This section is for storm chases done in the central / Midwestern United States during the year of 2013. This includes all storm chasing activities (including any major chase "expeditions") during the year of 2013 in the central USA (aka "Tornado Alley"). For 2013, all chases in the central USA will be logged in this section, with many of the chases being possible "spot" chases / major severe weather "setups" chased. Here you should find many pictures of lightning, tornadoes, hail, strong winds, along with many severe thunderstorm elements. 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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STORM CHASING - CENTRAL UNITED STATES - TORNADO VICTIMS TRIBUTE

We have lost three fantastic storm chasers and friends of mine and many others - Tim and Paul Samaras, and Carl Young - Perished on Friday, May 31, 2013 in the El Reno, Oklahoma tornado while trying to document it. These three were the cutting-edge of the storm chasing community and our hearts and prayers will always go out to them and their family. In addition to these three, the El Reno tornado claimed more lives in the city itself - This was a dark and tragic day to say the least.

This is the section for all storm chases in the Central USA for 2013. This section is currently under construction!


TABLE OF CONTENTS - CLICK TO GO TO PAGE


ABOUT THIS CHASE LOG FOR THE MIDWEST

This is a chase log for any chases during 2013 in the Midwest and Central United States that were conducted as "spot" chases as well as any dedicated chase trip. Each chase section within this area will have its own details and such for that particular chase. This area was set up in the spring of 2013 and is for any chase that was conducted in the US Plains and Midwest. Equipment use in such chases range from cell phone to HAM radio communications, digital / still cameras, video (SD) and high-definition (HD) camcorders, and data logging / GPS via laptop computer. Storm chasing involved driving in harsh conditions and / or for long periods of time.

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.


CHOOSE A VIDEO CLIP BELOW - LINKS TO YOUTUBE

Violent EF-4 Tornado Near Bennington KS On May 28, 2013
Violent EF-5 Tornado Near El Reno OK On May 31, 2013


CHASE MAP FOR APRIL 6 TO APRIL 10, 2013

The chase map shown here is for the special "spot chase" trip from April 6 through April 10, 2013 in the Central USA (mainly Kansas). The green lines are the flights (including stops) to and from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Kansas City, Missouri (with a stop in Charlotte, NC on both roudtrip legs) and the red box is the chase / target area in the box inset to the lower-left. On the main part of the map, the blue lines denote the overall chase track, and red "X"'s denote where a storm intercept was done (the dashed path being the storm path, if any). The chase "target areas" that were considered during forecasting are denoted by the yellow colored areas.


CHASE TRIP CHRONOLOGY FOR APRIL 6 TO APRIL 10, 2013

This chase trip was a spot chase (just a few days) for a multi-day severe weather event in the Central USA. The chase trip began with a flight from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Kansas City, MO (with a stop in Charlotte, NC) on April 6. Upon arriving in Kansas City, I picked up the rental vehicle, a 2011 Chevy Aveo, setup the equipment, and headed south and southwest along I-35 to the Kansas Turnpike, and made it to Wichita, Kansas for the night by about 1 AM CDT (April 7), anticipating activity on April 7 west of the area.

Upon waking up on April 7 (in Wichita, Kansas), I did some forecasting and decided a route west would be good, pretty much heading out along Highway 400 / 54 towards Pratt, Kansas to look at data again by noon. The SPC had an area in slight risk, with a 5% probability of tornadoes from about the KS / OK border and northward to just south of I-70 for a portion of west-central Kansas. A severe storm fired SW of Wichita, Kansas and tracked rapidly NE just after noon, but this storm was not the main storm of interest. Anticipation was to the NW with a weakening cap. I headed west along Highway 54 to Greensburg, KS, meeting Verne Carlson and his son on the east side of town. With convective initiation imminent, we headed north on Highway 183 to intercept a storm near La Cross, Kansas. The La Cross storm was the main supercell storm of the day. The storm produced hail and a very weak (and brief) tornado near Otis. After chasing, I wrapped up and headed out of Great Bend via Highway 281 to near Russell. I spent the night in Russell, Kansas.

April 8 was the main "attraction" for this chase trip, with the leading edge of an intense upper-level storm system moving out of the American West and into the high Plains. I forecasted and decided to start west on I-70 to near Goodland, Kansas, and north on Highway 27 to Highway 36. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) had a slight risk for the area in NE Colorado and SW Kansas. The only concern was the increasing cap strength after 0z time. Upon heading west on Highway 36 into Colorado, a cluster of storms began to organize in the upslope wind flow. Upper level support arriving was the key to seeing supercells. Finally, the best storm developed near Burlington, Colorado, and I headed south on some unpaved country roads from 36 near Anton, CO to I-70 then east for intercept near Burlington. The storm was followed NE to near Highway 36 and eastward from Highway 385 into Saint Francis, Kansas. A weak land spout tornado and hail was observed with this supercell storm. After the storm weakened, I wrapped up the chase near St Francis and headed back to Goodland along Highway 27 to I-70. In starlit skies, the supercell storm rapidly intensified again NW of Atwood, Kansas, prompting a second intercept north along Highway 25 out of Colby, Kansas and to near Trenton, NE, where the storm was intercepted again. The chase day was finally wrapped up by heading south back to I-70 along Highway 25, then east to Hays, Kansas for the night.

The last chase day, April 9, was a long-shot chase day, but killed by a rapidly surging cold front (aka: "Blue Norther"). The original target and plan-of-the-day was to head to Oklahoma City and points SW. I forecasted early and left Hays, heading east on I-70 to Salina, then south on I-135 to Wichita, Kansas, then south on I-35 into Oklahoma City just after noon. The SPC had the area from Oklahoma City and SW to the OK / TX border in moderate-risk and a hatched 10% tornado probability. Subsequent outlooks, driven by the surging / undercutting nature of the cold front, downgraded to a slight risk with a 5% tornado outlook, and eventually 2% by the 20z outlook. Some storms were intercepted near Lawton, OK and I-44 and Highway 62. The storms were not very well organized, and were undercut by the surging cold front. Most impressive, was the temperature gradient across this front. Temperatures dropped as much as 60 degrees along this arctic cold front, with a strong and shallow density current of cold, Canadian air behind it. The same place in Colorado a day earlier, where the supercell was observed in 75 degree temperatures near Burlington, was 15 to 20 degrees and blizzard / heavy snow the same time on April 9th! The chase was wrapped up, with a trip back NE along I-44 through Oklahoma City to I-35, then north to Wichita, Kansas, and NE along I-35 (Kansas Turnpike) to Kansas City by 1 AM (April 10) for the night. Conditions were stormy (elevated anafrontal thunderstorms) and temperatures in the low 40's during the trip to Kansas City.

The return trip and end of the chase was on April 10, with packing and breaking-down of equipment. I returned the rental vehicle, and flew back from Kansas City, MO to Fort Lauderdale, Florida (also with a stop in Charlotte, NC). The flight path was initially quite turbulent out of Kansas City for the first 20 minutes due to the storms and weather. The total mileage on the rental vehicle was 2,349 miles.


APRIL 6 TO APRIL 10 CHASE MAIN PARTICIPANTS

CHASER NAMEHOME CITYCALLSIGNCHASE DATESOCCUPATION
CHRIS COLLURAMIAMI, FLKG4PJN4-6 TO 4-10IT CONSULTANT


CUMULATIVE STORM REPORTS FOR APRIL 6 TO APRIL 10, 2013

This is a single comulative image I prepared, based on 5 days of storm reports from the SPC (Storm Prediction Center) for the period from April 6-10, 2013. Red dots indicate that 15 confirmed tornadoes ocurred during this period. Green and blue dots indicate severe hail (330 reports of 1" or larger) and wind (249 reports of at least 58 MPH), respectively during this period. 19 Reports of hail more than 2" in size and 3 reports of wind over 65 knots (74 MPH) are denoted on the map by black triangles and black squares (for hail and wind, respectively). For this early April setup, the tornado reports were rather low, with the majority of them being in Arkansas and that region on April 10. At least two of the reports farther west (mainly Kansas) were the tornadic storms intercepted on April 7 and 8.


FORECASTING AND TARGET AREA - APRIL 7

April 7 was not expected to be a chase day, but turned out to be a rather rewarding day in central Kansas. Owing to better moisture return than expected and a weakened cap by afternoon, supercell storms developed near Lacross, Kansas by late afternoon, and even produced a weak tornado. The SPC (Storm Prediction Center) had south and central Kansas in a 5% tornado probability within a larger slight-risk area. Wind and hail probabilities were 15%, with the latter being hatched (significant hail possible). By afternoon, MCD (Mesoscale Discussion) #391 and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch area #84 was issued for central Kansas. The main issues were a strong cap, which did break in central Kansas, and poor mixing / moisture in the boundary layer farther south (low stratus clouds were present from about near Pratt, Kansas and southward into much of Oklahoma up until afternoon). The supercells that did form owed their existence to an advancing dryline segment in W Kansas that reached the better moisture by late afternoon.


STORM RADAR / SATELLITE IMAGERY - APRIL 7

The annotated diagram above shows both the visible satellite image (left) and radar image (base reflectivity) of a supercell thunderstorm near La Crosse, Kansas (right) at about the same time (roughly 6:30 PM CDT) on April 7, 2013. The key features in the diagram are the advancing plume of moist air from out of Oklahoma (green arrows) that eventually impinge on an advancing dryline segment south of a slowly moving warm front. A strong capping inversion, where an elevated mixed layer (EML) exists with temperatures at or above 5 deg C at 700 MB, prevents storms from developing near the Oklahoma border and southward. Elevated storms exist north of the warm front in N Kansas, as well as well to the east into Missouri from an earlier disturbance. The new upper trough is lurking to the west in the satellite image. Better mixing and cap breaching allowed for an intense supercell storm to develop in central Kansas (near La Crosse) and provides an excellent presentation in the radar image to the right. This storm produced very large hail, and a brief tornado.


