May 19th Another Moderate Risk Kansas Fail

Feb 26, 2012

MDT Risk…yea right

Summary:
Chased setup in Kansas with decent probabilities but messy storm environment that didn’t produce anything meaningful, almost got stuck in the mud but managed to escape before rooming in Salina, KS.
Stats:
Tornadoes: 0
Hail: 0.00″
Wind: n/a
How excited I get over a MDT risk: Not very.
Detailed Account:
May had been pretty lame so far but it appeared a multi day, albeit marginal, chase setup was taking shape in the plains. My truck was scheduled to go in the shop to have a wheel hub repaired which left me vehicle-less at this time. I made arrangements to chase with fellow Convective Addiction member Brad Goddard along with Jonathan Williamson. Jon picked up me at home in Chicago, we met up with Brad and we set sail for Kansas stopping in Emporia for the night. On the way down I bought a 5 dollar scratch off ticket in Missouri and ended up winning 75 bucks, perhaps this was the start of some good luck for the trip?
Brads interior chase setup is about as professional and impressive as they come, though me being as tall as I am met I was quite cramped in the front, still though, it gave me visions on how I should eventually organize my own interior. We awoke in our hotel not far from the target area, SPC had upgraded to a moderate risk with strong tornadoes possible. The target area was pretty narrow and I just was not seeing it. We sat and waited as we watched turkey towers go up and die all around us.
Storms finally got going only now we found ourselves with a choice. Our original target near the triple point to the north saw storms going up and lining out quickly, while a nice isolated supercell went up well to our south. Storm chasing 101 says an isolated storm ahead of the line is your best shot at a tornado so after driving around in circles for an hour trying to make a decision we bailed on our triple point target and dive bombed south to the nice isolated storm on radar.
Sure enough, the storm must have seen us coming because as we approached we watched it shrivel up on radar and by the time we got into position all that remained was this.
The triple point storms saw some reports of brief tornadoes quickly becoming wrapped in rain so we were quite aggravated at this time. We followed more grungy looking storms never noting any real structure.
After doing this for a couple hours we decided to call off the chase and head to Salina for a relaxing evening. On our way though a new storm blew up on top of us that began to look good on radar and sure enough a tornado warning was issued. Daylight was fading and it was a last ditch effort but we decided to try, getting into position early never noting any real structure and having cold inflow.
Road options were limited so we tried our luck on the muddy backroads. This almost backfired on us as the roads were quite terrible causing us to slide off more than once. The 4wd in Brads SUV kept slipping but lucky for us he was able to maintain at least slow traction and we gradually crawled our way back to pavement, it was a bit nerve racking but we managed to get through. We followed the storm a little while longer noting the same cold, grungy structure before meeting up with Scott Bennett, Steve Polley and Fred Plowman. We called the chase, drove back to Salina, picked up some drinks and had a mini party in our hotel room.
Brads ride before the mud:
and after…
Conclusion:
Today was an obvious let down. The moderate risk busted and we came home with nothing really to show for the day. The tornadoes on the triple point were all brief and/or rain wrapped and no chasers got any good photos or video, so at least we didn’t miss anything good. I am still baffled as to why our isolated supercell ahead of the line vanished into thin air but alas, that is storm chasing.
Map not available.
SPC Storm reports:

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