Janruary 15, trip to NWS Wichita.
I took a copy of some of my storm chases from 2012 to Wichita NWS. My sister rode along as she chases with me once in a while. Chance, the warning coordinator, was reviewing his spotter presentation to some emergency managers. My sister and I were invited in for our comments on the presentation. Afterwards, my April 14th chase was showed to all and lots of whows were made from the NWS employes as well as the emergency managers. I then talked to the forecaster that I sent info feeds on the May 25 2012 tornadoes near Russell. We reviewed the day as well as me giving a blow by blow description on what I saw. We then went out on the "floor" and talked with the shift forecasters. One forecaster showed me the current status of the Artic Ossilation and how the different states affect weather here in the plains. The AO has a big affect on our winter weather patterns. We also looked at the impending cold snap coming this weekend. We left after spending a couple hours with thhe friendly folks at the NWS.
Picture of me and a NWS forecaster looking at data on one of the computers.
January 29,meeting with National Weather Service, county Emergency managers and media at Lyons, Ks. Retracing the April 14 tornado path.
Saline Co. E-Manager Hanna F. invited me to this meeting. The purpose was to improve co-operation among the attendees with the goal of getting the best information out to the public during severe weather. A highlight for me was the chance to meet John Wright of KFDI radio in Wichita Ks. I've listened to him for many years and tried to pattern my live narrative to his excellent example. I also got to meet some Dodge City NWS forecasters that I haven't met before. I also talked with the Russell Co. E-manager about last May 25 tornado located south of Russell. He told me the elderly lady I helped stabilize did indeed have a fractured neck. There were many interesting discussions during the meeting. One discussion centered on April 14, where storm chasers were creating traffic problems. Unfortionatly, most all the EM's have no love for storm chasers. I will take that message to the Chaser convention in two weeks at Denver. Hopefully the chaser community will assist the counties with reports and not drive crazy. I overheard one manager tell another,"I had hundreds of chasers in my county and I got no information from them." After the meeting was over, I took time to retrace my route from last April 14, where I followed the E-f 4 tornado north of Lyons up into Ellsworth county. I took snapshots of the old damage since on that day, I didn't have time to take many pictures as I was on live radio most of the time.(See April 14 account on my 2012 arcive).
Picture of debris piled around fence posts.
Picture of a farmstead that took a direct hit. Note the new house and sheds.
Picture of the area where we cut the cottonwood trees off the road so we could drive up to highway 4. The trees were piled off the road where we cut a path just wide enough to drive through.
Picture of some tin roofing wrapped around a tree.
Picture of the farmstead where the NWS designated the EF-4 damage in the Langley area. This was the farm of the Ell-Saline teacher where we helped cleanup several different days after the tornado struck. New outbuildings are where the old house stood. The new house was built just left of the picture.
February 15-17, Storm Chasers convention, Denver Co..
Liz and I went to Chaser Con. last weekend. On the way up to Denver, we stopped at Russell to look at the area where I helped rescue a lady in her tornado destroyed house last spring. (May 25) We saw that builders were just putting the finishing touch on a new house at that site. Highlites of the convention for me was seeing video of the beginning of the Salina tornado April 14. Seeing the rapid scan radar image of the tornado that struck just south of Russell (May 25). Listening to Dr. Don Burgess, (the father of the NWS doppler radar) talk about the future of NWS weather radar as well as the future of tornado warnings. Having private conversations with a storm modeler from Sacremento area in Ca. about the Salina tornado. Having more conversations with Dr. Wurman about May 25, Dr. Kosiba about tornado formation thinking and Dr. Burgess about enhansed wording for tornado warnings. This convention turned out to be one of the best yet.
Liz and I checked out the area where I helped rescue the elderly lady last May 25. We found a new house almost completed with workers putting on final touches. The new house sits on foundation as the previous house did.
At the chasers convention Dr. Wurman showed this picture of the destroyed house south of Russell. He also showed radar images of the tornado as it destroyed the house just 30 meters from the rapid scan doppler on wheels. I was around a mile south of the house and didn't realize how close the tornado was until I saw the radar data.
Just before we left the chaser convention, Liz took this picture of Roger Hill and me. Roger and Tim Samarus put on the convention with this convention being one of the best. Roger is one of the best chasers in the country, chatching over 400 tornadoes in around 15 years.
