August 11th Central Minnesota Storm Chase - Supercell and Wall Cloud

08-11-07 STORM CHASE:  MN

Myself and MaryLynn Voth went out from Burnsville during the mid afternoon, targeting central MN.  Thunderstorms were expected to develop to our west and then drift towards our position by the late afternoon.  The first storms of the day started to develop near Dassel and we were able to intercept the best looking cell near Cokato.  The storm was in the first developing stages but was already beginning to produce a lowering and nice inflow tail.  The storm continued to intensify as we followed on Highway 12 and then south on County Road 6 to Winsted.  The storm was moving to the southeast around 20 mph so we were able to keep up quite easily with the good road network we faced in this area.  Upon reaching an area near New Germany on County Road 33, the storm produced a rotating wall cloud and nice beaver tail.  In the last picture below, there is even a lowering from the wall cloud that looks quite interesting upon further review, but could be just condensating air into the wall cloud.  This feature did not stick around long enough to distinguish exactly what it was.  The storm kept the wall cloud for 20-30 minutes before starting to go outflow dominant and produce a shelf cloud as we reached the southwest side of the Twin Cities Metro near Chaska.  At this time, the storm took on an incredible hue of yellow and orange as the sun was setting behind the storm and the hail core.  Getting close to sunset and realizing we were likely to get cored if we stayed at our location, we ended the chase as the storm was very outflow dominant with expanding heavy rain.

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Lowered base on the storm soon after developing near Winsted, MN.

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Lowered base starting to form into a wall cloud between Winsted and New Germany, MN.  Notice the rain core starting to form.

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Another view of the base starting to form into a wall cloud between Windsted and New Germany, MN.

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Condensating inflow tail into the storm near New Germany, MN shortly after 6pm.

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Beaver tail into the storm and developing wall cloud near New Germany, MN.

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Beaver tail into the rotating wall cloud.  Notice the interesting appendage on the bottom right side of the wall cloud.

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621682736939/

Storm Reports:

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June 21st Southeast Minnesota Storm Chase - Shelf Cloud

06-21-07 STORM CHASE:  MN   This was a Slight Risk day in southern MN with a low threat for tornadoes but decent potential for supercells to produce damaging winds and large hail.  I was targeting southeast MN near the MN/IA border and that is exactly where we ended up.  Our group of myself, MaryLynn Voth, Michael Nardozzi and Ron Borquin left Burnsville, MN at 3pm and headed south on Highway 52 towards Rochester.  Two storms fired in this area as we approached and we decided to get on the northernmost cell that was moving from the north to the east side of Rochester.  We progressed east on Highway 14 and then north on Highway 42 to the intersection of Highway 9 where we watched the storm approach.  At this point it was still developing and not supercellular, but the storm did intensify upon moving south of I-90 as we followed.  Near Chatfield, we watched several brief lowerings as the two storms began to merge.  Our route took us on Highway 52 and then back north on Highway 74 back to I-90, all the while becoming cored by the merging storms with a lot of heavy rain and some small hail.  All of the pictures below were shortly after 5:30pm near St Charles.  This is where the merging storms began to become outflow dominant and produce a shelf cloud.  The shelf quickly moved overhead while we observed and we let ourselves become cored by the storm.  Thereafter, the storms became rather messy and it was not worth staying with them as they were racing east with a lot of rain and nothing all that impressive to continue the chase.  At that time, another storm was starting to look impressive and became severe warned to the south of Mankato.  We raced west on I-90 and intercepted the storm near Blue Earth as the storm was weakening greatly.  Here we got a few nice shots of the storm before it completely fizzled out.

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Shelf cloud just starting to form on a storm approaching our location near St Charles, MN.

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Another view of the shelf cloud approaching our location near St Charles, MN.

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View of the western part of the shelf cloud approaching us near St Charles, MN.

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Shelf cloud about to overtake us near St Charles, MN.

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Silver lining on a storm as it was fizzling out near Blue Earth, MN.

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Sunlight peeking through the clouds around the dying storm near Blue Earth, MN.