FORECASTING AND TARGET AREA - APRIL 8

This was probably the most promising days for seeing supercells (and possibly tornadoes) of this multi-day severe weather event, being the "day before the day" in "chaser" slang. The target area and plan of the day was to head to the area from NW Kansas into NE Colorado (and possibly SW Nebraska), a target almost unheard of for storm chasing in early April. A strong cap in Kansas, developing lee cyclone, and upslope wind flow in NE Colorado was inviting for initiating storms. The SPC had this area, tentatively dependant on the cap breaching and moisture return, in a 10% tornado probability. I consider this a bit generous given the moisture axis being farther east and southeast, and upper support not arriving until later that day. Hail probabilities were 30% hatched (significant hail possible) with a wind probability of 15% (high-end slight risk). MCD (mesoscale discussion) #400, and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch box #85 was issued, with the tornado probabilities being lowered to 5% in later outlooks. The main storm of the day developed near Burlington, Colorado and tracked ENE into NW Kansas, and eventually SW Nebraska after dark. The storm produced some small tornadoes, until intensifying rapidly after dark (with some stronger tornadoes produced by that cell and others in Colorado) as it reached the better moisture to the east and stronger upper air support arrived.


STORM RADAR / SATELLITE IMAGERY - APRIL 8

The annotated diagram above shows both the visible satellite image (left) over the western Kansas / eastern Colorado region and radar image (base reflectivity) from NE Colorado at roughly 5:30 PM MDT on April 8, 2013. The left diagram shows some very important features that can make (or break) a storm chase day. The important feature is the developing surface low in Colorado with an attendant dryline segment / confluence axis extending towards the east into NE Colorado. A warm front is slowly pushing north towards the CO / NE "corners" region and extends eastward. The moisture axis is pushing into western Kansas and its edge has reached NE Colorado where a very strong capping (convective inhibition) has been overcome by the upslope wind flow as well as the leading edge of a strong upper level disturbance. The dotted line is the 5 deg C isotherm (at 700 MB) and south of that the cap is so strong there are not even clouds in some areas. The boundary layer remains poorly mixed to the east, away from the upper air dynamics (note the HCR's - Horizontal Convective Rolls)! The main supercell of the day (in the radar image to the right) developed near Burlington and near I-70 and Highway 385. The storm produced a small landspout tornado, and then continued northeast into Kansas, and eventually Nebraska. Weakening while in Kansas, the storm intensified rapidly into Nebraska, as it reached better moisture and the Pacific trough arrived aloft, producing a damaging tornado after dark. All the while, a developing winter storm was well underway to the northwest.


FORECASTING AND TARGET AREA - APRIL 9

This day was the so called "main" day of this multi-day severe weather event. Usually, the days "before" the "main" day pan out to be better, and April 9 was a classic example of this. At first, it appears a stalling cold front and dryline intersection, with attendant cyclogenesis, would be setting up near points southwest of Oklahoma City, OK (mainly towards the area near Lawton). At first, the SPC had this area outlooked in a moderate risk, with a 10% change of tornadoes, some strong (hatched area), along with a 45% significant (hatched) hail and 30% damaging wind probability on their 12z outlook. During the day, with heavy snow occurring in the areas chased on April 8 a mere 12 hour earlier, the cold front never stalled, and surged southward through the Texas panhandles by afternoon as a "blue Norther". By the 20z outlook, the SPC had removed the moderate risk, and only outlooked a mere 2% chance of tornadoes, but kept the hail probabilities high at 30% hatched with a 15% damaging wind probability, with severe convection being post-frontal (elevated) over the frigid (and surging) Canadian air mass. MCD (mesoscale discussion) #411 was issued for this area, and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch box #86. Most of the outlooks outlined hail as the main threats. I stuck to the SW Oklahoma target until that became undercut by the cold front, and observing elevated strong / severe convection after frontal passage.


STORM DATA PLUS RADAR / SATELLITE IMAGERY - APRIL 9

The annotated diagram above shows a rather interesting storm setup that unfolded late in the day on April 9, 2013 at around 6 PM CDT. In the visible satellite image to the left, a strong (arctic) cold front has surged southward from Canada and well into Texas. Note that the eastern extent of the cold air mass has not made as much progress to the east (has barely made it to Kansas City) at this point. Another interesting aspect of the cold air mass was that it was very shallow, with temperatures 40 deg F behind the front, and in the 60's a few thousand feet AGL! This allowed post frontal convection to be very active (elevated storms, where the air parcels do not originate from the surface) as the moisture simply ran op and over the cold front and continued over the cold air mass until it was affected by the upper tough. Very little convection formed ahead of this front, most was immediately behind it (anafrontal) or post frontal (elevated). The surging cold air also undercut any chances or tornadoes. Large hail was the result of the post frontal thunderstorms. The dryline tried to develop in Texas, but was quickly overtaken by the surging cold front as well. An anafrontal / elevated severe storm near Lawton, OK is shown in the radar image (reflectivity) to the right. Note the snow cover and low clouds in the same areas chased a day earlier (NE CO and NW Kansas) ... Now experiencing a full blizzard at the time (see surface observations below)!

The image above is the surface observations, with annotations, taken during the afternoon of April 9, 2013 across the central USA and high Plains. I annotated the diagram with the cold front (blue line) and warm front (red line) to separate the VERY different air masses. The yellow point "A" to "B" line marks my storm chasing positions at about the same time on April 8 and 9, respectively. Not only was the conditions warm and sunny with temperatures near 70 degrees F at point "A" on April 8 (NE Colorado), but 24 hours later, the temperature near "A" is now 12 degrees F with heavy snow and strong winds (a blizzard)! Note that a similar (and impressive) change is marked by the temperature gradient as one proceeds to point "B", where the temperature is 72 degrees F, that's a 60 degree temperature change! The light blue areas depict where heavy snow cover was at the time. The dynamics of weather in the central and western USA can be very impressive, indeed.


DETAILED CHASE LOG FOR APRIL 6 TO APRIL 10, 2013

1). April 7, 6:00 PM - Observation and interception of a very severe (and tornadic) thunderstorm near La Cross, Kansas and east to near Otis and Olmitz / Albert, and in Rush / Barton counties, from along Highway 183 and eastward along Highways 96 to 281. The storm was a supercell storm. Conditions observed were heavy rains, hail up to golfball sized, frequent lightning, and 50 MPH winds. The storm core was indirectly penetrated, with a diversion north of La Crosse and east around the storm to avoid larger hail. A very weak and brief tornado was also observed with this storm near Otis, Kansas. No damage was noted. Conditions causing the storm were surface heating, an upper trough, and an advancing dryline / surface low. Documentation was digital video, digital still photos, and audio. A 2011 Chevy Aveo was used to chase the storms. A severe thunderstorm watch was also in effect for the area, valid until 12 AM CDT.

2). April 8, 7:00 PM - Observation and interception of a very severe (and tornadic) thunderstorm near Burlington, Colorado in Kit Carson County north of I-70 and west of Highway 385 and points east and northeastward to near Saint Francis, Kansas along Highway 36 into Cheyenne County, then eventually into Nebraska near Trenton in Hitchcock County (heading north on Highway 25 north of Atwood, Kansas). The storm was a supercell storm, and first produced a landspout type tornado north of Burlington, CO and southwest of Saint Francis, Kansas. The core of this storm was not directly penetrated. The storm rapidly intensified again later near and west of Trenton, NE withy tornado damage reported later. This tornado was not visible (after dark) but 60+ MPH inflow winds were observed with this storm, with airborne dust and farm vegetation. These strong SE inflow winds gave way to a dusty calm then rapid wind shift to westerly (RFD)! Otherwise, hail up to 1", heavy rains, and frequent lightning was observed with this storm. Visually, this supercell storm had an impressive visual presentation (stacked-plates or "mothership" / striated structure) with inflow banding. Conditions casing the storms were upslope winds, surface heating, a low pressure system, and upper trough. A 2011 Chevy Aveo was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital images and video, as well as audio. A severe thunderstorm watch was also in effect for this area until 9 PM MDT (10 Central).

3). April 9, 6:00 PM - Observation and interception of a strong thunderstorm near Lawton, Oklahoma in Comanche County from near and west of I-44 and Highway 62. The storm was a small supercell storm, but was elevated as it was undercut by an advancing arctic cold front / cool density current. Most convection, although marginally severe, happeed BEHIND the cold front (anafrontal) with a shallow layer of cold air undercutting the storms. The strong cold front had a temperature change as much as 60 degrees F, over a 6 hour period! In fact, the same area in Colorado the day prior (near Burlington), the temperature was a mere 15-20 degrees F with heavy snow, a far cry from 75 degrees 12 hours earlier! The Lawton storm had small hail, lightning, 40 MPH winds, and heavy rains. Conditions causing the storm were surface heating, an upper trough, and an advancing strong cold front. Documentation was digital still photos. A 2011 Chevy Aveo was used to chase the storms. A severe thunderstorm watch was also in effect for the area, valid until 1 AM CDT.

4). April 9, 10:00 PM - Observation of strong thunderstorms from near Wichita, Kansas in Sedgwick County from I-35 and I-44 and points northeastward to near Emporia, Kansas in Lyon County. The storms were multicell clusters of strong thunderstorms, developing in the unstable post-frontal environment. Winds gisting over 40 MPH, frequent lightning, small hail, and heavy rains were onserved with these storms. These elevated storms were encountered with surface temperatures in the low 40's, enroute to Kansas City, MO after wrapping up the chase trip. Conditions causing the storm were an elevated warm air layer, an upper trough, and an advancing strong cold front. Documentation was digital video. A 2011 Chevy Aveo was used to chase the storms. A severe thunderstorm watch was also in effect for the area, valid until 1 AM CDT.

This concludes the Chase Log for the central US Plains and Midwest (tornado alley) chase trip from April 6 through April 10, 2013. The summary includes a total of 2 severe and 2 strong thunderstorms with 2 separate (weak) tornadoes. The main chase vehicle conducting all chases was a 2011 Chevy Aveo. This information was prepared exclusively for the National Weather service and the team of Skywarn storm spotters.


GALLERY FOR APRIL 6, 2013

TSA really freaked out when seeing this antenna mount I slapped together at the last minute. It's PVC and allows easy mounting on any vehicle or my weather station (for hurricanes). It was enough to close the security lane and bring in some "investigators" from TSA's Elite Staff - They even took photos of it! When it was just an antenna mount, things re-opened (after 20 minutes) and moved on. Luckily US Air (FLL to Kansas City) was not crowded!)
Overflying St Louis, MO (with sunset and city lights below) enroute to Kansas City on April 6.


