Picture of a tornado warned storm in eastern Texas on radar. There was a mini outbreak down there right after the first of the year. The datage is wrong off of Liz's new camera. I think this hook produced a tornado near Shreveport.
February 12-14, Storm chaser convention at Denver.
Liz and I took Kody T. with us to the chaser convention this year. We had a great time. Liz and I meeting old friends, Kody, who is just starting chaseing, got to meet chasers he heard of. I got to meet the meterologist who will cover severe weather on KSAL radio. He will describe the warnings as well as give radar updates while Todd P., myself and others give reports from the field. It was cool to just be talking to him at the vender fair and find out we will be working as a team later on in the spring. Presentations at the convention were about forecasting storms, Vortex II and a thought provoking talk by Dr. Erik Rasmussen, "Whats left to learn about tornadoes?". Dr. Greg Forbes gave a banquet address on the past ten years of severe weather. Each year the convention draws more chasers and is organised by Roger Hill and Tim Samarus.
Picture of me and the guys at The Storm Report, at the convention vender fair.
Picture of Josh Wurman giving presentation about Vortex II.
Picture of Kody talking with Criss C. of The Discovery Channel's "Storm Chasers".
April 14, nothing much happening.
The winter el-nino pattern changed to an quasi omega blocking pattern. Net result, no storms for central Kansas so far this spring. I haven't even heard thunder yet!!! I now-casted for Kody T. as he chased northern Ok. then southern Kansas. His best time was April 5, I belive. He put 300+ miles on his car and ended in Washinton county, Ks. on a tornado warned storm. No tornado touched down which was good as the "hook" passed right over the town of Washington. I hope for a pattern change before May and maybe there will be some action.
April 27, looking foreward, looking back.
Another in a series of deep troughs with attendant forming low pressure gyer is forecast to move into the plains Thursday. Looking foreward for some action then---especially if deep enough moisture arrives. Guessing there will be excitement as I will be working my last group of cattle and can not break away easily---Murphy will strike. Last week and over the weekend, Mom Nature opened her spring drawer and pulled out a couple of tornado outbreaks. The first was Thurs. Ap. 22, in southwestern Kansas and the Texas panhandle. Kody T. chased this day and I thought he'd score a tornado. The Oklahoma panhandle looked good for him as it was centered in a good area. It turned out to be the hole in the doughnut as several tornadoes occurred east of Amarillo and northwest of Garden City! I was going to chase the next day but didn't as the action never heated up in southern Nebraska. Then came Saturday with it's HIGH RISK for the southeast US. It's amazing to me that only 10 people died where powerful, large, fast moving, long tracked tornadoes moved through higher population densities than Thursday's outbreak in the western plains. People are more prepared than before and the warning system handles large outbreaks very well. Several years ago I started to give storm safety presentations to the Jr. high classes at Ell-Saline USD 307. The first year I asked if the kids had a plan or knew where to go in case of a tornado warning, not many raised their hand. Four weeks ago I asked the same question and most all the kids raised their hands! The NWS/TV/Radio education effort is working. Finally, yes, I did hear thunder last Thursday morning as we got 2.60" of rain from elevated thunderstorms.
April 29, severe thunder storm warnings in a tornado watch, all hail breaks loose. My first chase of 2010.
