Wednesday May 12, 2004 - Kansas - Tornado & Neat Wall Clouds


Waking up in Kearney, NE around 11 a.m., we went south on 183. We stopped in Hays, KS for a quick stop at Radio Shack to see why we were getting shocked by the scanner, and to get a bite at Arby's. The setup was a low in SW Kansas and stationary front extending from it to the NNE. The dew points advecting in front of the low reached into the 70s with a sharp dew point gradient ahead of the low. A large cumulus/HCR field developed by early afternoon over the area. The Storm Prediction Center was expecting severe storms and possible tornadoes.

We made it down to Pratt, KS and navigated some dirt roads while watching some cell merger. The cell to the SSE of the initial cell started to eat it up and shortly thereafter dropped a very brief tornado east of Coates, KS at 7:01 p.m. The tornado first showed us a rotating debris cloud about 2-3 minutes before we saw a condensation funnel which came a little more than half way to the ground. We then had to race north as the funnel was within a 1/4 mile of our location. We got out of the way and then went back south where better development had been occuring.

Here we witnessed some really neat wall clouds but our chase was pretty much over. We went south for the night and stayed in Enid, OK where we ate at the IHOP in Enid. We met up with a bunch of other chasers who were also chasing in Southern Kansas, including Dave Lewison and Scott McPartland. We stayed at the Comfort Inn.