doubt it for a minute :wink:
 
Excellent work, Scott ... wish I could have been out on Saturday - but in JANUARY (unlike May) I actually schedule other obligations that don't let me chase ... go figure.

So funny that we now have to quantify reports with video or photos ... Let me see ... it wasn't that long ago when a trained spotter's word was good enough to make a call on a ham radio that would initiate a warning and ultimately record the report as verified ... I wonder how it will be 20 years from now ... we'll probably be required to submit 3-D imaged holograms from all around the base of the tube before someone feels secure enough to trust that it was a tornado. Sometimes it almost seems like folks aren't satisfied until the day they will be able to prove that tornadoes actually do not exist at all, but they are just figments of our imagination and the results of camera trickery.

In your case, there's just no room for doubt - - - excellent. Just wish I was there to see it too!
 
Me, Tyler Costantini (ST Member) his friend Matt, and Chis Wilburn (ST Member) stayed south of Wichita hoping we would get some intiation there. Didn't see anything, we watched a few towering cumulus go up but they quickly toppled over by the wind shear.

A bust, but was fun and got us out in the field.

Congrats Scott on seeing the tornado!
 
Originally posted by Amos Magliocco+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Amos Magliocco)</div>
I've chased with Scott for many years, as have others on this site. If he said he saw a tornado, he saw a tornado. Period. End of story. Frankly, given his experience over ten years in the field, I think it's more than reasonable to assume he knows what he's looking at, and has seen enough storms to understand the process he's witnessing. If he didn't produce a single image, the tradition in this hobby when dealing with somebody with a known reputation is to take their word for it.[/b]

Since as far as I can tell only Daniel and myself were critical in any way of this post - I'll reply - assuming you are to some degree referring to my post.

Please re-read my post. I never said he didn't see a tornado. I just stated the obvious pointing out I didn't see one in the photo - or at least for sure. I did mention I could see something. If this was pictures (frame grabs) of the tornado he was claiming - I suggested he show video which might show motion. Also mentioned I have a lot of torns that pictures are poor on - which indicates I believe him. Also suggestion to call it in. Nowhere did he mention it was an obvious elephant trunk earlier and that he was hassled with his report he called in.

Perhaps I didn't make this clear. I don't know Scott, but if he says he saw a tornado - I'll take his word for it.

<!--QuoteBegin-Amos Magliocco

Obviously when chasers post reports, they won't find the benefit of the doubt on Stormtrack anymore. Wow, have things ever changed.

I don't think those two posts are enough to assume everything's changed and Stormtrack's going down the tubes. Part of why we have Stormtrack and this forum is to inquire and learn about events. Obviously something didn't square with the photos, but now Scott has explained why that is. As for Daniel, I'm not sure what his post meant exactly. I think he was really just kind of joking and pulling Scott's leg more than saying he didn't believe him.
 
Originally posted by Scott Currens

I gave her my full report will all the important details and mentioned that I am a trained spotter and asked her to relay it to the NWS.

911: "I can't do that unless a trained spotter calls it in."
Scott: "I said I am a trained spotter, and I am calling it in."
911: "You have to have taken the spotter class."
Scott: "I have."
911: "OK, I'll send someone out."
Scott: "silence"

She then sent a sheriff out to meet me. Of course the tornado was long gone by the time the sheriff found me. In the mean time I called NWS Topeka with my report. While the NWS Met. was friendly and polite I could sense a hint of skepticism in his voice.

When I made it home I emailed my report to Jennifer Stark, the WCM at NWS Topeka and used my espotter account to send in the report and images.

On another note: Wow! It's amazing Scott had this kind of difficulty. Reminds me of what I hear Shane talking about sometimes. I haven't really had these types of problems per se - but I can remember calling some in that never got logged so perhaps I really have experienced it too, but just haven't thought about it much.

I imagine the task was made more difficult for Scott given there was no tornado or severe watch in progress. Not sure if there was any type of warning active.
 
Originally posted by Shane Adams
Be interesting to see how this exact same thread would be developing if it was Tim Marshall and May 28.

Not sure which May 28th you're talking about, but if similar to this situation - honestly as far as my part of this thread, I think I would have probably said the same thing. Pictures are pictures and they either show and tell a story or they don't. IMO that's part of the challenge and heartbreak of chasing. I for one see stuff all the time that I never capture on photo or video, or was just too late getting the camera up, can't pull over, or it was too dark, etc. I can name a few off the top of my head like Tulsa a couple of years ago (tornado), Spur at night last year (landspout), my first tornado in Colorado, a year or two ago a tornado the day of the Hearne, Tx flood.

Here's a pic of one:
http://www.tornadoxtreme.com/2004_Chases/A...th/DSCF0004.JPG

We all kick ourselves when we see something good, but are unable to get the shot. I usually try and put some type of disclaimer on such a shot. If not, I'm not surprised to get criticism about the shot. At the same time if my shot doesn't show something I'll probably be the first to admit it, though you can bet I'll be pissed that I screwed up.
 
Originally posted by jketcham
Does anyone have any radar captures from this storm you can email me?

Thanks
Radar images from around 4 PM near Waterville:

http://members.cox.net/gdp416/ktwx_0.5_SRM...060128_2153.png
http://members.cox.net/gdp416/ktwx_0.5_SRM...060128_2157.png
http://members.cox.net/gdp416/ktwx_0.5_SRM...060128_2201.png
http://members.cox.net/gdp416/ktwx_0.5_SRM...060128_2206.png
http://members.cox.net/gdp416/ktwx_0.5_SRM...060128_2210.png

Upper left quadrant 0.5 REF, upper right 0.5 SRM, lower left 0.9 SRM, lower right 1.3 SRM. Storm is 50 nm NNW of the radar. "X" associated with the "Home" location on the image is placed 4 miles north of Waterville.

The tornado will be entered into the NCDC Storm Data database.
 
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