June 19, 2018: Tornado near Keenesburg, Colorado

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Tour 4 was treated to a great tornado on the last day of the tour just about an hour north of the Denver metro area near a small rural town named Keenseburg. This was the second day that supercells which started near Boulder took the exact same path. Just 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 roads (dirt), 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.

After the first tornado of the day near Keenesburg ended, 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 15, 2013: Cleburne, TX Tornado

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It’s a bit frustrating when you work all day to narrow down your target area only for a storm to form at dusk and create a nighttime tornado event.  We do have a rule pertaining to chasing at night.  If a night chase is going to happen, we must have good data coverage in the area for up to the second radar information and we must have a good road network.  Chasing at night can be extremely dangerous without having good remote sensing capabilities and good roads, dirt roads won’t do, because you can not judge the road conditions ahead of you.  Lucky for us, Texas paves just about every road in the state so the roads weren’t a problem, and there is excellent mobile data coverage so that wasn’t a problem, with neither being an issue, I opted for a night chase and  it paid off.  The imagery below are video stills showing the tornado backlight by the storm’s lightning.  Later validation would show this to be an EF-3 rated tornado with most significant damage just south of Lake Pat Cleburne.

May 04, 2007: Arnett, Oklahoma – Tornadic Supercell

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May 4th originally brought us to western Oklahoma along the border of the Texas Panhandle where we intercepted a severe warned supercell that quickly produced a needle shaped tornado which lasted for nearly 20 minutes.  This supercell would later track northeast across the Kansas state line and become tornadic again after dark, producing the first ever EF-5 tornado (on the new Enhanced Fujita Scale).  Due to the fact that these events took place in different states and a few hours apart, we’re entering them as different events and there will be another entry for the Kiowa County, Kansas tornado that struck Greenburg on the evening of May 4th.

April 23, 2007: Protection, KS – Incredible Tornadic Supercell

posted in: 2007, Chase Highlights | 0

day1otlk_20070423_2000_prtWhat a day this turned out to be! Not only did the folks on Tour 2 get a closeup and personal meeting with a tornado on the 21st of April, but just 2 days later they saw 7 tornadoes in Southwestern Kansas on the 23rd.

The day presenting many challenges with a few different interesting target locations, either in the Texas Panhandle or in Southwestern, KS. The day required intense monitoring of every little detail throughout the afternoon, my original target was the Texas panhandle, but it became evident my early afternoon that it was the wrong play and we repositioned on the second area of interest in southwestern Kansas and northwestern Oklahoma.

Our first storms of the day were intercepted near Buffalo, Oklahoma where 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, a new cell formed on its southern flank and we shot north to meet the cell as it crossed into Kansas due to limited road options.

When the cell finally caught up to us it went crazy and produced tornado after tornado for a show that lasted several hours. We caught a total of at least 7 tornadoes between these two supercells and spent much of the early evening hours photographing lightning out of this thing as it moved away from us to the northeast.

Overall – an incredible day for an already incredible tour!

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