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Chase May 8 2003

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Route:Joplin (MO) - Iola (KS) - Rosalia (KS) - Hamilton (KS) - Burlington (KS) - Garnett (KS) - Wichita (KS)
Chasepartner(s):Saskia Mulder


CHASE LOG:
What an active week! During tthe last week many severe weather outbreaks occured and allready more than 150 tornadoes were reported in the States. We left Joplin Missouri at about 9 in the morning and headed west to eastern Kansas. Near Ashbury on highway 71 we saw how destructive tornadoes can be as a whole village was levelled to the ground. We decided not to make any pictures of this damage.
We visited a wild life area again, as storms were supposed to form in the late afternoon. At about 17 CDT we heard about the first storms near El Dorado, KS, which quickly became severe. We went west on US 54 and near Rosalia we saw the storm coming our way. We stopped on a farm road and saw a clear slot and rotating wall cloud heading in our direction. It wasn't rotating fast, but is sure was spinning! In Rosalia the tornado sirenes sounded.
We didn't feel save at our location so we turned around. Hail and heavy rain were circulating around the wall cloud and we lost it out of sight. We went east on US 54 and north on highway 99 to get in front of the wall cloud again. Near Hamilton we found it and it was spinning even faster! The wall cloud crossed the road and about 50-100 m on the other side, a funnel formed and we witnessed the birth of a tornado! Unfortunately there were many trees in front of the tornado and everything happened real fast, so we couldn't make good documentation. We drove a bit further north for a better view and there we saw the tornado again. Now it was a fat and bright white funnel. Above the field the inflow winds caused condensation just above the grass. What a sight!
The tornado moved away from us and because of the poor road network we couldn't get closer anymore. We went east on highway 57 and tried to get closer to the line of supercells again. Near Burlington we stopped for some photos. We saw a supercell with a backshearing anvil and a flanking line. Suddenly Saskia noticed a funnel cloud and it was growing rapidly. A new tornado formed in front of us. There were some hills in front of us, but we were pretty sure the tornado made it to the ground. The funnel disappeared after 5 minutes or so and the storm rushed further east.
We tried to close in on the storms again, but the tornado warnings were cancelled. Further south a large tornado did tremendous damage, but we couldn't make it to that one in time. Our storm still was severe with large hail and damaging winds. South of Garnett we decided to stop the chase as the storms moved way too fast for us. We made some pictures of the storm to our east and the setting sun. A very succesfull, but hard chase!


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© 2003 Bernard Hulshof