GALLERY FOR APRIL 7, 2013

Verne Carlson? just east of Greensburg, Kasnas on April 7, just before heading north on 183.
Developing supercell storm in Kansas on April 7, 2013.
LP supercell storm struggling south of a more powerful storm on April 7 (Kansas).
Myself driving towards the Kansas target on April 7.
Heading towards the storm! This is north on highway 183 on April 7 (Kansas).
Supercell storm updraft base "trying" near Otis, Kansas (April 7, 2013).
Probably the smallest and thinnest tornado I ever seen - Kasnas on April 7.
Lots of golfball sized hail falling from the storm near Otis, KS (April 7, 2013).
Storm structure - KS (April 7, 2013).
Wide shot of myself driving and supercell updraft / RFD section - Kansas (April 7, 2013).
Chaser J Gustino after dark in Kasnas photographing a dying supercell storm.


GALLERY FOR APRIL 8, 2013

NWS radar in Goodland, Kasnas on April 8.
Developing supercell storm (left moving) on April 8 (NE Colorado).
Driving in open coutry - NE Colorado (April 8).
Developing supercell in NE Colorado - April 8, 2013.
Roger Hill?'s tour group on April 8, 2013 near Burlington, CO under a developing supercell storm.
Supercell near Burlington, Colorado - April 8, 2013.
Storm chasers / researchers - Near Burlington, CO on April 8.
Anvil and shadow of supercell near Burlington, Colorado - April 8, 2013.
Nickel to quarter sized hail - NE Colorado on April 8.
Beaver's tail of supercell near Burlington, Colorado - April 8, 2013.
Supercell SW of Saint Frances, Kansas - April 8, 2013.
Brief landspout tornado northeast of Burlington, Colorado - April 8, 2013.
Supercell storm (and green hail core to right) NW of Burlington, CO on April 8.
Tornadic supercell storm near NE / KS border - April 8, 2013 (N of Atwood, KS) ... Amazing inflow features.
Radar image of violent (tornadic) supercell storm in NW Kansas and nearing SW Nebraska after dark on April 8 (NWS radar reflectivity image from Goodland).
Tornadic supercell storm near NE / KS border (April 8) with very strong inflow with blowing dust and airborne corn husks / leaves.


GALLERY FOR APRIL 9, 2013

Low stratus and cold fog on the morning of April 9 near Russel, Kansas. Wind turbines "in the clouds".
Supercell storm being undercut by surging cold front near Lawton, OK on April 9.
Wet RFD near Lawton, OK on April 9.
April 9 west of Lawton, OK - Undercutting and surging cold front makes for a bust (sort of)!


GALLERY FOR APRIL 10, 2013

Pilot's glory above deck of clouds after leaving Kansas City on Apr 10 (this was above the system producing tornadoes later that day).


CHASE MAP FOR MAY 18 TO JUNE 2, 2013

The chase map shown here is for this main storm chasing trip from May 18 through June 2, 2013 in the Central USA. The green lines in the lower-left inset are the flights (including stops) to and from Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Denver, Colorado and the red box is the chase / target area. On the main part of the map, the blue lines denote the overall chase track, and red numbers are where severe storms were intercepted (the numbers are the same as the way they appear in the chase log details below).


CHASE TRIP CHRONOLOGY FOR MAY 18 TO JUNE 2, 2013

May 18 was the first day of this chase trip, and was both a travel day and moderately successful chase day, very busy indeed. I flew out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and arrived in Denver, Colorado just before noon local time and picked up the rental vehicle, a 2013 Kia Sportage. Forecasting was done while on the move, with a 10% hatched area in a moderate risk outlook extending from the I-70 corridor in NW Kansas southward. The goal was to get to the best target area in Kansas as possible, which appeared to be near and south of Hays, Kansas. After a very long line in the car rental place, I got the vehicle and headed east into Kansas, passing some LP supercell storms near Burlington while crossing the lee cyclone (Denver had N winds) and entering the better dynamics in Kansas (SE winds there). SPC issued MCD (Mesoscale Discussions) 675 and 676 and tornado watch box 170 for the target area(s), valid until 11 PM CDT. Sure enough, storms developed in the area south of Ellis and southwest of Hays with a few supercell storms extending from there down to near Jetmore. The best storm of the day was the southern supercell that produced a beautiful tornado near Rozel, but that storm was impossible to reach in time, so I settled with the tornadic HP storm southwest of Hays and Ellis. The chase track changed to south for intercept on Ellis Ave then eventually near Highway 183 and south to check the remnants of the southern storm near Highway 56. After chasing, I headed back up Highway 183 to spend the night at fellow chaser's Brandon Clark anticipating the next day chasing together with his group.

May 19 was a pretty busy and successful chase day with two target areas forecasted, one prominent target area in SE / S Kansas (primary target was Wichita), and another in central Oklahoma near Oklahoma City. The storm prediction center had these areas out looked in a moderate risk, with a 15% hatched tornado, 45% hatched hail, and 45 % wind probabilities. By mid morning, Brandon's group (including Brady, Brandon's Fiancé, Justin, and another woman) caravanned along with me eastbound on I-70 out of Hays to Salina, taking I-135 south into Wichita and near Highway 400 waiting for storms to form (cap breaking). We waited at a gas station east of I-35 turnpike on Highway 54 / 400 and had three vehicles including mine. Meanwhile, SPC issued mesoscale discussion 697 and subsequent tornado watch box 181 for this area. The plan was to chase in two vehicles, communicating by two-way radio, and leaving the third vehicle at the gas station to avoid hail damage to it. The first and main storm of the day developed southwest of Wichita, about 35 miles to our SW, and we went for it, with Justin and Brady in my vehicle leading the way to the storm environment. Two tornadoes were intercepted with this supercell storm. More tornadoes, some significant also developed in the (far away) Oklahoma target as well. After chasing, we wrapped up near Winfield as the storms became linear and took Highway 77 back north to the gas station to recover the third vehicle and break off (Brandon and his group returning to Hays that evening). I continued back south to position for the next day in Oklahoma City, taking Highways 81 and I-35 south into the city for the night.

May 20 was one of those very sad chase days, reminiscent of the Joplin, MO day back on May 22, 2011. I started the day by leaving Oklahoma City after forecasting and headed south on I-35 towards Moore / Normal for early lunch. The target area was to be near Duncan, Oklahoma. The storm prediction center had the area out looked in a moderate risk, with the tornado probability at 10% hatched, hail at 45% hatched, and wind 45%. By about 1:30 PM CDT, a mesoscale discussion (MCD # 726) and subsequent tornado watch box 191 for the same target areas. I left I-35 and headed west towards Duncan along State Road 7 and then north along Highway 81, then east along State Road 29. The storms initiated slightly west of Duncan, then split, and two powerful supercells developed, with me targeting the right split. The left split became the most intense, causing devastation and deaths in Moore, Oklahoma. This was an extremely devastating event, on par with May 3, 1999 and / or Joplin, MO on May 22, 2011. I did not follow the left split because I did not want to risk going into a populated / urban area, so I stuck with the southern storm. The southern storm produced some brief tornadoes, and was followed east along SR 29 until just east of I-35. I left that storm for another supercell cluster near the Red River along the Texas / OK border after that, by heading down I-35 to Highway 70, then back to I-35 and down to Highway 82 to near Saint Jo, Texas. I left that storm, and headed south to Denton, Texas for the night.

May 21 was a very frustrating chase day with a highly over-forecasted setup for tornadoes as per the storm prediction center, where a moderate risk was in place for NE and east-central Texas. The outlook had a 10% hatched tornado, 45% hatched wind, and 45% hatched hail for the severe probabilities. Upon looking at data, upper support was present, however, it became very apparent that a cold front / outflow boundary was going to surge quickly southeastward and trump the tornadic probabilities. I decided to head out of Denton around lunch, originally planning to head east out of town on 380. It became apparent that outflow from the ongoing weaker storms to the north was pushing southward through the area. I decided to head down I-35 W to near Fort Worth, and quickly became overtaken by the cold front / squall line of strong storms from the west. Severe traffic began just north of Fort Worth, so I tried to head east on 820 / TX 183 only to run into more traffic due to construction. I finally reached Dallas and I-35 E and spent another hour in MAJOR traffic. At this point, I was nearly 30 miles BEHIND the squall line's leading edge. Eventually heading south on I-35 E, I headed south pretty much paralleling the 'backbone' of the squall line, never getting ahead of it until south of Waco, Texas along I-35 and SE along Highway 77. The southernmost "tail end Charlie" storm was finally encountered near Rosebud, Texas. This was an HP type severe storm, but very outflow dominant. I wrapped up the chase and headed back up Highway 77 to I-35 / I-35 E back north through Dallas and back to Denton, Texas for the night.

May 22 was a down (off) day to re-position back to the west for the next disturbance to arrive later in the week. I left Denton and headed north on I-35 towards Oklahoma City. I stopped for a couple of hours in the highly devastated Moore, Oklahoma area, and documented the May 20 tornado destruction to a neighborhood just west of I-35 and north of Tecumseh Blvd. After doing the damage documentation, I continued northward into Oklahoma City to I-40, and headed west to Amarillo, Texas for dinner and to spend the night. The next day was supposed to be a slight-risk area in and around the Texas Panhandle, including Amarillo. I was able to also meet with Chris Kridler, Bill Hark, Scott Mc Partland, and Dave Lewison after dinner at the Big Texan steakhouse.

May 23 was yet another "moderate" risk chase day as per the storm predictions center, with a 10% tornado, 15% wind, and 45% hatched hail in their outlooks products. The day began leaving Amarillo and heading down Highway 287 towards Clarendon for lunch, and then southwest out of Memphis on Highway 256 towards Highway 70 for the first supercell interception to the southwest of Turkey, Texas. The forecasting was spot-on for initiation, and SPC had mesoscale discussion 782 and subsequent tornado watch box 213 for the area as well. The first supercell was intercepted to the NW of Dougherty and the core had to be punched on HORRIBLE slick dirt roads to the south of Highway 62. I was VERY close to getting stuck in the mud or a ditch - Thank God for AWD! The storm was followed to near McAdoo, then abandoned for a better storm near Spur / Jayton along Highway 70. The second supercell contained extreme winds (over 100 MPH) and eventually produced a tornado near Rotan, where I also met up with George Kouranis, Mike Theiss, and Chuck Edwards. I continued with the storm to near I-20 and Loraine until it weakened. After finishing the chase, I headed back north on Ranch 644 to Highway 84 and north through Lubbock to I-27, and farther north into Amarillo for the evening.

