May 22nd - Hill City, Kansas
- 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.