April 23, 2007: Tornadoes near Protection, Kansas

day1otlk_20070423_2000_prtWhat a day this turned out to be! Not only did the folks on Tour 2 get an up and personal meeting with a tornado on the 21st of April. But, just two days later they saw seven tornadoes in Southwestern Kansas on the 23rd!

The day presented many challenges with a couple of interesting target locations. The Texas Panhandle and southwestern Kansas were both in-play.

The Storm Prediction Center issued a Slight Risk area extending from near Lubbuck, Texas to northwest in extreme southwestern Nebraska. Additionally, there was a Moderate Risk area covering most of western Kansas.

Starting off from Amarillo, Texas, our original target was the northern Texas panhandle. But, it became evident by early afternoon that it was the wrong play as moisture was just too limited in this area with low dewpoint values. We repositioned on the second area of interest in southwestern Kansas and northwestern Oklahoma.

The first storms of the day were intercepted near Buffalo, Oklahoma. We witnessed our first brief tornadoes of the day (I believe there were three out of this storm) just to the north.

That cell died out and a new cell formed on its southern flank. As a result, we drove north to intercept the new supercell as it crossed into Kansas.

When the storm finally caught up to us it went crazy! Producing tornado after tornado for a show that lasted several hours.

As the evening progressed and sunlight grew dimmer, we moved a few miles to the west and continued shooting video of this tornado producing beast.

We caught a total of at least seven tornadoes between these two supercells. Spending much of the early evening hours photographing lightning out of this thing as it moved away from us to the northeast.

What an incredible day for an already incredible tour!

May 29, 2004: Central Kansas – Tornadic LP Supercell

day1probotlk_20040529_1630_torn_prtMay 29th was the type of day you live to chase for, a “classic triple point” with a strong dryline punch in central Kansas and a deep low pressure system near Wichita and 1800 CAPE on the DDC 0z sounding.  SPC had issued a high risk area covering most of the central plains, a very large area which was more or less useless when you need to narrow it down to a single corn field.  I choose to play the dryline punch as opposed to the triple point and it paid off extremely well.  My late afternoon cumulus towers began to build and shortly after a couple of low precip supercells formed between Highway 54 and the OK/KS state border.  We could monitor both storms from one location, but quickly got into position when a wall cloud began forming on the southern cell.  With more cells popping up just south of the OK border, the pressure began to build, our storm was rotating, but it wasn’t in a hurry to produce a tornado.  Meanwhile, tornado warnings were being issued across north-central Oklahoma, and we had time to get to them.  I decided to wait as patiently as possible and not long after that, our storm tapped into some extremely moist air with dewpoints in the high 60s and began to spin like a top.  We were positioned less than a mile from the first tornado formed, giving us easy access to pursue the tornado for several miles during its 31-minute lifespan.