Tag Archives | tornado

May 2nd Hawley, Texas Violent Tornado

May 2nd featured a weak boundary in central Texas that would be the focus for storm development late in the day. Numerous storms formed along the boundary. Due to shear profiles, storm splits and mergers were evident. By mid to late afternoon a few storms formed along highway 277 north of Abilene, Texas. One split happened that passed in front of a right moving supercell near Anson and caused it to increase rotation rapidly. West of Anson a tornado touched down and was on the ground for a few minutes. As the old occluded mesocyclone weakened and dissipated, another one formed to the east/southeast of the first one. Soon rapid rotation occurred and eventually led to a small funnel. The funnel ascended and descended several times before it finally touched down northwest of Hawley. As the tornado firmly planted, a debris cloud formed. The tapered tornado widened into a text book drill press type tornado, with its strongest winds at ground level. The waterfall sound of the roar of the tornado was quite audible as it churned towards highway 277. Unfortunately it hit a couple houses, levelling them in its wake. The tornado then moved southeast and dissipated. All in all it was on the ground for over 20 minutes. The damage it causes was sporadic, but was rated high end EF3.

A great chase day, but with sad results due to the destruction the tornado caused. You NEVER want to see that happen anywhere. Fortunately the NWS in Abilene was able to give advanced warning to local residents, which resulted in no fatalities, but a few injuries did occur. Our thoughts and prayers to go to those families who were affected by this violent tornado.

May 1st North Central Kansas Tornadic Supercell

May 1st showed plenty of opportunity for severe storms, however the best tornado threat was in 2 different area, the Texas panhandle, and north central Kansas. Since we couldn’t make it to Texas in time, we chose the northern target. Moisture was limited and it was going to be close to get moisture this far north before storm initiation occurred. Storms formed rapidly later afternoon and intensified during the evening. 2 supercells emerged with the tail end storm eventually becoming the dominant cell. As it moved across north central Kansas in the evening it continued to intensify. It stayed along and just on the cool side of an old outflow boundary south of Interstate 70. Inflow was quite strong, and lighting frequent. At sunset, it ramped up in intensity and produced a couple of brief tornadoes under the front edge of the updraft as RFD surged around from the south side. Both tornadoes were weak and lasted only 2-4 minutes each. We eventually let is go as it continued to move north of the boundary since we had to be in Texas the next day. A fun day, with decent results, but had the supercell attached to the boundary it could have been quite a bit more tornadic. Enjoy the photos!

April 30th Red Oak, Iowa Tornado Warned Supercell

April 30th provided a fast moving, but strong upper level system across the central states. Moisture was sparse, but racing north of southerly low let jet winds. We knew it would be close to get enough good moisture to allow cloud bases to be low enough to produce tornadoes in Iowa. By mid afternoon clusters of storms for in southeast Nebraska. One such storm intensified as it moved into southwest Iowa. It became severe as it moved further east and eventually became tornado warned. On radar it looked like a classic tornadic supercell, but in real life, it’s base was just a tad too high to produce tornadoes. It was a prolific hailer and had nice structure. At one point it had a very large wall cloud that had the look. However, it could never maintain tightened rotation, only broad slow motion. A pretty storm, but just couldn’t produce any tornadoes. A fun day nonetheless!

 

April 26th Iowa Violent Tornado Outbreak

April 26th had the appearance of a major tornado outbreak. It certainly lived up to the hype! We had spent the night in Salina, Kansas and targeted Nebraska City, NE to Creston, Iowa for tornadic supercells. Strong wind shear, with dew points in the lower 60s and surface based instability of 2500 CAPE would set the stage for the event. We arrived in the Nebraska City area mid afternoon, as a supercell produced a couple of tornadoes between Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska. Due to storm motion and speed, we could not catch up to it, so we decided to stay put. An hour later storms erupted along a confluence line near the Missouri river and quickly gained rotation. Near Council Bluffs we decided to go east and get in front of a tornado warned storm. When we saw it, it was ready to produce a tornado. As it approached a cone shaped tornado formed, turning into an 800 yard wide EF3 wedge tornado as it crossed the road within a half mile of us. It completely destroyed 2 farmsteads along highway 92 and as we approached them, nobody was there to help the residents. We immediately stopped and went into search and rescue mode. We found a family trapped in their storm shelter as their home collapsed on them. After removing a lot of debris as a few other chasers stopped to help, we were able to get them freed. Shook up, but healthy, attention turned to the other farm. An elderly woman and her dog were buried in debris as her house was demolished except for the walls. They also were able to be rescued. Soon paramedics and the local fire department arrived as we directed them to the residents and told them about propane tank leaks. At that point, it was time for us to leave and let the authorities do their jobs they did so well!

By the time we were able to depart the scene, it was too late to keep chasing as the tornadic supercell was 15 miles north moving away. It went on and produced more strong tornadoes near Minden and Harlen as we turned south to make the journey back to Oklahoma City. I do NOT regret missing the other tornadoes to stop and render help to those in need. Given the opportunity to do it again, there would be no hesitation!!! People are far more important than weather. Thanks to all who stopped that day to help families in desperate need of assistance.

