May 12 2010 Evil Looking Storm in Kansas

Feb 27, 2012

Cold Front Fail.

Left Wichita once initiation began along a cold front. Storms quickly formed and began to look really threatening but were soon undercut by the front and became outflow dominant. Witnessed lots of flying RFD dust and several gustnadoes. Got sand blasted by winds measured at 81mph nearby, storms quickly fell apart and called chase, dropped mike off in Wichita, had dinner before heading for home as storms reformed and did more damage along the way. Got cored at Motel room in Columbia, MO where we stayed the night.
Tornadoes: 0
Hail: 1.00″ [quarter]
Wind: 80mph measured nearby
Miles: 210
Lesson learned: Its not over till its over, oh wait I already knew that.
Detailed Account:
After a down day Tuesday, Wednesday looked like it held some potential. A cold front was forecast to move across the area with good moisture and instability. Shear was more linear off the front and upper level support wasn’t as potent. I was worried that this would be a typical cold front type setup where storms would fire and quickly go linear or outflow dominant.
We hung around Wichita for awhile as we thought we were already in a good spot. Once storms began to fire we left and drove the short distance to intercept near Kingman. As we approached the storms really took on a threatening appearance.
One thing we noticed was there seemed to be very little lightning with these storms. There were reports of hail up to tennis ball size in Kingman. We exited the highway to go north after the southern-most storm of the bunch. The storms were now tornado warned with a reported tornado on the storm north of ours. After we exited the storm was quickly on us. It was a very intimidating black sky with the base of the storm about as low as it gets. It looked as if I could reach up up pull down a tornado myself.
A flash of lightning finally occurred close by and the thunder that followed sounded like a gun shot which actually made me jump out of my seat, a rare thing. Our storm began to look junky and elongated so we abandoned it for more storms to the south. Storms were going up one after another down the front which is known as a “string of pearls” and we were at the north end so we began dropping south from cell to cell.
As is typical with cold front storms though there was not enough mid and upper level support to push the storms off the front. They wound up being undercut by the advancing cold front and thus went outflow dominant. Some of the winds were pretty intense though and at one point I stopped for gas only to be sand blasted by wind that was measured at 80mph. We noted several gustnadoes [one of which was labeled a tornado by others] and even some rapid rising motion at one point.
Here are some photos from the day.
The storms then seemed to fall apart and our menacing, black, evil sky turned into a sky that was chilly and lame. We called the chase and began to head for Wichita, the only tornadic storms were way south in Oklahoma where the tail end charlies were. Eventually our storms decayed and left a dramatic roll type cloud.
Here are some of Danny’s Videos as I did not do much filming this day.

We arrived back in Wichita, dropped Mike off and set for home. We stopped at Chilis for dinner to let the general storms overtake us while we ate. As we ate though storms re-strengthened and regained warnings and began doing damage in the area. I spoke with Ben Holcomb who had also called the chase and was heading for Kansas City, en route a possible tornado took down power lines on I-35 which were then hit by semis causing the expressway to be shut down.
Based on that tip Danny and I detoured around the closure and set our sights for Columbia, MO where we decided we would spend the night. Upon arrival at the motel room a surprise cell blew up ahead of the main complex. I was happy to hear some thunder and lightning but this little cell ended up producing a barrage of hail, reported up to golf ball size but falling as quarters in our location. It made for a fun stay.

I dropped a report on Spotter Network and called it a night after that. It was a nice little treat. I wound up laying awake for about 20 minutes listening to loud booming thunder roll in but fell asleep before the storms actually arrived.
Not a bad chase, there were some minor prize catches but overall we did pretty good considering the setup and the outcome. Next time I probably wont do a sit down dinner so early when storms are in progress, because you never know what they are going to do.
SPC Storm Reports:

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