Sunday, June 23, 2013

Chase Log : 5/19/2013

Outlook: Moderate

Target Area: Southern Kansas/Northern Oklahoma

Chase Partners: Shane Adams, Bridget Geaughan, Wes Carter

Chasers Encountered: Andrew Revering, Randy Denzer, Verne Carlson, Chris Rozoff

Travel Time: Approximately 9 hours

Miles Traveled: 371 miles

Result: 1 tornado, several wall clouds

Personally I felt like I was on top of the world with the tornadoes we grabbed the day before, and when you're on top there's only one direction you can go....this would be the best way to describe our chase on May 19th. We spent the night in Great Bend after our 5/18 chase; we left shortly after 10:30 AM and headed south on I-35 towards Wichita where we stopped for lunch. At the time our thinking was south and east of Wichita somewhere around the KS/OK line as a starting point (Shane even at one point thought about heading towards Missouri to start out); the updated SPC outlooks still had Eastern Kansas as the primary target for severe weather.

We left Wichita around 1:30 and continued southward; shortly after passing a toll booth on the Kansas Turnpike we noticed towers firing up to our west (this setup like the day before was an MCS type system where if you see a storm fire you need to jump on it and hope it doesn't turn linear quickly, but unlike 5/18 the storm motions were a little faster which made this day complicating and somewhat frustrating). We proceeded west for about 18 miles before heading north on highway 49 towards Conway Springs. At that point the storm became severe warned; we stopped north of town to film the storm as it quickly intensified to a supercell. 

I noticed two areas of rotation at the base of this storm after grabbing a shot of this wall cloud. We couldn't picked a better spot to view this storm but because of the 40-45 mph movement we couldn't stick around very long (we also noticed a precipitation core to the southwest which gave us a clue that more storms were firing behind this one).

We watched the storm for a few more minutes before we headed north to stay with it; about 2-3 miles in Shane spotted a weak tornado that touched down to our northwest near the town of Viola. It only lasted about a minute but it was enough time for me to get video of it before it dissipated (My video of the tornado can be found at this link

It was a great start to the day but unfortunately the lone highlight of the day in regards to seeing a tornado. This storm would produce two more tornadoes at it moved northeast towards the Wichita Metropolitan Area but we had to give up on it because more storms were rapidly firing to our south and we didn't want to get in a situation where we would be stuck on the northern fringe of the southern cells (especially with a large tornado threatening Wichita).

At that point the remainder of our chase in Kansas consisted of trying to get in position to view an HP storm that came up from Oklahoma. The photo below is one of the HP storms we saw near Arkansas City.

We then proceeded south into Oklahoma to make a play on storms that were a little more on the isolated side. We stopped near the town of Newkirk as we saw one storm grow into a supercell. This storm showed promised; it had a nice wall cloud to it and we even saw some of the same motion we saw on the Rozel storm the day before as it was about to produce, but outflow from the storms further north hit it and it slowly died out.(Another 5-10 minutes it very well could have produced a tornado.)

Our last shot of the day was with this storm near Tonkawa that quickly went linear.

After that we called it a day and headed south towards Guthrie where we spent the night. I really can't complain too much about this day; it was the first time I saw tornadoes on consecutive days. It was very frustrating though to have to give up on the storm that gave us our lone tornado as it went on to produced two more defined tornadoes including a large tornado that threatened Wichita. It was also frustrating that the storms in our target area quickly became linear as it moved east of I-35 while the storm of the day was in Central Oklahoma around Shawnee (an area I really didn't pay that much attention to). Still though I did accomplish a first in those two days of chasing and so far I'm a perfect 3 for 3 on chases in the state of Kansas; a state known to have given many chasers headaches.