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Tornadoes

Kansas - May. 22, 2008

Close Encounter You Tube

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Tornado near Grainfield, Kansas

A VERY CLOSE tornado encounter north of Collyer.

TORNADOES - Well, that was wild! Yet again, I get to see tornadoes on my birthday except this year I got to see several of them including one at extremely close range.

To make a long story short, we intercepted at least 4 tornadoes today including a slender hose near Grainfield, Kansas and an up close encounter with another near the town of Collyer where we got into position ahead of a rapidly rotating wall cloud. We chose a very close position where we knew that the circulation would pass just slightly to our west (And I mean JUST slightly). As the violent rotation approached, it became clear that any tornado that formed would touch down right beside us...

It did.

A white cone shaped funnel came down and circulation appeared on the ground. The winds at our location increased rapidly as we filmed it from outside the vehicles. We held our position in between the edge of the collar cloud and the tornado as the winds increased to near 100 mph. Rain and mud splattered us and two of the van doors were damaged when they over extended in the wind. I eventually tried to climb back into the van but I couldn't close the door and it was rocking so hard that we thought it might flip over. In the process, the wind on the edge of the circulation sucked our atlas and GPS unit out of the van and into the storm. Where they ended up, I'll never know. The motion in the clouds was unlike anything I've ever seen. The rotation was so strong that it looked like a sped up timelapse movie but it was real and it was directly overhead.

We eventually blasted further east to get away from the most dangerous part of the storm which was no easy feat considering that the inside of my windshield was plastered with water and mud making it almost impossible to see.

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The approaching wall cloud... Violently rotationg and about to produce a tornado, almost on top of us.

The severe weather risk from the Storm Prediction Center