The storm chase expedition to the US Great Plains for 2008 was done in addition to several "spot" (shorter) chases and took place from May 19 through June 1 of 2008 and has been completed. There was a total of 14 travel days, of which, 13 of these days were available for chasing (day 14 was a travel day). In these days, there was 9 chase days, 4 travel / down days, and 1 "bust" day (where only weak storms formed). The storm intercept team involved this year consisted only of myself and was be "based" out of Chicago, Illinois where I flew out to on May 19, 2008 and chase until June 1, 2008. This trip was dedicated to severe thunderstorm research in this area, which includes the Great Plains and the Midwestern United States. Keep in mind that this chase log is scientific evidence and portrays my on-going storm chasing research. It has been placed on this page for easy reference and meteorological interests. Please do not plagiarize or copy this document to other sites for distribution.

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SPECIAL 2008 CHASE LOG - CHASE TRIP 2008

The picture above is a panoramic composite of the view out the front of the chase vehicle into the violent supercell environment associated with the Quinter, Kansas supercell on May 23, 2008. This storm was a cyclic supercell storm that produced multiple tornadoes, some with winds approaching 200-MPH (EF-4). In this picture, a large wedge tornado (considered "Quinter #1"), which was a mile-wide at times, co-exists with a large satellite stove-pipe tornado to the right. This was basically "part one" of a "one-two punch", where almost an identical tornado, from a separate supercell (called "Quinter #2"), passed near Quinter just over an hour after this one did! One of Tom Samaras's mobile mesonets (for the TWISTEX project) can also be seen, with chunks of grapefruit-sized hail (and larger) scattered across the dirt road. Supercell storms like this are a sight to behold, and just getting close (like this picture - which does not do any justice - shows) can literally cost a storm chaser his or her life!

Read In Detail For May 23 In "Quinter KS - A Tornado Chaser's Story"


US MIDWEST 2008 STORM CHASE MAIN PARTICIPANTS (MAY)

CHASER NAMEHOME CITYCALLSIGNCHASE DATESOCCUPATION
CHRIS COLLURAMIRAMAR, FLKG4PJN5-19 TO 6-1IT CONSULTANT

The participants below often actively participate in our storm research efforts and deserve appreciation for their great help and severe weather expertise.

CHASER NAMEHOME CITYCALLSIGNOCCUPATION
BRANDON JOHNHAYES, KSN/AOIL WORKER
DOUG KIESLINGMINNEAPOLIS, MNN/ABNVN PRESIDENT
TIM SAMARASDENVER, CON/ASCIENTIST / ENGINEER
TONY LAUBACHDENVER, COKW0LFFSTUDENT
VERNE CARLSONDENVER, COKB0ZCQIT

Please note that several other chasers have caravaned or "converged" with my group during this trip ... Most notably was Tim Samaras's group and the TWISTEX team. TWISTEX is an acronym for "Tactical Weather Instrumented Sampling in or near Tornadoes or thunderstorms EXperiment". You can find out much more about the TWISTEX group at the link provided HERE. A very interesting account of in-situ tornado observations, including some that inflicted damage on my chase vehicle as well, can be found at the link HERE!


CHASE TRIP MAP - NOTE THE "HOT SPOTS"!

Above is a chase map showing the chase track, including the flight out of Florida (Fort Lauderdale) to Chicago (and back), shown in red, then the chase out to (and within) "tornado alley" (in blue). Without a doubt, Kansas was particularly violent during this chase trip, with a "cluster" of tornadoes in the west-central portions of the state. Another "batch" or tornadoes is logged near the I-80 corridor in Nebraska as well. Other than major outbreaks, some storms were also intercepted in NE Colorado, SW Oklahoma, Texas, and Illinois. The chase track (in blue) looks rather simple, but is constituted by thousands of miles because the SAME chase track was overlapped more than once, especially in Kansas.


TABLE OF CONTENTS - CLICK TO GO TO PAGE


THIS IS CHASE SECTION TWO FOR 2008

Main US Midwest Chase Log For 2008 - Section One

Note: There were TWO chase log sections for the severe storm season of 2008! You are currently viewing the SECOND section, which includes the dedicated chase-trip for May 19 through June 1, 2008. To jump directly to the FIRST section, please click the link provided above.


ABOUT THIS STORM CHASING LOG

Above: Just one of the amazing chase days on this trip - May 29, 2008. Hish-risk depicted on the SPC outlook (left), a violent supercell near Beloit, Kansas on the radar scope that same day (center), and the storm reports for that day (right). It is these types of setups and chase days that storm chasers long for, but at a great cost to life and property of those who are caught in the path of America's ferocious storms.

The following entries are all storm chases and interceptions performed in the Midwest United States from May 19, 2008 to June 1, 2008. This log is based on a solo effort of a storm chasing team. Members were myself - Chris Collura (Florida Skywarn storm spotter code B036 - KG4PJN). The main chase vehicle was both a a 2007 Chevy HHR and (2007 Kia Rio). States chased (includes travel states): CO, IA, IL, KS, MO, NE, OK, SD, TX, and WY (10 states). Total mileage: 6,250 Miles (Mileage accrued on the first vehicle was 4,110 miles and an additional 2,140 miles ws put on the second vehicle. The first vehicle was exchanged in Oklahoma City for hail damage on 5-28 for the second used for the rest of the trip)!

Communications employed are HF and VHF HAM radio, FRS hand-held radios, wireless Internet, and cellular phones. Most importantly, the ability to shoot HIGH DEFINITION video is once again possible on this trip! We also used other state-of-the-art video and camera gear, GPS, and a laptop computer for navigation, video / photo editing, and Internet. The main chase duties are shifts in navigation using the GPS, radio communications, driving many miles, editing footage, and preparing forecast data. Some footage was even forwarded in MPG format to BNVN for video / broadcasting on networks such as the Weather Channel.

I flew into Chicago, Illinois on May 19, 2008 in the mid afternoon (around 1:00 PM) and to pick up the rental vehicle. The first target area, near NE Colorado, was not met until May 21, so plenty of travel / down time was experienced the first 2 days of the trip. My return flight on June 1, 2008 left Chicago in the early morning (about 6:30 AM) and returned to Florida concluding the trip. The chase involved large expanses of the US Great Plains sometimes in the worst driving conditions imaginable, even in very remote regions.

All chases and observations are in chronological order and a chase number is assigned to each entry. Please bear in mind that all observations adhere to modern storm analysis standards and do not include all storms that occurred in a given area for a particular chase period.

