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.



We 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 cloud. 




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 progress. 



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.

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