Birthday Tornado

Hill City, Kansas - May 22, 2007

May 22nd - Hill City, Kansas

TORNADO - After over 10 years of storm chasing, I finally saw a tornado on my birthday!! We first started seeing the early stages of storm development as we got west of Ness City and the storms fired up right on schedule. At one point we were watching 2 supercell thunderstorms both with excellent rotation and storm structure. One of them became the more dominant, photogenic storm and we followed it for several hours as it spun like a top, prompting numerous tornado warnings. It finally got its act together and produced a brief tornado just southwest of Hill City.

We eventually ended up in Hays, Kansas and had a celebratory steak dinner but as we ate, more storms were heading our way, including another tornado warned storm. The sirens in Hays were blaring and the lightning was continuous. We went north of town to watch the lightning and there were several police cars rolling past announcing the tornado warning for the city over their loudspeaker. The town became almost deserted as we headed back to the main business area and sheltered ourselves at a gas station in anticipation of a large hail event. the winds were hurricane-like but we never got the giant hail we were hoping for, it passed just south of town and we weren't too interested in getting the windows of the van smashed out.

All in all...A great chase day.