March 13th Rossville, Kansas Tornado

March 13th saw our first ON CALL tour of 2024 take place. We chased the 13th and 14th and intercepted either tornadic supercells or tornado warned supercells both days. March 13th took us to central/eastern Kansas to play the warm front/dryline triple point. Most models suggested storms would form there and also along the warm front. And they did both! We jumped on the first strongly rotating supercell east of Alma and watched it intensify and become tornadic after dark. A second supercell to our west also became tornadic near Alta Vista. Unfortunately, since we were committed to the initial eastern cell, we could not make it back west to play the Alta Vista cell. As our cell crossed I-70 west of Topeka it became tornado warned with two large cone funnels extending halfway to the ground. The eastern funnel touched down and became a tornado which lasted close to 10 minutes near the town of Rossville. We stayed with the storm all the way to Hoyt, where a tornado was also reported. We could not confirm one as anything was completely rain wrapped.

March 14th we chased in eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas and intercepted several tornado warned storms. No tornadoes were confirmed, however hail nearly grapefruit sized occurred. We ended up near Atoka, OK at the end of the day chasing a tornado warned storm just north of town.

Overall, a great way to start the 2024 chase season!!!!

Here’s a You tube link of our video from this day: https://youtu.be/uuLlzTRFcA0

July 29th Adams County, Colorado Tornado

A DCVZ (Denver Convergence Vorticity Zone) boundary set up with good southeast winds along and north of the Palmer Divide in east central Colorado. As surface winds wrapped around the north side of the Palmer Divide, a Denver cyclone formed. By mid afternoon cumulus towers formed along the boundary. One such tower developed into an intense thunderstorm and spawned a landspout tornado north of our house. Caryn, doing a local chase, intercepted the storm as a mature landspout was visible from many miles away. It stayed on the ground for several minutes before lifting. The tower cam at Denver International Airport even picked it up clearly!

July 20th Southeast Colorado Tornado Warned Supercell

July 20th featured good shear, excellent moisture and instability, and the Palmer Divide to produce storms with upslope flow. Mid afternoon a supercell formed near Simla, Colorado and turn to the south. As it did, it was rotating very strongly and may have produced a couple of broad, weak tornadoes. The lightning was absolutely insane with the supercell and the hail was quite large, up to softball sized! As the storm moved south, it was interfered with by another supercell and the southern storm became the dominant supercell. It moved southeast and eventually collided with northeast moving storm near LaJunta. Over the next 45 minutes it struggled to maintain any intensity until it finally pushed through all the left moving storms. It became tornado warned near Las Animas and had quite strong rear flank winds along with very large hail. We ended up letting it go as we needed to be back in Denver that evening. A great local chase for our tour group and one of the prettier supercells and lightning shows on the season! Enjoy the pics!!!

July 6th Aurora/Watkins, CO Tornadoes

It’s always fun when severe weather keeps you in your own backyard! Such was the case on July 6th! A boundary stretched across the Aurora/Watkins areas and by mid afternoon, storms rapidly developed. Soon a tornado formed south of I-70 touching down for a few minutes. About 30 minutes later, a landspout tornado formed along the boundary just northeast of Watkins persisting for several minutes. We stayed with the storms to see if any other tornadoes would form along the boundary, but as if often the case, wind fields were disrupted by ongoing storms, thus lessoning the chance another tornado would occur. Great backyard chase!

June 30th Kim, Colorado Tornado Warned Supercell

An interesting on June 30th. There was a fair potential for supercells but not a lot of potential for tornadoes due to lack of low level shear. By early afternoon storms formed east of Trinadad, CO. As they moved east, one storm became a supercell. We arrived at the time it pushed east towards Kim. It became tornado warned within 30 minutes. At one point it had a rotating wall cloud, but never looked like it would produce. Structure was decent and the hail very large, tennisball sized. Numerous storms formed later and merged into a squall line, producing a haboob over western Kansas. It’s always fun encountering a haboob as a wall of blowing dirt pushes away from the storms in the shape of a wedge. Fun day and great way to end the evening! Enjoy the pics!

June 28th Kimball, Nebraska Large Tornado

June 28th had a lot going for it. Good moisture, strong instability, superb wind shear and the upslope play of the Laramie Range in southeast Wyoming. A supercell formed mid afternoon and became an electrified beast! As the storm spun east/southeast, it produced huge hail baseball sized, but never really was a tornado threat. As it moved into far southwest Nebraska, it encountered better moisture which allowed the cloud base to come down. That helped the storm tap into greater low level wind shear and develop rotation. A couple of funnels occurred before a rather large, dusty tornado formed about 8 miles south of Kimball. The tornado was on the ground for over 10 minutes as it moved slowly southeast.  The storm continued to spin strongly off the Cheyenne Ridge into far northern Colorado. It weakened for a time and then reintensified east of Sterling. It continued its slow march to the east, now producing huge hail and flash flooding. We let it go at that point and went to the hotel after shooting lightning for awhile. Crazy fun day and thankfully the large tornado stayed over open lands. Enjoy the pics!!!