Any kind of storm such as a thunderstorm, tornado, waterspout, tropical cyclone, and extratropical storm can be chased or observed. I have tried to keep this log of any storms that I have observed as accurate as possible, while using terms and expressions to abide by those used by most meteorologists and storm spotters today.

Storm chasing and observation can be extremely dangerous and may result in serious injury or death. I have received intermediate and advanced training for storm spotting in 1996. I strongly urge anyone who is to try their hand at storm spotting to get training before doing so. You must also have a good understanding of meteorology and storm dynamics. "If you don't know what you're doing, Don't do it!" Contact your local National Weather Service office for information on storm spotting and about training to become a Skywarn storm Spotter.


CHASE TRIP CHRONOLOGY

May 19 - Arrival day. Arrived at Chicago's Midway airport and picked up rental vehicle. I was planning on spending the evening here and headed out the following day with activity expected in western Nebraska on May 21 and after.

May 20 - Today was strictly a travel day to get into position for potential severe weather on the high plains (western Nebraska) expected on May 21. I set up the rental vehicle with the equipment, and left Chicago via I-55 and I-80 at about 11 AM. I continued west on I-80 out of Illinois, through Iowa, then into Nebraska. I arrived in North Platte for the night at about 11 PM and based on data, the target area for May 21 (the next day) was set to be western Nebraska / Eastern Wyoming.

May 21 - This day was intended to be a marginal chase-day but turned out to be quiter busy. I left North Platte and headed west on Interstate 80 with a primary target of Cheyenne, Wyoming. This region is where good upslope flow was developing with a low pressure system, and was outlooked by SPC (Storm Prediction Center) in a slight-risk. I arrived in Cheyenne by 1 PM CDT and reviewed data. It became apparent that storms might develop slightly to the southeast, east of Denver near Weld and Yuma counties in Colorado. I headed south on I-25 then took Highway 34 east towards the developing storms. A dryline was becoming established, with a dewpoint gradient of more than 20 degrees encountered across it. The first supercell of the day, an LP storm, was intercepted in Yuma County near Highway 34 west of Wray at about 6 PM. Many storm chasers were on this storm, and I met with Tony Laubach and Bill Hark there as well, among others. After that storm weakened, I headed east on Highway 34, then south on Highway 385 anticipating more storms developing to the south. I headed west via a county road then south on Highway 59 to Interstate 70, where another supercell storm was encountered near Stratton at about 8 PM. After this storm weakened, I headed east on I-70 and made Hays, Kansas for the night by 11:45 PM, meeting up with Doug Kiesling. Hays is also the target area for an extreme weather setup expected the following day on May 22.

May 22 - Today was a very busy and productive chase day, with at least 4 tornadoes observed in west-central Kansas. In addition to the multiple storms intercepted, no long-distance drive was needed as activity remained west of Hays, Kansas. After forecasting in the morning, Doug Kiesling and I left Hays during the late morning. The Storm Prediction Center had a moderate risk outlook in place for west-central Kansas with a 15% hatched tornado, 45% hatched hail, and 30% damaging wind probability. This was later upgraded to a high-risk outlook late in the day. By early adfternoon, mesoscale discussion #970, then PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch box #335 was issued for the area. We pretty much waited for initiation, which ocurred by about 3 PM along the dryline and the first supercell storm was first encountered near Dighton, Kansas and followed northward along highway 23 until it weakened. This first storm produced a large wall cloud with funnels / possible tornadoes. A second storm was encountered to the SW of Oakley with another small funnel and large hail. After heading east on I-70, a third storm was encountered near Grinnell which produced a very beautiful tornado. A fourth supercell near I-70 and Collyer produced another small tornado plus a large dusty wedge type tornado that crossed I-70. This storm was tracked northward on Highway 283 until it evolved to an HP / line segment and weakened. A fifth storm was encountered near sunset south of Wakeeney and another cone type tornado was encountered there. The chase was wrapped up with dinner / chaser convergence (Verne carson, Tim Samaras, Tony Laubach, plus many others, including Chuck Doswell) back in Hays. The night was spent in Hays again, as the target for May 23, also expected to be another chase day, will be only slightly north of the area.

May 23 - This was another busy, extremely exciting, and terrifying chase day in nearly the same area as the day before, in west-central Kansas. The day began by leaving Hays at around noon and heading west towards Utica. Doug Kiesling and Brandon John also accompanied me on this chase in separate vehicles. Conditions were similar to the day prior: A Colorado low pressure system, strong winds aloft with directional shear, high CAPE, and a dryline / warm-front boundary "triple point". The Storm Prediction Center had a nearly identical moderate risk outlook with the tornado probability at 15% hatched, hail at 45% hatched, and wind at 30%. By about 2 PM, the SPC issued mesoscale discussion #986 and then PDS tornado watch #341 for most of western Kansas. Storms initiated southwest of Utica in Ness County, Kansas and quickly became supercellular by 3 PM. One supercell was tracked from Ness County and north into Gove County, until it finally intensified near Quinter and produced very large tornadoes. Doug Kiesling and myself were separated after documenting the tornadoes (one was a mile-wide wedge), and a window was broken on my vehicle. After this storm weakened, attention was focused on new development to the south, and another tornado was intercepted east of Gove, Kansas. After this storm moved north, my companion Brandon and I attempted to follow it, but got stuck in deep mud on a country road north of county road 466. We had to walk 2 miles to a localís home and ask if he can help. He was more than happy to help, and tried to haul our vehicles out, but called friend of his with a farm tractor to finally get us out. This took about two and a half hours, and finished chasing for this wild day. Doug Kiesling continued to Salina, Kansas for the night while Brandon and I spent the night in Hays at his place after dinner with MANY other chasers in town. Forecasted for the next days target and also put into perspective that it is a miracle no one was killed near Quinter on this extreme chase day!