May 24 was a slight-risk chase day in western Kansas / eastern Colorado. The SPC had an area in slight-risk from SW Nebraska to the Oklahoma Panhandle area with the center of this area along the CO / KS border with a 5% tornado probability. Hail and wind probabilities were both 15% and upon looking at data, a target area near Goodland, Kansas seemed to be a good primary target. I left Amarillo early and headed pretty much up Highway 287 and 385 to near Lamar into SE Colorado. At this point, the target area seemed to be south of Goodland, KS, so I headed east on Highway 50 into Kansas and north on Highway 27 into Tribune, Kansas. I stopped in Tribune to wait for activity / check data, and also met with Bill Hark and his chase partner, Robert. I wound up caravanning with them for the remainder of the chase day. Finally initiation (cumulus) began just across the KS / CO border to the west in the target area. SPC issued Mesoscale Discussion 792 and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch box 215 valid for the area until 10 PM CDT. A long-lasting LP supercell storm was observed from near Sheridan Lake and northward along Highway 385 past Cheyenne Wells, Colorado and eventually into Kansas to the northwest of Goodland near Highway 27 and north of I-70. I caravanned with Bill Hark's group, Cloud 9 tours (Chuck Edwards, George Kouranis, and Mike Theiss), Dan Shaw, as well as several others. Cloud 9 tours had a breakdown with one of their vans south of I-70 on CR-54 and had to abort the chase there. The storm finally weakened near Bird City and was abandoned after dark. The storm produced very large hail. Once done chasing, I wrapped up for the night in Goodland, Kansas.

May 25 was a long chase day, riddled with frustration, but ending with a beautiful supercell intercepted in South Dakota with a storm structure so wild it made the whole day worthwhile. I forecasted and looked at data first thing in the morning before leaving Goodland, Kansas. It appeared a primary target area was well north, anywhere from western Nebraska and northward into South Dakota. Upon leaving Goodland, I discovered a flat tire on my rental vehicle - Not good. A can of fix-a-flat seemed to help, as the leak was slow and could not be located at the time. A local garage was happy to take a long at it, fill the tire with air, all as a favor - And I was finally on my way north on Highway 27. I headed west on Highway 36 to Idalia, Colorado, then north all the way on Highway 385 through SW Nebraska and into South Dakota. I stopped in Bridgeport, Nebraska, meeting up with Mark Farmer and a few other chasers (including Cloud 9 tours). A small LP storm popped up to the west, but did not appear to be the main 'storm' of the day. Meanwhile, the Storm Prediction Center had the areas in two mesoscale discussions (795 and 797), both being for the target area, with the one farther north (795) being more favorable, especially when tornado watch 217 was issued valid until 10 PM MDT. SPC also had a slight risk outlook, with tornado probability at 5%, wind at 15%, and a 30% hatched hail in the outlook. I headed north into SD from Nebraska along Highway 385 on a long-shot chance of catching a distant supercell storm developing near Sturgis, SD (150 miles away). This storm was moving SE (right / deviant and slow moving) and very persistent.

A horrible navigation mistake was made when I came to the intersection of 385 and Highway 79 east of Hot Springs. I took 385 and got 'lost' in the Mount Rushmore national park for over an hour. Roads were winding and slow, packed with RV's and slow drivers, and the only way out (and back to Highway 79) was via Highway 16A and 36. In a state of LOST patience, and passing a person doing 30 in a 35 MPH zone, I was pulled over by a park ranger and issued a ticket for speeding. Ironically, the LAST time I got any ticket was back in 2010, 3 years ago, and yes - when I got 'lost' during storm chasing. After a LONG and frustrating drive through winding roads and mountains, with my ticket in hand, I re-emerged on Highway 79. From there on, I reached Rapid City, SD quickly and headed east on I-90 towards Viewfield, SD and near CR MC-29. This is where the high-point of the long-lasting supercell was encountered. The storm structure was incredible with this storm. After sunset, the storm (finally) weakened, and I decided to spend the night in Wall, SD off I-90.

May 26 was a chase day in Nebraska which ended with the interception of an incredible supercell storm in Custer County near Broken Bow. I checked data in the morning in Wall, SD and decided to go for the southern portion of the target-areas, which was pretty much near the I-80 corridor and in south to south-western Nebraska, basically near North Platte. The SPC had a large slight-risk area, with a 5% tornado outlook, along with 30% hatched hail, and 15% wind outlook. The southern area had a warm-front in place and developing lee cyclone to the west in NE Colorado. I left Wall, SD early and headed southward through the Badlands National Park and southward through the Pine Indian Reservation via Highway 44 and 73 and into Nebraska near Merriman. I continued down Highway 61 / 62 all the way to Ogallala for lunch, then east on I-80 to North Platte, which was the primary "target" area. I waited just north of North Platte and met up with Daniel Shaw and Winston Wells. Meanwhile, the SPC issued mesoscale discussions 805 and then 811 for the area, followed by tornado watch box 223 valid until 2 AM. Storm initiation began very late, around 7 PM CDT, with a multicell cluster north of the warm front, and a supercell 30 miles or so to the east of North Platte and Stapleton, the latter being the main storm intercepted. The supercell storm was intercepted in Custer County, with an incredible structure and baseball sized hail observed. The storm was followed until after dark, and the chase was wrapped up by heading back the same way to North Platte for the night, stopping for lightning photography half way enroute.

May 27 was a very encouraging moderate risk chase day that seemed to guarantee seeing a large tornado, but wound up being a marginal outcome except for a rain-wrapped tornado on the northern side of the primary target. I started the day by leaving North Platte and headed east on I-80 to Highway 183 west of Kearney, and south to near Highway 24 near Stockton, and east to the primary target areas near Beloit and Osborne, Kansas in Osborne County. The SPC had a "bulls-eye" area of moderate risk, with tornado probabilities at 10% hatched, wind at 30%, and hail 45% hatched. Eventually, mesoscale discussion 820 was issued, and subsequent tornado watch box 231 for the area as well. The area of interest was ahead of a lee cyclone and dryline, in the vicinity of a warm front. A substantial chaser "convergence" was associated with this target, and I met up with Jeff Piotrowski and his group, several other chasers in the area, and even caravanned for a bit with Tony Laubach's group as well. Initiation was about 5:30 PM, with several areas (unfortunately) of storms developing. I decided to remain south and avoid the MCS / HP storm that produced a rain-wrapped tornado to the north near Smith Center. Supercells did fire, but formed a line and did not produce the long-track tornadoes expected. The chase track pretty much was from Osborne, Kansas and Highways 281 / 36 through Glen Elder to Beloit, then south on State Road 14 all the way to I-70. Data was bad near I-70. The chase was wrapped up south of I-70 near Ellingswood, after meeting Scott Mcpartland and Bill Hark. I took some lightning pictures, and headed back on Highway 40 to I-70, and into Hays, Kansas for the night.

May 28 was the day where storm chasing served its purpose, with a large and potentially violent tornado intercepted from a near stationary supercell north of Salina, Kansas. This chase day started with a very complicated forecast, and even SPC had a slight risk area extending half of the way across the country (from the Eastern Great Lakes to Mexico), with the same for the 5% tornado threat. Hail and wind threats were both at 30%, with the hail threat hatched. The target area that seemed the most appropriate was to the east of Hays, where a frontal / outflow boundary was attached to a nearly stationary surface low, and dryline / confluence axis coming in from the SW. I had lunch with the BaseHunter's group in Hays, checked out late, and headed south and east out of town, down Highway 183 and east on CR 44 to check things out. Cumulus began to build to the east, so I continued east until into the outskirts of Salina, Kansas on Highways 156 and 140 and then north on Highway 81 towards the initiating supercell storm. The storms developed right in the target area, almost on que! This supercell storm was to become a nearly stationary and violent tornado producing storm. The tornado / supercell storm was observed west of Minneapolis, Kansas near Old Highway 81. The storm evolved from classic to HP and weakened after several hours. The chase was completed by about 7 PM. I headed back down into Salina, then south on I-135 to Wichita for the night, as the next day was supposed to be another significant day for severe weather.

May 29 was forecasted to be a very busy chase day, which it was, but not as expected storm-wise. A moderate risk was issued by the SPC with a 15% hatched tornado area extending from near Dodge City, Kansas, southward to the OK / TX border near Childress. A 45% hatched hail and 30% wind probability was also in place surrounding and near the tornado threat. The plan of the day was to leave Wichita and head west out of town towards the Dodge City area, and work southward as far as the central Texas Panhandle / northwestern Oklahoma. I headed west on Highway 54 / 400 to near Greensburg (checking out the Big Well while there), and then headed south on Highway 183. Meanwhile, very messy convection began to develop early over these target areas, as the storm prediction center had the areas in a mesoscale discussion 854 and subsequent tornado watch box 239, valid until 10 PM CDT. I pretty much headed down into Oklahoma along Highway 183, then along Highway 60 into the Texas Panhandle, stopping in Higgins and meeting with chaser Tim Marshall and his group. A small supercell storm tried to go up NE of Amarillo, but could not sustain itself. Outflow dominated and quasi-linear storm modes ensued, and became outflow dominant. Strong winds and hail was observed with a bow segment south of Canadian in Hemphill County, Texas and near Highway 83 towards Briscoe. No major supercell storms developed, so the chase was ended early, and I headed east into Oklahoma and north on State Road 30 and 33 west to Highway 60 along the Texas Panhandle, then back north and east to Oklahoma along Highway 60 to highway 281 north to Alva. Hail was noted along Highway 60 with hail fog near Vici behind the storm segments. The final leg into Wichita, Kansas for the night was via Highway 160 out of Medicine Lodge, then to State Road 2 and Highway 400. The city of Wichita was chosen because the severe weather outlooks over the following days were centered nearly directly over it.

May 30 was a chase day in north-central Oklahoma with two supercells intercepted, and one of them producing two very brief and small tornadoes. The day started out by leaving Wichita, Kansas by going west on Highway 400 then south into Oklahoma on Highway 81, then Highway 74 to Enid, Oklahoma in time for a quick lunch, which was the primary target area. Storms were on-going over the area, with clearing and re-development of supercell storms by early afternoon. The SPC had the area in a moderate risk, with a 10% hatched tornado, 15% wind (to the east), and 45% hatched hail threats. By mid-afternoon, mesoscale discussion 878 and subsequent tornado watch box 252 was issued for the area as well. The two supercell storms were intercepted near the Guthrie area, and northeastward towards Perkins and Cushing and near highway 177. Two small tornadoes were observed with the first supercell. The chase was wrapped up by heading north on Highway 177 and back west through Stillwater to I-35, and into Wichita (again) for the night. Some swollen rivers were also noted after the passage of the storms. The next day was to be yet another moderate risk chase day in northern Oklahoma / southern Kansas.