SPC had a slight risk outlook for central Kansas this day, with meager moisture and high shear in place. Text was that a dryline located in central Kansas would retreat westward by late afternoon. Storm initiation was to begin around 5-6 pm. When I went out after the noon meal, winds had swiched to the southwest and dews were dropping. I figured not much would happen this day at this time. As I was moving cattle, I noticed agitated cumulus clouds to my WEST! The longer I moved cattle, the darker and taller the clouds got. When I finished my work and raced home, there was some thunder rumbling as the building storms raced past. A storm broke the cap in the Lincoln area as I gathered my chase stuff, charged the phone battery and fueled the truck. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for northeast Lincoln county, then a tornado watch was issued from central Kansas up through eastern Nebraska. I drove up to Barnard, thinking more storms would backbuild from the severe warned storm but new convection build farther north around Beloit. I gave up the chase at this time and returned homeward planning to meet Denise S. a McPerson storm spotter at my home. After explaing the setup this day as well as storm chasing in general, she went home with several of my Tim Marshal chase tapes to help her learn more spotting and chaseing. My college room mate arrived (he was coming to help cattle work tomorrow) and we discovered new storms from Russell to Concordia forming a line and being severe warned. We headed west on I-70, intending to turn north to get in front of this advancing line. We turned off at the Sylvan Grove exit and set up halfway between I-70 and Sylvan. We waited for a time as the storms were moving east slowly. I tried to position us under the most intense part of the storm in our area and finally some periods of wind and rain passed our spot. I then started to drive back to I-70 intending to get on the next warned storm to the south when we drove into an intense hail core. Hail mostly penny to dime size with a few stones up to golf balls poured past horizontaly propelled by 50 mph winds. I was reporting live at this time warning about no visibility in blowing hail. We couldn't see ten feet in front of the truck. I stopped when I began to drive into the ditch. The hail let up and I called the NWS about the hail we drove through and drove to Ellsworth. We met Kody T. at the gas station in Ellsworth and waited for the next warned storm to arrive. Wind and hail began as I was on live on KSAL radio. I then made a call to KSN TV to update them on what was happening when Dave Freeman alerted us to a hook and velosity couplet taking shape just to our south. We left Ellsworth east bound on 40 highway to keep up with this storm and luckily it soon weakened. We set up at 141/40 jct. for a while watching the laptop radar. After talking it over with Kody, we decided he would head for the Lake Kanopolis area to cover an intense storm down there while we continued east on 40. We reported live about heavy rain but no hail and little wind as we passed through Brookville and Bavaria. Meanwhile Kody called and stated he'd got blasted by golf ball hail west of Marquette on highway 4 area. We headed south to Lindsborg and met up with Kody there right after the storm passed. We then called it a night after covering storms live on KSAL from approximately 8:30 to 12:30 am. This chase was cool for a couple of reasons. First, this was my old roomie's first good storm chase with me after many years of coming out for a few days in late April. Second, KSAL had good coverage of the severe storms. There were new folks working together for the first time and I felt all worked well together for more complete coverage of this event.
I snapped this picture northeast of Barnard of the building towers forming along the retreating dry line. Later in the evening the cool front advanced southeastward and formed a severe line.
Picture of an overshooting top on the storm located in the Concordia area. Not long after this picture was taken, the storm was tornado warned with no touchdowns as far as I know.
May 6, severe thunderstorm warnings Mc Pherson-southeast Saline and Dickenson counties.
The Storm Prediction Center had a slight risk outlook for central Kansas this day. The setup was for a warm front to lift from southern into central Kansas with strong bulk shear. In the late afternoon, SPC issued a discussion indicating a watch would be likely soon with initiation of storms from central northwestward to northwest Kansas. I was working in a field near home watching an east/west line of agitated cumulus to my south. I was sure they would explode but didn't and then completely dissipated. Then I heard of a thunderstorm watch that was issued for central through northwest Kansas on the tractor radio. I finished the field I was working on and went home and cleaned up for the day. Denise S. called at this time telling me she saw buildups and heard thunder in Mc Pherson county! I called Jeremy and he and Meg. came down as a storm intensified around Marquete. We left home and drove towards I-35 intending to get ahead of the storm south of Salina. The storm intensified rapidly and a warning was issued for southern/southeast Saline county. The storm crossed I-35 in front of us and we followed it eastward on highway 4. Kody T. was several miles ahead of us at this time trying to stay ahead of the storm. I joined storm coverage on KSAL at this time talking about heavy rain and hail in the Gypsum area. The storm continued to max up in intensity and reports of heavy hail came in. We reached highway 15 and caught up with Kody, turning north to check out the core of the storm. Before we turned north, Jeremy pointed out unusual scud clouds and a wall cloud/tail look-a-like to our distant southeast. Although there was velosity shear on radar there was small reflectivity in that area so I dismissed it and turned north. We soon drove into an intense hail core and reported this live on the storm coverage. We turned east on a paved road towards Navarre still leaving tracks in piled up quarter sized hail folowing the intense core of the storm. The area of clouds Jeremy indicated earlier intensified and merged with the storm forming a hook echo and the storm was tornado warned. This occurred to our southeast as we stopped to video the hail and check out hail size. The text of the warning stated that damage had occurred east of Hope as well as in the Herington area. We drove to Herington then east, following the storm but didn't see any thing serious except a lightning illuminated "mothership" type storm. I dropped off the chase at this time as Todd P. wanted us to check out damage reports back behind us. We found a roof blown off a car wash with a power pole snapped off nearby in the south part of Herington. We finally found a house that was damaged east of Hope as well as 3' cottonwood trees snapped. I got out and talked with the home owner who said he saw a tornado coming and grabbed his wife and went to the basement. The garage door blew in his attached garage, blowing out the opposite wall and ripping out parts of the roof. After thinking about it a while, this was somewhat in the area we saw the scud/lowering earlier. It just seemed a long way south to be part of the rain free base of the storm we were on.?! Just tough to spot structure at night. We returned home at 1 am. after a late supper in Abilene.