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621681673765/

Storm Reports:

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June 7th Eastern Iowa and Northwest Illinois Storm Chase - Fast Moving Supercells and Wall Clouds

06-07-07 STORM CHASE:  IA/IL  

After chasing the day before in the Badlands of South Dakota, our group consisting of myself, the Twister Sisters, Karen Miller, Beau Gjerdingen, Eric Whitehill and the crew from Original Productions found ourselves leaving Fremont, NE.  We planned on targeting east-central IA where there was a High Risk issued by the Storm Prediction Center for severe weather and tornadoes.  This was our last day of chasing for the television show and we wanted to make it a good one, although storms were expected to be moving very fast off to the north-northeast.  Storms began to fire before we could even reach our target area and our group quickly made it east of Des Moines on I-80, planning on intercepting a line of training thunderstorms that were becoming supercellular south of the interstate and quickly moving north.  Upon reaching Gonoa Bluff, IA, we moved south on Highway V52 to intercept a good looking cell near North English, IA.  We watched a pair of developing supercells cross ahead of us by a few miles, both having lowerings/bases as they went by, but nothing all that interesting.  We decided to follow these cells northeast and soon realized we would have a tough time keeping up as the storms were moving at 40-50 mph.  Many chasers may think that this was a wasted cause, but we persevered as every storm that went up was becoming tornado warned or exhibiting signs of rotation.  The cells crossed I-80 near Iowa City, IA, and we were actually able to get out ahead of the storms and progress north on Highway 1.  The best wall cloud that we saw this day was viewed near Mt Vernon, IA (as seen below) when the storm was tornado warned, but the storm never produced any funnels as far as we could tell.  Our car ended up being the only car in the group to attempt to stay ahead of the storms any further as they were moving so fast.  To do so, we had to quickly move east on Highway 30 to the east of Mt Vernon and then north on Highway Y24 in Lowden, IA.  At this point, the storm was tornado warned again as we intercepted near Lost Nation, IA and this is where another nice wall cloud formed with a lot of rotation.  Unfortunately, this is the best the storm ever looked but we still followed east on Highways 136 and 64 where we crossed the MS River at Sabula, IA.  We ended up following the storm till nightfall and reached Forreston, IL before finally giving up the chase and heading back to Iowa City, IA to meet back up with our crew.  All in all, several nice wall clouds and lowerings on this day.

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First storm of the day with a lowered non-rotating base near North English, IA.

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Nice wall cloud with feeder band near Williamsburg, IA.

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Lowered base and condensating inflow air into the storm near Iowa City, IA.

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Rotating wall cloud in Mt Vernon, IA.

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Lowered base of a supercell near Lost Nation, IA.

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Action area of the storm with inflow and lowerings on the MS River near Savannah, IL.

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621799857036/

Storm Reports:

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June 6th Southwest South Dakota and Central Nebraska Storm Chase - Supercell and Small Funnel

06-06-07 STORM CHASE:  SD/NE  

This was one of the last days of filming for the "Twisters Sisters" reality TV show with our group consisting of myself, Peggy Willenberg, Melanie Metz, Karen Miller, Beau Gjerdingen and Eric Whitehill.  This was a highly anticipated moderate risk day with a 10% risk for tornadoes as forecast by the Storm Prediction Center.  Our forecast was targeting southwest SD near the Black Hills for tornadoes.  Before storms fired, we waited in Murdo, SD on I-90, chatting with other chasers and admiring all of the chaser convergence in a gas station parking lot.  Many were anticipating supercells to fire to our west and produce tornadoes upon moving towards our position, hence the reason for the number of chasers that had converged on the area.  Storms fired by mid-afternoon and our group quickly raced west on I-90 to Belvidere, SD, then dropped south on Highway 63 to intercept the cell as it  became tornado warned.  We got on the storm after it had already produced a tornado, around 5 miles to the southwest of Wanblee, SD at the entrance of a ranch.  This storm had a lot of motion and originally had a wall cloud leftover from the tornado that we missed by only 20 minutes.  This storm produced a weak, short-lived funnel before gusting out as the storm overtook us and we raced east to attempt to stay ahead.  The storm continued to exhibit a lot of motion and produced a couple of gustnadoes at this time.  After realizing that this storm was turning into a gigantic heavy rain and hail mess with the tornado threat diminishing, our next plan of action was to race east on Highway 18 through southern SD and then drop south on Highway 281 and east on Highway 91 to intercept another supercell around sunset near the town of Sterling, NE.  This storm turned the entire sky orange and large hail to the size of nickels was starting to fall as we quickly retreated east of town.  Thereafter, it because too dark to see anything, so our plan of action was to drive to Fremont, NE for the night to prepare for the next days High Risk in IA.

