Sunday, May 11, 2008

4/24/08 Storm Chase in Kansas

Short attention span? Scroll down for pictures. They clickity-pop larger in new windows, too.

I chased on April 24th with Darren Addy in Kansas. We started out in Kearney, dropped down to Arapahoe, then down to Norton. Caught the initiation atop Goodland and slid over a county to Atwood to try to get in place for it to come over top of us. It didn't look too impressive from Atwood -- but then the thing split and took a right turn; we backtracked to Oberlin and then south to the Seldon intersection to try to get underneath it. About that time it started to go crazy-go-nuts, and took on the appearence of a bit of a mothership -- we couldn't see much of it, because we were right under it. It put down a few very organized wall clouds before we had to jet east and then south to Hoxie to avoid getting run over by the thing. Lots and lots of outflow on it; continued looking like a mothership. We stopped a few times, snapped a few more photos, and followed it east. We stopped briefly somewhere west of Hill City to snap a few shows of the DOW armada; the key to the DOW armada, though, is to leave BEFORE they do, otherwise you get stuck behind their redonkulous convoy, as we did. Not cool when the softballs are on their way and you need to drive fast. We got to Hill City, went atop a hill south of the town, and snapped a few photos of the city while we wondered if they were going to take a hit. Luckily, they didn't. After that we called it a night and drove home. That supercell was still tearing across Kansas and actually put down a cone tornado four hours later -- one HECK of a long lived storm. I'm glad we broke the chase off, though; it would have been a bit of a dangerous storm to keep after at night. Well, that and it kept putting down baseball hail -- I could do without having to get a new windshield this year!

Headed towards Atwood. This is a photo of a large rain foot, which generally indicates some pretty strong winds near the downdraft.

Looking west as we drive south to Seldon. This is a wall cloud in the distance. The storm kept putting these down; they'd cycle away and then cycle back. Rather interesting how fast a storm can go from looking like nothing to putting down something like this.

This is looking back North near Seldon. A chaser is parked at right.

The wall cloud kept cycling. I'm pretty sure the dust below it is from RFD and is not a tornadic circulation.

Lookding west into the circulation. The sun is setting.

Looking back north again. There isn't anything particularly interesting about this storm feature (though there was plenty of rotation evident up there!) -- I was more going for interesting photo compositions. :)

This is where we bumped into the DOW squad, complete with their Discovery Channel overlords. No TIV in sight -- dunno if Sean is chasing with them this year or not. It was interesting to see the film crew doing an Anselesque shot from high atop a platform built on the roof of a van -- looked like a scary-as-hell thing to be doing in an electrical storm. :) This is the only picture I got of the DOW, as the core started catching up with us as we sat there.

Looking north as we wait to see if Hill City will be destroyed. Not this time, mother nature!

All in all, a very rewarding chase. Still zero tornadoes seen for this year, but it's early in the season. If only we could get this weather pattern to move some storms up north a bit -- Texas and Arkansas are outta my range.

BTW, on the way home, we stopped for gas in rural Kansas, and found some heavy debris blown into the gas station parking lot:


wxman said...

Wow Ryan..those pics are always your photos are very attractive and beautiful..It's always a great feeling to see such photos of severe weather..There's that beauty along with it's it..:)

Muse said...

LOL! love the 'never forget' pic