Picture taken southward of the warm front and the beginning of the storm at Marquete as we left home.
Picture of part of the car wash roof laying on the street in Herington.
This pole was snapped next to the car wash.
Garage door blew in and then the wind ripped out part of the house roof.
May 10, tornado warnings and severe thunderstorm warnings,western and southern Kansas.
Spc had a high risk for southern Kansas with a moderate risk up to Salina, then a slight risk from Salina back to almost Colorado. At around 1 pm. spc issued a tornado watch for western Kansas. I watched storms build north of Garden City and become tornado warned. Shortly after that the qickly advancing dryline fired off storms east of Dodge city. I called Denise S. and Ted S. and told them to come out quickly to go on the chase. Denise is learning the spotting process and wanted to gain experience. Ted is a good photographer and wanted to get some storm pictures. We left home en route to the Great Bend area as a tornado warned storm was headed towards Great Bend. At Great Bend we killed the storm and the warning was dropped. Acutally, the storms moved off the dry line into the drizzley soup in central Kansas and lost their energy. We followed this storm eastward to I-35, all the time watching the nasty tornado warned storms on the Kansas/Ok border. Kody T. was in this area and called that he bagged his first tornado---a multi-vortex!!! I decided to travel south to Wichita to try to intercept a tornado warned storm west of that city. Again, as we neared the north side of Wichita, the warning was dropped as the storm moved into more stable air. We met Kody north of Wichita and looked at his video catch. As we headed home, a line of storms developed from Ellsworth southward and was severe warned. KSAL went live and I was able to join coverage as we set up just south of McPherson. A very well developed shelf cloud passed overhead with these storms, then rain and mostly pea sized hail fell. Ted and Denise shot pictures while I got good video (some of my first video of an approching shelf cloud). We stopped again at McPherson and shot pictures of the back side of the line that just moved over us. After this stop we went home, checking up on the pictures we took on the computer. I turned on The Weather Channel and discovered the devastation that occurred around Oklahoma City with an estimated 5 fatalities. No tornadoes were seen by us today but Denise got to see some storm structure and Ted got some decent pictures.
This picture is a video capture of a multi-vortex tornado Kody caught in Oklahoma, just south of the Kansas border, his FIRST tornado!
Picture of the turbulent underside of a shelf cloud passing over us. Photo taken by Ted Sundell.
Picture looking at the north end of the layered shelf cloud that passed over us. Picture taken by Denise Schwantes.
May 12, tornado warning, McPherson/Marion/Dickenson counties, driving through the bear's cage.
Whow, what a day. Was caught somewhat unexpected on this one but after a very fast dash, things really got intense! Due to the "suddeness" of this event, I made mistakes that cost me later. SPC had a slight risk outlook for eastern Kansas that reached Salina on the outlook's western fringe. Yesterday and the day before central Kansas was in a slight risk and both days were cold with northwesterly winds. Monday was stormy, yesterday was not. There were tornado watches yesterday (Tuesday) including Saline/Ellsworth counties but storms couldn't get going good to stay severe long all the way from Oklahoma to central Kansas. The point of all this above, was my thinking that yesterday, not much happened when it should have, today, it was cold and some stuff might go up east and south, out of our area. Jeremy and I had been in Salina getting repairs over the noon hour when we looked at the laptop and saw Hutchinson was like 80 degrees while Salina was 52! We got home and I was prepairing to go to the field when Denise S. called stating she saw buildups to her southwest and has a funny feeling about things. So, OK, she's new to spotting somewhat and excited, eager. I went back to the house and looked on radar and saw a thin moderate storm in the Hutchinson area. I then attempted to "install" my laptop in the tractor so I could have the plesure of watching the storm and work. Things didn't fit. As I was reinstalling the computer in the pickup, Denise called again that a tornado watch was issued for McPherson county. Ok, thats on the fringe of the area and storms will move quickly away. I turned on the radar on the computer and supriseingly saw a large red centered storm near Hutchinson and was severe warned. Now, I've got a funny feeling. I thought "you chased a severe storm last night and killed it, it's day time and a severe storm is in the same area that developed VERY fast". I fired up the truck and left immediately but did not fill the fuel tank or grab the phone charger I just removed the day before. (Nothing was going to happen anyway???!!) Just before I got to 135 from I-70, a tornado warning was issued for Reno and southeastern McPerson counties! I thought "jeese, what's the NWS thinking, the storm is a line". Then my computer updated, and a hook appeared in the Inman area!!! Accelerator down!!! KSAL began live coverage which I joined when I was 6 or 7 miles north of Mac. stating people in 135 needed to take care as well as Denise's call about siren's blowing in MacPherson. A tornado was reported on the ground south of McPherson at this time. As I pulled up to the 56 highway interchange, rain and hail began in ernest. I turned east, attempting to blast out