Favorite Moment of 2004

Shane Adams

Continuing the "favorite" or "most..." of 2004, I thought I'd poll ST members for their favorite moment of 2004, basically what thing gave you the most satisfaction?

There were several, but if I had to pick one, it'd be the 20-minute trunk tornado near Attica on May 29. My friend and chase partner Eric Collins has been coming out to the Plains to chase with me every year since 1999. He uses up his one week of vacation, and over the past six years we have traditionally had horrible luck. Our only decent day in that time was May 16, 2000 in Wyoming, but even those were only brief tornadoes. He was supposed to be leaving the morning of May 29 to return home, and up to that point we'd seen a couple of tornadoes, but nothing spectacular. I begged him to stay one more day, and he did. When that trunk tornado developed, the look on his face was all I needed. He was as happy as he's ever been out here, and you could read his thoughts: "This is worth the last six years of trying."

I kinda went off into my own little tornadic bliss/LA LA land world as well, as on the video you can hear me speaking softly to myself about how wonderful the experience is.
 
Mine best moment came on May 12... but it was the day's first tornado near Medicine Lodge.. what made that the best moment for me was because I had targeted an area around Pratt, Kansas and this tornado was the first tornado of the day less than 30 miles from my target. Why was this so great? Because this was the first day I truely forecasted on my own, traveling solo and going off my own intuition and forecasting. I had nailed my target within 30 miles based upon my own forecasting and was rewarded wonderfully!

I also need to give credit to Scott and his weather data, for had it not been for that, I likely would've continued on the northern storm and missed out on everything else that day. May 12 was entirely awesome, but to forecast for the first time and nail your own target area is quiet rewarding!
 
I have a friend who caught the Attica tornado as well, he seemed pretty happy about his catch.

It's no tornado chase, but my favorite chase of 2004 (and perhaps of all my chases) was June 14 because of the incredible structure I saw (which is incredible for here in Ontario). We orginally headed out because SDS was driving us mad, and a line of storms were intensifying not too far from home, which made for a very convenient chase. I look to the west, and shout wall cloud! The storm looked classic, almost like those motherships you guys get in the plains, but not quite as dramatic... but for Ontario it was awesome. It came close to dropping a tornado, but didn't. I didn't care though, we got great footage and I finally got to see a classic supercell and crankin' wall cloud. (<--see my avatar, it shows part of the storm)

I think the reason I was really satisfied with this storm is becuse I went out not expecting to see this, especially close to home and it being in Ontario... it just goes to show you that anything can happen, and that storm chasing is so unpredictable, even if you go expecting to see something different. Never have really high hopes for when you go out, because anything you see will be very satisfying.
 
This is an easy one for me: May 20th in Washington County, Colorado. We'd suffered a couple bust days in a row, and though we knew about the big shows forecasted on the plains in a few days, we decided to blast west from our overnight spot in DeSoto, Iowa (20m west of Des Moines), all the way through Nebraska to Hoyt, Colorado---a 600 mile, wing-and-a-prayer setup marathon to initiation which, for most of the trip, we doubted we would catch in time. I had never driven so far so fast for only the targeting portion of a chase.

A beautiful supercell fired over Morgan County within moments of our arrival at Last Chance, huffed and puffed enough RFD near Wiggins to earn a false tornado warning, then finally dropped one for us around 10:00 PM MT after we had zig-zagged a Bob's Road pursuit north and east almost to the Wyoming border. This was a hardcore chase from 7:00 AM that morning until the storm produced more than fourteen hours later. We never considered abandoning the storm and our irrational tenacity paid huge dividends.
 
Not really my "favorite" moment, per se...that came earlier in the day several times over...but the most personally satisfying feeling I had this year was on the evening of May 24th. We broke off the SC Nebraska storm after about three hours and somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12 tornadoes and blasted south to the new line going up west of Topeka. Daylight issues and approach direction would prevent us from making a safe approach to where we needed to be, so we decided, having already seen more than we ever hoped or dreamed to see, to stop on a gravel road about 15-20 miles north of Emporia and watch this line evolve.

Standing on that gravel road, stereo pumping out Blues Traveler, with a forming MCS filling half the sky with ridiculously rock-hard convection and incredible lightning...well, I've never felt more complete in my entire life. For that time and in that place, life was perfect, if only for a fleeting moment.

Wow. I can still feel it. :)
 
My first tornado, on April 20! That one sure caught me for surprise, and the chase itself was mostly luck. I caught the low topped LP-esque supercell just in time to watch an F1 touchdown near Kankakee. I watched from a couple miles and it lasted no more than a few minutes before becoming rain wrapped. It wasn't a great tornado compared to the pictures I have seen you guys posting this year, but the experience was one of the most awe inspiring ones I have ever had. I will never forget that day.
 
Right there with ya Skip...April 20th. The first time I'd seen a tornado while on a storm chase. hearing over the radio that there was a tornado on the ground 5 miles to our NE...flying north...and then seeing the tornado ahead of us, what a great feeling.
 
May 12 near Medicine Lodge was it for me. Everything totally came together that day, and I learned more in those 4 short hours than I could ever have hoped for.
 
