TARGET: GARDEN CITY, KS

The target for today would be SW Kansas around Garden City. Computer modelling had initiation around 2pm so we left the motel around 11am for the 3hr trip. After about an hour into the trip the first echos popped up on radar which was earlier than anticipated however we knew that the big stuff might not get really cranking till for another 1hr or so. We soon emerged out of the cloud to see a large thunderstorm underway just NW of our target area. Radar reflectivities indicated the storm was now entering into the mature stage. The miles seemed to drag on but eventually we were in a position to see base features. Jane and Clyve had reported a funnel cloud so that was an encouraging sign. The cell was now a massive HP supercell complete with an ominous green hail core which had been reported to be spitting out tennis ball size hail. We watched the cell continually grow with wall clouds undergoing transitions. Visibility was very limited with lots of moisture obscuring details. We were only 5 miles from the main area of interest and we could see sporadic funnel clouds. All of a sudden a more substantial funnel emerged, however visibilty being so poor we couldn't confirm ground contact. As it turned out it was a tornado confirmed by spotter closer to the action. It was only brief and the rain was closing in so we had to move. A new wall cloud had developed and was rotating very quickly. We had to stay out of the rain however we had opportunities to stop quickly and grab some quick photos. It couldn't quite get it done for a tornado but just witnessing a wall cloud rotate like it was made for pretty exciting viewing. We had to keep ahead of the rain to try and get around in front of the cell, but we managed to get ourselves in the hail core of new development. This new cell was dropping hail up to 3-4cm and the rental would soon be sporting a few dints from the accidental core punch! Shortly after the cell began to exhibit outflow features and we knew that it was now in a weakening phase. The gust front that accompanied the outflow push was quite spectacular. We once again met up with Jane and Clyve and had dinner at Applebees. A coldfront is expected to push into the region which is going to kill storm chances for awhile so some sightseeing might be coming up.

 

This area was rapidly rotating, but didn't quite get to the tornado stage