Sunday June 1, 2003 - Kansas - Severe Outflow


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Now that our guests Lori and Tommy were on their way back home, we too had to make a decision of going back to Minneapolis to wrap up our tour. However, a risk of severe weather in our travel path was too tempting to give up. One of our guests, Mike, lives in Minneapolis so he was able to ride this one out with us. He was more than game to take another day to chase the threat.

We went north and west out of Oklahoma City via Wakita, OK to the Oklahoma Panhandle. Of course all storm chasers know of the movie "Twister" and it's town Wakita, OK which was the big finale in the movie. We of course had to stop off just off our path to Wakita and be tourists again. Everyone got out and got a group photo in front of the Wakita water tower and looked at the various plaques they had scattered throughout town which showed how they developed the town to support filming. Across from the water tower where we took the pictures was a empty lot where the house of 'Aunt Meg' stood, surrounded by pictures of the set during filming.

Just down the road in what must have been Cherokee, OK we came across the Tin Man. Mel had to grab a still of this.

Soon we became aware that we wern't just movie watchers, but we were actually storm chasers who needed to get to work. So we continued on knowing that the setup looked very good for severe, possibly tornadic storms on the dryline/warm front triple point connection from Canadian, TX to Elkhart, KS. By 5:30 p.m. we entered the Oklahoma Panhandle still heading west to intercept the dryline/warm front intersection. Cumulus were beginning to tower in the area. At about 7:00 we hit some amazing outflow dust along a shelf cloud in Liberal, KS. Farther down the road closer to Meade, KS we were met with the same thing. More outflow dust from the ominous looking, ragged shelf cloud.

At about 7:30 near Plains, KS we noticed some inflow smoke from a fire just ahead of the shelf cloud. As the outflow began to overtake the inflow, the smoke became vertical and mimiced a tornado. Time lapse video taken obviously shows the situation, and even outlines the outflow as it crossed over the smoke. This should make for great skywarn training video! View time lapse of the smokenado as the outflow crosses over the fire. [2.4 MB]

I'm sure someone would have called that in as a tornado. Just after that dissipated Jeff Piotroski and Brian Stertz. We exchanged pleasentries and they departed.

At 8:05 just 1 mile west of the city of Meade, KS we measured a wind gust ahead of the severe storm of 62 mph. Winds were pretty constant at 50 MPH for quite a few minutes. We reported the warning to Topeka to relay to Dodge City NWS. Just east of Meade we hit some small hail as the storm overtook us. By this time darkness fell and we watched the ominous shelf and outflow dust as we went into Dodge City, KS to spend the night.