May 24 - As any luck-of-the-draw goes, the "winning streak" of intercepting tornado after tornado the past chase days ended today. After waking up early, Brandon and myself targeted southeastern Nebraska as a good chase target for the day. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) had a slight-risk in place, with a 10% tornado probability, 45% hatched hail probability, and a 30% damaging wind probability. This forecast did not change very much throughout the day for the areas of SE South Dakota to extreme NE Kansas. Our area of interest was in SE Nebraska, where a narrow axis of moisture and instability was advecting northward ahead of a dryline. Upper air support was also in place, but a strong cap existed in the wake of an earlier MCS. We left Hays and went north on Highway 183 from Kansas and into Nebraska, making an eastward trek on Interstate 80. The dryline was crossed east of 183, and a 20+ degree dewpoint change was encountered with cumulus clouds east of the boundary. We stopped at Grand Island near Highway 281 for lunch, and met up with Doug Kiesling, Verne carson, Tony Laubach, and Tim Samaras's group. We waited there for initiation, as SPC issued mesoscale discussion #1003 and then tornado watch box #349 with our area in it's center. The cap failed to break. A weak squall line developed to our north, but not much ahead of the dryline, except for small LP type supercell with a low-topped structure that did not survive very long. Meanwhile, with 90% of storm chasers "suckered" to this failed northern target, an isolated supercell in Oklahoma (along an outflow boundary and dryline in a low-shear environment) became a prolific tornado producer. We called off any attempts to chase this target and considered it a bust. Doug Kiesling and Brandon returned home (for work). I met up with Tim Samaras's team, Verne carson, and others in Lincoln, Nebraska for dinner and to share a room for the night with Verne and his group. I also shared some video of my wedge tornado the day before with Tim Samaras's scientific group. Possible chase prospects for the next day can either be in Iowa or even back in Kansas.

May 25 - Today was a chase day with two targets to choose from. One, the original Iowa target. The other was a new target area in western-central Kansas (near Hays and points to the southwest) in response to a new surface low developing there. Since chase prospects in Kansas were to be good for at least 2 days, we decided to target the Kansas location. SPC outlooked this area with a moderate-risk, along with a 10% hatched tornado, 45% hatched hail, and 45% damaging wind probability. We left Lincoln after a forecast briefing in a caravan (Tim Samaras's team and National Geographic's film crew was also with us) with a fuel-stop in York, Nebraska. We then headed south on highway 81 through Hebron into Kansas, then west on I-70 towards the target area. SPC issued a mesoscale discussion (MD #1020) and subsequent tornado watch box #357 valid until 6 PM CDT for SW Kansas. This was later expanded eastward by MD 1024 and watch #361 valid until 10 PM CDT. A supercell storm developed ahead of the dryline and south of a sagging cold front by 2 PM CDT. We reached Wakeeney, Kansas and dropped south on highway 283 then began to follow the original storm via highway 4 to the west. A new a bettern defined supercell developed to our east, so we went back on highway 4 and penetrated its core to get to the inflow side near La Crosse, where a tornado was observed. After the supercell weakened, a large cluster of thunderstorms developed, and the system became outflow-dominant. We finished chasing south on 183 near Sanford and countinued south to highway 56, and went northeast through torrential rains to Great Bend, Kansas, for dinner and to spend the night.

May 26 - This day was another exciting chase day that began with a target area near Dodge City, Kansas and eastward. After a quick forecast, southwest to south-central Kansas had backed winds, good moisture, and very high CAPE by late afternoon. After waking up early, and with the target less than 2 hours away, Verne carson and one of the Tim Samaras mesonet crew (Bruce) left Great Bend and decided to do a damage survey near Quintar, Kansas. Meanwhile, SPC had a moderate risk including south-central to SW Kansas and a tornado probability of 10%, a 45% hatched hail, and 45% hatched damaging winds. I decided to break off first, and headed back east on I-70 to Wakeeney to drop south on 283 to Dodge City. Verne left a bit later, leaving me solo for this day. SPC issued mesoscale discusssion # 1047 then tornado watch #347 valid until 8 PM CDT by 2 PM. Initiation began after 3 PM near Garden City, then a severe storm cluster developed near Jetmore. An isolated cell initiated near Clark County and became the "tail end charley" type storm. This storm was intercepted in Kiowa and Pratt counties (with the chase track passing through Greensburg). Two tornadoes were intercepted in this area, the latter being east and a longer lasting cone tornado. This success came with great cost due to the "car-crunching" effects of the giant hail with this storm! There were many chasers on this southern-most storm. After the storms weakened, I decided to stay in Kingman for the night, after running into Dan Robinson and his chase buddies while grabbing a bite to eat and uploading video to Doug Kiesling (BNVN). The chase vehicle needs a new windshield after this day.

May 27 - Today was originally supposed to be a down day but turned out to be a marginal-setup chase day from southwest Oklahoma into extreme northern Texas (near the Red River). Morning forecasting revealed an outflow boundary draped southward into Texas, with a cold front approaching the area from the northwest. A moisture axis, with CAPE of 3500, extended into extreme SW Oklahoma and the "bend" in northern Texas. The Storm Prediction Center had a slight risk out for this area, with a small 5% tornado probability, 30% hail probability, and 15% damaging wind probability for the target area, which was assumed at the time to be near Altus, Oklahoma. I was chasing solo today, and after filing a damage claim for the rental vehicle, I left Kingman before noon and headed west on highway 54 / 400 to Pratt, then south on Highway 281 through Medicine Lodge and into Oklahoma. I was pulled over just south of Waynoka by law enforcement and cited a $150 fine for driving with cracks in the windshield. This caused a 30-45 minute delay. By 2 PM, SPC issued mesoscale discussion #1062 then severe thunderstorm watch #380 for a portion of Oklahoma and Texas, with Altus centered within it. I continued south on 281 then on 183 out of Seiling. A small supercell storm was noticed west of Clinton, but was abandoned in hope the original (Altus) target verifies. In Hobart, I took hoghway 9 west, then 44 to connect with highway 283 south of the Wichita mountains and approached an intense supercell storm when coming into Altus. The storm was observed south of town, until it weakened. Continuing south, and crossing the Red River into Texas, another severe storm was intercepted near Vernon along Highway 70. After this storm moved on and weakened, I turned around and headed back north on 70, back into Oklahoma exactly the same way I came, until I hit Clinton, then headed east on I-40 to spend the night in Oklahoma City. The rental, with major damage, will be exchanged at Will Rogers World Airport the foillowing day, which is expected to be a down / re-positioning day.

May 28 - Today was a day strictly to take care of the problems with the Chevy HHR rental and pick up an exchange vehicle (A 2008 Kia Rio) at Oklahoma City's Will Rogers Airport, then begin the long repositioning farther north for another round of severe weather the next couple of days. Checked out of the motel at Oklahoma City and exchanged the vehicle, then went up I-44 to I-35 / I-135 through Oklahoma and Kansas, then Highway 50 / Highway 81 into Nebraska to spend the evening in York. Based on forecasting, this area looks to be in store for supercells, and already had a 30% hatched outlook on the day 2 SPC product. Today did not go without storms, as New Mexico had some tornadic supercells near Tucumcari, but there was no intent to chase there today anyway, especially with the chosen chase prospects nearly 1,000 miles away in the northern Plains for 5/29 and 5/30.

