April 09, 2017  

Ryan and I decided to take a trip out west with both a snake hunt the first day, then a storm chase the second day.

Our trip started with a non-chase day on Saturday, April 08 with a trip to Northwest Missouri for a wildlife photography day which would include birds, turtles, frogs, muskrats, among other living things along with our main focus of photographing snakes.  On the way, we stopped at a very productive snake site along I-70 outside of Kansas City and photographed over 50 snakes at that location.  Then we proceeded on to Northwest Missouri.  We found many snakes were out and about and some were on the move crossing the road.  As luck would have it, there was a recent prescribed burn in a snake den area and only small green growth covered the landscape. We found that as we walked along, there was a mass of snakes that were out in that area.  Without the cover because of the burn, they were very easy to spot on the ground.  Every few steps in this area, we'd stop to count the snakes basking in the sun in front of us.  Yes, they were that abundant.  At the days conclusion, the snakes seen for the day totaled 214.


As night approached, we made our way back to Overland Park, Kansas to meet up with Brian Stertz for the added storm chase planned for Sunday.  

Going into Sunday's chase, we already knew this trip would not be a huge event and seeing tornadoes was probably more of a dream than a reality, but since we were already out that way, we took a chance on a day of chasing.  It was forecast to be a late day initiation of storms as well.

In the morning, our target city was El Dorado, Kansas.  We left around 11:00am.  We stopped for lunch at the Ottawa, Kansas Pizza Hut.   Our target shifted westward as the dryline remained further out to the west than expected.  We stopped again at the city of Wellington, Kansas and talked with Jeff Piotrowski and his wife Katheryn who pulled up with us.  We watched several storms to the southwest begin to bubble from there. 

There was slow, but a gradual increase in the storm intensity.  Data was telling us all of the parameters for a big tornadic supercell were there, but there was one thing in the way.  The strong, overbearing cap which kept a lid on any storm that tried to erupt.  The storms congealed into one storm and the storm moved northeast closer to us, only to have the storm begin to evaporate as it got over us.

We moved north and east to stay in front of the weakening storm, but as we moved, the storm all but dissipated.  There were several additional attempts of that storm trying to revive itself as it moved northeastward, but the cap just dominated and all of the attempts failed.

16+ Hours  -  978 Miles

Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.

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