For me personally it was the May 10, 2004 Tornado-fest an hour from my house near Limon, CO

I think the best/most photogenic award has to go to the June 12th Mulvane, KS tornado. I've seen many excellent DVDs document this sunlit wonder and I'm blown away everytime I see them!
 
Standing in front of that magical carousel that produced the Jamestown wedge on 5/29 is probably the highlight for me ... it was easily the most incredible storm motion I've ever witnessed and it was on a colossal scale. Was like some kind of enormous ornament suspended in front of us - almost felt like the entire earth was rotating around this thing.

The most satisfying was probably catching up to the Bethany, MO tornado on 5/24 after fighting our way over the Missouri River - then through I-29 traffic with cars that had been blown off the road by the tornado - then through the damage paths, Missouri hills, RFD wind and rain-wrapping so that we FINALLY caught a glimpse of this HP-spawned tornado ... it was a brief 10 seconds before it started to lift and occlude, but it was SO relieving to just catch up to the thing after all that work getting there.
 
Wow...too many to list......

Top of the list has to be on 6/12 the moment the second Mulvane tornado moved out of the shadows and into the sunlight.

A couple of others were 4/21 near Marietta OK and 7/5 near Covington OK. Both days I watched supercells churn away in the late afternoon/early evening for quite some time with absolutely nobody else around.
 
Well for me it just has to be May 29th. Looking back I still don’t know how I managed to swing this – I returned back to the UK on May 25th after nearly 4 weeks chasing, having a great chase vacation and content with my 2004 season. On my very first morning back at work in the UK my jaw dropped when I saw the forecast for the 29th and a sort of red mist descended over me (we have all been there) some 2 hours later I had secured some more time off work and somehow booked a flight back to the US, my girlfriend was not chuffed to say the least “but it is just a weekend dear and I have to be there – see you back home on Mondayâ€￾

So I arrived back in Oklahoma on the 28th with two other die hard UK chasers and were fortunate to witness close up the Attica stove pipe from start to finish along with some other tubes that day – fantastic.

Oh yes I enjoyed the chaser picnic as well :)
 
I'd have to say May 22nd with multiple large tornados including the Hallam NE tornado.
 
Originally posted by Skip Talbot
My first tornado, on April 20! That one sure caught me for surprise, and the chase itself was mostly luck. I caught the low topped LP-esque supercell just in time to watch an F1 touchdown near Kankakee. I watched from a couple miles and it lasted no more than a few minutes before becoming rain wrapped. It wasn't a great tornado compared to the pictures I have seen you guys posting this year, but the experience was one of the most awe inspiring ones I have ever had. I will never forget that day.

Hey bro, the first one is always great!!!!
 
The moment I consider the most important from this year definitely occurred June 12 with the second Mulvane, KS tornado the second I exposed a frame of transparency film and forever captured the most surreal spectacle of nature I'd ever witnessed.

http://www.onthefront.ws/images/612043.jpg

That wonderment and fascination quickly turned into a moment that turned my stomach as the most gorgeous tornado I'd ever seen obliterated a house.

The rest of my images from that day can be found at:
http://www.onthefront.ws/jun1204.htm

Jason
 
It's really hard to say which moment from the 2004 chase season was my favorite. But if I had to pick one, I'd say the moment the Red Cloud, Nebraska tornado touched down on June 10.

Having chased the parent supercell for hours with no tornado (and amusing ourselves by getting inside gustnadoes), the storm finally got down to business just after dark. The base of the storm lowered (courtesy of the deeper moisture and smaller dewpoint depressions) and soon a wall cloud formed. It develped very slowly, but it surely worked its way toward the ground. Finally, a perfectly shaped cone funnel developed out of the center of the wall cloud (the storm was low precipitation) and was perfectly backlit by almost constant cloud-to-ground lightning. This tornado lasted a fairly long time (~15 min) and grew from elephant's trunk almost to a stovepipe near the end of its life. We had an incredible view of the A-bomb updraft with a tornado firmly planted beneath it.

The only bad part was that it wasn't during the day. I'm telling you, this storm was far more impressive structure-wise than anything else I have seen this year (Hallam, Mulvane, Attica).

Gabe
 
Shane knows exactly what I am talking about...

On May 29th, Blake Naftel and I were chasing and we were watching the Conway Springs tornado outside of the car. Blake wanted to get farther east and I was packing my video camera and tripod into the car, but the wind was blowing so strong that I was having trouble getting the car door closed. Blake was yelling at me to hurry up, and it got on my nerves because I was already mad about not getting the door shut. Anyway, it erupted into a fight and Blake got the whole thing on video. It wasn't really all that funny at the time, but going back to the video later and watching us fight "like an old married couple" (his words; not mine!) was insanely funny! Maybe you guys will get lucky (hah!) and he'll put it in his highlights video, or show it to the whole world in Denver while I'm chilling with the kangaroos.

A close 2nd for something I can look back and laugh about was the "tour" I gave at work (don't ask! but for those of you who know what I am talking about, yeah...:oops:)

Tornadically speaking, the best moment was the Argonia wedge that we saw on May 29th. Spectacular tornado! I'll never forget it!