Radio station award for 2012 posted in the Salina Journel.
April 7, severe thunderstorm warning, Barton--Rice--Reno counties within a severe thunderstorm watch.
The Storm Prediction Center had a slight risk outlook for this day, stating that large hail was possible. Liz and I had family duties in Topeka in the afternoon so I took my laptop along to watch. Around 3 in the afternoon a storm popped up just east of Ellsworth on radar. Soon afterwards a severe watch was issued for central and western Kansas. I watched as the storm grew stronger and passed right over our farm. I talked to Kody as well as a young couple I met at spotter training, letting them be my eyes since I was a long ways away. This storm moved into Ottawa county then became severe warned as it passed into northern Dickenson county. This storm dropped below severe limits while new storms developed around LaCrosse and Russell. Kody chased the northern storm that was moving into Lincoln county and promply killed it. The LaCrosse storm intensified and was severe warned with golf ball+ hail. Liz and I made it home at around sunset. My old chase pard came out and we headed south as the south storm was at Lyons and still hailing mightelly. We got in front of the storm north of Huchinson, set up and was deluged with dime sized hail that covered the road. I sent an info feed to Eric at the NWS in Wichita and as the storm weakened, we went back home. The unusual thing about this storm was it's LP apperance with no cloud to ground lightning while we were on it.
April 9.Severe thunderstorm warnings within a severe thunderstorm watch, all hail and ice.
SPC. had a slight risk outlook for central/eastern Kansas this day. This day was MOST UNUSUAL as a powerful cold front blew through around mid morning. This usually means severe weather potential was over, but not this day. Around 3 pm. I saw on radar, a heavy storm in the McPherson area moving northeast. At the same time SPC issued a mesoscale discussion that elevated severe storms would break out in central Kansas. I left home intending to get in front of the Mac. storm at Abilene by scooting down I-70. I was west of Salina when a severe warning was issued for northern Dickenson Co. stateing large hail. The storm crossed '70 just ahead of me at Abilene. One mile east of the main Abilene exit I ran into lots of hail along the sholder of the highway. I then passed an accident where I saw a car in the south ditch. I pulled over and backed up, got out and checked the car then walked back to a semi where people were standing. Apparently the car slowed down and or attempted to pull off to the shoulder when the semi hit him from the rear knocking him into the ditch. The driver of the car was shaken as well as cold and wet. I had him get in my pickup and put my fire coat on him and waited for the emergency folks to arrive as the semi driver had already called 911. EM folks arrived and I gave them my information then they checked the elderly driver in the ambulance. The Em Lt. released me so I drove to the next exit and took pictures of the hail that was larger than quarters. I gave info feeds to KSAL, KSN and the NWS Wichita. On the way home, I met up with Kody who was out cchecking the storms also. The temp during this time was in the high 30s. I was finishing evening chores when the weather radio toned for a severe warning for Barton/Rice counties. These storms were moving right for my home area, maybe just a little east. I drove to Brookville road and set up. The line of storms moved in and wicked cloud to ground lightning hit all around me with increasing rain. The temp was 31 degrees. Soon pea to dime hail poured down and the warning was moved to western Saline/eastern Ellsworth counties. I gave info feeds to KSAL as well as rhe NWS Wichita. I followed the storm line to Salina where the warnings were dropped. I went home and found that the hail covered roads had not melted around State and Brookville Rd. When I got home I found that our trees were covered with ice and branches were starting to break----an ice storm ongoing. It is just totaly wierd that there was severe storms with below freezing temps.
Picture of the car that was rear-ended. I would think this accident was weather related.
This picture was one of the many hailstones that was larger than quarters.
Picture of the ice accumulation on the fence wire.
We had some minor breaking of ice covered branches here at home from the ice storm.
May 8, severe thunderstorm warnings in a severe thunderstorm watch.