of the core I was in so I could have visibilty and proper position on the storm. The hook was just to my south, but due to the delay on Gr.Level 3 radar, it was most likely right over me. I was driving through swirling rain/hail curtains ie. the tornado cyclone, (the bear's cage) talking live on radio about what I was seeing. I broke out of that mess at Galva and set up on a turn off 2 miles east of Galva. A tornado was reported just north of Galva but all I could see was wrapping rain/hail curtains to my north. I was on live radio almost continuously during this time and urged listeners not to try to see a tornado as it was rain wrapped. I also experienced a RFD surge into the circulation to my north at this time that lasted only a minute. (Winds switching from the northwest to strong soutwest). I spotted what I now think was a tornado, a dark column behind the swirling rain curtains to my northwest,(northeast of Galva). I then drove on east towards Canton as the rain was catching up with me again. I could see a large blocky lowering, just north of Canton with low white scud curving into it on the east side. I turned north and drove through Canton, two problems developed. One, my cell phone battery got low (with no charger now) and my fuel gauge was under 1/4 and I'm driving into open country! My intent was to drive north and see if there was a damage path north of Canton. There was none that I could see. I'm still live on KSAL but now the internet dropped on my computer and my radar didn't update so it looked like I was driving into the hook again when I really wasn't. I turned east on a MUD road to get separation with the storm loosing time and fuel fighting mud. I dropped off live coverage at this time due to bad cell coverage and low phone battery as well as two handed mud driving. I finally made it to Durham and low and behold, the co-op gas station was open and had highway diesel!! By this time the storm had weakened and live coverage ended so I drove north to Salina and made a 6:30 meeting. It was on this drive that I discovered a large hailstone splintered the corner of my windshield.
Picture of the storm moving away from me northeast of Canton. The wall cloud had a "fluffy" collar around it's top and is less rain wrapped than earlier. The white scud clouds located on the right side of the picture were curving into the east side of the wall cloud.
June 12, tornado warnings for Barton, southern Ellsworth and Rice counties.
Storm Prediction Center had a slight risk outlook for central Kansas this day. I had been watching outlooks and warnings in eastern Colorado/northwest Kansas for the past several days. These storms stayed out of my chase area but fed my increasing "chaseitis" symptoms. Finally, a area looked good for severe in the Dodge City to Great Bend area. Instability cape's were extreme (4000) but shear was marginal although there was a boundry in the Salina--Great Bend-Dodge City which would help focus storms. I was moving hay bales after noon time, watching towers form light storms in the Salina area and becoming nervous. I kept calling Liz and Jeremy for radar updates and Liz told me that a storm did form northeast of Dodge City, then a tornado watch was issued for Great Bend southwestward. I then blew a tire on my hay hauling truck, (low ptrssure coming?) so Liz came and took me home. I watched the severe warned storm west of Great Bend for a while as I redied my chase truck. Then a tornado warning was issued and I was out the door. Jeremy was still in Salina, I couldn't get Cody T. on the phone and Liz had left for a family wedding reception. I went alone. I got south of Ellsworth when the warning was dropped on the storm but it still looked good on radar. As I drove past Claflin, I saw a "spiraling" updraft with a low hanging wall cloud to my southwest through some rain. At this time the weather radio tones for a tornado warning stating a tornado touchdown northwest of Great Bend! I continued on south, reporting what I saw to KSN & the NWS and set up on the north side of Cheyenne Bottoms. Rain kept masking my view from time to time while I reported live on KSAL, who started to cover the event. As the storm slowly moved towards me I would backtrack a couple of miles north on K-156 to stay clear. At almost every move north, I could see lowerings to my west in the rain, especially at Claflin where I could see a "bowl with a nub" that co-insided with a touchdown report 3 miles southwest of Claflin. At this time the storm sent out a shelf cloud to the east of 156, (outflow) creating ragged lowerings and spectacular dust columns that created tornado reports in Rice county. At no time was there any inflow towards the center of the storm from any of my locations. I did notice warm outflow in the Hollyrood area which was kind of hairy. There was a tornado touchdown reported southwest of there too. I retreated to Ellsworth then took highway 40 east and joined Jeremy and Cody who were retreating also. The tornado warning was dropped for Ellsworth county but we watched rotation in areas of the gust front shelf cloud several miles east of Ellsworth. Suddenly the tornado intercept vehicle (TIV) roared past our position going eastbound. We followed, knowing there was little chance of tornadoes as the storm continued to weaken. We dropped off the chase when we reached the turnoff towards home. This storm was a high precipitation beast which was outflowish all the time which kept the tornadoes it formed---brief. This chase was great as in the words of a spotter I met a Claflin. "I've been waiting all spring for something like this to happen here in central Kansas".