May 29 - This was a chase day to remember, for a while at least. Morning forecasting revealed a very potent severe weather setup, with low pressure developing to the west in Colorado / Wyoming and very strong wind fields combined with a dryline, warm-front, and very high CAPE and very high speed + directional shear (helicity). This conditions existed from NW Kansas through E Nebraska. A nightime MCS also was weak, and in its wake, there was nearly no effect on the days instability. Meanwhile, SPC had a high-risk outlook, with a 30% hatched tornado, 45% hatched hail, and a 45% hatched wind probability. I left York and began a westward track along I-80 to about Lexington, and was there by about 2 PM. By 230 PM, SPC issued mesoscale discussion #1081 and subsequent PDS tornado watch #386 for a large portion of central Nebraska and Kansas. While waiting for initiation, I wandered around Lexington, then Kearney and saw a supercell storm (75 miles to my SW) pop up on radar. The chase was on. This storm was picked up well SW of Kearney near Bertrand and followed NE. This is the storm that eventually produced a damaging tornado that struck Kearney. After this storm weakened, a southern-most supercell storm was noted near I-70 east of Colby, Kansas. This storm was a long shot, but worth the 100 mile trip down highway 14 to catch it. It was observed producing multiple tornadoes near Beloit. I was also able to meet up with Verne Carlson, Tim Samaras (and his team), and Tony Laubach near Beloit. A final bout of the supercell was a direct hit with a small tornado on the chasers with Tim Samaras getting stuck in mud. The chase was wrapped up by traveling to near Randall, Kansas (Randall and Jewell had no power, Jewell had damage as well) and retreating down highway 24 then highway 81 to Salina, Kansas for the night near I-70. The next day will be a long trip back east.

May 30 - Today was a long re-position from central Kansas via I-70 back east through Kansas City, then Saint Louis, Missouri, and into Illinois for another chased in the central portion of that state. Left Salina, Kansas very early and made Saint Louis by about 1 PM CDT. Took I-55 north to the primary target area of Springfield, Illinois. I was able to do some forecasting en-route and pin-pointed an area of surface convergence ahead of an outflow boundary from storms in northern Illinois earlier that day. Meanwhile, a strong southwest wind aloft and shortwave trough was approaching from the west, with very good surface heating taking place (2,500 CAPE). The SPC issued a moderate risk area, with tornado, hail, and damaging wind probabilities at 15, 30, and 45 percent, respectively (nothing hatched). By 1:30 PM CDT, SPC issued mesoscale discussion #1098 and subsequent tornado watch box #394 for central Illinois centered near the primary target area (Springfield). Storms began developing ahead of the stalled outflow boundary north of Springfield and south of Bloomington near I-74 / I-55 and points south. These storms began as multicell storms but became supercellular later in the day as surface heating was maximized under the approaching upper-air support. From near Lincoln, IL and southwest towards Jacksonville (west of I-55 and near I-72) a total of 4 powerful supercell storms were intercepted, some producing small tornadoes. The chase was wrapped up in the early evening with a trip back north on I-55 and the night spent in Chicago, Illinois off Interstate 80. This was the last day spent chasing as the next day had activity in Oklahoma or on the US East coast.

May 31 - This was a down / off day spent in the Chicago area editing chase logs and packing / preparing for the trip back to FL early the following day.

June 1 - Departure day. Left Chicago's Midway airport (after returning rental) on very early flight back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.


DETAILED LOG FOR ALL CHASES

1). May 21, 6:00 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of a severe thunderstorm near Wray, Colorado along Highway 35 in Yuma County. The storm was an LP supercell storm that developed ahead of a developing dryline. The core of this storm contained hail up to half-dollar sized, but this region was not penetrated. Conditions encountered were winds over 60-MPH, moderate rain, lightning, and hail up to nickel sized. A small funnel was also observed on the rear flank of the storm. Conditions producing the storm were a developing dryline boundary, strong upper trough, a lee surface trough (developing Colorado low), upslope flow, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM MDT.

2). May 21, 8:00 PM - Observation and penetration of a very severe thunderstorm near Stratton and west of Kit Carson, Colorado at the intersection of I-70 and Highway 59 in Kitt Carson County. The storm was an HP supercell storm that was part of a cluster of severe thunderstorms. Conditions encountered with this storm were winds near 70-MPH, very heavy rain, frequent lightning, and marble-sized hail covering the ground. A large wall cloud (possible tornado) was also observed with this storm north of Stratton. Conditions producing the storm were a dryline boundary, strong upper trough, developing Colorado low, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM MDT.

3). May 22, 4:00 PM - Observation of a very severe thunderstorm from near Dighton and into Gove, Kansas mainly along Highway 23 and into Gove County. The storm was a classic supercell storm that evolved to an HP supercell and produced numerous rotating wall clouds and funnels. The storm core had large hail and high winds, but was not penetrated. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, strong upper trough, Colorado low-pressure system, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A PDS tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

4). May 22, 5:00 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of another very severe thunderstorm to the southwest of Oakley, Kansas in Gove and Logan counties south of Interstate 70. The storm updraft produced a wall cloud and small needle funnel / brief tornado. The storm passed to the north, and hail to quarter sized was encountered. Hail stones as big as 2.5" were noted laying on the ground. Heavy rains and winds gusting near 45 MPH were also observed. A large RFD clear-slot was noted with this storm as it passed north of Oakley before it weakened. The storm was a classic supercell storm. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, strong upper trough, Colorado low-pressure system, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A PDS tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

5). May 22, 6:00 PM - Observation of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm to near Grinnell, Kansas in Sheridan county north of Interstate 70 and near Highway 216. This storm was a classic supercell storm, and quickly intensified and produced a tornado, which began as a truncated cone and evolved to a spectacular rope-type tornado which lasted over 15 minutes. Little damage was noted with this tornado. The storm core was not penetrated but inflow / RFD winds near 50 MPH were encountered. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, strong upper trough, Colorado low-pressure system, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A PDS tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