SPC had a slight risk outlook for central/southwest Kansas this day. Storms developed in southwest Kansas around 4 pm. I bought a new laptop 3 days ago to replace my damaged old one and Liz et all worked to get it ready to storm chase. Kody called from the Greensburg area where he was setting up to chase the southwest Kansas storms as they moved east. A severe thunderstorm watch was issued from Salina back southwest to the Colorado line. I loaded up the truck and headed to Salina as I had a short commitment at church at 6:30. During this time I talked to Kody who was on a nasty severe warned storm in the Coldwater area. It turned into a LP storm with high level vorticies---a great catch for him. At around 6:30 at church, the radar showed scattered storms developing all over western and central Kansas with some strong ones located in the Hays/Russell area. At 7 I looked at the radar again and saw two tornado warnings for Russell/Ellis counties. I went to my truck and started up my equipment but couldn't activate my GPS with the new computer. A church friend worked out this problem for me and I was ready to go. My pastor wanted to ride with me and I took him up on it so he could help run the new computer. By this time the tornado warnings were dropped as those storms weakened around Hays/Russell. New severe warned storms were in the Hutchinson area with storm tracks pointing towards McPherson. I decided to chase these storms but when we looped the radar it showed them turning east away from Mac. The Russell storm backbuilt and reintensified so we reversed course and headed west on I-70. We got to Russell and turned south for a mile and stopped. We recieved pea to dime hail which I reported to the Wichita NWS. These storms moved east with the strongest staying south of I-70. We headed back to Salina as new storms built in the Salina area and backbuilt westsouthwestward. I dropped Pastor off at Salina and headed west as a new warning was issued for Ellsworth county, then was extended to Saline county. KSAL went live coverage which I joined talking about heavy rain and some wind while driving past Bavaria. Two miles east of Brookville I came across water rushing over highway 40. The streach of water was over 6" deep and extended for around 50 yards. I warned drivers live about this hazard while directing oncoming traffic to slow down. A couple of drivers failed to notice my frantic flashlight signals and hit the water at 50 + mph. How they kept from wrecking, I don't know but the water sure flew high! Finally, the storms weakened for the warnings to expire and I got home at midnight. This morning we discovered that our creek was out of it's banks from all the heavy rain to our south. Also the wind did some scattered tree damage in our area verifying the high wind potential from the severe storms.
May 18, severe/tornado warnings in a tornado watch.
SPC had a slight risk outlook for central Kansas, with a moderate risk for west central Kansas. At around 3 pm. storms erupted close to the Ness county area. Today was the first time all spring that the dew points were in the 60s with Salina having dews of 69! Kody T. set up in the Greensburg area while I waited at home for action to come closer to home (KSAL area). The Ness county storms moved into the WaKeeny area enlarging into huge super cells. Earlier a tornado watch was issued from Salina southwest to Dodge City and from the Ok. Ks. border into southwest Nebraska. My cousin was visiting us as I was loading the truck to chase and when the storm south of WaKeeny became tornado warned she decided to ride along. The tornado warned storm turned right towards Hays area as we raced towards it. We pulled off I-70 on the east side of Hays and set up. We saw spectacular RFD dust plumes to our west as scud swirled upwards to the cloud base. Twice, the swirling scud tightened into ragged funnels. All this happened with sireons blaring in the background in Hays. We watched the action move north, then northeast of our position. I held our position to check for hail---it came from pea to larger than quarters. We then traveled back east on '70 to get out in front of the storm and out of the rain. During this time we were also watching a storm erupt in the Kinsley/Larned area that Kody was on. Now, my chase went bad in a hurry. First, I couldn't get my GPS to work. Then my internet card quit delivering to my computer so the radar didn't update---what I saw outside wasn't matching up with radar! I didn't realize that Kody's storm was tornado warned also. He called excited stating he had a large cone on the ground west of Larned. We left the Hays/Russell storm and turned south towards Kody's storm flying down 281. Without GPS and no active radar we were blind as for positioning on the Larned storm and missed the show that Kody saw. The storms then lined out and were only severe warned as we drove through Great Bend. We drove up through the line to Ellsworth experiencing heavy rain all the way. By then Ottawa county was the only severe warning active in the arera so we went home. While unloading the truck, I discovered the warning was expanded from Abilene to Clay Center, then a tornado warning was issued for northeast of Clay center. KSAL went live coverage for this but I didn't call in as I was behind the action. Wish I hadn't lost my internet as I could have seen the Larned storm's potential and taken a direct route to it. Anyway, glad Kody held to his forecast and bagged at least 3 tornados.
