After 10 days of total Blue Skies the last thrird of May was shaping up to be an amazing period of weather more especially for Kansas. After chasing for the first time on the 21st since the 13th May in a Slight Risk in Colorado we awoke to this High Risk in Burlington (Colorado). Most of Western and Central Kansas was in the High Risk and our chase target was around the Dodge City area.
The first of these chase days was to be very eventful to say the least, after watching a Classic Supercell just North of Garden City we gave chase, somewhere North of there we drove straight under the Mesocyclone and turned North on a Gravel Road, rotation was become very violent and a brief Cone Tornado Dropped just to our North, we gave chase and about 3 miles further North we passed a Farm with an E-W Dirt road option, the road looked in a similar state to ours and knowing we had tarmac about 4 miles further North we took the North Option.........Doh!
As soon as the Multi Vortex Tornado just to our North turned into a Wedge all of our convoy sunk in about 1 foot of mud and hit the ditch, chase over unless a miracle could happen. Dave took off his shoes and walked the 1/2 mile back to the Farm whilst the rest of us tried to get the 4 WHEEL Drive cars back on the dirt road, everytime we thought we have mastered this back we went sliding into the ditch. Then in the distance a Tractor appeared with a Farmer and Dave churning through the Mud. A lifeline was given and with ease the Green John Deere tractor pulled us back onto the gravel. We had a whipround for the farmer who admittedly did not want anything for his troubles but in the end had made $20 per person x6 and the promise of a Xmas Card from Dave!
We made it back to the I-70 & Were thinking about tomorrow's High Risk when a Huge Supercell initiated to our South near Wakeeney, shall we have a bit more fun before Nightfall, the vote was yes! But this Storm turned out to be a monster and it's Forward Flank was already battering us with Golf Ball Sized Hail before we fled East, As we did the Storm went Tornado Warned and a rain wrapped Wedge was being reported to our South. The RFD Winds we tried to outrun on I-70 Were incredible at a guess about 80-100mph with zero visibility, the only way to follow the road was on the Streets and Trips on the Computer as I could not even see off the Bonnet of the car!
We finally got east of the Storm and set up for some Lightning Pictures before the retreat to Hays in readiness for the 23rd May High Risk. An eventful day with dangerous HP Supercells meant only brief glimpses at Tornadoes were to be photographed but we saw 2 in the end!
The 23rd May started early at about 5am with a Tornado Warned Supercell heading directly at Hays (Kansas) This from forecasted elevated Hail Producing Convection! Not nice being awoken by the sirens and evacuated into the Hallways of the Hotel, some of those Cg's hitting outside in the Parking Lot were louder and scarier than I had ever encountered, I was convinced our 1 Storie Building was going to take a direct Hit.
After getting back to sleep this Chase day would become one of my Best for Tornado numbers in a Day with us documenting 5 Seperate Tornadoes across Central Kansas in an Outbreak of between 55-65 Tornadoes that Day. We got onto our first Storm around 3pm near Dighton and had to punch through the East side of the Storm taking Golf Ball Hailstones, once clear of that a Wedge Tornado showed itself just to our West, these storms were very grungy today, we watched for a while and out to it's South a Satelite Cone Tornado appeared before getting cut off by wet cold RFD. We reloacted further North and just to our North witnessed Tornado number 3 near Shields, this was a huge Elephant Trunk Tornado, 3 Tornadoes in the bag before 5pm not bad and with 3 hours of light left and numerous Supercells Initiating could we hit the Jackpot further.
We went further East towards Ness City and positioned NE Of a very dangerous HP Supercell, our Radars were showing a TVS In there somewhere but it was very rain wrapped and we could not visually see Tornado number 4, we let that storm pass to our North West but as it was disappearing out of sight we did just catch a Glimpse of the Tornado North of Ness City. The next storm in the line was now nearly upon us and with light fading we tracked this Storm Northwards to near the I-70 Corridoor. At about 832pm we noticed Power Flashes to our North West near to Ellis and Got on Video a Power Flash Lit Tornado in the night sky, unbeknown to us at the time was that this Tornado was also the Satelite to a Powerfull Wedge Tornado that was crossing I-70 At the Time.
Pictures of these 2 Days are below in those Days Threads
http://plainschaser.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/22nd-may-2008-kansas.html - 22nd May 2008
http://plainschaser.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/23rd-may-2008-kansas.html - 23rd May 2008