header3inv.jpg (8385 bytes)

35mm.jpg (3927 bytes) indicates image from 35mm print
video.jpg (3939 bytes) indicates image from video still

May 16, 1999: 3 Tornadoes in One Day!

Tornadic Chase Through East Central Kansas (Chris Kridler & Dave Lewison)

Started the day in Hays, KS again. The BBC crew had left the day before, so we were on our own again. Early data suggested the best target area for us was south central KS where a weak front was forecast to move into some incredibly unstable air (CAPE was nearly 7000 in some places). Shear was marginal and improved farther south, but we couldn't chase into TX that day. Headed out towards Great Bend and then east on 56 and then 4 to I-135 south of Salina. Time was about 3:30 pm when we stopped to get some data and ran into Aaron Blaser. He said he was probably headed north a bit to watch for towers. We decided to get some gas and put in a call to Allan Rosenberg to see if anything was popping. Satellite imagery was showing a line of cu just east of I-135, so we headed out that way.  
0516turkey.jpg (7254 bytes)35mm.jpg (3927 bytes) At about 5 pm, the first leaning turkey towers began appearing. The shear wasn't all that bad up there. One of the storms to our north produced a tornado in Enterprise, KS. We saw this long slender tornado, but it was in such poor contrast that it didn't show up on video too well. We headed north on 15 for a while and then east until we hit 77. Seeing a whole line of nice looking storms to our SW, we dropped south on 77 and let each one come to us.
0516torn2.JPG (4558 bytes)video.jpg (3939 bytes) On 77 south we saw this nice stovepipe off to our west in poor contrast. When we finally pulled off to view it, it was a long contorted rope and was gone before I had time to get any decent pictures. Don Lloyd was already there and had the whole life cycle tripoded. Oh well, I guess you can't get 'em all...
0516torn31.JPG (6570 bytes) 0516torn32.JPG (6993 bytes)

0516torn33.JPG (6404 bytes) 0516rope1.JPG (7595 bytes)

0516rope2.JPG (7579 bytes)video.jpg (3939 bytes)

....OR CAN YOU??? About an hour later we had dropped south to the next storm. Facing west on the side of a country road near Durham, I caught a glimpse of a funnel off in the distance. I was just getting my camcorder on a tripod when it appeared. It snaked its way down to the ground, where it stayed for a good 4 or 5 minutes. It straightened out a bit, but was then undercut and it slowly roped out. The thing was nearly stationary the whole time! Plus it was in a rain-free base with the sunset backlighting it...you can't ask for better conditions.
0516struct.JPG (6852 bytes)video.jpg (3939 bytes) Thoroughly elated, we continued south and saw some impressive structure on the storm we had just witnessed.
0516sunset.jpg (7814 bytes)35mm.jpg (3927 bytes) We were then treated to 30 minutes of gorgeous sunset amidst glowing mammatus and vertical towers. Got into Wichita at about 10:00, ate dinner in a diner with lightnning striking all around us. Got back to Norman, OK around 2 am.

May 14 | May 16 | May 20 | May 25 | May 26 | May 31 | June 5

Email me at: lewisd2@rpi.edu

Back to the MAIN PAGE