Picture looking westsouthwest from highway 156 two miles south of Claflin. This corresponds with the time a tornado was sighted northwest of Great Bend. Picture shows the rotation on the northwest side of the storm ie the meso.
Picture of the same area as above, taken on the north side of Cheyenne bottoms, looking due west. Rotational area is more wrapped or covered with rain as it is now closer and moving left to right towards Claflin.
Picture taken around the highway156/K-4 junction, looking eastward of the dust being blown out by outflow from the storm in the Claflin area. A thin gustnado is barely visable in the clear area just left of the center of the picture. A tornado was reported at about this time, near Bushton so not sure what was sighted. This foreward area of the storm outraced and then became detached from the storm east of Ellsworth. We saw interesting rotations with this shelf cloud several miles east of Ellsworth on highway 40.
June 13,severe thunderstorm warning, Saline and McPherson counties.
SPC had a slight risk outlook for central Kansas this day. All afternoon thunderstorms festered around central Kansas but were not severe. Storms were moving into the area when Jeremy and I returned from our fire house meeting. A look at the radar showed heavy thunderstorms moving into Saline county from the south with McPherson county being severe warned due to high winds. I got into my truck and started back towards Brookville as KSAL was on live about the McPherson storm. Denise S. called that she had measured 65 mph winds west of Lindsborg and I urged her to join KSAL coverage with that information which she did. Soon after that, the warning was extended to Saline county with highwind reports coming in right and left. I went on live 3 times describing rain and moderate winds in the Brookville area. There was some excitement on the emergency management channel of a report of a tornado west of Brookville, but the NWS saw no rotation and I saw only a scary looking shelf cloud north of Brookville.
June 20, heavy thunderstorms in central Kansas.
SPC had a slight risk outlook for central Kansas with a moderate risk for most of Nebraska. We were cutting wheat in the evening and watched the storms move in from the west. When the gust front moved overhead the wind picked up straw and blew it all around for a moment. When I got into the wheat truck, I heard KSAL doing live coverage about warned storms to our north. I joined coverage at that time talking about the wind shift I had experienced, stateing it would move towards Salina. The studio comentators gave the progress of the wind and rain for all the wheat harvesters who were trieng to get every bushel cut before the rain hit. This was one of the few times I did live coverage on a non-severe situation.
Picture taken during harvest at a severe storm by Beloit with a overshooting top. This storm was later tornado warned.
July 14, severe thunderstorm warning, Lincoln, Russell, Barton and Ellsworth counties.
Storm Prediction Center had a slight risk outlook for central Kansas this day. Also, very torrid heat conditions existed with temps in the upper 90's and dew points around 72! Storms started to fire along a frontal boundry out in western Kansas around 5 pm. I had to go to Salina to pick up my repaired irrigation pump as well as other stops. When I was driving home, severe storms were moving into Lincoln and Russell counties. Jeremy didn't answer his phone so I called my old pard Jason and he came out to chase. We headed west bound on I-70 to the Vesper exit then turned north, intending on checking the outflow winds in that area. Two miles north of '70 we drove into a blinding dust storm kicked up by the outflow. I reported this to the NWS then went on live on KSAL warning drivers on I-70 about the estimated 50 mph winds we experienced. We dropped back to '70 then turned west bound as the line of severe storms back built southwest of Russell. A flood warning was issued for Russell county as these storms were slow moving. We checked out the heavy rain/winds at Bunker Hill and then checked flooding at the south side of Russell. I went live on KSAL talking about all this then we headed for home as the storms weakened. One part of the line of storms intensified briefly along the Ellsworth/Rice county line and was warned for a while. We got home at this time but the storm quickly weakened so we didn't chase it. This chase was fun because my old chase pard came along---the first time since his accident a little over a year ago.
