June 08, 2019: Tornadoes in Northwest Kansas

Convective Outlook for June 8, 2019

June 8th allowed us to continue our tornado streak for each tour of the 2019 season. Today’s landspouts were not the same type of tornadoes the other tours saw, but they were more photogenic.

After a chase day in eastern Colorado, we started today’s chase in Burlington. A potent shortwave trough would shift east from the Rockies into the Central Plains. There was southwesterly mid-level flow of about 40-knots that overspread much of the plains into the Dakotas. The dewpoint temps ranged in the mid-60s ahead of a surface boundary where temps were warming into the upper 80s. As a result, a corridor of decent instability ahead of the cold front developed by midafternoon.

After departing the hotel, we took a short trip into Colby, KS. While at the gas pump, the first tornado warning was issued. The storm developed from our origination point near Burlington. After topping off the tank, we drove back towards Burlington while observing that no tornado was present.

We pulled off the interstate at Goodland, KS to monitor the storm as it passed by. Soon afterward, a new area of interest developed just to our west, still over Colorado and within view. After watching for about an hour, a funnel descended from a flat base just to the north of Goodland. Soon afterward, we could see a small debris swirl on the ground associated with the funnel. This was a landspout tornado and the first of four for the day.

For a brief time, about five minutes, two tornadoes were present. Eventually, the second landspout tornado became more dominant as the first tornado roped out. We followed the storm south and east and witnessed two more tornadoes about 10 miles to the south of Brewster. Aside from the tornadoes, we also saw golf ball-sized hail. And there was a spectacular mammatus field that was amplified by a setting sun.

A day with non-destructive and photogenic tornadoes in open fields was a great way to end our 2019 season!

Video while looking for a *radar indicated* tornado, which would have been the 5th tornado of the day.

June 19, 2018: Tornado near Keenesburg, Colorado

June 19 2018 Convective OutlookTour 4 was treated to a great tornado on the last day of the tour an hour north of the Denver metro area near the rural town of Keenseburg.

This was the second-day supercells starting near Boulder took the same path. The evening before this event, we were in Keenseburg experiencing large hail and torrential rain.

In fact, due to the heavy rains on the previous day that soaked the rural dirt roads, we opted to stay a bit further south so that we could not only keep a better eye on two tornadic supercells (one to our North near Keenesburg, and one to our south moving towards Simla), but also keep the vehicles wheels on solid roads.

The Keenesburg Tornado was the first of the day. After it roped out, we quickly moved south and then continued east allowing the storms to chase us all the way to Limon, where we intercepted another tornado.

However, due to it being occluded in heavy rain and our light was quickly diminishing, it was as nearly as photogenic as the earlier tornado, even though we were much closer to it.

May 29, 2018: Southwest Kansas Tornadoes

May 28 2018 Convective OutlookWe started this day on Tour 3 in Colby, Kansas up near the Colorado/Nebraska border and headed south with an expected forecast of tornadic storms near the Dodge City, Kansas area.

Our timing was pretty spot on, we stopped in a small town just north of Dodge City to fuel the vehicles up and supercells were already building in the area, there were two of them.

Just as we got back on the highway, the one closest to us began a phase of rapid intensification and produced our first tornado of the day.

Just on the northern limits of Dodge City, we pulled over as Brian thought he saw a contrasting edge hidden in a wet core under the base of the northernmost supercell. Sure enough, with a bit of straining – the elusive Southwest Kansas tornado began to show itself!

It wasn’t the easiest tornado to see and the cameras had a difficult time with it, but it is visible in the photo posted here (the contrast had to be blown out of the photo to bring the tornado out in the photo – this tornado was wrapped in heavy rain, not always visible, but in this case it was).

After the stovepipe tornado roped out, we quickly made our way through Dodge City as the storm was approaching from the west. We had to go all the way through the city to catch our next highway which would take us east and allow us to stay ahead of the storm.

After we were 10 or so miles ahead of the storm, near a small unincorporated town named Kingsdown, we stopped and set up the cameras. We now had the more southern supercell heading straight towards us and it was looking better than ever!

We decided to let the storm pass just to our north and as it did, it produced an incredibly low hanging wall cloud that was quickly rotating. The entire base of the storm seemed to be dragging the ground, literally about a one-mile-wide area of rotation right in front of us.

It’s difficult in these situations to see any specific spin-ups on the ground, but the entire rotating base had basically become a giant multi-vortex wedge tornado! The tornado report from 2235 confirmed the tornado: https://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/reports/180529_rpts.html

May 18, 2017: Tornado near Chester, Oklahoma

May 18 2017 Convective OutlookThe day had incredible potential. Good shear, moisture and instability were all in place on a day that the Storm Prediction Center issued a High Risk for parts of Oklahoma and Kansas.

We started out from Oklahoma City and took our time getting to northwest Oklahoma. Our target area was generally between Seiling and Woodward, Oklahoma. But, we opted to stay east of the target area where we could monitor the day while having good road options.

As we were en route, we watched as the towering thunderstorms were growing along the dryline to our west. Canton, Oklahoma was our waiting area while we monitored visual satellite imagery.

Within an hour of arriving in Canton, the first Severe Thunderstorm Warning was issued. We had a pretty decent view of the storm and it looked ripe! We proceeded along Highway 51 towards Seiling, Oklahoma.

As we got closer to the storm, we had a better view of the storm’s base, we could see a definitive lower on the storm. Soon, a funnel emerged from the rotating wall cloud and we had our first tornado of the day. That storm created two tornadoes.

Neither of these tornadoes impacted structures or they would have likely produced major damage. The first tornado roped out as it approached Highway 281 about 8 miles north of Chester at 3:36 pm CDT.

A second tornado quickly developed and that one was on the ground for 20 minutes before lifting just southwest of Waynoka. Both tornadoes exhibited behavior that you would expect with strong (EF2+) tornadoes.

Fun and exciting chase day in Western Oklahoma that ended with a large tornado and an amazing sunset that illuminated the supercell near Chester in Woodward County. Not every High Risk day ends up deserving of such an accolade, today certainly did!

May 16, 2017: McLean, Texas Tornado

May 16 2017 Convective OutlookMay 16th was a needle in a haystack kind of day. The Storm Prediction Center issued an Enhanced Risk of convective storms from Midland, Texas to extreme northern Iowa. A Slight Risk area covered eight states!

We decided to focus on the dryline in the Texas Panhandle where there was steady boundary of moisture under and advancing shortwave trough. It did not dissapoint!

By mid-afternoon, several supercells were starting to pop along the dryline. One storm in particular near McLean caught our attention. The area had everything we needed for a busy afternoon, shear, moisture, instability and lift. The stage for an exciting chase in the Texas Panhandle was set!

We got our first tornado from a wall cloud with extremely fast erratic motion. The tornado was primarily over open country, where we like to see them. We witnessed the tornado from birth to death and it had a wild rope out stage, which happened very close to our location providing the tour group with some amazing photos!

The storm structure was fantastic and also included some very large hail of at least baseball size.

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