Today started off as a very frustrating
day. The Storm Prediction Center had issued a High Risk for tornadic
activity today but all the storms that we kept chasing were weak
and disorganized. To make matters worse, we got a phone call from
another chaser telling us that he was currently watching a large
tornado on the ground on a storm to our west. We started heading
towards it but we were quite far away and I was worried that by
the time we got there, the storm might be done. About 20 minutes
later we got another call from the same chaser telling us that
he was STILL watching the same tornado!! Our velocity increased
dramatically. Tornado reports kept coming in...
The best intercept route to get
to the rotating portion of the storm took us along an awful dirt
road. the rain core had just passed over the road, turning it
into a mass of dark, slippery mud. The van I was driving had a
hard time with it and I had visions of being stuck in the mud,
out in the middle of nowhere for hours before anyone could possibly
come to help us. Luckily the road finally became paved and we
continued on. The storm still had quite a bit of life still in
it but I was angry because I knew that we had missed out on seeing
several tornadoes so I started shaking my fist at the storm. That
seemed to have an effect because less than 5 minutes later, we
had a tornado
on the ground near the town of Belleville, Kansas.
After the tornado lifted, we
continued on and tried to get gas at a small town but this would
prove to be a difficult task. As we were filling up, the tornado
sirens started blaring. There were numerous trees blocking my
view of the base of the thunderstorm so I couldn't tell if there
was actually a tornado headed towards us or not. I scrambled to
get everyone together and finish topping up the tank. It's a good
thing I hurried because the clerk at the station had instructions
to immediately shut the pumps down if the sirens started to sound.
We managed to fuel up just in the nick of time.
There was no new tornado but
the storm showed incredible signs of
rotation. The base was rounded with
striations along the updraft. It was an incredible sight to behold.
It did produce a few funnels but none of them made it all the
way to the ground. As this storm eventually died off, there was
more explosive convection going on to our south. The way this
storm was firing up, it looked like an atomic
bomb going off. We raced south in an
effort to get to this beast while there was still some daylight
left but despite our efforts, it was already dark when we got
underneath the new updraft.