Well, where do I even start? These were amazing days of chasing the plains. I was out there with my good friend Cort Scholten, who has wanted to chase with me for years, but we never could pull it off before. This year, we made it work, and headed out to the plains in search of severe storms, and tornadoes. The drive was long, and tiring, coming all the way from Michigan, but it was worth it.
The first day, we targeted the Texas panhandle region. It was a dryline setup, which meant big, beefy storms that would barely move, and drop lots of rain and hail, perhaps a few tornadoes. Although we missed the tornadoes on this day, we saw some pretty amazing stuff, including some great lightning strikes, heavy rainfall, high winds, beautiful rainbows, anti-crepuscular rays, and some nice cloud structures.
Here’s a video of one insane lightning strike we saw!
After the chase in the Texas panhandle region, we targeted Woodward, Oklahoma for day 2 of the chasecation. This was a fairly leisurely drive up through the Texas panhandle. Only took between 2 and 3 hours. Once in Woodward, we made the decision to go up to the Oklahoma/Kansas border to chase a couple of cells that fired there. Neither of those made much noise, but then a bigger storm blew up down near Woodward, OK, so we went back to Woodward, and got underneath the supercell as it was starting to get it’s act together. Tornado warning sirens wailed as we watched the storm rotate right above us. We re-positioned south and east to watch it unfold. The storm put on quite a structure show before putting down this beautiful tornado as seen below in the video.
We stayed the night in Woodward, then headed north to Kansas on Day 3. This was a day which had the potential to be big. We targeted the Minneola, KS area, and this would prove to be fruitful, as we ended up being on the storm of the day, producing multiple tornadoes, and epic structure. Below is a video of several tornadoes we saw between Minneola, and Dodge City, KS. The best chase day of my entire career!
On the 4th day, we would target up near Great Bend, KS, and make our way to Salina and Bennington, where another supercell was forming on the triple point. This storm would also be the storm of the day, producing a small, brief tornado near Bennington, then putting down this giant wedge tornado in the Solomon and Chapman, KS area, and this monster would be on the ground for over 90 minutes! We got within a mile of this beast before turning around. Here is a video of that tornado.
After these 3 days, we started our trek back to Michigan. We saw some absolutely amazing stuff out there, and I look forward to completing all of the chase articles in their full detail, with full chase videos and photos for all to enjoy. Until then, this is the teaser of what’s to come 🙂