Today was a fun, relaxing day. Not much was forecast to happen in Kansas, and the higher probability of tornadoes was to be found in the Ark-La-Tex region, which is really far and completely not worth driving down for. We figured we’d play the weak dynamics up in Kansas and see what happens.
So, with low expectations for the day ahead, we moseyed out of Salina this morning full of IHOP french toast. We made it to our first target, Great Bend, a few hours later. The cold front had positioned itself directly to our west, near Dodge City. It was only 12:30 and towering cumulus were already beginning to form.
Some showers popped up north of I-70, so we went back north to Russell. By the time we got there, new stuff showed up on radar back to our south, so off we went, retracing our steps. This was annoying at first, but it turned out to be the right call.
We spent the rest of the day driving in circles and going back and forth on the highways around the towns of St. John and Pratt. That spot was golden, as storms initiated over Pratt and then slowly slid to the northeast along the cold front. Because they all moved in a line, we could essentially stay in one place and watch them pass by like a conveyor belt. They were slow and easy to follow and photograph. It made for a fun chase.
Nothing else was happening in Kansas at this time, and many chasers ended up converging on these storms. It wasn’t crowded at all, and people were acting safely.
Early in the day, we stopped alongside chasers Nathan Truninger and Aaron Barthol to observe our first storm. Our data access was very poor at this point, so we joined up with them so they could help us navigate. We ended up chasing with our new friends the rest of the day. Coordinating our chase over ham radio was a fun challenge, and it was good to have someone along to help make decisions. We had dinner with them in Wichita, and will possibly chase with them again tomorrow.
These storms were not particularly dangerous, and although they were severe-warned, these were marginal warnings at best. There was very weak rotation present, if any, in today’s cells.
In all, it was a surprisingly good day. We made all the right calls today, and it paid off. We were on the storms early, from initiation to dissipation. There was a little excitement (stray hail stones, and almost getting stuck on some slick roads), but today was mostly stress-free. It hardly felt like 450 miles of driving. Nathan and Aaron are great guys and were a pleasure to chase with.blog comments powered by Disqus