This was quite a difficult day to intercept a tornado. Everything
was pointing to the general area of NE Texas panhandle to begin
with but by late afternoon not a whole lot was happening. I got
to Canadian, TX early and waited for quite a while for initiation.
There was a cloud shield to our east - general area of low level
moving clouds and some clearing to the west of it. Within this
sector it was quite obvious the capping inversion held in place
not allowing any strong convection to fire.
Most of the chasers seemed to play the game further south -
around I-40 between Amarillo, TX and Shamrock, TX. When it
began to look hopeless for the day I thought of going further
south where tornado watch was posted I believe. The threat for
severe storm was outlined all the way down to Dickens county,
TX. This is where the greatest threat was outlined the day
before. Somehow though I decided to stick with the more
northern option. A nice looking convective towers went up just
to the east of Canadian, TX and were still embedded in the low
level cloud streets all around them. For the longest time the cell
of my interest could not get intense enough. It raced north close
to 40 mph at times. I simply followed it toward Kansas border
and it just kept looking better and better. Also, there was a nice
looking storm on the radar down along the I-40 which turned
out to be a short lived, beautiful LP supercell. Another cell like
that formed to my west around Pampa, TX area and raced off to
My storm has become a perfect thunderstorm by now.
It looked like a nice supercell but still there was a lot of mess all
around it. As soon as the storm crossed into Kansas I got quite
close and it looked better than ever. You could see the wall cloud
and some rotation. I also witnessed a couple of brief tornadoes at
this time. Everything looked good except now the storm looked
knocked over due to strong upper level winds I would imagine.
It seemed like this cell is going to end up being the only
opportunity for the rest of the afternoon in southern Kansas.
The nearest other action was unfolding near Goodland, KS.
It was getting late by now and my supercell seemed to have
several areas of interest to it. It looked as if there were several
areas of rotation, which the upcoming tornado action confirmed
only a few minutes later. I was on the main highway following
this supercell due north, taking photos and video of my main
area of interest right ahead of me when I noticed a lowering just
over the horizon to my east, out of view and over the small hill.
I quickly pulled over and ran up this bank and set up my
camcorder. Not a minute later a nice tornado came into view
directly under a bowl shaped lowering. Photo here.
From here on it was a great time till long after sunset hours.
After this tornado dissipated or no longer became visible from
my angle of view I decided to follow the storm due north on
US183 toward Sitka, KS and due east from there. This was a
dangerous maneuver since the supercell was wrapping plenty of
precipitation around the mesocyclone. I got into some heavy rain
soon after I turned east and proceeded towards Protection, KS.
Not a minute later a law enforcement came into view trough
moderate rain just ahead of me. My vision was focused directly
ahead of me and it seemed the law enforcement vehicle was
blocking the traffic. I quickly scanned the horizon (it was almost
dark at this point) to spot a gorgeous looking white cone tornado
less than a mile in the field to my south-east. It was moving due
north-west. Seconds later it came so close you had to lean
forward near the windshield to be able to see the top portions of
this thing. What an unbelievable sight ! It crossed the road about
a hundred yards ahead of us and still was getting closer. The
tornado exhibited an amazing motions but soon dissipated. The
same wall cloud produced another, smaller tornado moments
later but it was practically dark by now. I enjoyed a great
lightning show with this slowly dying supercell for the next
hour or so. I passed trough Greensburg, KS on
my way to hotel for the night...
|Early development just east of
Canadian, TX. From here on,
the storm of my interest
only looked better. Pick a nice
looking cell and follow it to hell.
|A good looking supercell now.
All the features are nicely
present here. What a beautiful
sight during late Kansas
afternoon. The best was yet to
come just along with sunset.
|A small chaser convergence
including the Doppler On
Wheels truck parked on the hill
just ahead. The most
interesting part of the supercell
is rotating almost overhead.
|A first significant tornado of the
day. This tornado was located
near or just south of Sitka, KS.
It went through a cycle of
violent motions while vivid
lightning activity was occurring
at the same time.
|Protection, KS Tornado.
|Tornado just moments before
dissipating. It took on a
waterspout like appearance
while roping out. What a great
ending to a difficult day.
|Protection, KS tornado at it's
best just north of US160 and
west of the town of Protection.
There was other tornadoes on
the ground around with this one
at the same time.
|Rope tornado as a last effort of
this magnificent supercell to
produce a tornado. This one
lasted quite a while after sunset
|Lightning under the base of the
supercell. This shot was taken
from US183 just south of
Greensburg, KS - nearly the
same spot I took the
photograph of Greensburg, KS
wedge tornado at the time it
was destroying the town,
several days later.
|Lightning active Protection, KS
supercell. It tracked over the
same grounds as the infamous
Greensburg, KS supercell
would, only less than two