Thursday, May 27, 2010

Chase Summary of May 23rd, Western Kansas

Well Decided to go out for a nice storm chase on Sunday the 23rd. All the ingreadients were coming together over western Kansas. My target was Goodland, KS for a late initiation between 6:00 pm and 7:00 pm. We arrived in Goodland around 4:00 pm as some storms had already fired along the dryline further south. We decided to go to Oakley and head south towards Scott City to intercept and watch the lonestorm that had developed. On our way down, we ran in to some hail and rain but for the most part stayed out of the hail core. We let the storm move up to the north and chose not to follow it as the storm became somewhat disorganized. Krista and I met up with Shep and Becca north of Scott City where we decided what the next move would be.

By now, the dryline was beginning to fire further north as a warm front moved through the area. A nice looking storm fired up near Leoti, Kansas. This storm showed some potential on radar and I was very tempted to head after it, but after looking at current conditions and model output for the next couple of hours we decided to head north as conditions would become much more favorable for tornadoes and the Leoti storm would be moving in that direction. We got back to Oakley as several thunderstorms fired up around us. Decided to head west and get in position for the now tornado warned Leoti cell. For a while this storm looked like it would be the storm to play as with every minute this storm was moving in to more favorable conditions. Unfortunatly the storm died out relativly quick as other storms to the north and west fired. Here we would begin to see a nice big lowering from another storm north of Winona, KS. We saw a funnel cloud nearly drop to the ground several times before it disappated. Other storm chasers in the area who had a better vantage point on the storm reported that the funnel cloud actually touched the ground, so chalk that one up for 1 tornado.

After that storm we headed north and west as several storms were beginning to converge over the Goodland, KS area. At this point the sun is beginning to set but we can see two seperate areas of lowering. We would pull off I-80 and do a little dirt road chasing. We would watch the storm for a while and watch as its inflow became sustained at about 30-40 mph. Eventaully, A tornado would become visible thanks to the light from the storms lightning. We observed this tornado for about 5 minutes before it lifted. We continued to watch the storm and enjoy its structure and light show. Another funnel became visible and hit the ground and was on the ground for maybe a minute, if that. So chalk up 2 more tornadoes.

We then followed the storm into Nebraska where Krista and I separted from Shep and Becca so we can make the journey home, very satisfied from our chase. The next day Ryan told me that he enhanced some of the pictures from that Goodland, KS storm and discovered that what we thought was a rainshaft on the right side of the tornado turned out to be a possible wedge tornado with the tornado we saw originally being a satellite tornado. So deepending an more analysis, we may have scored big with seeing 4 tornadoes on this chase.

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