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Tornado warned storm as we were approaching on Hisle Road ~5 miles southwest of Wanblee, SD.

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Small funnel cloud out of a wall cloud, 20 minutes after the storm had produced a tornado to the southwest of Wanblee, SD.

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A lot of rising and sinking motion on these lowerings from this storm as it approached.

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A lowering that was rapidly rotating  and quickly approaching our location near a ranch just outside of Wanblee, SD.

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Incredible motion with these clouds as the storm was gusting out upon moving directly overhead. 

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621675013229/

Storm Reports:

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June 2nd Oklahoma and Texas Panhandle Storm Chase - Downburst, Large Funnel, and Amazing Lightning Show

06-02-07 STORM CHASE:  OK/TX   To be honest, I do not know exactly where we chased this day but what I do know is that it was a successful chase in the OK and TX Panhandles, filming for the reality show "Twister Sisters".  This was the last decent severe weather chase day before several down days were expected during the 2007 Chase Season.  Our crew of myself, Peggy Willenberg, Melanie Metz, Karen Miller, Beau Gjerdingen and Eric Whitehill left Amarillo, TX in the morning and did not have to go far, as storms were expected to fire in this area by the early afternoon.  It ended up being a very nice day with impressive supercells, the best downburst/microburst I have ever seen, as well as one of the more intense lightning shows that I have experienced.  Unfortunately, typing this chase log three years later, I realized that I forgot exactly the route we took and where we ended up this day.  So, on to the photos!

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Storm towers first starting to go up.

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Awesome downburst/microburst.

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A pair of updraft condensation curls on the edge of downburst.

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A large funnel cloud completely rain-wrapped, dropping out of the mesocyclone.

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Interesting action area.

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Incredible lightning strike with supercell on the left side of the image.

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Impressive lightning show with this supercell!

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621673295841/

Storm Reports:

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June 1st Eastern New Mexico and Western Texas Storm Chase - Two Weak Tornadoes

06-01-07 STORM CHASE:  NM/TX  

  I chased this day with Karen Miller, Beau Gjerdingen, Eric Whitehill, Peggy Willenberg and Melanie Metz as we were out filming for the reality television show, "Twister Sisters".  We started the day exploring Palo Duro Canyon State Park just outside of Amarillo, TX.  Here we goofed off and did some filming until the mid afternoon before storms started to fire in the western TX Panhandle.  Our group disbanded and our car consisting of Karen Miller, myself and our cameraman progressed west on on I-40.  Upon reaching Vega, TX we went north on Highway 385 towards Channing, TX.  Realizing our storm was not developing as well as we liked, we decided to turn around and head back on Highway 385, crossing I-40, and attempting to intercept another cell near Hereford, TX.  Another cell developed in eastern NM that looked like the storm of the day so be abandoned the cell near Hereford and progressed southwest on Highway 60 towards Clovis, NM.  The cell was now rapidly developing into a slow-moving and intense supercell just to the west of Portales, NM where we soon intercepted and watched very strong rear flank downdraft (RFD) kicking up a lot of dirt, dust and debris.  We did see a lowering embedded the storm where the meso appeared to be located on radar and started to get excited at our prospects at this point.  Upon reaching the intersection of highways 480 and 70 just southwest of Portales, the RFD kicked in fierce and our view of the action area became blinded by blowing dirt and debris.  At this point, we were very close to the action area and looked up to view a funnel directly in front of us possibly touching down about 100 yards in front of us.  That is where I took the photos below of the dirt wrapped funnel.  This feature crossed the road in front of us and soon dissipated, although the RFD continued to kick up a lot of dust and dirt to the southeast of Portales.  A vehicle of two gentleman came up to us immediately after and asked us if we had just seen that tornado that was close to us.  Obviously we did and were fortunate to not have driven any further in front of the possible tornado at this point and had stayed parallel to the action area as it had progressed just south of Portales. 

  Soon the chase was back on as we continued to follow the storm on Highway 88 southeast of Portales, following the supercell that was picking up speed at this point and exhibiting strong signs of rotation.  We chased this cell southeast and ended up on Highway 214 to the north of Morton, TX where we witnessed our second brief and weak touchdown of the day.  I actually did not realize that this tornado had touched down until reviewing the photos that night.  There was so much dirt and debris being blown around that it was hard to tell in person, not to mention that the sun was setting at this point.  Below is the photo from the second tornado that touched down this day.  Not very photogenic tornadoes but there was enough evidence that they did touch down.  After abandoning the chase, we drove all the way back to Amarillo, TX for the night.