I also enjoyed JR's and Rocky's parties! Those were a lot of fun!!!

Least favorite moment was probably the day that I sat at home on June 12th and told myself that I would do my ODE homework, when I wound up not doing it and also missing the Mulvane event.
 
I think my favorite moment of 2004 was the night tornado north of Anthony KS on May 12th.
I was driving for TT and we had just witnessed an amazing series of storms and tornados. We pulled off onto a gravel road north of Anthony after watching the Harper wedge to look at the next storm in line and let the guests take a much needed break. We were all estatic to what we had just witnessed over the past few hours and would have been quite content to just sit there and watch a nice lightning show to cap off the night. Well, the next storm to the west decided to get it's act together and we were treated to the entire life cycle of a beautifull night time tornado that lasted almost 20 minutes. We were in a perfect postion to just sit there in the warm inflow and watch as the tornado slowly tracked from north west to north where it gracefully roped out in front of us. It was one of those times where you wish you had a lawn chair so you could just sit back and enjoy the show.

The Red Cloud night time tornado of June 10th was also quite memorable, but it was a very frustrating day leading up to that point.

Chris.
 
It's been ages (so it seems) since I've posted anything to this board;
or anything related to the topic of storm chasing. I haven't displayed
the hundreds of photos taken, written online blogs of accounts as I've
done in years past; rather I somehow drifted away from the very
subject matter that's peaked my interest since early childhood as of
late... so what a great topic to sink my tripod into and explore.

Every event; success or bust; from the spring of 2004 is special to me
for a multitude of reasons; but the peak certainly would be the
amazing supercellular and tornadic specticals which unfolded across
Sumner county Kansas during the evening of May 29, 2004. Not only did
the atmosphere provide picturesque awe; but I was accompanied by
wonderful personalities that fueled the surreal surroundings.
I'llnever forget turning the off HW160, pushing southbound on S. Milan Rd
(dirt); and hearing my friend and chase partner Melissa Moon exclaim
"I see a tornado... tornado... tornado!" while looking west towards
Harper (this being the first of eleven this day). From that point on
the event became a memorizing blur of disbelief, amazement; compleatly
flabbergasted as to what was being witnessed. Even looking back to this
day on video; the sense how unique and personal of a chase day this
was is highly evident. However it wasn't simply that this was a great
tornado day photogenicaly, or by number; rather all the events leading
up to it were just as special and memorable as well.

To those whom were with me this day in some way/shape/or form; Melissa
Moon, Tony Laubach, Chris Nuttal, and Kyle Mosely.. your company,
humor, frustration, and enchantment with nature combined to make this
one unforgettable day in my life; and for those reasons I'm thankful to
have experienced such a rare event with great company... reasons that
make May 29, 2004 "the" favorite moment personally this season.

..Blake..
 
Originally posted by Stuart Robinson
Well for me it just has to be May 29th. Looking back I still don’t know how I managed to swing this – I returned back to the UK on May 25th after nearly 4 weeks chasing, having a great chase vacation and content with my 2004 season. On my very first morning back at work in the UK my jaw dropped when I saw the forecast for the 29th and a sort of red mist descended over me (we have all been there) some 2 hours later I had secured some more time off work and somehow booked a flight back to the US, my girlfriend was not chuffed to say the least “but it is just a weekend dear and I have to be there – see you back home on Mondayâ€￾

So I arrived back in Oklahoma on the 28th with two other die hard UK chasers and were fortunate to witness close up the Attica stove pipe from start to finish along with some other tubes that day – fantastic.

Oh yes I enjoyed the chaser picnic as well :)

As I was one of the other 2 chasers this has to be mine too. It was my first 'real' tornado. Complete tornado life cycle captured from wall cloud to roping out. It was the most moving moment in my life , well up there with the wedding day and birth of my 2 daughters. What made the event more fantastic was the 5000 mile chase trip in one weekend. I had some real payback with the missus after this one :wink:

Mark
 
may 29 no doubt was my best of 2004

may 29 no doubt was my best of 2004. Seeing those two tornadoes near St. Joseph were my highlights indeed. I shot video of lightning, big hail, wallclouds. The big one I caught on tape and on my website was the Dearborn tornado south of ST. Joseph as it bore along Eastward. Then caught another to the West that kept going up and down and changing shapes. Also watching other wallclouds at the same time kept me busy.

Pics are on my website

Dr.Eric Flescher ([email protected]),Olathe, KS -Storm Satori-http://members.aol.com/kcstormguy/stormsatori/stormsatori.htm
 
Mine changed in the last few days. On a day that I didn't even have chasing remotely on my mind, I pull a hat trick...11/10/04. This marks the first November tornadoes for me since 1989.
 
My favorite moment in 2004 was when I was heading into grundy County, Iowa which was just placed under a tornado warning (5/21/04) I knew this was going to be a special day and was getting into a perfect position to capture any wallclouds/tornados that would develop from this storm, less than 30 minutes later I was shooting footage of 1 inch hail sporadically hitting the ground with a beautiful wall cloud in the back ground, then in a few more minutes I saw a number of tornados! 5/21/04 was awsome!!
 
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