May 31 was the final chase day of this expedition, and certainly was not for the faint of heart. At least 4 tornadoes were observed in SW Oklahoma, with 3 of them significant (wedge tornadoes), and with another toll on human life and property. I left Wichita along Highway 400 to I-35 south after doing a thorough forecast, with the primary target area being in the general vicinity of El Reno, Oklahoma. I continued down I-35 to Guthrie, to finally fix the slow flat tire (the leak was a small Allen wrench in the tire – probably from driving through Moore, OK a week earlier), and continued to Edmunds to look at more data, get a quick lunch, and start heading west around the OKC area along Edmund Road to Highway 3, then eventually Highway 81 into the "target" city of El Reno, where I stopped. Many chasers were in El Reno, including Howie Bluestein, Melanie Metz, Bill Hark, Dan Robinson, Mark Robinson, just to name a few. The SPC was volatile in their outlooks, with a moderate risk in place, and probabilities of tornadoes at 15% hatched, wind at 30% hatched, and hail at a staggering 60% hatched. A surface frontal boundary intersected the dryline west of El Reno, with dewpoints in the upper 70's! Mesoscale discussion 907 and subsequent PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch box 262, valid until 12 AM CDT. Supercell storms (and strong wedge tornadoes) were intercepted west and through El Reno, basically around I-40 and Highway 81. The El Reno tornado was a HISTORIC and DEADLY event - With a path length of nearly 17 miles, a 2.6 mile (yes, two-point-six miles) width, and EF-5 winds at least 296 MPH!

At one point, a developing multi vortex tornado developed nearly on TOP of me while struggling south on Highway 81. I continued east towards Mustang on State Road 152. This is where the traffic was very bad, and people were running around and panicking in their vehicles. I decided to turn around, as another supercell was rapidly intensifying and moving ESE towards Mustang. In the middle turning lane, moving at about 20 MPH to find a good place to make a left turn (with bumper to bumper traffic in the right 2 lanes), BANG! Someone pulls to the left out of the traffic jam and hits me, blowing out my front passenger tire and causing damage to the door and passenger side of the vehicle. I stopped, but looked back and could not see who hit me. I pulled off (with the broken wheel dragging), and went left into the backside of a gas station / church. I scurried in 70 MPH winds to replace the tire with the spare, but as I drove again, the right wheel was clanking and I could not go more than 20 MPH. At this point power went out, powerlines fell, and NO one was on the roadways. I saw an intense swirling of debris across the roadway with rotating clouds and rain-wrap all around (possibly the 4th tornado).

Heavy rains, hail to golfball sized, and strong winds ensued, driving all the way to Will Rogers airport to wait out the storm in the parking garage. Power was out everywhere, and there was no one at any rental car facility. I began taking the equipment off the vehicle while waiting for the storm to abate. I contacted my rental car company, and arranged for a pickup of the vehicle, but this had to be at a hotel off I-44, and a slow limp another 10 miles was required, through flash flooding and severe weather. I finally arrived at the motel off I-44 by around midnight and since they had power, stayed the night there. The next day was to wait for a vehicle to be brought down from Tulsa and (hopefully) return to Denver, CO.

June 1 was strictly a travel day and with top priority to get a replacement vehicle. Storms were well east and southeast of the 'chase' areas in the central USA. By 11:30 AM or so, a replacement car (another Kia Sportage for a year model earlier) arrived and the damaged vehicle was taken to Tulsa via an open LDW claim on a flatbed tow truck. I left the motel onto I-44 and headed up I-35 and north to Salina, Kansas, then west on I-70 all the way to Denver, Colorado by late evening. While in Denver at my motel off I-70 and Peoria, I got a very disturbing phone call from Doug Kiesling. This is when I learned Tim & Paul Samaras, and Carl Young were killed in the El Reno tornado. I did not handle this very well, and was extremely upset on the loss of such great friends and co-workers. Tim was one of the coordinators of the NSCC (Chasercon) each year in February, and his scientific / research was purely out of passion and was second-to-none. These three will be missed dearly by the storm chasing community. I went to bed late on June 1 / June 2 (with the help of strong beer).

June 2 was my last day of the trip, and also was strictly a bright and sunny day for traveling and wrapping up this extremely busy chase trip. I checked out of the motel late after packing up and finishing some paperwork, chase logs, and expense reports. I headed to Denver International Airport after a late lunch via I-70 and Pena Blvd. I returned the rental vehicle, and flew out on a late afternoon flight back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The total mileage on the rental vehicles was 7,344 miles (6,666 on the first Kia Sportage and 678 on the replacement vehicle). This concludes the storm chase trip for May 18 to June 2, 2013.


MAY 18 TO JUNE 2 CHASE MAIN PARTICIPANTS

CHASER NAMEHOME CITYCALLSIGNCHASE DATESOCCUPATION
CHRIS COLLURAMIAMI, FLKG4PJN5-18 TO 6-2IT CONSULTANT


CUMULATIVE STORM REPORTS FOR MAY 18 TO JUNE 2, 2013

This is a single comulative image I prepared, based on 16 days of storm reports from the SPC (Storm Prediction Center) for the period from May 18 to June 2, 2013. Red dots indicate that 253 confirmed tornadoes ocurred during this period. Green and blue dots indicate severe hail (1,431 reports of 1" or larger) and wind (2,375 reports of at least 58 MPH), respectively during this period. 121 Reports of hail more than 2" in size and 43 reports of wind over 65 knots (74 MPH) are denoted on the map by black triangles and black squares (for hail and wind, respectively). All in all, a total of 4,059 severe weather reports were logged during the May 18 to June 2 period (as of June 7, 2013).


DETAILED CHASE LOG FOR MAY 18 TO JUNE 2, 2013

1). May 18, 4:30 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of a severe thunderstorm west of Burlington, Colorado in Kit Carson County and along Interstate 70. The storm was a high based LP supercell storm, being passed on its northern fringes en-route to a Kansas target area. The storm split and for a while had a bell-shaped base, RFD feature, and striations on the updraft tower. Hail to dime sized was observed with this storm, along with 40 MPH winds, rain, and frequent lightning. The main core was not penetrated. Conditions causing the storm were an upper-level trough, developing lee cyclone, and surface heating. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storm. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was also valid for this area until 11 PM CDT.

2). May 18, 6:30 PM - Observation and interception of a very severe and tornadic thunderstorm from south of Ellis, Kansas into Rush County near Ellis Avenue and around Highway 183 to west of La Crosse. The storm was an HP supercell storm, which produced a well-defined but poorly contrasted funnel / tornado during its northern split with the southern split also producing a weak tornado (dust rotating under funnel / rotating wall cloud) north of Nekoma. This HP supercell was part of two tornadic supercells, with the next storm to the south producing a significant tornado (too far to intercept at this point after long drive from Denver). The HP supercell storm here had hail to baseball sized (core not penetrated directly). Hail to 1", winds gusting near 80 MPH (especially in RFD), frequent lightning with some close hits, and torrential rain was observed. Conditions causing the storms were a dryline, surface heating, low pressure trough, and upper trough. Documentation was audio, HD video and digital stills. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storm. A tornado watch was also valid for this area until 11 PM CDT.

3). May 19, 4:30 PM - Interception of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm to the southwest of Wichita, Kansas in Sedgwick County. The storm was south of Highway 400 / 54 and the storm was followed to the NE from near Highway 42 and Clearwater and into the SW side of Wichita near McConnel Air Force Base. Two tornadoes were observed with this storm. The first one was a slender elephant trunk / rope tornado that lasted about 5 minutes on the south side of the developing storm, and another farther north as a wide / multi vortex that quickly became rain wrapped. The storm was a powerful HP supercell. The storm core, containing hail at least baseball sized, was not penetrated. Conditions encountered included winds gusting 70 to even 80 MPH (in the rain wrap / wet RFD), hail to golfball sized, frequent lightning, and torrential rains. Damage occurred in parts of Wichita from this storm. Conditions causing the storms were a weak cold front, dryline / boundary interactions, upper trough, surface heating, and surface low pressure. Documentation was digital stills, HD video, and audio. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was also in effect for this area until 10 PM CDT.

4). May 20, 4:30 PM - Observation and penetration of an extremely severe and violent tornadic thunderstorm from near Duncan, Oklahoma in Stephens County from near Highway 81 and State Road 7 and points east and northeast. The storm was followed from initiation, and split into two storms, with the right split the one being followed. The left split of the supercell, however, went on to become the devastating Moore, Oklahoma tornado. These storms were classic / HP supercell storms. This tornado was not intercepted as it was in a heavily populated area. The southern split produced a rotating wall cloud with some funnels and a brief tornado. Other conditions with this storm were golfball sized hail, 60 MPH winds, torrential rain, and frequent lightning with many close hits. Conditions causing the storms were boundary interactions, a weak cold front, surface heating, dryline, and an upper trough. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills, audio, and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

5). May 20, 6:30 PM - Observation of a severe thunderstorm from north of Courtney, Oklahoma in Love County and points southward to near Montague County in Texas near Saint Jo and along Highways 70 and 82. The storm was an HP supercell that evolved to a multicell cluster of strong and severe storms. The storm was outflow dominant, and had winds gusting near 70 MPH with frequent lightning, torrential / horizontal rains, and hail up to 1". Conditions causing the storms were boundary interactions, surface heating, dryline, and an upper trough. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills, audio, and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

6). May 21, 0:00 PM - Penetration of strong and severe thunderstorms along a long line / path from near Waco, Texas and southward to near Rosebud, Texas along Interstate 35 as well as Highway 77. The thunderstorms were a multicell line of strong and severe thunderstorms with an HP supercell storm at the southern end of the line. The storms were very outflow dominant. Conditions observed with the storms were winds gusting up to 60 MPH, torrential rains, hail to a half-inch, and frequent lightning with close hits. Conditions causing the storms were outflow boundaries, surface heating, and a cold front. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. Documentation was audio, HD video, and digital stills. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 7 PM CDT.