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Our chase vehicle (with hail cam strapped to the top) on a cell ~8 miles west-southwest of Portales, NM.

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Tornado that  touched down around 100 yards in front of us, 4 miles southwest of Portales, NM.

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Another view of the tornado with RFD kicking up dirt, 4 miles southwest of Portales, NM.

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Mesocyclone with blue, hallow interior and double rainbow.  Notice the RFD kicking up dirt directly head of us on the road.

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Underneath the supercell and looking at another intense supercell in the distance.

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Tornado cutting in from the left and kicking up dirt north of Morton, TX.

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Zoomed out view of the tornado kicking up dirt to the north of Morton, TX.

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View of the supercell anvil at sunset near Levelland, TX.

More photos from this day can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621672525853/

Storm Reports:

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May 31st Southeast Colorado and Oklahoma Panhandle Storm Chase - Amazing Low Precipitation Supercell, Funnel and Wall Clouds

05-31-07 STORM CHASE:  CO/OK  

Our crew consisting of myself, Karen Miller and the Twister Sisters film production team left Dodge City, KS just before noon, heading west on Highways 56 and 160 targeting extreme southeast CO.  There was a decent tornado threat this day but more of a large hail and damaging wind threat more than tornadoes.  As we progressed through Ulysses, KS, we encountered the Tornado Intercept Vehicle (TIV) and the research team from the Center for Severe Weather Research.  We were able to converse with them and check out the TIV and DOWS trucks while waiting for storms to develop to our west.  After 30-40 minutes in Ulysses, the first storm went up in southeast CO and we quickly gave chase on Highway 160 towards Walsh, OK.  Upon reaching Walsh, we progressed south (not sure of the road) and intercepted a very slow moving storm that was moving southeast at around 10 mph.  This storm produced an amazing mesocyclone and, consequently, an impressive funnel cloud for around 20 minutes before lifting.  Lots of chaser convergence occurred on this storm at this time with several tour groups and numerous vehicles, basically in the middle of nowhere on dirt roads.  It was quite the site.  We were about to get cored by this storm as we reached the CO/OK border and eventually were forced to core the storm before coming out safely near Keyes, OK in the western Panhandle.  We stopped here and waited for another storm to develop on the southern flank of the original supercell.  This storm produced a couple of amazing wall clouds before becoming a large HP beast towards nightfall as we followed east on Highway 64/412/3.  We knew the next day was going to be an active day further south, so our group drove to Amarillo, TX to spend the night.

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 One of the DOWS radar trucks as we were waiting and visiting with the team in Ulysses, KS.

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Checking out the TIV in Ulysses, KS as we were waiting for storms to develop to our west.

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Slow moving supercell east of Campo, CO with amazing spaceship like appearance and funnel starting to form.

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Another shot of the supercell east of Campo, CO and the incredible funnel from this storm.

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Close shot of the funnel cloud upon approaching our position.  Amazing how wrapped up this funnel was at this time.

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Matt Renner from Original Productions filming me in Keyes, OK while we waited for a more southern storm to intensify.

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Wall cloud with strong RFD kicking up dust/dirt at the base south of Keyes, OK.

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One of the more amazing, textbook wall clouds that I have ever seen.  This was taken about 5 miles southeast of Keyes, OK.

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Another shot of this amazing wall cloud near Keyes, OK.  Notice the inflow coming in from the right.

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The wall cloud became much larger and became this beast about 10 miles east-southeast of Keyes, OK.

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621795355980/

Storm Reports:

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May 23rd Northwest Kansas and Texas Panhandle Storm Chase - Supercell With Wall Cloud Hugging the Ground, Funnel and High Precipitation Supercell