Picture taken on the east side of Hays looking west. The tornado southwest of the town had lifted but had a funnel when we arrived. By the time I could jump and take a picture the funnel had lifted.
Kody's structure shot of the Rozel (west of Larned) tornado.
Close in shot.
Kody's picture taken a little bit later I think. He showed great poise in sticking to his target area even when there was tornado warning mayhem in the WaKenny/Hays area. His patience culminated catching THE storm of the day.
May 19, another day---another tornado watch. Nothing too much in central Kansas.
SPC had a slight risk outlook ffor this day with a moderate risk for eastern Kansas. They issued a tornado watch by 2 pm. for most of central and eastern Kansas. I left fire training in Brookville around 2:45 pm. to chase severe storms in the Lyons area that were moving northeast. Unlike yesterday, today the storms were more "pulsey", ramping up with purple cores on radar, only to disolve when the next update came. I pinballed between storms all over central Kansas ending up in the Abilene area watching a severe warned storm north of that town. Kody was in the Wichita area on a tornado warned storm there. I then picked up the Ernst's in Abilene who are somewhat new to the storm chaseing arena and we got on a severe warned storm that moved out of McPherson into Marion county. We "cored" this storm in the Canton area but found no severe criteria with it. After that I dropped them back in Abilene and went home.
May 27, storms in a tornado watch.
SPC had a slight risk for central and western Kansas as well as a moderate risk for north central Kansas. A tornado watch was issued for north central Kansas around 4:30 in the afternoon. Storms started forming west of Russell around 5 pm. I drove out to Russell and joined Kody and we waited for deep convection to last. We followed an intensifying storm from Russell to Hunter. Although it tried mightly to produce, no tornados occurred. We left this storm for a new storm back at Russell as it was severe warned for a half an hour. All storms in central Kansas weakened when full darkness caame so we stopped chaseing and went home.
Picture looking west. Starting to look promising.
Picture of Kody and his brother looking north as the storm got interesting again.
Picture looking north south of Hunter Kansas. RFD cut has sliced in but to no avail. Something (tornado ingrediant) was missing today as promising storms did not hose for us to see. Well maybe next time.
May 28, southern Ottawa Co. wedge tornado.
What a day! SPC had a slight risk outlook with a 5% tornado parameter this day. At around 1:30-2 pm. they issued a discussion then a tornado watch for Salina on to the northeast. I figured that there would be a storm or two in the Abilene area moving away so not much to be concerned about. I went out and started baling hay in a couple of fields near my house. While baleing, I watched succesive towers shoot up and die a few miles to my south. Finishing baleing, I pulled into the yard at home as the towers fimally broke the cap right over my house. I hurried and fueled and loaded my truck and parralled the storm as it moved northeastward. I ended up north of Minneapolis on north 135 highway when the northern part of the storm that I was on detached and weakened. I reversed course as the southern part of the storm got stronger. I set up south of the Minneapolis turn off north of the Solomon river on 135. Soon a flat wall cloud formed on the south end of the storm, then a rope funnel extended down for a moment and repeated itself again. Jeremy was closer and said these touched down briefly. I called in to KSAL and interrupted Friendly fire show with my funnel report warning Minneapolis to take cover. (I expected the storm to keep moving northeast as it had been doing) I saw a new wall cloud just to my west and this one was rotating. The wall cloud moved south down the rain free base probably because of the overall storm rotation was ramping up. A tornado warning was issued and KSAL went live coverage which I joined describing the rotating wall cloud. As I was live a funnel formed and quickly dropped to the ground. It lifted, then planted and got larger and larger achiveing wedge status. I made muliple live reports as the tornado made SLOW progress toward me on 135 highway. The tornado halted just west of the highway and persisted in the same place for it seemed 10 minutes. I was between 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile northeast of the tornado at this time. For the first time in my chase career I heard a tornado roar. It sounded like a combo of a freight train and Niagra falls. I could hear it even with the windows rolled up. Even when rain wrapped