7). May 23, 3:00 PM - Interception and penetration of a very severe and tornadic thunderstorm from Floyd County near Dougherty, Texas and west of Highways 70 and near Highway 62. The storm was an HP supercell storm that produced some weak tornadoes (one of which was observed). The storm was followed southward to near McAdoo, Texas before it became outflow dominated. In addition to the weak tornado, very strong winds over 70 MPH (with blowing dust), frequent lightning, golfball sized hail, and torrential rains were observed with this storm. Conditions causing the storms were an outflow boundary, low pressure trough, surface heating, and upslope wind flow. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 10 PM CDT

8). May 23, 5:00 PM - Interception and penetration of another extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm from near Spur (Dickens County) through Jayton, Texas (Kent County) and southward through Rotan and Fisher Counties primarily along Highway 70 and parts of Highway 380. The storm was another HP supercell storm. A tornado was observed with this storm near Rotan in Fisher County from along Highway 70. The storm had XDW (extreme damaging winds), and these winds, near Jayton and Highway 380, were observed gusting over 100 MPH! Hail up to golfball sized, torrential / violent rain, and frequent lightning was also observed with this storm. The storm also caused flash flooding and structural damage to buildings (some roofs torn off). Conditions causing the storms were an outflow boundary, low pressure trough, surface heating, and upslope wind flow. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 10 PM CDT

9). May 24, 6:00 PM - Interception and penetration of a very severe thunderstorm from near Sheridan Lake in Kiowa / Cheyenne counties in Colorado and near Highways 385 and 40. The storm was followed into Kansas to near Goodland and I-70 / Highway 27 in Wallace / Sherman counties. The storm was an LP supercell storm. Conditions encountered were lightning (with close hits), large hail (up to 2" was observed), light to moderate rains, and winds near 50 MPH (mainly inflow with dust). Some small funnel clouds were observed, and the storm had a striking visual appearance of stacked plates at one point. Conditions causing the storms were a dryline, surface heating, low pressure area, and an upper trough. Documentation was audio, digital stills, and HD video. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. A severe thunderstorm watch was also in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

10). May 25, 8:00 PM - Interception and observation of a very severe thunderstorm in Meade County, South Dakota north of I-90 and near CR MC-29 and Viewfield. The storm was a classic supercell storm, with a very striking and impressive visual appearance (barber-pole updraft and stacked-plates appearance). The storm core was not penetrated, and contained 3" hail to baseball sized. Conditions encountered were 40-MPH winds, lightning, moderate rain, and hail to 3/4" (the storm core was avoided). Some funnel clouds were also observed with this storm, with a well-developed RFD. The storms were caused by surface heating, a warm front / dryline interaction, a low pressure area, and an upper trough. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 10 PM MDT.

11). May 26, 7:30 PM - Interception and observation of a very severe thunderstorm from near Broken Bow to Comstock, Nebraska in Custer County and near Highway 183 and State Road 70. The storm was a very intense LP supercell, evolving to classic mode. The storm had an incredible visual appearance, with a striking barber-pole updraft and "stacked plates" / "flying saucer" effect. The storm produced baseball sized hail, but the dangerous core was only indirectly penetrated, and hail up to 1" was observed falling. Some partially melted baseball (melted to tennis ball sized) hailstones were noted on the ground behind the storm core. Other conditions encountered were light rain, 40 MPH inflow winds, and frequent lightning with some close hits. The storm also produced a rotating wall cloud with funnels. The storms were caused by a low pressure area, surface heating, warm-front (well ahead of a weak dryline), and upper trough. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storm. Documentation of this storm was digital stills, audio, and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 2 AM CDT.

12). May 27, 7:00 PM - Observation of a severe thunderstorm in Osborne County, Kansas from near Osborne, Kansas and eastward through Beloit. The storm was a supercell storm. A rotating wall cloud with funnels was observed with this storm, along with hail to 1", moderate rains, 50 MPH inflow winds, and frequent lightning. The storm was caused by a warm front, surface heating, upper trough, low pressure area, and dryline. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. Documentation was audio, digital stills, and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 12 AM CDT.

13). May 28, 6:00 PM - Interception, indirect penetration, and observation of an extremely severe and violent tornadic thunderstorm to the north of Salina, Kansas in Ottawa County from near Highway 81 and State Road 143. The storm was a tornadic classic (evolving to HP) cyclic supercell storm. The storm produced two tornadoes, the first one short lived, and the second being a large and potentially violent wedge tornado, with a wide of a mile wide at one point, and staying on the ground for at least 30 minutes until the wet RFD wrapped around it, obscuring it from view. In addition to the tornado, 50 to 60 MPH inflow winds were noted, large hail up to tennis ball sized, torrential (horizontal) rains, and very frequent lightning with many close hits. Damage occurred over open country (mainly to farm equipment and powerlines) from this tornado, as it fortunately did not hit any towns. Conditions causing the storm were an outflow boundary, stationary front, dryline, surface heating, low pressure area, and an upper trough. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storm. Documentation was digital stills, audio, streaming video, and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

14). May 29, 4:30 PM - Indirect penetration and observation of a severe thunderstorm near Briscoe, Texas and eastward along Highway 83 and FM 1046 and FM 277 in Hemphill County. The storm was a bow segment in a multicell line of severe thunderstorms. The core was not directly penetrated, but hail to 3/4", 60 to 70 MPH winds (and blowing dust), frequent lightning (with some close hits), and heavy rains were encountered. The storm core contained hail over 2" (core not directly penetrated). Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, a dryline, a low pressure trough, and an upper trough. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 10 PM CDT.

15). May 30, 3:30 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of a very severe and tornadic thunderstorm from near Guthrie, Oklahoma in Logan and Payne Counties, and east and northeast through Perkins and Cushing near State Road 33 / 105 and Highway 177. The storm was a supercell storm, and two small brief tornadoes were observed before outflow undercut the storm. The storm had large hail in its main core (not penetrated), but a golfball sized stone or two hit the vehicle. Heavy rains, 50 MPH winds, and frequent lightning (with some close hits) were observed with this storm. The storm was caused by surface heating, an outflow boundary, low pressure area, and upper trough. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills, audio, and HD video. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 10 PM CDT.

16). May 30, 5:30 PM - Observation of a severe thunderstorm from near Guthrie, Oklahoma in Logan and Payne Counties, and eastward towards Agra near Highway 177 and State Road 105. The storm was a supercell storm, and came very close to producing a tornado, with a rapidly rotating wall cloud and funnel across SR 105. The storm quickly succumbed to the effects of the outflow boundary after that, but not before exhibiting an impressive structure with striations and barber-pole updraft. The core contained large hail (over 2") but the core was not penetrated. 50 MPH winds and lightning were observed with this storm in addition to the rotation and funnel. The storm was caused by surface heating, dryline, an outflow boundary, low pressure area, and upper trough. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 10 PM CDT.

17). May 31, 6:00 PM - Interception, observation, and penetration of an extremely severe and violent tornadic thunderstorm (of "historic" proportions) near and to the south of El Reno, Oklahoma in Canadian County. The storm was a violent classic / HP cyclic supercell storm, and produced at least three tornadoes (most of these being mile-wide multi-vortex / wedge type). The storm also contained grapefruit sized hail and 100 MPH winds in addition to heavy rains and tornadoes. The main core was avoided like the plague. Conditions encountered during this storm were winds over 100 MPH (tornadic inflow and RFD), frequent lightning with close hits, hail to baseball sized, and extremely heavy (horizontal) rains. The storm caused damage and deaths in El Reno, including those of renowned scientists / storm chasers Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and Carl Young. The large tornadoes were observed with this cyclic supercell, along with a very impressive striated updraft, wall cloud, inflow bands, RFD clear-slot, and supercell structure. The tornadoes were all wedge tornadoes / multi vortex, a mile wide in some cases. Later analysis shows these 'mile wide' tornadoes being mere sub vortices of a larger circulation 2.6 MILES wide! The tornado was rated EF-5 with a core (peak-gust) velocity of 296 MPH! The outer circulation of the third wedge tornado (during its development stages) passed very close to, if not over, the chase vehicle (nearly blowing it off the road). Other storm chasers had their vehicles destroyed from this storm. Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, low pressure area, a dryline, stationary frontal boundary, and strong upper trough. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills, audio, and HD video. A PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch was also valid for the area until 12 AM CDT.

18). May 31, 7:30 PM - Observation and penetration of another very severe and tornadic thunderstorm from near Mustang, OK in Canadian County and eastward to Will Rogers International Airport in Oklahoma County along State Road 152. The storm was an HP supercell storm, and took a direct hit on the town of Mustang. While in traffic, with people panicking, a car struck me in the middle turning lane damaging my front passenger door and wheel, destroying the tire. After that, the other motorist left and I was forced to retreat behind a church / gas station before the storm hit. I never saw the person who cut in front of me again. The vehicle could only do 20 MPH after quickly changing the spare tire. A tornadic circulation passed over my vicinity, and had gusts near 80 MPH with flying debris and power poles / signs down. This HP supercell evolved into a very large cluster of severe thunderstorms. Other conditions encountered were 80 MPH winds, hail to golfball sized, frequent lightning, and torrential rains. I had to "limp" to the airport to take shelter during the storm in their parking garage. After finding out I could not get any help from their car rental facility (power out and not same company / franchise), I had to hobble 10 miles to a motel off I-44 in heavy rains, flash flooding (cars were floating in rushing water in some streets), and hail to golfball sized. The storm ended after arriving at the motel off I-44 and Penn in NE Oklahoma City. Many trees down, power outages, and flash flooding were observed with this storm. Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, low pressure area, a stationary frontal boundary, and strong upper trough. A 2013 Kia Sportage was used to chase the storms and sustained damage (from the accident in Mustang). Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 12 AM CDT.

This concludes the Chase Log for the central US Plains and Midwest (tornado alley) main 2013 chase trip from May 18 through June 2. The summary includes a total of 17 severe thunderstorms and at least 15 tornadoes, four of which being significant. The main chase vehicle conducting all chases was a 2013 Kia Sportage, later changed at the conclusion of the chase to another 2012 Kia Sportage after the former was damaged in Mustang, Oklahoma by a motorist fleeing from the storms on May 31. This information was prepared exclusively for the National Weather service and the team of Skywarn storm spotters.