05-23-07 CHASE LOG:  OK/TX  

  It was a long drive to start the day as we started out in Hays, KS and ended up in the TX Panhandle by the end of the chase day.  Our groups consisted of MaryLynn and myself, Peggy Willenberg and Melanie Metz, Bill and Cullen Doms, as well as our camera crews that were shooting for "Twister Sisters".  Driving down Highway 183, we stopped once again in Greensburg, KS and witnessed a caravan of trucks hauling away the wreckage of the town and a massive effort to clear the town of the destruction and start the rebuilding process.  The tons of wreckage was being hauled out to a large dug out pit about a mile outside of town where it was being burned.  This was quite the site to see at this point as we had witnessed the destruction of the town first-hand on May 4th.  After stopping for a glimpse, we progressed south across the KS/OK state line as a PDS Tornado Watch was issued for the TX Panhandle and western OK.  Storms erupted near the 4pm hour across this area, the first that we witnessed near Fort Supply, OK.  This storm quickly went tornado warned and produced a massive wall cloud that hugged the ground on the other side of a ridge.  The wall cloud stuck around for quite a while before lifting, cycling and producing a brief funnel upon approaching our location.  We did think that we were witnessing a wedge tornado but could not tell for sure since the ridge in the distance was blocking our view if the wall cloud had actually been on the ground or not.  Bill later confirmed that he did not witness a touchdown as he was in closer proximity to the storm.   After the storm began to weaken, but decided to drop south towards a stronger and still developing storm that many chasers were converging on in the area.  This storm had all the characteristics of a high precipitation supercell as we intercepted about 5 miles west of Lipscomb, TX.  It was very difficult to see any features due to the massive rain and hail core, but the storm had separate areas that were going outflow dominant and producing shelf cloud features, while others were wrapped up with a lot of rotation and mesocyclones.  At the leading edge, we were able to get a very good view of this storm as it approached, along with a lot of chaser convergence, the TIV, DOWS team and even a helicopter doing live reports on the storm.  Nearing nightfall we met up with the Twister Sisters and their crew while the storm produced a funnel and apparently touched down 3 miles to our northwest as a storm report had confirmed.  We did not witness the touchdown but did see a large funnel embedded in the rain at that time.  When visibility was greatly restricted, we ended up driving through another strong storm with hail near Woodward, OK and on to Enid, OK to spend the night.

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Large wall cloud close to the ground underneath a supercell near Fort Supply, OK.

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Large wall cloud and funnel close to the ground on the other side of a ridge near Fort Supply, OK

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Wall cloud hugging the ground with a sharp edge on the right with strong vertical motion near Fort Supply, OK.

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Wall cloud with rapid rotation and vertical motion as noted by condensation rising on the right side, near Forth Supply, OK.

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Zoomed out view clearly showing the strong updraft of the storm with wall cloud underneath near Fort Supply, OK.

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Funnel from the storm upon approaching our location near Fort Supply, OK.  The radar was indicating strong rotation and a TVS signature at this time.

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Running into the TIV in the Texas Panhandle.

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Massive high precipitation supercell near Lipscomb, TX.  Notice the mesocyclone as the outflow wraps into the storm on the leading edge.

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Yes, a blurry photo, but this is all I have of a funnel embedded in the rain core towards nightfall on the storm near Lipscomb, TX.  A tornado touchdown was reported around this time.

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621791300400/

Storm Reports:

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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/

Storm Reports:

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May 8th West Central Texas Storm Chase - Wall Clouds and a Shelf Cloud

05-08-07 CHASE LOG:  TX   The film crew for "Twister Sisters" decided to take a day off...but that didn't stop the myself, MaryLynn, the Twister Sisters, Beau Gjerdingen and Eric Whitehill from going after a squall line that was racing across western Texas through the day!  We wanted to show our guests a good time so we took off from Amarillo by late morning, trying to get ahead of the squall line that was racing east of Lubbock.  We finally ended up getting far enough ahead to stop and get some pictures near Throckmorton, Texas.  There were a pair of supercells out ahead of the main line of storms that each had non-rotating wall clouds upon moving north through our area.  We did get some photos, but all agreed that they would not amount to much due to the squall line likely to overtake both storms soon.  The squall line had one of the best shelf clouds I have ever seen and we let this overtake us at our position, all the while staying outside and feeling the full power of the winds that were gusting around 40 mph.  The shelf moved overhead and had a very nice underbelly that we viewed before the rain hit and we called it a day.  This was actually a very fun and relaxing chase day as all we had to do was get out ahead of the shelf cloud and wait for it to hit us.  Plus we got to view a couple of supercells out ahead of the main line, which was a pleasant surprise to say the least.  Check out the photos below!

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Impressive updraft with a supercell ahead of the squall line and with wall cloud underneath as well as some striations.

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Nicely structured wall cloudy developing underneath the supercell ahead of the approaching squall line.

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 MaryLynn and I in front of the wall cloud moving our north by a few miles.

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 Awesome shelf cloud about to overtake us with 40 mph winds and very heavy rain.  Check out the shark teeth!

