Took a little break from posting. I didn’t have much time for it on my chase marathon last week and since then I’ve been spending my extra time going through video. Sorry if you’ve been checking for updates. There hasn’t been much to talk about weather-wise though. A ridge over the western half of the US has kept things quiet in the plains and will continue to do so through this coming work week. The models have been hinting at the ridge breaking down over the northern plains around next weekend though, so it’s about time to start looking ahead to the back half of tornado season. I’ll get into the extended forecast starting tomorrow. Tonight I’m just going to talk a little bit about the chase marathon I had the last week of May.
Well the longest streak of consecutive chase days I’ve ever had came to an end last Saturday. 7 days straight of chasing, 3,076 miles, 67 hours 20 minutes in the car and 13 tornadoes. My previous record was 5 straight days of chasing, which happened the last week of May 2013. I saw a lot of interesting things along the way. The most meaningful of which was I got to watch multiple tornadic supercells develop from small cumulus towers into violent supercells producing tornadoes and baseball hail. A lot of times I’ll target ahead of the initiating boundary so you don’t always get to see the storms being born from little cumulus clouds. It’s always a cool experience when you do get to witness it. Below are pictures of the cyclic tornadic supercell that tracked from Minneola, KS to north of Dodge City. The first picture is when it was just a small updraft starting to put off an anvil and then one of several strong tornadoes it later produced.
I also got to watch two other tornadic supercells develop (Woodward, OK and Leoti, KS) from little towers/updrafts into tornadic storms. I’ll get youtube videos posted for both of those days soon.
I saw some incredible storm structure, especially on the Leoti, KS supercell which is pictured below.
It’s always bittersweet ending a long string of chases. Chasing is not a relaxing ordeal. It is long hours, lots of pressure/stress and at times full of adrenaline and excitement. It can wear on you quickly when your covering long distances and spending all day in the car. You have to get some down time to recover and clean up the mess you’ve made lol. My car is a disaster. I had mud sprayed on the interior on two occasions this week. Once from another car driving by and another time by a storm blowing this misty mud in my window. I got my car cleaned last weekend, but I still have some work to do. I have a ton of storm and tornado video to process. It can be a pain in the ass, especially when you have multiple cameras to go through. I’ve been working on that all week. I’m hoping to get my Dodge City tornado video up soon and then I’ll start working on my Woodward and Leoti videos.
I saw a lot of interesting stuff over the last week beyond just the storms. One thing I’ve always appreciated about chasing is that you get to see all these beautiful places in the middle of nowhere that you would never otherwise come across. It’s nothing major, just small towns, picturesque farm houses, beautiful country, etc. I won’t ramble about that stuff since it’s the kind of thing where you have to be there to understand, but wanted to mention it. I need to start taking pictures of those things. I’m always so focused on forecasting and chasing that I overlook it. The other more exciting stuff I got to see was a motor home that had the whole back end ripped off on I70, a car stuck on a flooded roadway, damage from tornadoes around Dodge City and several beautiful sunsets (one below is from Leoti, KS.
Some slightly weirder experiences from the trip…. I hit an armadillo with my car. Felt pretty bad about that, but there was no dodging him lol. Little guy walked right into it. I ate an Allsups burrito while I was in the Texas panhandle. After hearing so many chasers talk about them for years I had to try one. It was more of a fried tortilla with an orange paste in it than a burrito. That thing was so nasty. I ate it the night of the Woodward storm and I had planned on mentioning the Allsups burrito in my report post from that night, but never got around to posting it. I was going to say that the feeling I got after that burrito made me know something was going to happen. I wasn’t sure if I was going to see a tornado or shit my pants, but I knew something was about to happen lol. Luckily I saw tornadoes rather shitting my pants.
I saw a lot of familiar faces in the field and met some new people. I was talking to some chasers by Woodward while we watched a storm there and then ran into them the next night north of Englewood, KS while I was parked at the intersection of two highways waiting for storms to fire. I’ve always thought it was a little weird how you run into the same people in the middle of nowhere one day and then days later and hundreds of miles away you see the same faces and cars out in the middle of nowhere. I ran into Brendon Lindsey out by Leoti. I hadn’t seen Brendon since we hung out together before the infamous El Reno tornado. It was fun catching up with him and we ended up chasing together that night on the Leoti supercell. I met up with Brendon again a couple days later in Oklahoma. Ole Ryan Shirk got out chasing again and was with me on the Dodge City storm. It was fun to finally score on a prolific tornado producing storm with Ryan. He’d missed a lot of the better tornado days lately so that was a good change of luck.
Alright, enough rambling for one night. I had a lot of fun chasing last week and I’m sure the memories will stay with me for a long time. I will get chase accounts and video posted for last week’s tornadoes soon. Check back tomorrow for an extended forecast. I’ll start looking at what days could bring tornadoes through the first half of June.