Picture taken of the oncoming storms looking north of I-70 as I was driving home from Salina.
Picture taken from my driveway, looking northwest of the severe warned storms in northwest Lincoln county. We were beginning the chase at this time. The shelf cloud was indicative of the strong outflow winds we later experienced.
July 20, severe thunderstorm warning, Saline county.
Storm Prediction Center had a slight risk out for all of central Kansas this day. Temps were in the mid 90s and dew points were pushing 70. I was in Salina in the afternoon with Liz as she was having surgery on her foot. Storms started to develop north, then west of Salina around 3 pm. and a severe thunderstorm watch was issued for central through eastern Kansas. As Liz and I left the doctor's office, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for northern then all of Saline county. The storm moved into town as I stopped to get Liz.s meds then we headed for home. KSAL was doing some live coverage at this time and I joined in as we were driving west on I-70. We came across a RV that had tipped over into the medium, probably blown over by the wind. These storms moved on through and weakened while a secondary line developed north of Salina again with Ottawa Co. being severe warned again. I watched this storm as I was driving to a meeting in Salina at 6:30. The first storm was unique as I have never had Liz with me when I'm doing weather on the radio live which was a first for us.
Picture of the second severe warned storm north of Salina. The precip shaft is pushed out into a rain foot, indicative of strong outflow winds.
August 1, severe thunderstorm warning/tornado warning, Lincoln county.
SPC had no risk for Kansas in their morning outlook. The NWS stated that a few storms could develop in central Kansas in the pm. and could possibly be severe as temps reached the upper 90s and dews would be in the high 60s. Morning wind shear had good turning with height but meager speeds---nothing above 30 kts. At 4 pm. I saw some towers west-northwest of my house. Radar showed a small but intense cell or two between Hays and Russell. At 5 pm. just as Liz and I were going to a family gathering, the radar loop actually showed a storm split north of Russell but no warnings were issued. Around 6:30 to 7:30 I asked Jeremy to check his phone radar and it showed a storm in western Lincoln county that was severe warned. I then asked my sister if she wanted to chase and she said "yes"! She hasn't chased with me for at least 12 years. We left the gathering, cleared the trees and looked northwest. Whow! A super cell that looked like it was May! We dashed to my place to get my pickup ect. stopping once to snap pictures of a wall cloud feature. At home, I had to reinstall my laptop then we took off. As we drove towards Lincoln co. we were trying to boot my balky laptop but seeing increasing striations in the storm. KSAL was not covering the storm live yet as we raced towards Beverly to get in front of the storm. Kody T. called to see if I was chaseing and at that time my radar finally came up with the storm in a tornado warning box!!! I said to Kody "is this tornado warned"? He said yes. We pulled over about 4 miles south of Beverly so sister Jo could shoot pictures and I saw anticyclonic rotation of the cloud base just to our west. The area where the wall cloud was earlier was covered in rain to our northwest. I then made calls to the NWS and KSN about what we were seeing then drove on to Beverly. The tornado sierons were blaring as we drove through and set up one mile north of town. Only heavy rain, some wind and no hail was occurring. We retreated east down highway 18 and KSAL went live coverage at this time. We set up on the Ottowa/Lincoln county line and I made multiple reports live to KSAL talking about the weakening trend the storm was making but warning about the nasty lightning that was striking around us. The tornado warning was dropped and while we set up in Tescott, the severe thunderstorm warning was dropped also. As we were driving home we came across an out of control fire in a hedge row south of Tescott and I called Ottowa co. 911 about it. What a crazy storm---I just didn't think it had much chance to tornado with near 100 degree temps but it ingested some rain cooled air and tried. Really cool for Aug 1!
This picture was taken from 20 miles away as we were driving home to get my pickup truck. A blocky wall cloud can be seen in the precip. Picture taken by sister Jo.
Enhansed picture of the wall cloud.
Picture taken 4 miles south of Beverly looking northwest at the striations the storm developed. Picture by sister Jo.
Picture looking north of the second, weaker storm north of striated high precip super cell that was tornado warned. Notice the curling of the precip shaft on the left side of the picture---a weak microburst? Jo's picture.
Kody took this picture several miles east of where Jo and I were on the storm. What an interesting shot! A doughnut hole feature in the flanking line/outflow area in the storm's later life.
Aug. 10,severe thunderstorm warning--Lincoln county.