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 The underbelly of the shelf cloud that has just overtaken us.  What a sight this was with all of the intense motion, horizontal and vertical.

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621655776921/

Storm Reports:

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May 5th Central Kansas Storm Chase - Tornado Damage from Night Before, Stafford Tornado and Funnels

05-05-07 CHASE LOG:  KS  

  This was the day after the Greensburg Tornado so it was rather somber, especially considering this was a High Risk day in the same area that was devasted by tornadoes the night before.  We started out in Claflin, KS where we found tornado damage from the night before.  The tornado had done a lot of tree and power pole damage in the area and actually did some structural damage in the town, including tearing a grain bin from its foundation and throwing it around 100 yards into a building near another grain elevator.  As MaryLynn and I progressed south towards the town of Ellinwood, KS we came across a church that had its steeple and part of the roof torn off as well as a lot of other, more minor damage in the area.  As we progressed further southwest towards St John and Macksville, we came across additional damage from the 12 tornadoes that touched down in central KS the previous night.

  As we neared St John, KS storms began firing on the dryline that was well forecast for mid afternoon.  Between St John and Pratt, we approached our first storm of the day.  This storm quickly produced a funnel cloud and was 3/4 of the way to the ground before lifting.  This is where we also saw the TIV and the DOWS vehicles that were attempting to intercept this developing tornado.  Our group that included two vehicles, with Beau Gjerdingen and Eric Whitehill in the other vehicles, followed the storm up towards Stafford, KS.  The storm had been cycling quite a bit with several wall clouds and areas of rotation.  North of Stafford, our vehicle was about to pass very near the mesocyclone and this is where the storm decided to drop a very brief tornado, only about 40 yards from our location.  The tornado touched down momentarily and then lifted, producing a beautiful funnel that was well lit as it crossed the road directly in front of us.  The funnel soon roped out and dissipated a few minutes later.  We continued to follow the storm to the north of Claflin, all the while having the storm cycle and produce wall clouds but not any more funnels.  It was very eery following a tornado warned storm into the same area that was hit the night before with tornadoes.  Nearing sunset, our group met back up in Hays, KS for the night.

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Power pole snapped by a tornado the night before near Claflin, KS.

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Grain bin thrown around 100 yards from a weak tornado that came through Claflin, KS the night before.

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A tornado ripped the steeple off of this country church between Claflin and Ellinwood, KS the night before.

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The tornado also took part of the roof and broke a few of the stain glass windows of the church.

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Funnel cloud that came within 3/4 of the way to the ground between St John and Pratt, KS.

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This is one of my favorite pictures, if not the favorite, I have ever taken.  This tornado did briefly touch down in the field about 40 yards in front of us.  It then crossed the road about 2 power poles away from our location.  This was near Stafford, KS.

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 Image of the funnel as it crossed the road and began to occlude and rope out just to our north.

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Image of funnel roping out and dissipating just to our north.

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 View of a large funnel cloud directly ahead of us and the rear flank downdraft and subsequent hail core to our left.

 More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621653451679/

Storm Reports:

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May 4th Southwest Kansas Storm Chase - The Greensburg Tornado

05-04-07 CHASE LOG: KS

  First off, my thoughts and prayers will always be with the people of Greensburg on this horrific day of unspeakable destruction.  This storm chase involved our filming of the "Twister Sisters" reality show with Peggy Willenberg, Melanie Metz, Beau Gjerdingen, Eric Whitehill, MaryLynn Voth and the entire crew from Original Productions.  We started the day in Hays, KS right on the northern edge of a moderate risk day.  There was uncertainty into if the cap could be broken further south so we  hung around Hays till late afternoon and then meandered towards Great Bend, KS.  Intense supercells formed along the OK/TX border by late afternoon and we questioned going after these storms due to their distance and with more supercells firing on the triple point in southwestern NE, our secondary target.  We ended up moving south on Highway 281 towards Medicine Lodge, KS and then west on Highway 160 to Protection, KS just after the storm had split and we were on the right mover.  As we drove about 2 miles west of Protection, KS the inflow to the storm was absolutely amazing, gusting to near 40-50 mph INTO the storm.  It was the strongest inflow winds I have ever felt into a storm and for good reason.  I had pulled the camera's out of the back of the vehicle, only to realize that they had condensated over due to the dewpoints being in the lower 70's.  Therefore, I only was able to get limited pictures of the wall cloud and none of the tornado that began to form when we were on a dirt road just to the north of Protection, KS.  MaryLynn and I had become split of the group at this point and had were watching a tornado form several miles to our northwest while the eventual Greensburg Tornado started to touch down in a field 1/4 mile to our east around 9pm.  As we followed behind the tornado that was rapidly increasing in size, it was starting to become more difficult to see as nightfall was soon approaching.  The soon-to-be wedge tornado was only illuminated between the power flashes and the lightning and is an image that has been in my thoughts and nightmares since this night.  One of the more scary things was the weather radio saying over and over "A Tornado Emergency has been issued for Greensburg, KS.  A tornado is imminent and all residents must seek shelter."  MaryLynn, our camerman and I ended up in the town of Mullinville, KS looking at a traffic jam in the middle of a KS night on Highway 54 as the road had been shut down as a result of the first EF-5 tornado in history, sadly destroying the town of Greensburg, KS.  Below are some of the pictures from this day and some of the aftermath:

