2004 May 29
Copyright 2004 Eric Nguyen
 
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Area Chased:  SC KS

Discussion:   Scott and I had one of the best chases of our lives.  We targeted southern Kansas in the vicinity of the dryline bulge and a weak W-E boundary.  We waited in Medicine Lodge, KS, and had a storm develop to our SW near Hardtner, KS.  We followed this for a little over an hour before it gave any signs of becoming a supercell.  We observed a horizontal funnel pointing south near Attica, KS.  This quickly developed into a gorgeous tornado!  This tornado lasted 24 minutes and had an incredible rope out.   During the rope out of the Attica tornado, another tornado developed to our SE in the shape of a large cone.  We blasted east and once again, found ourselves in Harper, Kansas observing a wedge to our immediate south.  We successfully flank the tornado and watched as it slowly moved north just west of Argonia, KS.  This became a large wedge tornado moving due north.  We had a sudden wind shift and noticed that a wallcloud had passed overhead and was quickly about to produce another tornado.  So we blasted east to flank this tornado.  It produced a large stove pipe orange in color from the setting sun.  This tornado also morphed into a wedge as it moved northward.  We ended the day with two tornadoes on the ground again.

Pictures:

040529-1b.jpg (24241 bytes)      Despite the fact that our storm kept having updrafts occlude and rapidly dissipate, it finally got its act together near Attica, KS, where the partial occluded updraft began to rapidly rotate.  Also, strong downward motion could be seen this time in the RFD region.

040529-2b.jpg (18610 bytes)      040529-3b.jpg (18446 bytes)      040529-4b.jpg (18845 bytes)      A tornado quickly developed and moved northward.  The first signs of a circulation at the surface was at 0025 UTC.

040529-45b.jpg (21079 bytes)      040529-5b.jpg (20280 bytes)      040529-6b.jpg (21872 bytes)      At times the sun illuminated the bottom half of the tornado making an absolutely amazing site!  The far left image is taken at 0031 UTC looking due north.

040529-7b.jpg (21549 bytes)      040529-8b.jpg (22032 bytes)      The tornado had some intense motion at ground level with the tube making several kinks.  This tornado moved slowly to the ENE, appeared stationary, and then began to have a westward track.

040529-9b.jpg (20763 bytes)      040529-10b.jpg (21034 bytes)      040529-11b.jpg (20302 bytes)      Stills an amazing site as this tornado kept on going.

040529-12b.jpg (21447 bytes)      040529-13b.jpg (22084 bytes)      040529-14b.jpg (20469 bytes)      040529-15b.jpg (24197 bytes)      More amazing images as the updraft began to tilt over and occlude.  The second image to the left is taken at 0042 UTC looking north as the updraft appears to be leaning towards the NE.

040529-16b.jpg (20179 bytes)      040529-17b.jpg (25869 bytes)      040529-18b.jpg (25031 bytes)      040529-19b.jpg (23768 bytes)      The entire updraft occluded as the tornado itself roped out behind blue skies!  The last image I took was just prior to the demise of the visible circulation at the surface, taken at 0049 UTC, making the time of this tornado lasting 24 minutes.

040529-20b.jpg (24450 bytes)      While the 1st tornado was going there was another tornado developing to our southeast and something developing to the north of that possibly.   Also, notice the tube on the top of the image. This was well after the tornado had already initially developed and only video will show when it began, time of image is at 0057 UTC looking ESE.

040529-21b.jpg (22512 bytes)      040529-22b.jpg (26462 bytes)      We left the 1sts tornado once it completely occluded and met up with the second tornado as it rapidly developed into a big dusty wedge.  Images taken at 0108 UTC looking SSE.

040529-23b.jpg (20047 bytes)      040529-24b.jpg (19257 bytes)      040529-25b.jpg (20744 bytes)      040529-26b.jpg (19753 bytes)      We luckily flanked the tornado with a view now looking due west at wide angle.  It had broad area of strong rotation as it began to lift and reorganize.  The far left image was taken at 0114 UTC looking at a road that goes due east out of Argonia, KS.

040529-27b.jpg (19177 bytes)      040529-28b.jpg (17680 bytes)      040529-29b.jpg (17990 bytes)      040529-30b.jpg (18152 bytes)      It didn't take long for it to develop into a large cylinder shaped tornado.  We left this tornado to pursuit the tornado 1/2 mile to our east.   Far left image was taken at 0121 UTC looking almost due east as the tornado moves northward.  It is about 1.5 miles away and just west of Argonia, KS.  The tornado grew into a wedge shaped tornado as it slowly moved northward wrapping in rain at 0130 UTC, NE of Argonia, KS.  We left this tornado to pursuit one that was developing a half mile to our east.  The tornado you see in these photos eventually dissipated at 0149 UTC, which can be seen in images below.  This puts the life of the tornado over 52 minutes, probably closer to 60 minutes.

040529-31b.jpg (18754 bytes)      040529-32b.jpg (18882 bytes)      040529-33b.jpg (18981 bytes)      040529-34b.jpg (20140 bytes)      As we watched the previous tornado we encountered some strong inflow winds racing into a large lowering which eventually became another tornado 6 miles NE of Argonia, KS.  Since we appeared to be the only souls in the vicinity, I was calling 911 frequently to report the progress of the aforementioned tornado as well as the developing new tornado which developed a debris cloud at around  0134 UTC.

040529-35b.jpg (19355 bytes)      040529-36b.jpg (18963 bytes)      040529-37b.jpg (20098 bytes)      040529-38b.jpg (18382 bytes)      This tornado moved northward as the older tornado eventually dissipated as seen on the third image.  Third image taken at 0149 UTC looking NNE.

040529-39b.jpg (18990 bytes)      040529-40b.jpg (23367 bytes)      040529-41b.jpg (20333 bytes)      040529-42b.jpg (18825 bytes)      This tornado grew quite large and based on video appeared to be a strong to violent tornado.  Far right image taken at 0153 UTC looking due north as the tornado slowly moved northward.

040529-43b.jpg (20953 bytes)      040529-44b.jpg (19152 bytes)      As this tornado eventually began to rope out, another tornado developed to the northeast and as it moved westward grew into a large tornado, just north of the white stove pipe shaped tornado seen here.  I would have taken stills, however, it was getting dark and the rotation seemed strong enough that it was blurring with a one second exposure.  Video captures will have to be implemented after these series of images.  The last image was taken at 0200 UTC, which puts the tornado time on this one at 26 minutes, with this tornado continuing on its slow northward track.   The tornado that grew quite large north of the weakening one developed into a large tornado west of I-35 before dissipating into a thin stove-pipe tornado near I-35.  I don't have many details as it was getting dark and the video was the primary way we documented the end of this event.

I'll be going through GPS and video to produce my typical log of the life cycle of this storm and the associated tornadoes.


Copyright 2004 Eric Nguyen
 
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