Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chase log 05102010

What a week it's been.

The storm on the 10th had been forewarned by almost a week by the National Weather Service.  It is the only time in my 34 years in Wichita that I've ever seen a River Festival day canceled due to possible weather.  The predictions were bad enough that Emergency Management was scrambled.  We were very lucky that we lacked afternoon heating that kept the tornadoes from forming.  The storm I chased went right through the heart of Wichita and right over my house.

I left thinking about Belle Plain down south, there was a large thunderstorm with a massive hook echo that had several chasers on it.  We left heading south, then a call from my brother-in-law made us go west.  We ended up in Clearwater then shot south of Viola.  Their was so much humidity aloft that the haze obscured any sort of cloud definition. 

Needless to say we found the wall cloud.  At first I thought this was inflow due to the sheer size of it. Until it was fully rotating and heading towards us.  Cold wind was shooting into the storm about 45 to 50 mph.  Then as the cloud moved overhead, the wind suddenly lifted and we were in silence.

 The wheat was going every which way and we were looking at funnels coming together and falling apart.  The strange thing was we were watching rotation in the wheatfield along with it.  We never "saw" the tornado, but it was there in the field with us.

Luckily, the entire storm seemed to be rotating and the wall cloud moved out from over us and away.  At such a high rate of speed it was impossible for us to keep up with the storm.  They were warning that funnels were spotted near the airport in Wichita.
The storm was followed by a deluge of rain and hail.  We drove back into Colwich, nearly needing to stop due to visibility.  By the time we took K-96 to I-235 in Wichita we had sunlight to the west and one of the brightest rainbows I've seen.

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