- More tornado madness!! We knew that today's setup had as much
tornado potential as yesterday and it certainly panned out for
us with several tornadoes witnessed.
We started the day off by picking up
the British documentary film crew from Pioneer Productions who
are working on an updated version of the "Raging Planet"
documentary television series. Once we had them, we started heading
towards a developing supercell, south of Interstate-70. We waited
for the storm to get closer to the highway because we didn't
want to face the terrible dirt roads that were left muddied by
yesterday's storms. As the rotating portion of the storm approached
the interstate, we found ourselves in the hook of the supercell
with a large, dark cone tornado fast approaching. We pulled off
and filmed as it got closer and closer. I prepared myself for
the possibility of having to dash out of there at full speed
but the tornado dissipated before it made it to our location.
Just east of where we were, a new tornado formed. This time a
big, ragged multiple vortex tornado that shifted shape and morphed
until it eventually became a huge wedge. At one point, it was
so big that I could only see one side of the tornado.
We pushed on to the north to try and
cut ahead of the storm and make another approach on the tornado
but the only paved roads were few and far between. We eventually
cut across through the storm near Hill City as we "threaded
the needle" in between 3 different TVS markers (tornadic
As the light began to fail we watched
yet another tornado warned supercell from a hilltop when we were
jolted by an extremely close lightning bolt. We believe it hit
behind the house we were parked beside and it was a good thing
that everyone was inside the vans at the time. The shockwave
almost startled the pants off of me!
On our way back to Hays for the night,
we heard about another possible tornado approaching the town
of Ellis. We were close by and tried to make an intercept. The
problem was that the tornado was wrapped in rain and it was getting
dark. As we got closer to the town, we noticed the winds shifting
and we remarked about how stupid some of these big rig truck
drivers are, they'll drive into anything. A few second after
we said that, an 18 wheeler passed us and pulled over onto the
shoulder of the highway. The tornado was fast approaching and
we watched the winds flip the truck over onto its side. Charles
spotted the tornado and saw more rain wrapping around it as it
closer to our location. We had to get out of there and fast!
The big problem was that we were on the divided highway with
no way to turn around. We ended up circling back and drove the
wrong way down the interstate for a mile or two with our headlights
flashing to warn any oncoming motorists of the danger. The tornado
crossed the road close to where we had been and damage was reported
When the danger had finally passed,
we drove back east again and noticed 4 different trucks overturned,
some in opposite directions which was more evidence of the tornado
What a day.