May 26th 2016 MDT Risk Kansas Bust

Nov 11, 2016


Chased MDT risk setup in Kansas, intercepting multiple storms that ultimately struggled to produce any meaningful severe weather, especially tornadoes.


Tornadoes: 0
Hail: 1.00″
Wind” n/a

The Forecast:

The trough that had been in place all week was finally beginning to eject, bringing much stronger speed shear with it and a focused, deepening surface low. Sufficient moister already in place would remain. A weak cap and some VBV were the main concerns, especially the cap as numerous storms were forecast to erupt early and would end up competing with each other for dominance. Due to the large number of storms and sufficient ingredients for severe weather in place SPC went with a MDT risk, the highest outlook on this 5 day chase stretch.

Detailed Account:

Today was originally supposed to be the big day in the stretch, but concerns were growing the morning of due to the above mentioned forecast concerns. We awoke at our hotel in Salina pretty close to the target area, just needed to drift west a bit towards Hays, to get near the surface low triple point. Initiation looked potentially early so we were out and about by 9am headed west. Stopping at a familiar Ihop for breakfast (I had left my debit card there back in 2013 before the Bennington tornado.)

After that Mike needed to get some batteries for his equipment, while we awaited this interesting character showed up. I have to laugh at the vehicles I see out there sometimes.

Storms had already begun firing and it was only noon. The radar was already looking like a mess but we began to move west toward the developing storms. We decided to shoot some B-roll footage for a project we were working on to make some use of the day. Our first storm dealt nothing more than heavy rain and a brief bout of small hail. Storms were already congealing on radar and the day already looked like a bust.

We dropped south to sample different storms that would go up and briefly attain supercell characteristics before bowing out or merging with other storms. None of the storms offered any real structure either. Better looking storms had fired across far northeast Kansas that actually produced a couple of tornadoes early on, but despite some tornado warnings on our stuff nothing was coming of them other than some 60mph winds and quarter size hail.

Ready to call the day and get food, a couple healthier looking storms formed across the Oklahoma panhandle and were rocketing northeast towards the Greensburg area. I decided to go for it since we were out here. Backtracking about 2 hours and 100+ miles we got into position on the now tornado warned storm as the sun was beginning to set. There was no real tornadic structure evident so we opted to sit back and get some sunset lightning shots…and even those turned out to be less than par. This wannabe wall cloud is as close as it ever came for us.


Once darkness fell our hungry bellies took over and we headed back to Wichita for some dinner and some sleep.


Today was a let down considering it was supposed to be the big day in the stretch, but at least it was not a total surprise given the forecast evolution. While not a true bust since we did technically see some severe weather, it fell way short of hopeful expectations. In the end all you can do is play the storms you’re given and that’s what we did. Still high off the previous days successes, this trip is far from a failure!


SPC Reports:


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