Picture of rain foot from severe warned storm in Lincoln county. This was about the time reports of 60 mph winds came in around the Lincoln/Barnard area.
Panning to the right of the rain foot, dust was being kicked up. Picture was darkened to enhanse the dust.
August 13, severe thunderstorm warnings Saline, Dickenson, McPherson and Marion counties.
SPC had a slight risk outlook for central Kansas this day. Temps as I was eating the noon meal were around 103. At around 2:30 I noticed towers to my southeast where earlier it was clear. Radar showed a storm just northeast of Salina and it exploded and was severe warned. I got my truck ready to chase and asked Liz if she would ride along to run the computer. For the first time in 20 years of chasing she came along. (She is still off work due to foot surgery.) We drove to Salina on '70 and stopped to get fuel as more storms back built and intensified. Kody T. called from the Abilene area as he was ahead of us some. He went on east while we turned south at Abilene to get in front of newly warned storms around McPherson. Bad wind reports came in from the Junction City/Manhatten area as well as from the McPherson area. We dropped south on highway 15 giving reports live on KSAL about the exiting storms in southern Dickenson county while intercepting the oncoming storms from McPerson. I misjudged the direction the oncoming storms and we ended up turning around and sprinting back north. The storms seemed to weaken some but then reintensified just before passing over us on highway 15. I drove into the "purple" core on radar and encountered dime to nickel sized hail with some gusty wind. Then the hail grew to quarter size so I called the NWS Wichita to relay this report to Topeka NWS as well as going live on KSAL. Another core developed 4 miles to our north and I punched this core also. This time we encountered a wind blast which I conservatively estimated at 60 mph. The rain howled by us in a fog while I turned off the highway to face this blast out of the west. I recalled Wichita to report the wind, then broke into programing on KSAL warning drivers on K-15 to stop and be careful. Denice S. called at this time reporting broken trees and some outbuilding damage as she followed the backside of the storm. Soon the warned storm moved east of highway 15 and no other storms were west of us so we went to Salina, ate an early supper and went home. Pretty exciting for Friday the 13 and Liz didn't complain any---just one time did she say as she looked at the radar, "are we driving into this core?"
Picture of the quarter sized hail I picked up just north of highway 4/15 junction.
Aug. 31, severe thunderstorm warning, Russell and Lincoln counties.
SPC had a slight risk outlook for the I-70 corridor on north into Nebraska this day. In the late afternoon a severe thunderstorm watch was issued after storms developed along a cool front from Hays northeastward into southeast Nebraska. A warning was issued for northern Russell county around 7 pm. I took off for this storm immediately. I took I-70 west to Wilson, then drove north to the Lake Wilson area. As I was driving out, the storm looked to weaken precip wise but the clouds had a "look" that organization was beginning again. At Lake Wilson, I saw a almost classic microburst from a narrow precip core as I was loking northwest. (A curling dust foot rolling out from the east side of the precip core.) I swerved to the side of the road and snapped a picture of this feature but in my haste, blurred the pic. some. Dang! I stationed myself on top of the hills on the west side of the dam/lake while a new storm intensified/backbuilt southward from the microburst cell. Damage reports came in from the Luray area and a warning was issued for Lincoln county. Heavy rain and winds with vivid lightning overcame my position as I gave reports to the NWS Wichita and tried to join KSAL's coverage of the Lincoln warning. I then drove to just south of Sylvan Grove, making one live report on KSAL. I drove south to I-70 as a storm was building southwest of Ellsworth and the Lincoln storm seemed to weaken. I stopped at the north Ellsworth exit and waited. After about 15 minutes there the Lincoln warning was dropped and the western Ellsworth county storm never went severe so I went home.
I snapped this shot of the Russell warned storm as I was leaving my drivway.
Picture of the microburst in the Luray area. The picture was darkened to cut out blurring and enhanse the dust foot. A steeple on a church was blown off and a brick wall was knocked over in Luray.
Picture taken of severe storm in Barton county with associated orphan anvils trailing to the north after sunset, taken from my driveway.
September 13, severe thunderstorm warning within a tornado watch, south side of Concordia Kansas.