GALLERY FOR MAY 18, 2013

May 18 was a "travel in the morning" (arriving in Denver, Colroado from Fort Lauderdale, Florida with picking up the rental vehicle and jetting off to the Kansas "target" areas) and "chase in the afternoon" type of day! The images above are images from the SPC (Storm Prediction Center) and NWS (National Weather Service). To the left is SPC's tornado probabilities (10% hatched for Kansas and parts of N Oklahoma), and mesoscale discussion (MCD) 676 in the middle, and the visible satellite showing storms firing over the "target" areas late in the afternoon of May 18. In the satellite image, the supercell storms can be seen erupting over Kansas - With at least two tornadic supercells present (one south of Hays, Kansas and the southern cell that produced the Rozel, Kansas tornado).

Flying out (from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Denver, Colorado) and across the Gulf of Mexico on May 18, 2013. Note the cloud "streets" over the wam Gulf waters, denoting a long and persistant "fetch" of moisture into the Texas area ... A subtle sign of "things to come" in the central USA, as most moisture is from the Gulf of Mexico for severe weather. This was taken from a Boeing 737 at an altitude of about 38,000 feet.
Another view taken from a Boeing 737 (from Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Denver, Colorado) at an altitude of about 38,000 feet over Kansas on May 18, 2013. The flat terrain is marked by numerous circular fields, where center point irrigation is widely used.
Explosive supercell development over eastern Colorado / Western Kansas on May 18, 2013.
Small LP (low precipitaion) supercell storm near Burlington, Colorado on May 18, 2013.
Tornado on northern HP (high precipition) supercell to the SW of Hays, Kansas on May 18, 2013. The view is to the West.
Second tornado / rapidly rotating wall cloud on northern HP supercell to the SW of Hays, Kansas on May 18, 2013. The view is WSW.


GALLERY FOR MAY 19, 2013

The images above for May 19, 2013 paint yet another volatile scenario for the central USA in Oklahoma and Kansas. To the left is SPC's tornado probabilities, with a 15% hatched area across SE Kansas, Western Missouri, and NE Oklahoma. In the middle image, MCD 697 outlines the severe setup just before tornadoes and supercells developed across the area from Wichita, Kansas and southward towards Oklahoma City. To the right, tornado producing supercells are erupting near Wichita, Kansas as well as to the NE of Oklahoma City are apparent on the visible satellite image. All of these storms produced significant tornadoes.

Tornado number one of the supercell south of Wichita, Kansas (near Viola) on May 19, 2013. The view is South.
Closer / enhanced view of the tornado near Viola, Kansas on May 19, 2013. The view is South.
Developing LARGE tornado number 2 (the left edge of the tornado is just over the roadway. Very rapid rotation - Multi vortex tornado that hit Wichita on May 19, 2013. Note the satellite vortex just above the pole in the center of the photo. The view is WNW.
One of many intense supercell storms near Northern Oklahoma on May 19, 2013. The view is South. Numerous tornadoes affected the northeastern portions of Oklahoma City this day.


GALLERY FOR MAY 20, 2013

May 20 was to be a volatile and deadly tornado day across the Oklahoma City area, especially the town of Moore, Oklahoma. The SPC tornado probabilities in this area are 10% hatched to the left, with the southern, central, and eastern OK areas under the gun. In the middle image is MCD 726, with the analysis showing the severe weather setup across the Oklahoma target areas. To the right is the NWS visible satellite image, with at least three supercells developing from the Red River, through Duncan, and (most importantly) towards Oklahoma City (that northen cell being the deadly supercell that produced the Moore EF-5 tornado). Impressive HCR's (horizontal aspect rolls) can be seen east and southeast of the supercell storms in SE Oklahoma as well as the surface boundary north of that area.

Monsters always start 'small' ... This is the initiation of the Duncan and eventually the Moore, OK storm on May 20, 2013. The view is to the West.
Split between two anvils ... One was the Duncan, Oklahoma supercell and the other the devastating Moore, Oklahoma storm on May 20, 2013.
This is the powerful updraft of the Moore, OK tornadic supercell storm about 10 minutes before it destroyed the town on May 20, 2013. The view is to the NE.
Some tornadic activity on the SW side of the Duncan supercell (the cell SW of the Moore, OK storm) on May 20, 2013. The view is to the West.
There is indeed now MORE than ONE 'Dominator' - May 20, 2013. Three of such vehicles operating for the Weather Channel to the nort of Duncan, Oklahoma.


GALLERY FOR MAY 21, 2013

May 21 was an overly hyped tornado forcasted as per SPC, but upon looking at data in detail, a rapid evolution to a squall line seemed to be on tap for the day. To the left is the SPC moderate risk outlook for a rather large area from Southern Oklahoma to Eastern Texas and into Arkansas. Tornado probabilities were originally 10% hatched, but never verified ... As a matter of fact, NO tornado reports were recived by the end of May 21! In the middle image, MCD 749 shows the setup with surging cold air overtaking the Texas dryline early in the day. In the NWS visible satellite image to the right, the squall line can be seen trudging eastward with high winds and hail across Eastern Texas with elevated convection into Eastern Oklahoma. Also note the upper-level low (cold core DVA / swirl of high clouds) to the west over the Texas Panhandle.

Gust front from tail-end storm 25 miles or so south of Waco, Texas on May 21, 2013.


GALLERY FOR MAY 22, 2013

May 22 both an off day and a day to reposition to the Texas Panhandle area (near Amarillo) from Denton, Texas to anticipate the next prospect of storms later in the week. A stop in Moore, Oklahoma was done to assess the damage first hand and document it. Moore was devastated by the tornado on May 20 a couple of days earlier, with at least 20 people killed. The tornado was rated EF-5 and was at least a mile wide and on the ground along a 19 mile long path. The damage was documented by parking a mile or two away and walking into the damage area (with permission). This day ended with a trip to Amarillo, Texas for the night and to meet up with other chasers for dinner.

Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Tornado survivor (lucky and thankful to be ALIVE) holding his cat in front of his destroyed home.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Unrecognizable remains of homes / debris piled high by tornado.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Car in debarked tree and destroyed home.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Trees debarked.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Car buried in remnants of a home.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Sidewalk along path of destruction.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Overturned vehicle in front of destroyed medical offices.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Debris strewn across landscape.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Completely flattened pickup truck / SUV (?).
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Destroyed vehicle remains / man walking through debris.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Vehicle remains (once inside garages of disintegrated homes) piled in a field.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Destroyed residence and people going through rubble.
Moore, Oklahoma tornado from May 20, 2013 (picture taken on May 22) - Remains of axel from a vehicle.
Some folks eating dinner at the Big Texan Steakhouse in Amarillo, Texas ... Eat this 72 Oz steak and all the sides in an hour or less ... Then it's free!


GALLERY FOR MAY 23, 2013

May 23 was a pretty much "jump back into the saddle" chase after a brief one down-day (off). A small moderate risk (including a 10% hatched tornado) probability was imposed by the SPC across the Texas "caprock" areas as shown in the left image. MCD 782 in the middle image shows the interactions of a dryline to the west (attached to a developing lee-cyclone south of Amarillo, Texas) and an outflow boundary from overnight storms in Oklahoma. To the right, a NWS base reflectivity shows two violent HP supercell storms across the Texas caprock, each with a hook structure on them. These storms produced some small tornadoes, but the one to the east (right in the image) also produced XDW (extreme damaging) winds over 100 MPH on it's backside and baseball sized (or larger) hail.

First tornado (or maybe just dust updrafting)? To the west of Dougherty, Texas and to the south of Highway 62. There it is? - Peaking through the 60+ knots inflow dust! May 23, 2013. I was later told by chasers (George Kouranis and his group) that this was just rapidly rising dust. The view is Southwest.
Muddy road and hail core in the storm west of Doughtery, Texas on May 23, 2013. Photo taken by Clarence Bennett.
Possible tornado near Rotan, Texas during the evening of May 23, 2013. The view is to the NNW.


GALLERY FOR MAY 24, 2013

These three images are for May 24, with the left image being SPC's slight risk (tornado probabilities were 5% as well) from SW Nebrasks, much of Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas, and into the Texas / Oklahoma panhandles region. In the middle image, MCD 792 clearly shows the lee cyclone forming over NE Colorado (Denver Vorticity area / DCVZ) and dryline bulge into W Kansas. To the right is the NWS base reflectivity image of an LP Supercell storm that developed in Western Kansas / Eastern Colorado and eventually moved past Goodland, Kansas later that same day.

Just a part of the chaser convergence near Sheridan Lake, Colorado near an LP supercell (George Kourounis, Charles Edwards, and Daniel Shaw) on May 24, 2013.
Hail falling near Cheyenne Wells, CO on May 24, 2013 under a developing LP supercell storm.
Hail near Cheyenne Wells, CO on May 24, 2013 under a developing LP supercell storm.
George Kouranis daying "When YOU tell me the LCL's gonna be low - You BETTER mean it!" ... No, we're just having fun under the meso south of Goodland, Kansas on May 24, 2013.
LP Supercell just before splitting and intensifying again to the NW of Goodland, Kansas on May 24, 2013.


GALLERY FOR MAY 25, 2013

May 25 was a chase day that began with much frustration due to a navigation error off Highway 385 that forced me into Mount Rushmore national park in Western South Dakota, but was salvaged as a long shot chase to a supercell that lasted for many hours was accomplished east of Rapid City. In the left image, a large area of 5% tornado probabilities was imposed by the SPC in a large slight risk. In the middle, MCD 800 shows the setup and tornado watch issued for SW South Dakota and northwestward into Montana. This was an unusual setup for this part of the country. In the right image, the base reflectivity of an intense classic supercell is shown east of Rapid City that lasted until nearly 10 PM CDT (9 MDT).

Myself smiling and the Rapid City, South Dakota supercell on May 25, 2013 just after arriving near the storm and driving to it from nearly 200 miles away! This long-lasting storm developed much earlier near Sturgis, South Dakota and slowly drifted to the ESE for nearly half the day in the afternoon.
Storm structure with powerful RFD of the Rapid City, South Dakota supercell on May 25, 2013. The view is to the NNW.
"Stacked-Plates" appearance of the SE side of the Rapid City, South Dakota supercell on May 25, 2013. The view is to the NNW.
Impressive structure (with rotating wall cloud) of the Rapid City, South Dakota supercell on May 25, 2013. The view is to the NNW.
Wide angle shot of some chasers under the 'meso' of the Rapid City, South Dakota supercell on May 25, 2013.
Weakening (downscale development) at dusk of the Rapid City, South Dakota LP (low precipitation) supercell on May 25, 2013.


