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5/29/04 Report Continued...
Loaded Gun Chasing
website of storm chaser Mikey Gribble
I jumped on the highway and began heading back to the North
to get under a new mesocyclone that was occluding. As I got
through the town of Argonia a quarter mile wedge tornado came
into view which is pictured on the right. I got as close as I safely
could to the tornado and turned my car perpendicular to the
road to face it into the wind. When you get really close to a
tornado you do this because your car is a lot less likely to roll if
you are facing into the wind and your front windshield is a lot
stronger than the side and rear windows. The next picture is of
my view as the tornado crossed the road in front of me. It had
become partially rain wrapped so the visibility is not good and all
you can see is the left edge of the tornado. I don't know exactly
how far away the tornado was at this point, but I think it was a
quarter mile. I had actually gotten a little closer and parked, but
as the tornado approached the road I started getting nervous
and backed my car up a ways. In hindsight, I'm glad I did
because this was about as close as I want to get to a tornado of
this size.
The wedge tornado tracked straight North down the highway and became rain wrapped. I followed it
down the highway and as I approached the damage path I had to start going around downed power
lines. Below are a few pictures from when I was following the tornado down the highway. The white
minivan in front of me was Tim Sameras, who for those that don't know is the guy that deploys those
orange probes in front of tornadoes. He has done quite a few National Geographic specials and is fairly
well known name in storm chasing. This tornado was a cool experience because it was just Tim's
minivan, some other car that was following him, and me that were following this wedge down the
highway. The tornado was rain wrapped too so I doubt many other chasers even realized it was still on
the ground. It is pretty rare to get privacy like that on a good tornado anymore. If you closely at the
picture on the left you can see the power lines waiving in front of my car. You had to get down in the
ditch to be able to squeeze under them, which was a little nerve racking.  I don't know what it would
have done if it would have touched my car (if anything), but I didn't want to find out.
After this tornado finally roped out, I came across some debris scattered up against a
fence. The pictures are below. If you look closely at the picture on the right you can
see some sheet metal twisted around a wooden post.
click on the picture to enlarge
After this tornado I started heading back to the East to try to catch back up to the new
mesocyclone, but light was fading fast and I was several miles behind the storm by this point, but I
could see a cone tornado that had formed under the new mesocyclone and even though I was pretty
far away, it looked like a fairly strong tornado. I came across a barn and another house that had
some damage (obviously not a direct hit). The barn and the final tornado of the day are pictured
lake, but I don't regret it for a second. My friends were well aware of how passionate I am about storm
lake, but I don't regret it for a second. My friends were well aware of how passionate I am about storm
chasing, so I'm sure they weren't too mad about the deal. They had a fun time on the lake without me
that day. I did manage to bag a speeding ticket on the way back to the cabin, which sucked, but the
trip was still worth it. In all I got five tornadoes that day and some great video to go along with it. As
soon as I grow a brain and figure out how to post video I will add some to the report.soon as I grow a
brain and figure out how to post video I will add some to the report.