Back to Pratt

08 May 2016

We woke in Garden City, Kansas Walmart carpark - our first carpark overnight stay of the trip. A few animal transporter lorries that had been within close range of our chosen pitch gave a slight undesirable tinge to the morning air but on the bright side we had all we needed at close range such as breakfast, food for the day, a new pair of jean shorts for me (bought annually out here) and a replacement in car charger which we managed to swap for the one we melted yesterday due to overloading it with gadgets.

So with all that bought, we were set for the day. The Storm Prediction Centre (SPC) had issued an enhanced risk (scale range is marginal - slight - enhanced - moderate - high) over much of south central Kansas (where we roughly were) and into Oklahoma. Deciding to keep well clear of any metro areas we edged a bit east to a town called Pratt where we were hoping for storms off the back of a short wave trough edging into a unstable air mass and an accompanying dry line progged to be another point of lift in the area.

We stopped for lunch in a park in Pratt where we revelled in the delights of organic ham (a rare find) and a stolen avocado (well not stolen exactly, but prised out of a ripe multibag of 8 due to the loose ones being far from ready).

After lunch we headed up the road to get a better view of what might be firing in the area. There were some storms firing along the approaching dry line and we could see them in the distance to the west. They weren't anything spectacular so we waited, watching them both with our eyes and on radar before picking which one to go for within the approaching line. We decided to head for the southern most of the bunch, using the reasoning that if we waited we'd lose any chance of a good position on it but we could always come back up and reposition on any of those to our west.

It panned out as follows. We headed south, the cell started losing it. We ditched it and headed back to Pratt where the more northern storms were starting to intensify. These then started to dwindle as the bottom storm picked up once again. However, this time we stayed with our chosen northerly target and followed him to his ultimate demise where he rained on us a bit. As it happened, the southerly cell didn't amount to much either. It seemed as though nothing in this particular part of the risk area could really get going and the best activity was in the far northern parts of the target area where quite a few tornadoes were reported. 

Cells continued to pop up though and although they amounted to nothing threatening they certainly made some spectacular sights in the dusk light such as these.

Kansas pretty storm 1

Kansas pretty storm 2

Kansas storm and Timbo

So we retired for the day, happy to revel in our memories of yesterday’s unbelievable chase and ready to crack open a beer in honour of it, which we had yet been unable to do given yesterday's post storm 3 hour drive. The only problem with this plan however was we were stuck in Kansas where traces of prehistoric, seemingly dated prohibition laws are still embraced in many places and although we had strategically been careful not to choose a motel in a 'dry' county, it seems nowhere will sell beer after 6pm on a Sunday.

But all was not lost for our motel had a bar! We have only ever stayed in a motel with a bar once in 7 years out here. We couldn't believe our luck and so the day ended looking through photos and trawling through YouTube videos of yesterday’s events with a beer in hand and hoping for some more stormy luck tomorrow.


SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Sun May 2016

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Sun May 2016

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