Andrew Revering
Hiawatha, KS June 4, 2005
Hiawatha, KS Tornado (F2) KSTP Video Clip

I'm writing this account almost 1 year later so my memory may be failing me. But I remember a few key points.

The night before my forecast was for a cell to develop northeast of Manhattan, KS and track ENE-ward. Shawn Hewitt, myself, and Adam Glowaski got together for this chase. A quick stop for data near Des Moines was REALLY short when we looked at the latest RUC run and saw the nice dry intrusion with a bubble of convection popping in the center of that over are target area over the forecasted period. This lined up perfectly with our previous forecasts and after looking at this one model graphic, we bolted and continued on our target path with a great deal of confidence.

When down there we met up with Joel Lampe and Jerry Witz. We got on a cell in northeast Kansas and were a bit confused by it. It looked like it was gusting out. After circling it a bit to get a good handle on what it was doing, we were at odds. A bunch of chasers stopped at an intersection to hash out the plan. Our group which included myself, Shawn Hewitt, Adam Glowaski, Joel Lampe and Jerry Witz as well as a bunch of out of state chasers like Jeff Piotrowski were debating what to do. After sitting here for some time I got kind of huffy because I had such strong feelings about this storm. Now the consensus was to abort this storm and dive well to the south on another cell.

Jeff Piotrowski and the other non-Minnesota chasers seemed to follow Jeff. Meanwhile we were still arguing when I noticed a change in the cloud movement to our east. It appeared as if a nice streaming band of inflow was taking place in a previously outflow dominant area. We decided to go up the road just a bit to check it out, and head north towards the core of the cell.

After cresting a hill we saw an outstanding RFD notch and our interest peaked. Coming around an MRI truck we could see a beast of a tornado which had just developed. The rest is history.

Lesson 1 learned: Don't give up when a cell gusts out, it may pulse and surprise you.
Lesson 2 learned: Stick with your original forecast.

Damage assessment report from the National Weather Service:

ONE TORNADO OCCURRED IN BROWN COUNTY SOUTH TO SOUTHEAST OF
HIAWATHA. THIS TORNADO STARTED ABOUT ONE HALF MILE WEST OF HIGHWAY
73 AT 420 PM...JUST TO THE EAST OF BAKER...OR ABOUT 6 MILES SOUTH OF
HIAWATHA. THE TORNADO THEN MOVED EAST NORTHEAST 3 MILES...ENDING UP
ABOUT 6 MILES SOUTHEAST OF HIAWATHA. IT HAD A MAXIMUM PATH WIDTH OF
150 YARDS. THREE FARMSTEADS OR BUSINESSES SUSTAINED DAMAGE...WITH A
TOTAL OF 15 BUILDINGS DAMAGED OR DESTROYED. SEVERAL CARS WERE
ROLLED...AND A COMBINE WAS MOVED A CONSIDERABLE DISTANCE. THIS
TORNADO WAS RATED F2 ON THE FUJITA SCALE.