GALLERY FOR MAY 26, 2013

The images above show the SPC and NWS data for May 26, 2013. This was a very complicated forcast, and involved a large slight-risk and 5% tornado graphic extending from SE Montana all the way SE through NW kansas, as shown in the left image. In the middle, is the analysis shown on MCD 811, pointing at central and southern Nebraska being the best bet for supercell storms. To the right is the NWS base reflectivity image of the lone (and spectacular) Custer county classic (or LP) supercell storm near Broken Bow later in the day.

Developing LP supercell in Custer County, Nebraska on May 26, 2013. The view is to the SE. Massive upward motion on this storm.
Incredible supercell structure with this LP supercell near Broken Bow, Nebraska on May 26, 2013. The view is to the West.
"Mothership" appearance of LP supercell near Broken Bow, Nebraska on May 26, 2013. The view is to the South.
Another view of the "Mothership" / "stacked plates" appearance of LP supercell near Broken Bow, Nebraska on May 26, 2013. The storm is to the NNW of me as it lumbers above the Plains of the Central USA.
Incredible supercell structure realized in this wide-angle view from under the LP supercell north of Broken Bow, Nebraska on May 26, 2013. The centroid of rotation is just right of the center of the photo.
Partially melted giant hail (originally from tennis to baseball sized) after the passage of the LP supercell in Custer County, Nebraska on May 26, 2013.
Lightning and mammatus from weakening LP supercell in Nebraska on May 26, 2013.
Wider shot of lightning and mammatus from weakening LP supercell in Nebraska on May 26, 2013.


GALLERY FOR MAY 27, 2013

May 27 was another very busy chase day and challengine forecast for North-Central Kansas and S Nebraska. To the left is SPC's 10% hatched tornado probabilities (in another moderate risk) centered over the "target" areas. In the middle, MCD 820 shows the intensifying surface (lee) cyclone to the west and streamlines around the system. To the right, is the NWS base reflectivity of one of the supercell storms that developed near Osborne, Kansas, and was one cell south of another that produced a violent tornado near the KS / NE border near Trescott.

Rotating wall cloud / updraft over Osborne, Kansas on May 27, 2013. The view is SSW and this supercell is one of a line of supercell storms along the dryline. This was also the last time I saw Tim Samaras and his group chasing storms and / or caravaning with them.
Tail-end supercell south of I-70 and west of Salina at dusk in Kansas on May 27, 2013. The view is ESE. Note the interesting 'barber pole' structure in the lower center (mesocyclone) and RFD cut just to its right. Lightning is ocurring to the left (in the hail shaft).


GALLERY FOR MAY 28, 2013

May 28 was a interesting day with a very complicated forecast, and as depicted in the left image, a huge slight risk with a 5% tornado area stretching from the eastern Great Lakes to Central Texas and Eastern Wyoming as per the SPC! Our job was to "find" the tornado in this large "hay stack" of a forecast area! In the middle, MCD 837 shows an area with a good prospect for tornadoes, especially ahead of a lee cyclone where an outflow boundary intersects a statonary front with a dryline poshing in from the SW. Sure enough, to the right, the NWS base reflectivity (and velocity inset) shows a violent tornadic supercell to the northwest of Salina, Kansas nearly stationary at the intersection of the aformentioned boundaries. This storm produced a violent (EF-4) tornado that was up to 1.5 miles wide!

First funnel and small tornado developing on May 28, 2013 near Minneapolis, Kansas. The view is to the WSW from an area with tennis ball sized hail falling.
Developing large tornado west of Minneapolis, Kansas on May 28. This is near the end of I-135 north of Salina, Kansas. The view is WSW.
Wide angle view of developing strong tornado on May 28, 2013 near Minneapolis / Bennington, Kansas. The view is to the WSW.
View of intensifying and a soon-to-be violent tornado on May 28, 2013 near Minneapolis / Bennington, Kansas. This large tornado (3/4 mile wide in this picture) is intensifying and will pack winds of EF-4 strength. The view is West.
Myself in the chase vehicle (my 'office' for two weeks) near Minneapolis / Bennington, Kansas on May 28, 2013 watching the wedge tornado becoming rain wrapped. This is on old highway 81 and I am facing West.
Large (Wedge) tornado starting to become rain-wrapped while nearly stationary. Shot is looking west from near Minneapolis / Bennington, Kansas on May 28, 2013. This tornado was rated EF-4 and was on the ground for OVER an hour!
Supercell structure of the HP storm (the wedge tornado is now completely rain-wrapped) as the DOW (Doppler on Wheels) scans the storm. May 28, 2013 near Minneapolis and Bennigton, Kansas. The view is to the SSW.


GALLERY FOR MAY 29, 2013

May 29 was another moderate-risk day that promised strong tornadoes, but yielded only a squall line by the end of the day. To the left is a 15% hatched tornado (within a moderate risk) SPC outlook for western OK and the TX Panhandle areas. In the middle, MCD 854 shows thunderstorms initiating early over the forecasted areas. To the right, a cluster / squall line of severe thunderstorms (with base reflectivity radar inset) is depicted on the NWS visible satellite image. Supercells (and any weak tornadoes) were embedded in this line of thunderstorms, along with high winds and wind-driven hail.

Powerful gust front and outflow ahead of a bowing-segment in a line of severe thunderstorms near Briscoe, Texas on May 29, 2013. The view is to the NNW.
Mammatus looming above western Oklahoma on May 29, 2013. This is on the backside of a powerful MCS.


GALLERY FOR MAY 30, 2013

May 30 was a day before the record-breaking May 31 tornado day, and involved another moderate risk issued by the SPC, and a 10% hatched tornado outlook across North-Central to Eastern Oklahoma in the left image. In the middle picture, MCD 878 shows the dryline and stationary front / outflow boundary interactions. By the end of the day, in the right image, some tornadic supercells can be seen in central to NE Oklahoma as well as some major hailstorms farther south towards the Red River in the NWS visible satellite image.

Developing supercell storms near Guthrie, Oklahoma on May 30, 2013. The view is south and southeast.
Developing brief tornado viewed from near Coyle, OK on May 30, 2013. This tornado had a slight ground dust swirl, but quickly weakened after that. The view is WNW.
Brief tornado (some chasers closer in confirmed ground circulation briefly) near Perkins, OK on May 30, 2013. This was a second brief tornado as the supercell cycled. The view is NNE.
Chasers jamming the roads in Oklahoma near Agra, OK on May 30, 2013.


GALLERY FOR MAY 31, 2013

May 31 was a record-breaking tornado day, particularly near El Reno, where a 2.6 mile wide EF-5 tornado developed with 296 MPH winds and a path length of nearly 17 miles! In the left image, a 15% hatched (moderate risk) is issued by the SPC extending from South-Central to SW Oklahoma through SW Missouri and SE Kansas. In the middle image, MCD 907 shows the area most volatile across central Oklahoma, ahead of a dryline and low pressure area (lee cyclogenesis) and stationary frontal boundary intersection. To the right is the NWS visible satellite (and radar velocity inset) at about the time the violent EF-5 tornado developed near and south of El Reno, Oklahoma. This was the fateful day when chasers / scientists Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, and Carl Young were killed in the tornado, along with 7 other people. This was the widest tornado ever measured, and the second highest windspeeds (296 MPH) measured at the Earth's surface.

Wedge tornado approaching El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31, 2013. This view is looking WSW from a cemetary in El Reno and the tornado is a few miles away.
Developing wedge tornado and wall cloud (these features had violent motion) and my chase vehicle near El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31, 2013. I am heading south quickly on Highway 81.
Wedge tornado with rain wrap (there is even a barely visible satellite tornado to it's right)! - Near El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31, 2013.
Wedge tornado - Near El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31, 2013. This tornado is rapidly intensifying and part of as larger circulation that will eventually become a 2.6 mile wide EF-5 tornado with 296+ MPH winds.
Yes - I'm scared - And close to being killed in this picture. I am trying to race southward on Highway 81 (south of El Reno, Oklahoma) to get out of the outer circulation of a rapidly intensifying EF-5 tornado that would quickly become 2.6 miles wide and pack winds near 300 miles per hour. I am in the 100+ Knots inflow and looking back, the massive tornado looms behind me in the extreme wide-angle shot. Holding the camera (GoPro 3) was almost impossible, and the raindrops caused abrasive-like scrapes and cuts on my wrist. Scientists Tim Samaras, Paul Samaras, and Carl Young were behind me somewhere and lost their lives in the tornado. This is May 31, 2013 and the view is looking N to NNW.
Wedge tornado moving away and to the east of Highway 81 and southeast El Reno, Oklahoma on May 31, 2013. This is at the point where the EF-5 tornado grew from a mile wide to 2.6 miles wide in 30 seconds! Most likely, this WEDGE tornado might be a "sub" vortex rotating around the large circulation! The actual left "edge" of the 2.6 mile-wide tornado is far out-of-frame to the left and not visible in this picture. Windspeeds were near 296 MPH at this point!
Quick shot of the flooding in suburban Oklahoma City late on the evening of May 31, 2013 ... Note the cars floating just upper-right of the center near the yellow hydrant. Trees are down and flash floods are ocurring, with rushing water in the streets! All this in addition to record-breaking tornadoes.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 1, 2013

June 1 was an off / travel day that started in Oklahoma City, with a replacement of the rental vehicle damaged in an accident a day earlier and long drive to Denver, Colorado. June 1 was a beautiful clear and sunny day with a drive out of Oklahoma City just before lunch, headed north on I-35 to I-70 near Salina, Kansas, and eventually west into Denver, Colorado by late evening (roughly 9 PM MDT) for the night. I broke down later that evening at my motel in Denver after learning about Tim, Paul, and Carl.

Upon leaving Oklahoma City and having breakfast on the morning of June 1, 2013 - The grim news appears in every news stand across Oklahoma.
An otherwise beautiful fair-weather day unfolds after the previous meteorological "mayhem" over the past couple of weeks on June 1, 2013 while doing the long drive back to Denver, Colorado. In this picture, deep blue skies and fair weather cumulus prevail over Kansas and along Interstate 70.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 2, 2013

June 2 was the last day and no chasing was done. it was a day to pack up, return the rental vehicle, and leave from Denver, Colorado and fly back to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This was the conclusion of my 16-day long chase trip from May 18 to June 2, 2013.

The last few moments of an epic (and sad) chase trip ... heading back into Fort Lauderdale, Florda late on June 2, 2013 and overflying the beautiful city lights (from Denver, Colorado).


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