Home

Galleries

News/Blog

Technology

Media

Links

Bio

Adventure Speaking

Contact

FAQ

Tornadoes

Pratt, Kansas - May. 26, 2008

2008_05_26_04

2008_05_26_05

Tornado touchdown east of Pratt, Kansas.

The tornado took on a multiple vortex shape with rotation all the way to the ground.

TORNADOES - What an interesting end to what I thought was going to be a marginal day. We targeted the area near Greensburg and our forecast was good, we waited just outside of town as a severe warned storm approached and began to show signs of rotation. Our three vehicles for Cloud 9 Tours were spaced apart in different pull-offs when Van 2 got stuck in the mud shortly after the storm became tornado warned. The place where we were parked was an area that was decimated by the EF-5 tornado last year and was quite muddy. Large hail began to fall and there was no way that anybody was going to go outside to push the van out until the worst of the hail core had passed. We eventually used a tow strap to pull them out of the muck, the chase was to resume.

The storm continued on and we followed it through Greensburg. It was eerie to be chasing a tornado warned storm through that town, especially since the scars from the last direct hit were still so evident. Luckily, the town was spared and we pushed on further east. We tried getting ahead of the storm but didn't want to face the gigantic hail that was likely in it As it tuned out, there was more development to our southwest and we soon began to get hit by bigger and bigger hail stones. We ended up finding a cotton farm which had a huge tin roof overhang which was perfect to fit all three vehicles underneath. The sound of the hail on the metal roof was deafening! The cacophony was so loud that I had to scream at people beside me to be even slightly heard. The hail grew up to the size of golfballs and we noticed that on the way up to the shelter, we had taken enough hits from the hail that a new batch of dents had been added to the vehicles but we did manage to keep all the glass intact.

After the worst of it had passed, we continued east towards Pratt. We had almost given up on the storm when it began a revival and took on a great shape on radar. As we punched through the backside of the hook, we kept looking to the southeast to see if there was actually a tornado in there. As we got to Pratt, we emerged from the rain and there it was, a wispy cone shaped tornado!! I only saw it for a few seconds before it vanished and we got into town where our view was blocked. We sent in a report to Spotter Network and soon the sirens in Pratt were wailing. We blasted through town and got further east when another tornado touched down on the south side of highway 54 very close to our location . It was a broad circulation with multiple vortices that wasn't very photogenic but it was coming our way. Be sped off and got ahead of it before it threatened to cross the road.

We put some space between ourselves and the storm and eventually stopped again to get some pictures of the storm structure. When it was time to get back to the vehicles, I looked back and noticed another rain wrapped tornado. This one was shaped like a slender cone. It was visible only briefly but was spotted by numerous other chasers as well.

We eventually made it to Wichita for the night. Another great chase day.

2008_05_26_02

2008_05_26_06\

Hailstones near Greensburg, Kansas.

Golf ball hail west of Pratt, Kansas.

2008_05_26_01

2008_05_26_03

The storm as it looked near Greensburg, Kansas.

Awesome structure east of Pratt, Kansas.

2008_05_26_07

Lightning reflected on the wet road.