Sunday, May 20, 2012

Fire and Ice

Our day started off in Pratt, KS.  We headed to Hutchinson, KS and hung out in a park there for a couple hours.  Storms started to fire to our northwest around 3:00.  We caught up to the storms and got to see some awesome mammatus clouds from the first storm.  We stopped two times just west of Sterling to take pictures with them! 

From Sterling we headed south and found a spot to stop for the next storm near Arlington.  We saw a lot of chasers on the road and one group drove by us yelling "tennis balls"!  The hail markers on radar said 3.5", but it didn't actually get that big.  We ended up seeing hail around golf ball size, the largest we've seen so far!

After the hail, it was tornado time!!  We saw two different tornadoes from the squall line with imbedded supercells.  The first tornado was near Murdock and very straight, long, and skinny.  We only saw it for a little bit before it became rain-wrapped and died.  The second one formed a little south of Murdock.  It was much more defined and impressive.  It had a really strong circulation and was very long-lived.  It lasted at least 15 minutes and kept reforming itself.  There was some debris and dust around the bottom and extending up into the cloud deck so it was easy to see.  We could see it around a wind farm and we later heard that it damaged a blade on one of the wind turbines, but that has not been confirmed yet. 


After those tornadoes, we set up in Danville because we had heard there was another rain-wrapped tornado that was sometimes visible.  We didn't see that one, but we did see some amazing lightning, including some very close to the van.  One nearby strike scared the whole crew and had us piling in the van in less than 10 seconds- record time!  After that we decided we had to move, especially once we started smelling something weird.  It only took a minute to find out what the smell was- the lightning had struck a nearby wheat field and it had caught on fire!  It hadn't spread too much when we drove by and hopefully it was put out by rain soon after.

We headed south from there towards Oklahoma. On our way we happened across a beautiful sunset as the sun dropped below the cloud bases.  We all got out of the van to watch it set, take pictures, and enjoy the beautiful sight before getting back into the van and heading to Perry, Oklahoma.  What a way to end our journey! 

No comments:

Post a Comment