May 22nd Northwest Kansas Storm Chase - Amazing Low Precipitation Supercell, Wall Cloud and Funnels

05-22-07 CHASE LOG:  KS   Our group consisting of myself, MaryLynn, the Twister Sisters, Bill and Cullen Doms as well as our camera crew from Original Productions, were still out at the end of May filming for the reality television show "Twister Sisters".  We left Hays, KS during the early afternoon, targeting an area just to the west of Hays that was in a moderate risk for severe storms, including tornadoes.  A cell quickly fired as we progressed west on I-70 and then south on Hwy 283 towards Ransom, KS.  We decided to take a gravel road to the north of Ransom and intercepted the cell soon after just to the north of Utica, KS.  As we followed the very slow moving storm, we quickly realized that this was going to be an incredible low precipitation supercell as little to no precipitation was falling and the storm quickly developed into a large spaceship like appearance, rotating very fast with striations throughout the updraft.  The storm was so slow moving, that we were able to view it in the same spot for nearly a half hour just to the north of I-10 near Voda, KS.  Another storm went up to the north of this initial storm and soon formed a base with a rotating wall cloud and a brief funnel cloud.  This is when we decided to head north on a gravel road towards the new storm that was quickly cycling and became tornado warned.  Unbeknownst to us at the time was that our heading was taking us up a dead end road and we ended up traveling 5 miles before realizing this.  So is the frustration of storm chasing.  Our course of action took our group back to the interstate and east to WaKeeney, KS where we traveled north on Hwy 283, all the time hearing of the storm that we were forced to leave on our dead end road had produced a tornado.  We finally got on the storm with a lot of chaser convergence, the TIV, DOWS vehicles and other research vehicles as the tornado had lifted and now was a ragged funnel.  This was the same area, roughly 6 miles north of WaKeeney, where many of the storm chasers had hail damage due to the baseball sized hail that fell with this storm but we fortunately were able to stay out of the main hail core and primarily experienced some dime and nickel sized hail.  Thereafter, we became split with our group and our vehicle progressed ahead of the storm from Hill City, KS down to Plainville, KS where MaryLynn, Matt Renner (our cameraman) and I sat and watched the storm become outflow dominant and produce a fantastic lightning display and shelf cloud.  This storm later came into Hays where we had gone back to the hotel and produced 80 mph winds in town and quite a bit of damage.

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Updraft going up directly ahead of us with the anvil being blown overhead near Ransom, KS.

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Mammatus underneath the anvil of the storm as we approached the storm near Utica, KS.

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Wall cloud on a new storm to our north with a brief funnel emerging from the base near Voda, KS.

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Another, more zoomed in view of the wall cloud with funnel near Voda, KS.

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This is our view of the low precipitation supercell just to the north of I-10 near Voda, KS.  Note the incredible spaceship-like structure!

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View of the southern end of the storm opposite to the picture above.  Notice the inflow tail on the left side and striations above.

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This is one of my favorite pictures I have ever taken!  The low precipitation supercell was finally starting to produce some rain and rotating quickly, slowly moving northeast in front of our position.

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The dead end road ahead of us that was clearly not marked and the reason why we missed the tornado produced by a storm to the northeast of the LP supercell on the left.  I particularly like the anvil in this shot.

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We finally were able to catch up to the storm as the tornado had lifted and we were left with a ragged wall cloud and funnel that was quickly diminishing.

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621657114415/

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