6). May 22, 7:00 PM - Observation and penetration of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm to near Collyer, Kansas in Trego county from near Interstate 70 and Saint Peter Road and then northward along and near Highway 283. This storm was a violent HP supercell storm, and produced multiple tornadoes, of which at least two were observed. One tornado was a rope-type tornado south of I-70 observed in a golf-ball sized hail core while heading east on I-70. The second was a multi-vortex / dusty wedge-type tornado that crossed I-70 before the storm went north and weakened. Damage was reported this tornado, including a roof torn off a farm building. Inflow winds near 65 MPH were encountered southeast of the dusty wedge tornado on the inflow side of the supercell! As the storm weakened, the core was penetrated and 70-80 MPH RFD winds were felt in torrential rains near Hill City along Highway 283. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, strong upper trough, Colorado low-pressure system, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A PDS tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

7). May 22, 8:30 PM - Observation and penetration of another very severe and tornadic thunderstorm to the southwest of Wakeeney, Kansas in Trego county and near Interstate 70 and Highway 283. This storm was a classic supercell storm that quickly evolved to an HP supercell. During classic to HP evolution, another wall cloud and large funnel, then a cone tornado, was observed in the "bears cage" of the storm. This storm had continuous and violent CG lightning with many close hits, and produced winds gusting over 75-MPH, violent rains, and hail to quarter sized. Damage was done from this storm in Wakeeney, and power was knocked out as well. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, strong upper trough, Colorado low-pressure system, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A PDS tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

8). May 23, 5:30 PM - Observation and penetration of an extremely severe and violent tornadic thunderstorm north of Quinter in Gove County, Kansas along North Castle Rock Road. This storm was followed from its point of initiation near Ness County for a couple of hours. The storm violently intensified near Quinter because it interacted with a warm front / boundary. The storm produced lightning, torrential rains, and hail up to grapefruit-sized. The main core of the storm was not penetrated. At least three tornadoes were produced by the storm near Quinter. The first was a large stove-pipe tornado just southwest of Quinter. The second was a large circulation that became a violent tornado, nearly a mile wide, north of Quinter. At least one large satellite vortex, a large stove-pipe tornado, was observed east of the wedge-tornado that rotated around (first moved NE, then N, then NW) the main tornado. The inflow into the wedge tornado was extremely violent, downing power poles and breaking a window on the chase vehicle. Many storm chasers were in this area, some blown off the road, while others suffering major damage. Fortulately, this tornado missed the main part of any towns. Many power poles were down, and airborne farm equipment was noted (grain bin rolling across the roadway). This tornado was observed at a dangerously close range! Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, stationary / warm front, strong upper trough, Colorado low-pressure system, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A PDS tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

9). May 23, 6:30 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of another very severe and tornadic thunderstorm to the southeast of Gove, Kansas in Gove county and near County Road 466 west of Castle Rock road. This storm was a small classic supercell storm that produced a large funnel / possible tornado. This storm had frequent lightning with some close hits, and produced winds gusting near 45-MPH, heavy rains, and hail to quarter sized. After documenting this storm, both my chase vehicle, and my companion's 4x4 got stuck in the mud and had to be towed out with a tractor. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, stationary / warm front, strong upper trough, Colorado low-pressure system, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A PDS tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

10). May 24, 6:30 PM - Observation of a strong thunderstorm near Doniphan in Hall County, Nebraska. This weak storm cell was a small, low-topped LP supercell. Despite rotation in the updraft, it failed to become fully developed due to a strong capping inversion aloft. The storm had a rotating structure, and typical LP appearance, but was low-topped. The storm had inflow winds to about 40-MPH and light rain. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, upper trough, low-pressure trough, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

11). May 25, 5:00 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of a very severe and tornadic thunderstorm near Bison and La Crosse along highway 4 in Rush County, Kansas. Before being over-taken by a cluster / line of outflow-dominant storms, this storm was a classic supercell. The storm core had 50-MPH winds, hail at least golf-ball sized, and frequent lightning. One close CG hit was within 100 feet of the chase group! A rotating wall cloud with funnels was observed on the south side of the supercell after getting out of the hail core. The storm produced a small tornado near Bison, which lasted about 5 minutes. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, upper trough, low-pressure trough, cold front, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

12). May 26, 7:30 PM - Observation and direct penetration of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm along highways 183 and 54 from Greensburg to east of Pratt, Kansas in Kiowa and Pratt counties. The storm was a violent HP / classic supercell thunderstorm that developed on the southern end of a cluster of strong and severe thunderstorms. The storm was first approached from the northwest, and a large rotating wall cloud was present on its updraft (southern / rear) flank with a large funnel brief tornado crossing highway 183 south of Greensburg (the same town struck by the devastating EF-5 tornado on May 4, 2007). This tornado was brief. The storm core was penetrated while re-positioning east of Greensburg on highway 54. Hail larger than baseball sized was observed, causing numerous dents and a smashed windshield on the chase vehicle. This storm had isolated hail up to 4" (nearly softball / grapefruit sized). Torrential rains, frequent lightning with close hits, and winds gusting over 70-MPH were also encountered with this storm. The storm caught up with Pratt, Kansas and produced a cone tornado just southeast of the town. The supercell RFD occluded and evolved to a bow / line segment afterwards. Some tree damage was observed as well as flooding, and hail damage. Conditions producing the storms were surface heating, interactions with a Pacific cold front and dryline boundary, upper trough, and a low-pressure system. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was in effect for the area until 8 PM CDT.

13). May 27, 5:00 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of a very severe thunderstorm near Altus, Oklahoma in Jackson county near Highway 283. This storm was a classic supercell that evolved to an HP storm before weakening and becoming a cluster of thunderstorms. Conditions experienced with this storm were 50-MPH winds, heavy rains, 1/2 inch hail, and frequent lightning. A rotating wall cloud and two small funnels were observed with this storm. The supercell had a striking visual appearance, with a "stacked plate" effect. Conditions producing the storms were boundary interactions, surface heating, and a weakening upper trough. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

14). May 27, 6:30 PM - Observation and penetration of a strong to severe thunderstorm near Vernon, Texas in Wilbarger county near Highway 70. This storm was an intense cell in a cluster of strong and severe thunderstorms. Conditions experienced with this storm were winds gusting near 60-MPH winds, 1/2 inch hail, torrential rains, and frequent lightning with some clost hits. Conditions producing the storms were boundary interactions, surface heating, and a weakening upper trough. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Chevy HHR was used to chase the storms. A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