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The beautiful shelf cloud out ahead of the left split of the Greensburg Supercell from our vantage point near Deerhead, KS.

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The actual splitting of the Greensburg Supercell (on left) and the left splitting storm (on right) near Coldwater, KS.

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Bad photo (I know) of the very tight and rapidly rotating wall cloud at the start of the Greensburg Tornado near Protection, KS.

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All of the news outlets in Greensburg only 3 days after the tragedy.

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A van that was thrown several times.

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 A very large grain truck that was flipped.

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 There was extensive tree damage throughout the town.

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The U.S. flag being flown proudly after the town had been dessimated.

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A pickup truck flipped from the winds of the tornado.

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Another amazing picture of the destruction from this powerful tornado.

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 A random piano thrown into the middle of a parking lot.

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 A grain bin wrapped around a tree like tinfoil.

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A slab of concrete completely ripped out of the ground.

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Boards thrown as projectiles.

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Incredible destruction the tornado caused in Greensburg, KS.  Debris spread for many miles.

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One month after the tornado went through Greensburg, KS as the rubble has been cleared.

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Another image of the entire town after having been cleared of the rubble one month later.

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621652591365/

And here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621654273947/

Storm Reports:

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May 3rd North Central Kansas Storm Chase - Low Topped Thunderstorm Funnel

05-03-07 CHASE LOG:  KS

  This was not your typical "storm chase" as we were on a travel day to set up for the chase the following day.  This was the start of our filming of "Twister Sisters", a reality television show that MaryLynn and I were a part of in 2007.  The show aired in December of 2007 and January of 2008 with re-runs for a few years after.  The funny thing about this is that we were driving on I-70 between Salina and Russell, KS and came up over a hill and noticed a really nice cold air funnel that was halfway to the ground!  That was an amazing site to see as we were not expecting any severe weather this day, let alone any funnels.  The funnel formed from a low topped thunderstorm, then dissipated and recycled with a wall cloud before the storm weakened in strength.  Our crew of Suburbans and vans pulled off the Interstate to witness this "gift" that Mother Nature had given us.  It was a great start to one of the more fun experiences of my life...being a cast member in a television show.

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This is the view of our dashboard in our suburban when we were filming for the Twister Sisters reality television show.  Notice the 3 dash cameras, one for the driver, another for the passenger, and another to look out the front window.  Quite the set-up.

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View of the funnel a few miles to the south of the Interstate as we were traveling between Salina and Russell, Kansas.

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Funnel cloud approaching Interstate 70 in north-central Kansas.

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Wall cloud organizing a mile to the west of I-70 and several miles to the south of our position.

More photos from this  day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621770518272/

Storm Reports:

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April 27th Northeast Kansas Storm Chase

04-27-07 CHASE LOG: KS   There is not much to show for this day as the Twister Sisters and I went down to northeast Kansas and spotted a few lowerings on a couple of supercells near Atchinson, KS.  These storms were moving to the northeast at close to 45 mph and were very difficult to keep up with.  Nothing ever came close to making even a nice wall cloud as the storms ended up quite linear rather quickly.

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One of the not-so-impressive lowered bases near Atchinson, KS.

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A neat shot of our view of one of the storms and one of the many unpaved Kansas roads.  We were sitting at a cemetary at this point which was a spooky place to view the storms as they passed.

More photos from this day can be found here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/39991047@N02/sets/72157621645443005/

Storm Reports:

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