Saturday, May 26, 2012

5/26 - 11:35pm EDT - The Journey Home

Storms yesterday in Central Kansas did not produce a tornado for us. We did see a very brief string-like funnel at one point, but that was about the extent of our tornadic sights for the day. There were many tornadoes that touched down with damage reported closer sunset with these storms, but we had to make the judgement call to bug out and get back to Oklahoma City in time for people to get on their flights home before this happened. If these storms had organized a little quicker I think our chances of getting on a tornado would of been much better. The day began with a stop in Russell, Kansas where the Center for Severe Weather Research's ROTATE project happened to stop by for awhile. We were able to visit with them a bit and take some great pictures!

The chase began near La Crosse, Kansas where we followed a couple of developing supercells that had quite a bit of dust kicking out from under their ouflow. We followed a right-moving cell for quite some time, all the way to Bunker Hill, Kansas, as it cycled through weak and strong stages. This is the storm that produced the aforementioned string-like funnel cloud. Many a wall cloud came from this storm, but it was just too disorganized of a structure to get things going for a tornado. The storm that would form quite a few tornadoes (including an EF2-rated one near... you guessed it... La Crosse, Kansas) finally got its act together just to our southwest near sunset, but we had to bug out just as that was happening because we were so far away from Oklahoma City where we needed to be so that our tour guests could fly out. It's really too bad that we had to miss these tornadoes, but that's part of having to deal with the logistics of tour guests and the unpredictability of storm chasing. The storm structures were certainly spectacular though and we did see quite a few gustnadoes and dust being blow around. Video from these storms will be processed and uploaded tomorrow night when I get some time.

Yesterday and today have really been the same day for me. After we finished chasing in Central Kansas we had to make a bee line for Oklahoma City, where we made it in to town just after 3:30am this morning. My flight left at 7:35am this morning meaning I had to be at the airport around 6am, so I actually had no time to sleep in the interim. It's good to be back home in Louisville after being so tired! During these three weeks I've been with Storm Chasing Adventure Tours this month we've gone 8,383 miles across Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. There are so many areas that we visited this season that I've never been to before, especially near the Mexican border in Laredo, Texas and Big Bend National Park. But I'm not done yet. After a few weeks at home and abroad, I'll be back out storm chasing again for a week starting on June 23rd and going through the 30th. This is typically a time where severe weather is found up north in the Dakotas and Nebraska, so I'll be flying out to Denver in about a month's time to meet up with everyone. A photo album of this year's chase so far can be found on my Flickr and Facebook accounts along with the slideshow below:

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