around the tornado and masked it, I knew the tornado was there by hearing the roar. I will never forget the sound. At this point the tornado was a 1/2 mile wide cylinder 3/4 of a mile west of the highway I was on. Wrapping curtains of rain kept swirling around the tornado forcing me to retreat up the highway north. I saw a semi truck closing from the north, not slowing down. I jumped out of my truck and ran into the median and flagged him to a stop and pointed to the tornado. He crossed the median and retreated back north. After a while I noticed the rain wrapped tornado was backing away from the highway. The whole storm was moving southwest! I drove south to highway 18 and turned west trying to close with the tornado. I could see nothing but rain. KSAL meterologist stated that the radar indicated the tornado had moved south of 18 so I moved foreward and drov into heavy rain. I was concerned about the town of Culver getting hit. I came upon a house that was damaged south of highway 18 and pulled in to check the extent of damage. Outbuildings were trashed and the house had roof damage. I backed out onto 18 and headed west. I went back live on KSAL talking about the damaged house when the wind switched to the northwest and surged greatly with horizonal rain. The wind roared up to estimated 80 + mph and started to push my truck sideways. I stated live that something was happening in my area and terminated the call. I turned into the wind and knew from experience that a tornado was to my southeast. Looking that way I could see dark cloud that was very low. I was scared because the prior tornado was moving west annd I figured this might do the same.I thought this is great, a tornado coming at me and I can't drive away. I considered driving into the ditch to get low as possible and ride it out there. I turned west to do this and found I could maintain traction on the highway so drove west and bailed out of the area. The storm finally cleared highway 18 so I turned back east and found additional damage just to the east of the wind surge. I then drove to Culver and saw it did not get hit. I then drove back to highway 18 to check for further damage that I knew had to have happened west of 135 where the tornado was stationaey for a while. Flash flooding made for some detouring. I discovered a half mile of hedge trees were completly uprooted along one road. I stopped and talked with Gene Moore who was likewise looking for damage paths. Later I discovered a road with a mile of power poles snapped. Along this road I found Reed Timmer's Dominator stuck in the ditch. I was able to pull him out then gave him and his crew a ride to the area where he deployed data probes into the tornado. We searched a while for his probes then I hauled the crew back to the Dominator. Jeff and K. Piotrowski was also helping Reed with his search and I transported them back to their car. By then it was dark and I went home. I belive I saw three separate damage paths with this storm. The initial touchdown (documented by Jeremy) was just north of highway 18 in the 130 rd area. It traveled northeast to highway 135 then retreated west then southwest crossing highway 18 at the 106 junction. The third path was damage by 106 junction where I was caught up in the circulation. There also might have been damage in the 18 Culver turnoff area but I'm not sure. MAY 31: THIS TORNADO WAS RATED E-F4. THE DOPPLER ON WHEELS RECORDED 247 MPH WINDS WITH AN AVERAGE SPEED OF ADVANCE OF 2 MPH. IF THAT IS ALL TRUE THEN SOME AREAS WEST OF 135 (NEW HIGHWAY 81) WOULD HAVE EXPERIENCED WINDS OF 100 MPH FOR 45 MINUTES. AT LEAST 300 CATTLE WERE KILLED.
Jeremy's picture of the cu towers breaking the cap just south of our farm house.
Picture of the first flat wall cloud. The rope tornado formed on the south side of this wall cloud.
Jeremy's picture just after tornado touchdown taken from highway 18 looking north, it's one quarter mile away.
Jason took this picture from highway 18 looking northeast.
Tornado achieving wedge status.
Tornado with wrapping rain curtains next to 135 highway (new highway 81). It remained stationary for a while and this was where I heard the roar.
Kody took this picture just west of Bennington looking due west. Tornado is around 3 miles away and slowly approaching.
Kody is now east of Bennington with the edge of town and the tornado west of him. When it became apparent that the tornado was moving mostly eastward, Bennington was the focus of everybody's concern of being in the path of the tornado.
After the tornado reversed direction back west, I took this picture of the tail cloud streaming in from the east northeast.
Uprooted hedge tree along the early path of the tornado.
June 4, Losing Tim and Paul Samarus, Carl Young.
