I knew there was a risk of severe storms today, but with the greatest potential out in Kansas, I didn't give it a lot of thought about making a trip. Around 11:00, my son Ryan calls me just to make sure I didn't have any thoughts about going on a chase as he had to make a decision about this daily work schedule. At about the same time, Brian Stertz is texting me about how the outlook was looking extremely good in his own back yard near Kansas City later in the day. So, as fate would have it, I was gently convinced by the two of them to make the trip. By 11:30, I was on the road to pick up Ryan and his girlfriend Jennifer Crutchfield who decided she wanted to go. We made good time with our only stop at the gas station in Oak Grove, Missouri for a fill up. Our goal was to pick up Brian right after his work shift at about 4:30 and move to the target.
We got to Brian's place around 4:00. Brian had gotten off a bit early, so we immediately got on the road. Our initial target was to the southwest of Kansas City to a town called Edgerton, Kansas. There was a lot of conversation, especially between Brian and Jeff Piotrowski as they tried to figure the whole setup out. We met up with Jeff in the town of Edgerton and had some more conversation. As we watched the radar, several circulations became present on the line. As the tornado warnings began coming out from within the line, we altered our position to a spot further west, then north. Seemed like no sooner did we readjust, there would be a new circulation that looked a whole lot stronger and we would readjust our position again. After several repositions, a cell out in front of the line started to look very impressive and garnered our attention. We repositioned again and then waited for the cell to approach our location. As we watched it, there was a solid, rotating wall cloud and there were many fingers that would continue to dip down. Even at one point both Brian and Ryan thought for sure it could have touched down.
For the second straight chase, our light vanished into darkness of night before the storms could really get going. That leaves photo opportunities at a minimum and quality pictures hard to come by. In these situations, only the mounted dash camcorder in the car and a handheld camcorder are what we use. Both of these camcorders are often blurry in low light conditions. When the situation warrants, we also use a tripoded camera for better quality night photos, but this seldom gets used because we are constantly on the move like we were on this chase with the 60mph storm speeds or the weather conditions are too bad that we don't want to risk getting the camera wet. For this chase, all we have are video stills from the camcorders and they are just of lower quality.
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Click on the link below to see video of some of these storms.