15). May 29, 5:30 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm near Kearney, Nebraska along Highway 10 and Highway 30 in Buffalo County. The storm was a supercell thunderstorm that initiated south of North Platte and tracked towards the east and northeast. The storm was first picked up about 15 miles southwest of Kearney in Kearney county and followed northeast through the town. The storm produced a small tornado in Kearney County and a destructive tornado that caused extensive damage in parts of Kearney, Nebraska. The storm also had winds gusting near 80-MPH, frequent lightning with close hits, torrential rains, and hail up to golfball sized. The main storm core was grazed, but not penetrated. The tornado was observed while in Kearney and at very close range, where winds well over 100-MPH were encountered, with tree debris and parts of signs / roofs airborne. A portion of a coliseum had half its roof blown off and power poles were snapped just above the ground. Structural damage was observed in some buildings. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, strong upper trough, strong low-pressure system, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Kia Rio was used to chase the storms. A PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

16). May 29, 5:30 PM - Observation and interception of an extremely severe and violent tornadic supercell thunderstorm near Beloit and Glen Elder, Kansas along Highway 24 and near Highway 14 and Highway 30 in Mitchell County. The storm was a violent classic (and cyclic) supercell thunderstorm that produced multiple tornadoes. The storm was approached from the east on Highway 24 and presented a spectacular staked plates / mother ship structure when viewed from the northeast. The storm became a prolific tornado producer, and a large tornado (wedge) with multiple vortices (at some times 3 tornadoes / sub-vortices were noted) was observed with this storm near Glen Elder. The storm occluded, and continued northeast, causing additional damage in Jewell, Kansas. A small tornado, well south of the original large tornado (possibly anti-cyclonic) and in near darkness, took a direct hit on myself and other chasers (Tim Samaras's group) when attempting to go north on a farm road east of Highway 14. A vehicle had its windows blown out (all people involved were shaken but OK). The storm core had hail at least baseball sized, but was not penetrated. Inflow / RFD winds over 70-MPH were also observed with this storm, along with frequent lightning with many close hits. Damage observed was numerous downed trees and some damage to homes. Power was knocked out. Conditions producing the storms were a dryline boundary, strong upper trough, strong low-pressure system, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Kia Rio was used to chase the storms. A PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

17). May 30, 4:30 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of a very severe thunderstorm to the west of Lincoln, Illinois near Interstates 55 and 155 in Logan county. The storm was an HP / Classic supercell thunderstorm and a large, rotating wall cloud was observed with this storm. The main precipitation core was not penetrated, but winds near 60-MPH, heavy rains, small hail, and very frequent lightning (with many close hits) was observed. The storm produced some small funnels on its updraft side / wall cloud. Conditions producing the storms were a pre-frontal trough, strong upper trough, stalled outflow boundary, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Kia Rio was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

18). May 30, 5:30 PM - Observation of a very severe and possibly tornadic thunderstorm near Berlin, Illinois near Interstate 72 in Sangamon county (west of Springfield). The storm was an HP / Classic supercell thunderstorm. A rotating wall cloud was observed with this storm with several funnels. The main precipitation core was not penetrated. Very frequent lightning (with many close hits) was observed with this severe storm. Conditions producing the storms were a pre-frontal trough, strong upper trough, stalled outflow boundary, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Kia Rio was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

19). May 30, 6:00 PM - Observation of a very severe and possibly tornadic thunderstorm from near Berlin, Illinois near Interstate 72 in Sangamon county to Highway 4 in western sections of Springfield. The storm was an HP / Classic supercell thunderstorm. A rotating wall cloud was observed with this storm with several funnels. The main precipitation core was not penetrated, but 60-70 MPH (RFD) winds were observed, along with heavy rains, small hail, and Very frequent lightning with some close hits. A weak tornadic circulation was observed with this storm near Highway 4. Minor damage (trees / signs) was noted. Conditions producing the storms were a pre-frontal trough, strong upper trough, stalled outflow boundary, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Kia Rio was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

20). May 30, 7:30 PM - Observation and direct penetration of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm from near Jacksonville, Illinois south of Interstate 72 in Morgan county to near Waverly, Illinois by Highway 104. The storm was an HP / Classic supercell thunderstorm. A rotating wall cloud was observed with this storm, and a large rotating lowering (possible developing tornado) was observed off Highway 67 south of Jacksonville. The storm had very frequent lightning with many close hits, torrential rains, hail up to golfball-sized, and winds gusting over 70-MPH. Conditions producing the storms were a pre-frontal trough, strong upper trough, stalled outflow boundary, and surface heating. Documentation was still digital pictures and HD video. A 2008 Kia Rio was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

This concludes the Chase Log for the May 19 through June 1, 2008 trip. During this trip, a total of 19 severe thunderstorms and 1 strong thunderstorm were intercepted. Out of the severe storms intercepted, a total of 19 tornadoes were observed (at least), a few violent. Numerous funnels were observed with other severe storms. Largest hail measured was about 4" in diameter, causing extensive damage to the chase vehicle, a 2007 Chevy HHR. A 2007 Chevy HHR was used to chase the first 14 storms, and a 2007 Kia Rio chased the remaining 6. A total of 20 storms were observed, and total mileage for this chase was 6,250 miles. Mileage accrued on the first vehicle, a 2007 Chevy HHR, was 4,110 miles. The first vehicle was exchanged in Oklahoma City for hail damage on 5-28 for the second (2007 Kia Rio) used for the rest of the trip, with an additional 2,140 miles.


CHOOSE A VIDEO CLIP BELOW - LINKS TO YOUTUBE

Severe Storm Chase Trip - May 21, 2008 (CO)
Severe Storm Chase Trip - May 22, 2008 (KS)
Severe Storm Chase Trip - May 23, 2008 (KS)
Severe Storm Chase Trip - May 24, 2008 (NE)
Severe Storm Chase Trip - May 25, 2008 (KS)
Severe Storm Chase Trip - May 26, 2008 (KS)
Severe Storm Chase Trip - May 27, 2008 (OK / TX)
Severe Storm Chase Trip - May 29, 2008 (KS / NE)
Severe Storm Chase Trip - May 30, 2008 (IL)
Chase 2008 Music Video (NSCC 2009)


GALLERY FOR MAY 19, 2008

Here is a picture of myself and the first rental vehicle, a 2008 Chevy HHR, during vehicle setup in Chicago before heading west.


GALLERY FOR MAY 20, 2008

Here is a picture of the sun setting along Interstate 80 west of York, Nebraska during the long road-trip west on May 20 (travel day).


GALLERY FOR MAY 21, 2008

Here is a picture of an LP supercell updraft region in Yuma County, Colorado near Wray.
This is a small funnel that developed on the backside of the LP supercell in Yuma County, Colorado near Wray.
The LP supercell in Yuma County, Colorado drew many storm chasers. In this picture, Bill Hark takes a picture of myself, Tony Laubach, and his chase partner with the LP supercell in the background.
Marble sized hail covers the ground near the intersection of I-70 and Highway 59 in Kit Carson County, Colorado from a developing HP supercell storm.
The supercell storm near I-70 and Highway 59 intensifies as it moves northeast near Stratton, Colroado. A large wall cloud / possible tornado appears but could not be confirmed at this point.