It was with great shock when I heard of the deaths of Tim, Paul and Carl to the El Reno Ok. tornado. O my God Kathy, (Samarus) I can't begin to imagine your loss. I didn't know Carl as well as Tim and Paul although I spoke with him a couple of times at Denver. All three of these people were top notch people, period. Why does it seem that the best are taken first? I have been slow to comment on all of this due to several day's of reflection----contemplation. I have come up with this. We need to wait and get all the facts in what happened at El Reno. It has been 40 years of storm chaseing before a fatality occurred although I could see the writing on the wall after April 14 2012 here in central Kansas. Government officials and some Law Enforcement folks are already clamoring for regulation in the typical political knee jerk reaction. We need to step back, look at all the facts of what happened, evaluate and adjust. As I look at myself, I think what I see could be applicable to the storm chase community. I think I was getting complacent---maybe a little arrogant. At talks I give about storms a frequent question I get is "isn't storm chaseing dangerous?" I confidently answer "it's the driving that's dangerous, not the storm". I would be right, driving on wet rainy roads diverted attention, phones--laptops---looking at storm structure stopping and starting is dangerous. I don't attribute danger to the storm----and I should. Year after year we see video of close encounters with tornados and wind/hail----and nobody gets hurt. Well, in 2013 our luck ran out. Even with my close call on highway 18 May 28, I ignored the potential that I saw with a tail cloud to my north and not checking radar on my computer before driving into the storm---complacency that almost cost me harm. Now, it took the deaths of friends, for me to take a step back and re-evaluate how I will chase---placing more distance between me and the storm.
June 8, severe thunderstorm warning in a thunderstorm watch.
SPC had a slight risk outlook today with a cold front progged to move through Kansas during the afternoon. Around 3 pm a thunderstorm watch was issued as well as a squall line forming very rapidly out in the Hays Russell area. Soon severe warnings were issued to the west, so Liz and I headed west on I-70 ending up north of Ellsworth. We then led the storm line into Salina county but encountered no severe weather. I made a few live reports on KSAL as they were covering warnings in Lincoln, Ellsworth and northwest Saline counties. As the storms moved east they weakened and all warnings were dropped around six pm.
Liz took this picture in southern Lincoln county of the approaching shelf cloud.
Liz's picture of the tubulent bottom of the shelf cloud as we let it pass over us to see how much wind the storm had.
June 28, catching up and the big blow.
I've been busy prepareing for and working wheat harvest. So, I missed a couple of severe warned events in the area. Severe storms hit north and east of Salina last week. Kody and the Ernst's worked these storms with KSAL. Then came yesterday. SPC had a slight risk outlook for central Kansas this day. I was working in the harvest field when Kody called that SPC updated the outlook to a moderate risk for a high wind threat. Temps rose to 105 at Salina with a 70 dew point. Storms developed in the Beloit area and moved right at us, (southeast). I took a load of wheat to the Salina elevator while talking to Kody who was in the Lincoln area with Todd P. The Ernst's were in the Culver area. I raced home after dumping the load, trying to beat the storm when Kody called he had wind damage south of Lincoln. The storm and I met at my home and I ran through estimated 60 mph winds from the shed to the house. I called this to the NWS Wichita. Heavy rain started and the wind ramped up even harder estimated 75-80 mph. Trees and branches were snapping off as I watched from my house. I called KSAL to warn of this damaging potential but they had just taken a lightning hit that messed up the computer so Clark relayed my report on air. The storm moved on and we got a powerline arcing call to Brookville. Enroute Jeremy and I found large snapped cottonwood trees with the road blocked in one area. In Brookville we found minor structure damage as well as lots of branches down.
July 9, severe thunderstorm warning in a severe watch.
SPC had a sslight risk outlook for this day. 4 pm. temps were in the 103 area with dews in the mid 60s. Storms started in western Kansas along the I-70 area and moved/built eastward. A storm popped up just west of home as well as warned storms moving into Lincoln Co. I fueled the truck and checked out the edge of the nearby storm for wind, but the storm was weakening. I threw a info feed to the NWS Wichita on this storm, then headed for Lincoln as that storm was was really intense, severe warned with a large purple core on radar. I set up just south of Lincoln but saw no severe criteria. I sent another info feed to the NWS then moved back south as the storm/storms moved built southeast. The warning was finally dropped for Lincoln and that was it for the night.
July 23, severe warnings in a thunderstorm watch. Hail reigns supreme.
