Kansas Tornadoes, Supercells, and Mammatus

May 19, 2013 – After scoring big on May 18, 2013, we started day 2 of our chase a little less frantically. We had some time to position and go over data and surface observations that morning, and also post up a few photos on facebook from the day prior. We knew that it would be another good chase day, but we also knew that storm modes would be different. Faster motion, and storms would congeal into an MCS faster than the day before. So we were prepared for what was in store for the day. We drove a bit further east from where we ended up the day before. The SPC had once again issued a Moderate Risk for the day. We staged in Newton, KS, and had a friend visitor. A Grackle.


Grackle Grackle

Then we made our way down to an RC plane park in Wichita, KS to hang out with Michael Phelps for a bit before initiation. Justin Hoyt and Bill Kirkpatrick showed up as well, and we had a good time watching as people flew their RC planes around. All the while keeping at eye on the storms that were beginning to develop to our southwest. Within moments, a small storm cell began to increase in intensity on radar, and we went after it in a 3 car draft down the highway. After we all met up on an old dirt road SW of Wichita, we wished each other good luck and went our separate ways to intercept the supercell before us.

Splitting Up!

This supercell would be the big one of the day, producing the tornado that tore through the city of Wichita. We stayed on it until we couldn’t any longer, and we had to abandon it for becoming rain wrapped and too dangerous to continue chasing. I wanted to head north and get into the thick of it, but my partner for this trip, Michael Gavan, made a better decision to abort. Which is probably good as we likely would have ended up stranded in traffic on I-35 north into Wichita. We followed this supercell, and did get tornadoes on video. One of which was a nice elephant trunk that roped out. The other was the very beginning of the Wichita tornado. After that, we played the squall line’s embedded supercells before ultimately aborting the situation and heading home once the squall line went almost entirely linear. The video from the chase day is below. Photo series below that.

The video below shows various views of our storm, plus the elephant trunk tornado (enhanced the contrast) and the beginnings of the Wichita tornado.

I scored some great photos below. Click any image for larger view. Photos are in order of how I took them, ending with some wicked Mammatus Cloud formations.

Supercell Supercell Wrapping Up

HP Supercell HP Supercell HP Supercell

RFD Squall Line Squall Line

Whale's Mouth Mammatus Clouds Mammatus Clouds

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Kansas Tornadoes, Supercells, and Mammatus — 1 Comment

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