GALLERY FOR MAY 22, 2008

Chase companion Doug Kiesling (with BNVN) stands (with his dive flag) in the strong east-southeast flow during the moderate / high-risk day of May 22 in west-central Kansas.
Here is a picture of one of the supercell storms that is developing along the dryline near Dighton, Kansas during the early afternoon. The wall cloud / lowering under the cloud base is a developing tornado.
Large hail (up to 2.5") on the ground south of Oakley, Kansas in the wake of a supercell storm.
Here is a picture of a developing tornado on the updraft side of a small, classic supercell storm near Grinnell, Kansas. This was to produce a beautiful rope-type tornado later on in its life-cycle.
This is the large and impressive rope-stage of the tornado that originally developed near and moved north of Grinnell, Kansas. Note the RFD clear slot to the upper-left. After this rope-out, the same complex of cyclic supercells produced yet more (and large) tornadoes farther north near Hoxie.
This was another needle / rope tornado that developed on the updraft side of a cyclic supercell near Collyer, Kansas south of Interstate 70. This is one of several tornadoes produced by this storm, and is viewed just after punching through the hail-core of the supercell.
Many chasers, including scientists, amateurs, and tour groups alike, all watch the Collyer supercell wrap up in 60-MPH+ inflow.
The supercell near Collyer, Kansas crosses Interstate 70 (wast of Voda Road) and produces this rapidly rotating dusty wedge / multi-vortex tornado. A large sub-vortex can be seen to the right just over the highway (dusty stove-pipe). This swirling mass of dust and clouds was later confirmed as a large multi-vortex tornado.
Yet another tornado is intercepted near Wakeeney, Kansas just south of I-70 and near Highway 283 in an HP supercell's "bear's cage"!
The HP supercell near Wakeeney, Kansas also produced incredible amounts of cloud-to-ground (CG) lightning in addition to the cone tornado.


GALLERY FOR MAY 23, 2008

The first storm of the day initiates ahead of the dryline as Doug Kiesling and Brandon check data and decide to head about 10 miles west of Utica, Kansas in Ness county.
The storm quickly becomes supercellular, with a roatating wall cloud in Ness county. This storm cycled slightly but eventually was to become the violent HP that affected Quinter farther north.
The storm has a rock-hard anvil with "knuckles" on its crisp edge as the supercell moves north in Ness county.
The supercell continues north, west of Castle Rock Road, and goes HP. This piece of large hail was found in a ditch southeast of Gove, Kansas. Hail up to 3" was confirmed with this storm at this point.
This is a tornado that developed southwest of Quinter, Kansas. The low-contrast shot is looking NW in very low light conditions, but a large stove-pipe tornado is visible. This is the start of a multiple tornado event (this tornado was the first "cycles" of a now cyclic supercell) that was called "Quinter #1".
The violent supercell intensifies as in interacts with a warm-frontal boundary and produces a large tornado (not visible and out-of-frame to the left in this picture), and the stove-pipe satellite tornado seen in the center of the picture! This is the next of several "cycles" of the first cyclic supercell (called "Quinter #1") affecting the area.
The large satellite (stove-pipe) tornado moves northeast, then north, then northwest (around the larger developing wedge tornado to the west). Note the mobile mesonet vehicle in the foreground (which is part of the TWISTEX group).
A large wedge (wider than it is tall) tornado tears across the field north of Quinter (fortunately for the town) as RFD winds blast and exceed 100 MPH. I am only 1/4 mile away from a tornado that is at least a mile wide!
Here is the broken side window on my chase vehicle, most likely from wind-driven debris associated with the RFD (or even a small satellite vortex) south of the wedge tornado ... I got just a bit too close!
Power poles knocked down along North Castle Rock Road north of Quinter after the violent tornado(es) passed by. This pretty much ended the first tornado event ("Quinter #1") but was only the first "event" of a "one-two-punch" as a second (and separate supercell) tornado event (called "Quinter #2") was to follow less than two hours later - and affect almost the SAME area!
Here is another possible tornado that formed on the southern flank of a supercell storm west of Gove, Kansas near county road 466. This was short lived and condensed nearly to the ground. After chasing this storm, chase Brandon and myself got stuck in the mud!
Supercells passing over turn these packed clay roads into stucky mud that nothing gan get out of! Both of our vehicles got stuck in the mud, ending the chase day (we missed "Quinter #2" because of this). Brandon and myself had to walk about 2 miles to a farm house where a local was kind enough to give us a hand.
Supercell storms were all around us when we were helplessly stuck in the mud. This is about the time the second "round" of tornadoes was affecting Quinter to our east and northeast (15-20 miles away). In this picture, a beautiful LP supercell passes just to our west ahead of a squall line at sunset.
The local, Wess, knew someone with a tractor. That was the only vehicle that could pull us out of the mud. All he wanted was a simple thanks, did not even ask for money. I "tipped" him $100 bucks and gave him a pat on the back from getting us out of that "gunk"! This mud is basically wet clay, and has the consistancy or chocolate fudge cake mix (even your boots get stuck and lost if you step in it)!


GALLERY FOR MAY 24, 2008

Here is a picture of the chaser convergence north of Interstate 80 in Grand Island, Nebraska and highway 281. The large vehicle in the center hosts scientific experiments, and Tim Samaras is working with projects with Boeing and National Geographic among others.
This small LP "mini" supercell develops ahead of the dryline to the southeast of Grand Island, Nebraska. The cell had rotation, but was low topped, moisture-starved, and failed to fully breach the strong cap.
Here is a view of the underside of the low-topped anvil of the LP supercell near Grand Island.
Another view of the small LP supercell near Grand Island. The storm failed to fully breach the strong cap, and was highly sheared. The cell dissapated shortly after this picture was taken.