Storm Prediction Center had a slight risk outlook for central/northcentral Kansas this day with a 5% tornado for northcentral Kan. through southern Nebraska. A tornado watch was issued around 3:30 pm. with storms firing in north central Kansas and southern Neb. I watched a storm on radar in southeast Neb. split, with the right splitter turning southeast and hooking as it moved into Kansas north of Marysville. I saw another storm explode west of Concordia being severe warned and couldn't stand it any longer---I took off! I knew that this storm had less a chance to tornado as temps were in the mid 90s from Salina up to Concordia, but I just had to get into a storm. The storm only traveled around 10 mph east so I drove into it's center 4 miles south of Concordia. Heavy rain and up to dime sized hail occurred at my position and I called a report to the Topeka NWS about this. After the storm crossed highway 81, I went back home as the warning was soon dropped.
September 13, severe thunderstorm warnings, Lincoln, Ottawa, Saline and McPerson counties. A midnight run.
Conditions were the same as the story above only central Kansas was in a thunderstorm watch at this time. I went to bed at 10:30 after seeing a line of strong storms north of Russell moving east. At 11:30 the weather radio toned a severe warning for Lincoln Co. and I was out the door. KSAL was already covering the warning so I joined in on the coverage as I drove north of I-70 towards Westfall. I ran into increasing heavy rain and winds so warned travelers on I-70 to take precautions. I backtracked to I-70 and traveled east bound to keep up with the storm according to my laptop radar. At the Brookville exit, I was just south of the heaviest core and began to recieve blinding rain with 50 to 60 mph crosswinds. I could only drive 30 mph now and not safely! I broke into coverage stating travelers on '70 needed to pull over and wait this storm out for a while. For the next 8 miles or so of white knuckel driving, every car and semi was pulled over and stopped!! I don't know if they were listening to KSAL group stations with my call or if they were just smart. No traffic problems happened on this stretch of highway although farther back west two trailers were blown over. (this was 3 miles west of where I got on I-70). I finally arrived on the north end of Salina where the rain and wind let up some. I checked out the north side of town for street flooding and wind damage then drove to the west side of Salina on 135. By this time the heaviest of the storm had moved into southeast Saline county so I drove back to I-70 west bound to check another storm moving through northwestern Saline county. This storm weakened and finally the warning was dropped for Saline county but was ongoing for McPherson county. After checking for "high" water in the Glendale-Tescott area I dropped out of coverage after being on the phone continously for over 1.5 hours covering the warnings.
This was what the visibility was like on I-70 during the heaviest part of the storm---between wiper swipes.
Sept. 15, severe thunderstorm warning for Russell, Lincoln, Saline and Ellsworth, then McPerson and southeast Saline counties.
Another night, another severe MCS. SPC had a slight risk outlook for this night and day. When I went to bed there were tornado warned storms around Colby moving southeast. At 2:30 am. the weather radio toned a severe thunderstorm warning for Russell county. I looked at the radar and saw a large bow shaped line of storms from I-70 northward. I drove to Sylvan Grove exit and waited for the storm to roll over me to see what winds it had. Heavy rain and only 40 mph winds occurred. I talked to the NWS then went continous live on KSAL as the storms moved east towards Salina. I drove to west of Salina giving non-severe reports and the warning was dropped. I got home at around 4 am. In the afternoon, SPC issued a tornado watch for McPherson and Rice counties. A couple of super cells developed southwest of Hutchison moving east as well as a line of storms forming from Ellsworth to Salina. As the Hutch. storms were moving along a boundry I was concerned about tornadoes there. I had meetings in Salina at 6:30 so I left home at 4 pm. just to "lean" towards those southern storms if they became tornado warned. I stopped in southern Saline county to sample the strengthing storms there and called the Wichita NWS. about pea to dime sized hail. Soon a severe warning was issued for this storm (McPherson & southeast Saline county) and the storm moved off to the east out of the area quickly. KSAL did not go live with this warning so I went back to Salina to mmy meetings. During my meetings Kody T. called stating there were two tornado warned storms around Wichita verifying my tornado concerns. SPC had 9 tornadoes confirmed out of the two storms. I watched the 10 pm. news out of Wichita and they were talking of a possible new state record hail stone (around 7 inches in diameter)!!!
September 25, severe thunderstorm over KSU football game.
I had a lot of people stop me and tell about the severe thunderstorm that passed over the stadium while they were there. I think the game was delayed by lightning for around an hour. The reason I am talking about this is two fold. First, although the game was halted and players removed due to lightning, lots of the fans remained in an environment of popping lightning!! Lots of potential for trouble there. Second, if this storm was tornado warned or had 80 mph winds, there was a concentrated target of fans in the stadium or fans waiting it out next to the stadium in their cars! Some day this senario will play out to a disaster.
Picture sent to me by Denice S. showing approaching shelf cloud north of KSU campus.