Tour 2 started off the show for 2018 tours! A quick shift in the dates for the arrival and flexible guests made for a much better tour than if we had waiting for the original arrival date! Several great storms, amazing sights and great times!
(Tour 2 - May Madness - First chase day departing hotel)
The first chase day started in the Texas Pandle. Strong capping held off much of the storms until really late afternoon. Shear was really good for supercells but moisture was really lacking and the day mostly underperformed. Still made for some great photography and we experienced a stunning sunset!
(Struggling updraft in the Texas Panhandle)
(Stunning Sunset south of Shamrock, TX)
Day two of Tour 2 we woke up in Dodge, City, KS and headed to Great Bend, Kansas.
Parameters were in place for what could be a great tornadic supercell or two.
After lunch we sat just west of town and watched towering cumulus clouds waiting to see which one would end up being the big player.
Finally we had a supercell developing!
(Storm of the day, Tescott, Kansas Tornadic Supercell)
But sometimes in life we have curve balls thrown at us, and storm chasing is full of them!
This storm which looked really good for awhile started to get really messy, with several cell mergers (storms running into each other - Not good!) It looked like a huge mess of garden showers. Our once highly anticipated day turned into mush. So we though. Another storm to the south fired and looked really impressive. I decided to take a look at it and stopped a few miles south of the storm I was leaving. After looking at some data it was noted capping was too strong and the storm would not last. With that decision I decided to head back north to our messy original storm. Even though it looked horrible it was maintaining tops of 50K feet, which indicates to me it still had a healthy updraft.
From here a mistake in my GPS and roadmap data placed us terribly behind.
Both forms of my mapping software showed a direct paved road to the storm. This was not the case, after several miles of pavement it ended into mud and loose gravel that wanted to be mud as well. Turning around would place well out of play for the storm.
We drove roughly 18 miles down this road until reaching pavement again. Our average speed was 15-25 mph. We were behind the storm. As we were on this road trying to catch up the storm organized and became tornadic. This storm completely went against the meteorological textbook.
Most storms do not make a recovery from being outflow dominant and being pounded by other surrounding storms. Supercell storms are introverts and do not like to share their space with others.
We were about to be back on the storm and then another curveball hit us.... A police roadblock. They would not let us go near the storm. We just could not win! We were all frustrated with the situations we ran into but shrugged it off and continued with our happy faces! Can't get em all!
(Large hail from the Tescott, KS Supercell)
Day 3 - We found ourselves in Oklahoma for more supercell action! A really great chase day unfolded for us as we got onto several nice supercell storms. Two that were tornado warned. Amature storm chasers and spotters were calling a kick of dirt under the storms updraft a tornado, but was only winds from the RFD (Rear Flank Downdraft) blowing dirt around.
So many great lightning strikes in the storms on this day! Many striking extremely close to our location that made for some intense moments while in the van!
(Tornado Warned HP Supercell in Oklahoma)
Day 4 - Looked to start out as a decent chase day but quickly down trended through the day. We chased in NE Kansas and extreme SE Nebraska. Got into some small pea size hail and photographed a rainbow and sunset over the rolling green prairies of Kansas. After day 4 a powerful cold front swept all the way to the Texas coast and shut down storm chances for the remaining 3 days.
Here are some things we experienced during our adventure days!
(Visiting Salt Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, Oklahoma)
(OU Natural History Museum)
(Great Salt Lakes, near Cherokee, Oklahoma)
(Twister Museum, Wakita, Oklahoma)