GALLERY FOR MAY 25, 2008

Members of Tim Samaras's group do a weather / forecast briefing before leaving Lincoln, Nebraska for the target in southwest Kansas.
Heading west on Interstate 70 in Kansas, this is the caravan of storm chasers including Tim Samaras's group and a National Geographic film crew.
A rotating wall cloud appears on the south side of a classic supercell thunderstorm near La Crosse, Kansas just south of Highway 4 in Rush County. A large funnel cloud also can be seen.
Here is another funnel cloud produced by the same supercell storm as it moves over La Crosse. The funnel is about half-way to the ground.
As the supercell moves northeast across Rush County, Kansas, it finally produces this small tornado near Bison, Kansas.
Here is a close-up of the debris cloud of the Bison, Kansas tornado.
Cloud to ground lightning was frequent with these storms in Kansas, especially when the supercells evolved into a MCS (cluster / line of thunderstorms).
Here is one of several gustnadoes in the outflow dominant storms associated with the MCS near Sanford, Kansas along highways 183 and 156.
This is a view of the shelf-cloud and gust front associated with the MCS in Kansas.
Just before outflow under-cuts this developing storm, a large funnel appears just ahead of the gust front shelf cloud looking up!


GALLERY FOR MAY 26, 2008

This is a picture of damage caused by the May 23, 2008 Quintar, Kansas tornado. We decided to do a damage survey of the area before heading to our chase target farther south.
Verne Carson, right, launches an RC aircraft (remote control) carrying a digital video camera and a digital still camera. He will fly over a damage path, caused by the Quintar, Kansas wedge tornado on May 23, 2008, and take pictures of the damage below from about 300 feet. Verne calls his "drones" the "Wicked Witch" project.
This is a picture of Verne carson's laptop viewing arial pictures taken of a damaged farmstead during the damage survey in Quintar, Kanas.
Here is a picture, taken from Ford County, Kansas (looking SSE into a storm over Clark County) just after developing. This storm cell was to become a supercell storm that will produce giant hail and tornadoes.
A rotating wall cloud produces this large funnel (and brief tornado touchdown) south of Greensburg, Kansas.
Hail at LEAST baseball sized smashes the windshield of the chase vehicle in the supercell core east of Greensburg sending shard of glass into my lap!
The second tornado was a multi-vortex cone tornado east of Pratt, Kansas. A small sub-vortex can be seen just to the right of (and very close to) the main cone tornado.
This is what baseball sized (and larger) sized hail in the supercell storm core did to the windshield of the chase vehicle.


GALLERY FOR MAY 27, 2008

This is a picture of interesting cloud formations called HCR's (horizontal convective rolls). Thes are caused by rising and sinking air (in a mixing boundary layer) in bands creating horizontally oriented (aspect) rolls. The regions where air is rising can create the cloud bands if moisture conditions are right.
This is a view of the northwestern side of an intense supercell thunderstorm near Altus, Oklahoma viewed from about 30 miles to the northeast. The Wichita mountains can be seen on the horizon in the foreground.
The supercell storm near Altus looks very impressive on the radar for base reflectivity out of Frederick, Oklahoma's radar site. Note the "flying eagle" shape of the storm.
Here is a view of a portion of the updraft base of the supercell storm near Altus just before it weakened. The RFD bows out forming a "mothership" or "stacked plates" effect on the storm structure.
Here is a view of the Altus supercell vault / hail core to the right, and updraft / wall cloud to the left and lower-center of the picture. Two small funnels were produced by this storm.
Here is a picture of mammatus clouds in SW Oklahoma / NW Texas on the backside of the MCS.


GALLERY FOR MAY 28, 2008

Here is the last of the Chevy HHR rental after swapping vehicles at Oklahoma City (Will Rogers) Airport. The vehicle has a major damage claim and probably will need to be auctioned off.
Here is a picture of the second chase vehicle, a 2008 Kia Rio, all set up for the next few days of storm chasing farther north. I hope and intend to return this car in a MUCH better condition than the last, God willing!


GALLERY FOR MAY 29, 2008

Here is a picture of a developing tornadic supercell, with impressive structure and RFD slot (left), that will eventually produce a tornado through Kearney, Nebraska.
The storm begins intensifying, and produces its first tornadoes. In this picture, two distinct tornadic circulations are on the ground in a field south of me.
Tornado approaching Kearney, Nebraska (view is to the west). The tornado is in the center of the picture.
Power flashes as the tornado moves through Kearney. I am way too close, if not inside part of the core wind-flow of the tornado! Note the debris in the air.
Looking upward at the tornadic circulation just overhead. Note the curved banding of the truncated cone tornado viewed at a dangerously close range.
Here is a violent (and beautiful) supercell storm northwest of Beloit, Kansas looking southwest. In addition to such striking storm structure, a large tornado is on-going beneath the storm (bottom of picture just right of center)!
Incredible striations encircle this majestic supercell storm. This is the view of the northern side "stair-step" of the storm.
This supercell produced a spectacular multiple-vortex tornado. The view is to the southwest and the storm is to the SSW of Glen Elder off Highway 24.
View of widening tornado to the west as it passes near or over Glen Elder near highway 24. Note the impressive and tight RFD slot to the left of the tornado. This was an extremely violent mesocyclone.
Wedge phase of tornado after passing by Glen Elder looking to the WNW on Highway 24.
A smaller tornado takes a direct hit on myself and the other chase vehicles on a dirt road near Beloit, Kansas! The vehicle is actually off it's two left tires to the left! No one was hurt, but some windows were blown out in the vehicles.


GALLERY FOR MAY 30, 2008

Here is a picture of the first supercell intercepted near Lincoln, Illinois. A large, rotating wall cloud is to the left as a cloud to ground (CG) lightning strike can be seen to the right.
Large wall cloud near Berlin, Illinois on an HP supercell storm north of I-72. There is a suspicious dust swirl under the center of the wall cloud (lower-center of the picture).
Another supercell storm moves to the western outskirts of Springfield, Illinois in Sangamon county with a funnel and rotating wall cloud to its right.
Here is another rotating and large wall cloud near Jacksonville, IL on yet another powerful supercell storm.
This is a picture of a suspicious bowl-shaped lowering on the southern side of the Jacksonville, IL storm. This feature had rotation.
Severe winds (up to 70 MPH) and sideways rain and hail (up to golfball sized) affect the area between Jacksonville and Waverly, Illinois. This was on the backside of the tornadic supercell storm.


GALLERY FOR MAY 31, 2008

Today was not a chase day as I returned to Chicago to take a break. However, back in Oklahoma and Kansas, storms were still forecasted, including this moderate risk outlook forecasted by the SPC (storm predictions center).


GALLERY FOR JUNE 1, 2008

While in-flight and returning to Florida (from Chicago), a complex of strong and severe thunderstorms is circumnavigated over the Atlanta, Georgia area. In this picture, an updraft can be seen welling up through the sub-tropical atmosphere.


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