May 27th to 31st many more storms   Leave a comment

For me the last week of May was storm chasing every day (except the 30th). The 27th I chased a supercell that started in SC Nebraska and ended up keeping up with it until Kansas somewhere. I think early on I may have captured a tornado with it but there was a lot of rain under the meso so it is hard to tell. The 28th held off for a long time but eventually a very large supercell developed south of Minneapolis, KS and proceeded to produce a large tornado. I had been in Minneapolis a few hours earlier to get some refreshments, but some storm action to the northeast grabbed my attention. I ended up making it back to the Minneapolis storm but the tornado had become rain wrapped; this is a reoccurring theme for me this year. I did manage to see the tornado in between rain curtains and of course I also heard the tornado. It was very large and even though it spared human life it did destroy some livestock and farm equipment. The 29th was a potentially dangerous day becoming relatively uneventful.

The 31st was the last of a 3 day storm system in the Oklahoma area. I initially didn’t want to chase near the OKC area and points east, with these areas being either higher population density or sparse winding road networks. I thought I might be able to get a storm that wasn’t headed for the okc metro. This day will go down in storm chaser history as a very bad one.

I ended up being very close to the storms as they initiated near Binger, OK. I did end up being in a relatively good position and just as the storm went tornado warned I noticed a funnel cloud develop a ways from me. At this time a broad rapid rotation was developing to my north so I dropped south a bit to give myself some space between the storm.A multivortex tornado was developing after documenting the initial intensification of this tornado I realized that my choices were to go east or west. The tornadic winds were rapidly increasing and I realized that the tornado was probably going to widen and I would have to race it if I went east. I chose to turn around and drive west. This is not the best option but it probably was the best choice. The winds were intense and the rain driving from the RFD, but I made it to a relatively safer spot. This tornado ended up doing lots of damage and caused casuaties and death. This was also the first known tornado to take the lives of storm chasers.

If you don’t remember Tim Samaras was the one who had the spread in National Geographic 10 years ago documenting his tornado research and work. Basically, to sum it up he was legendary in the tornado chasing/research community. His team was apparently taken off guard by the sudden change in direction of the tornado and I’m sure valiantly tried to outrun the tornado but unfortunately got caught in the extreme winds of the tornado.

It sickens me that this happened and I am very saddened by this or anyone that gets caught in the path of a tornado while in a vehicle or weak structure. There were also many other extremely close calls for chasers as well as motorists. Too many, with other multiple fatalities. All I can say is be careful, and please remember this day as a warning. May all of the victims families of the killer tornadoes in OK and other places be comforted and let their healing begin.

Here’s some images:
May 27th

May 28th – I’m posting a video capture for now because I filmed during the visible parts. This would have been a best all time tornado for me had the rain curtain not enshrouded it.

Here’s a few stills from the devastating OK tornado on the 31st. I don’t enjoy chasing killer tornadoes but this day could have had a multitude of outcomes and unfortunately it became extremely large and produced a tornado with winds in excess of 200mph. These are relatively rare, but in Oklahoma’s case this tornado was the third damaging tornado of that magnitude for this year.



Posted June 4, 2013 by droobx in Storms

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