We've got sisters!

24 May 2016

Today would provide a number of firsts for us, but the most crazy would have to be seeing two separate tornadoes on the ground at once...

The day started with a pair of enhanced risk areas to target, however we were in Texas, so the risk area that began a few miles to our north defintiely seemed preferable to the one a further 7 hours away. Indeed by the time we'd weighed up our options it seemed that only the more local option was truly viable. This was a bit of a dissappointment as the other risk area was rooted in Colorado, which is always subject to favouritism.

Our initial target was Laverne in the Oklahoma panhandle but this target shifted north by the time we arrived there, so we headed a little further north still and pulled up into a convenient disused farmyard parking area on an intersection of roads that left us with options. There were already a few other chasers around though noone we knew, but within half an hour we were one of 4 UK chase teams waiting in the area, including two we knew via TORRO and the NetWeather crew. It was good to have a catch up and it's at times like these where having too much time to check the latest available data can be counter-productive...leaving you with too many opportunities to "getting didgy" to a point where you make a rash decision. So a few catch-ups and a sandwich later and it started to look like we needed to get a little north. 

Further up the road we pulled into another layby where some more chasers had also congregated. One happened to be Nathan, another UK chaser we'd not seen yet this trip, so we had another chance to catch up on recent events and compare notes on the day before it was time to carry on a little further.

We headed towards Dodge city and the weather took any further decision making away from us; a storm popped to our northwest, so we targeted it. The focal point for the most obvious chase target of the day (there were others, but they required a little more luck) had been relatively clear so as the main storm took hold the numbers of chasers getting involved was huge. It wasn't too crazy, the roads are big and not overly busy, and the storm was a safe distance away and moving away from people, so things were generally quite relaxed. We watched on, with many others, as the storm consolidated and put down its first tornado of the day. 

Early tornado

24Th May 2016 Tornado Ongoing 1

Early tornado and structure

This time it looked to be a more concerted effort, and the storm clearly had a lot of energy to work through.

Second stovepipe

Massive stovepipe

As we watched its main tornado a second one formed a couple of miles west of it. Finally, 2 years after missing out on the Pilger twin tornadoes we had seen some ourselves.

Twin tornadoes

24Th May 2016 Tornado Sisters

We were able to keep up with the storm as it produced several cycles of both the main tornado along with secondary ones to its west. It was an awesome sight in a few different lights and from a few angles as the tornadic cell cycled, creating and recreating tornadoes as the afternoon progressed.

Holy spirit light

As the storm and its ongoing tornado approached Dodge City the roads started to become more hectic, with many chasers as well as concerned local traffic cluttering it, and this signified our "don't chase metro areas" policy to kick in and we moved off east. It's odd to be driving away with a tornado still clearly visible on the main storm, but so much had we been spoiled today that it was becoming merely par for the course to look back and see what appeared to be a second tornado forming again.

As we moved off a new updraft formed pretty much on our heads, reminding us that there was more to the system than just that storm, and we headed away to see if there were any more sights to be seen. We headed north towards the town of Kinsley where another tornado warned storm was progressing through the area to see if we could get a view on that. We found ourselves at another junction, and after a short while were joined by some of the UK chasers we'd seen at our first stop of the day. There wasn't much to be seen but it was quite a cool view and a good opportunity to debrief.

Finally we headed off up the road to make our way to whatever random place we could find to stay there. It ended up being in a little motel, with the appealing name of "The Do Drop Inn" where the manager was to be found in the car park taking photos of the dissipating storms...

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

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

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Tue May 2016

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