May 09, 2016
After a very hyped
day yesterday and a disappointing chase, we were left
with a 2% risk of tornadic cells in the chase area we
were confined for the day. We needed to chase
within in a 3 hour window of KC due to Brian's and
Ryan's work schedule and saving enough time for the
night ride back to St. Louis for Ryan's 6:00am work
shift Tuesday morning. That eliminated the best
area in Oklahoma, so our secondary target was to play
the Northeast Kansas corridor.
We had lunch in Junction City, KS. As the
afternoon progressed, the warm front which we originally
thought would set up in Northeast Kansas as one of our
main focus points, shot way up to the north into
Nebraska. We opted to do a bit of snake hunting
north of Junction City as we waited to see where the
storms would end up firing.
We eventually made the decision to work our way
westward to the dryline and to the potential storms that
had fired to the far southwest as they had become
severe. The hope was that storms would fire
further north on the line. We were pretty much in
"no storm" land as the main event in Oklahoma was
started and we were hearing of the warm front in
Nebraska now producing tornadoes.
played a bit of a waiting game as we watched on radar
the storms coming at us from the southwest. As
the time went on, the storms became less and less
impressive and began to line out losing all of its
severe characteristics. Wasn't long as
between the three of us, decided to call the day a loss
and head toward home and salvage a few of the extra
hours for drive time and sleep time before work.
Ryan continues to occasionally look at
the radar and as we drive east on I-70.
As we approach Junction City, KS again, Ryan tells us
there is a storm by itself to the north of us and it was
gaining strength. It was only moving 15mph and was
easily within range of us catching it. After a
brief discussion, we all decided to head north and
intercept this storm. Ironically, we passed the
same spot again where we had spent an hour or so snake
hunting several hours earlier. With the
storm now in clear sight, we could see a rotating wall
Unfortunately, the road
structure was not our best friend as there were few
paved roads. We continued to get closer, but we
needed to find a road north, but everything was either
gravel or mud. It was a complete guess whether
they would go all the way through to another paved road
or not. Our first road north went from gravel to
mud and put an immediate stop to our northward
After backtracking, taking a
gravel road west, we found another gravel road
north. As we reached the top of a hill, Ryan
yells out "tornado". Out in dark area to the
northwest occluded from the area with the primary
circulation was indeed a large cone dipping down.
Contrast was very poor in that area, but all cameras and
camcorders zeroed in on the area.
After the tornado lifted, we once again worked our
way northward, westward, then eastward to keep up with
the storm. We crossed the hail path and drove
through the area that received enough rain to issue
flash flood warnings.
As we reached the paved road
again, we knew the storm was now just a rain and hail
maker and the tornado potential dropped to about
zero. We worked our way back to I-70 for the ride
back to KC to drop Brian off and then the night time
drive back to St. Louis for work in the morning.