Phenominal hybrid firewhirl-landspout

I had the priveledge and just flat out dumb luck of the atmosphere producing one of the most amazing vortices I've ever witnessed on June 30th in southern Kansas.

I was targetting the Hutchinson area for storm chasing late this afternoon, early this evening, and on the way, noticed quite a few wheat stubble fields burning. One of the fields was going pretty good, so I decided to do a little photography.

A slow moving boundary was almost right on top of this burning field, which provided enough ambient vertical vorticity at the surface to create one of the most incredible vortices I've witnessed. A strong, to violent at times, firewhirl developed in the middle of the field and persisted a good 15 to 20 minutes with various stages of appearance and intensity during this time. Looking back at the ICT radar and surface obs, vertical vorticity was maximized right along Highway 50 in Stafford County thru Reno County. Here are a couple images below.. many more are found here.

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/albums/2005jun30/DSC49661.sized.jpg>
<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/albums/2005jun30/DSC49891.sized.jpg>
<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/albums/2005jun30/DSC50061.sized.jpg>
<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/albums/2005jun30/DSC50151.sized.jpg>

Mike U
 
Being a firefighter, i have seen many small vortices in grass fire but nothing like this Mike. Excellent photos. I would like to have one of those for a screensaver sometime. I'll contact you about it.
 
Wow - that's an incredible site, Mike. Did you share w/ any of the local TV stations down there? Was this during the time yesterday when there was that outflow boundary that was approaching Wichita from the NW?
 
Wow, that's awesome. That would be just as good as catching a tornado, IMO, if not better. What's the odds of that happening?!
 
Wow - that's an incredible site, Mike. Did you share w/ any of the local TV stations down there? Was this during the time yesterday when there was that outflow boundary that was approaching Wichita from the NW?

Mike, there was indeed a boundary moving slowly south right over where this control burn was occuring over a wheat stubble field. This is the main reason this incredible vortex was so intense and so long-lived... there was a pre-existing environment rich with vertical vorticity.... so add convection to that (the field fire), and you can concentrate that vorticity into what you see in the photographs. Amazing meteorology at work. I did not share with any media... I did not have any video. I Will, however, be working with Jim Reed marketing a few of these shots, and down the road, I'll make prints/posters available of this and other work :)

Mike U
 
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