First chase... Wow!


[This could probably go in the target area forum, but I don't have posting permission there, and in my current state of newbie-ness wouldn't really be able to add much of value.]

I'm still a newbie when it comes to storm chasing and weather observation, but was able to get my first chase in on Sunday (7/3) as strong storms moved across the Sedgewick Country area of Kansas. I had checked the Wichita radar using Stormlab about 5:30pm on Sunday (7/3) and noticed a strong storm approaching. The TV weathermen were warning the populace to take shelter, so we grabbed our cameras and annenometer and headed out.

As we drove towards Colwich, we stopped for a moment and got a couple of shots of the mesocyclone (correct word? I'm still a noob at weather) over the Colwich area.


While we were stopped, we were passed by a blue and silver minivan with a ham license plate and a couple of antennae. Another Stormtrack reader, perhaps? We continued on into Colwich where we stopped to watch for rotation. After a moment, we saw some definite strong rotation. After a couple of minutes, the wind kicked up hard and a lot of tree debris started blowing around. Self preservation took over, and we moved on, back to the east. After a mile or two, we paused to look back to Colwich. At that time the reporters on the radio were saying that a tornado had been sighted over Colwich. Maybe if we had hung around another ten minutes we would have seen a tornado.

After this, we backtracked somewhat and went south on Ridge Road back toward US54. We stopped for a few minutes in a parking lot and measured 40mph wind gusts using the highly scientific "arm out the window" method. It's a good thing Kestrel meters are waterproof - rain was running down my arm and soaking my shirt and shorts! There appeared to be some sporadic rotation in the clouds, but that could have been me wanting to see rotation. Next, we continued south towards the storm and apparent wall cloud over the Derby area. By the time we got there, the wall cloud had almost completely broken up and were were getting rained on pretty heavily. At that point, the KFDI stations were going back to regular programming (we were listening to 101.3 and 104.5 to get regularly updated weather news) as the storms were moving away from the Wichita area, so we headed home. Flooded streets made this a slow trip, but by no means a bad end to my first chase.

So on my first chase I got to see my first meso and finally was able to see cloud rotation. No tornado this time, though there will be opportunities in the future. I also realise I have an awful lot more to learn about meteorology.
Congratulations on your first chase, and welcome to the bretheren.
Administrative note: We'll leave this article alone, but current chase reports are not allowed in this forum. Getting Target Area permission is easy, and is explained at the post at the top of Target Area.

Welcome to the wonderful world of whirling winds. Ohhh I like that. Oh its late.

Congrats on your first chase. Fun stuff hu? See ya out there.