SPC had a slight risk outlook for this day, with a 30% hail parameter for Salina on to the southeast. Unlike previous days where there were "pulsy" type severe storms, today had a lot more bulk wind shear. I went out to bale hay at 2:30 and immediately noticed areas of accas clouds scattered across the sky. Whle baling, I watched a cu. tower roar up and then die on the northwest distant horison. Later it tried again, this time closer, but died like the first time. When I quit baling and came home a tower was roaring up to the northwest, somewhere in northwest Lincoln county. As I did things in the house I heard thunder to the north. A storm was on radar just north of Lincoln. I hurried and helped Jeremy lift some items in his truck and then fueled the pickup for a chase when Lincoln Co. was severe warned. I drove up to highway 14/I-70 and set up, letting the storm approach to see how much wind it had in it. It had little wind and pea hail. I sent an info feed to the NWS Wichita on what I saw. I tried to get ahead of the storm but road network made for tough positioning. Unlike other days, this storm kept getting stronger reaching the highest intensity on GRL-3 while it was moving east of Ellsworth. I took highway 40 east to close with the storm and started to get strong outflow up to 50 mph. I gave another info feed to Wichita NWS and their forecaster told me of reports of large hail with the storm. I then drove east into the storm to check out the hail and wind. I was talking to my chase pard on the phone when I began to get dime to quarter hail, then suddenly golf ball and maybe larger. Normally my truck is immune to damage from this hail but with 50 mph winds, I started to take splintering hits to my windshield. Within a minute, I took 4 damaging hits! I called Wichita with my hail report then called KSAL. The switchboard operator killed my call accidentially so I didn't do a live report so they talked about the large hail in my area. The storm moved to the south, away from me and I then noticed that it began to show large mid level rotation in the Kanopolis lake area! I followed the storm to south of Marquete, never catching up due to road network. Soon, reports of baseball hail came in from areas around Conway-Windom to Inman. Several chasers had windshield damage in that area. I broke off the storm and back tracked toward other severe warned storms to my north. I only found pea hail and heavy rains with these storms. The warnings expired and I went home. This is the second time I've damaged my winshield chasing storms.
Picture of a neat looking severe warned storm that followed the main storm. This storm was in eastern Ellsworth county and had only pea hail with it.
Picture of a wall cloud/pseudo wall cloud looking northwest with the third severe storm coming down the same path that the first two did. Only the first storm had significant severe weather with it. Good rains fell from these later storms.
One of 7 hail hits to my windshield.
August 13, flooding.
With all the rain we've been recieving lately, any hard falling rain over 1" results in high water. Yesterday 1-2+" fell in our area, especially in west-central Saline county. I made info calls to the NWS and Saline county EMngt. about the high water I was seeing. Eff creek really flooded and Brookville city had high water in town.
Late evening picture of Eff Creek flooding located along State St. rd.
August 15, severe storms in a severe watch.
SPC had us on the edge of a slight risk outlook this day. Out in far western portions of the state, outlook for very large and damaging hail was forecast. I checked the short range model and it showed precip over central Kansas but not much over the "active" outlook area in western Kansas. I've become increasingly fond of this model as I have found it can be accurate more times than not. This day the model was spot on. We had sold Grandmas calves in Salina and I was running errands after the sale when storms erupted from Lincoln through Clay county. A Severe thunderstorm watch was issued for central-southcentral Kansas. A severe warning was issued for Lincoln/NE Ellsworth/NW Saline counties for a storm located over Westfall. I dashed from Salina down I-70 to the Brookville exit and set up, letting the storm core roll over me. I made a few live reports on KSAL about the heavvy rain and hail that was hitting me. I also made info feeds to the NWS Wichita. I drove up and down Brookville Rd. while giving these reports. A second storm popped and followed the path of the first storm, pelting me with more rain and hail. I was conserned about flooding along Brookville road as it had flooded two days before but the storm speed kept rainfall just below flash flood amounts. The storms congealed and bowed out in south central Kansas causing wind damage as well as hail.
Jeremy is building a basement/foundation for a new house. He didn't budjet a safe room into his plans. I told him to price a safe room that I would pay for it as a christmas present for him and his family. Picture is taken of the 8x8 safe room in the basement for $2700. Great peace of mind for that money I think. I just see too many pictures of a house pealed off and trees or propane tanks deposited in the basement by tornadoes.