April 06 2006 chase






3:02pm - the first supercell of the day evolved on the western flank of convective debris from an initial storm originating over Kingman county.  I watched the updraft scream northward and then north-northwestward through Ellsworth county at 60mph or better.  i followed it as far as the town of Juanita, but I didn't anticipate the moisture or shear in this set-up would support tornadoes in a storm wrapping that far to the northwest.
3:08pm - looking back south at the eventual storm-of-the-day, which was organizing rapidly over northwestern McPherson county.  I headed back south and east.
3:43pm - I got the feeling this convection--now approaching Salina--was trending toward an outflow-dominant mess.  I kept heading east, and shot this "over-the-shoulder" photo of a wall cloud and scud on the flanking line of the storm.  Apparently a brief F1 tornado occurred right on my heels two minutes later, northeast of New Cambria!
A wifi radar grab in Abilene lit a fire under my butt, as an angry supercell with an appendage had clearly evolved just northeast of Salina.  Not a moment later, Topeka tor-warned the cell.  I headed north on Jeep Road, then up Highway 15, pacing the cell now to my west as it sailed north-northeastward at 50mph.  The radio station announced a tornado had been sighted southwest of Manchester.  I squinted at the high rain-free base and by 4:16pm spotted a truncated stovepipe tornado on the horizon to my west-southwest.  I was shocked, considering this was a rather young storm in a high-shear environment and boundary layer moisture was obviously rather poor.  I headed west on some road to get closer to the tornado.
4:21pm - The first minute or two of my video ended up being slightly crappy, as I was concentrating too much on driving and getting closer to the tornado to gain contrast.  However, by the time I got within a couple miles, I managed to focus the camcorder directly on the tornado.  It looked very pretty as it crossed the road a mile or so ahead of me, as the condensation tail had lowered almost to ground level and displayed some little "snaky" motions from side to side.  A moment later I snapped this photo, but with the flash inadvertently on.
4:22pm - the only normal photo I got of the tornado, as it stretched and ropes out.
4:22pm - while all of this was going on, I was also trying to take in the wonderful structure of the storm.  A very compact low-level mesocyclone was seemingly "sitting on the ground" immediately north of the tornado, with a stubby little inflow band feeding into it.  A dynamic collar cloud above produced strong anticyclonic rotation, including a funnel seen here.  It was a awe-inspiring and ominous scene, and unfortunately only glimpses of it can be seen on the video.  Maybe someday i'll get some video captures.
4:38 - I headed north on Kiowa Road as the blustery wet RFD came across the road... then back east on Ninth Road to Highway 15 again.  This photo is from somewhere south of Clay Center, looking northwest at the reorganization phase of the large-scale meso.
4:39pm - another shot of the mesocyclone.  If I'd known a 1/4 to 1/2 mile wide tornado was buried in there beneath the collar cloud, I suppose I would have tried harder to get closer.  As it was, I drove into and then quickly east of Clay Center... and saw nothing.
6:38pm - Another nasty storm had formed south-southwest of Manhattan and I headed east instead to try and intercept that storm.  I have no doubt it would have been tornadic at some point in its life, had a left split from a storm farther south not collided with it at 80mph.  I got a view of the result of this collision southwest of Westmoreland.. was not much to see.  This photo shows some final linear storms in Jackson county, marking the end of this wild day.



Maps, weather data


18Z NAM 04-hr "first guess" at Manhattan KS

MLCAPE: 2239 J/kg

MLCINH: 29 J/kg

MLLCL: 1387 m

MLLFC: 2157 m


representative hodograph for future Hanover KS tornado (2230Z) via TWX VWP

storm motion: 205 deg @ 35 kts

0-1 km SRH: 192 m2/s2

0-3 km SRH: 323 m2/s2

0-1 km bulk shear: 23 kts

0-6 km bulk shear: 62 kts

7-10 km SR flow: 46 kts