Author Topic: April 30 to May 8, 2007 - Including the Greensburg Kansas EF5 Tornado  (Read 47574 times)

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Offline David C

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Chuck Doswell seems to think so to Jeff!  see comments on this thread http://www.stormeyes.org/tornado/blog/archives/2005/08/appalling_examp.php

Diverting the thread slightly, these guys have obviously made it their mission to shoot dangerously up-close footage and, for quite young guys, the would be making a nice 'little' profit -- I know some cuts of quality newsworthy footage (not specifally these guys) have fetched around 30,000 US - of course this depends entirely on what you have / who else has similar and whether CNN etc want it. I have no problem about individuals risking their own lives....each to their own. A different story if your actions start putting others at risk.

Personally, when there are tornadoes on offer, I would always like to be somewhat close - say 0.5-1km although that depends on the situation. I would not have liked to have been within 2 km of the Greensburg monster at that time of night, in fact I rather not chase tornadoes at night at all.

Anyway good stuff Jimmy look forward to seeing your lp and the tornadoes.
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VORTEX

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Since I've been ill this is about as close as I get to chase...I was NOWCASTING for a couple of intercept spotters for a TV station....Here are some interesting radar images...One is the BWER from the debris..
[attachthumb=#]
« Last Edit: 09 May 2007, 09:41:58 AM by VORTEX »

Jeff Brislane

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Dave,

If I was there i'd be looking to get within 1km of a nice f2 tornado like that one, allthough I'm not sure about 100m. I agree that as long as you only put yourself at risk than so be it and I would be bored if the tornadoes were always a couple of km away, unless of course there was good structure.

Some people do it for the thrill and not just the science. However that night time wedge is just frightening, what a beast! And what is it about night time wedges over there? They seem to be far more common than day time wedges.

Jeff.

Offline Jimmy Deguara

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Hi,

Jeff, night time wedge in this case developed because the storm moved into a volitile environment after breaking the cap 3 hours or so before sunset. I can tell you there were relatively few chasers on the night time wedge supercell considering there were so many chasers out and about.

Anyway, after the Clinton lightning and rain, we chased yet another tornado warned supercell. We actually booked the hotel in my target region and the storm came towards us so a relatively short chase (thanks to Macca for alerting me and getting me excited haha). We then headed after it. Canons and power flashes hammered the area near the US 75 border area of Sherman - nice green glows. Of particular interest at the time rotation was being detected there was a prolonged green glow of 5 seconds over about a 100 metre spread or more. This did not coincide with a lightning strike from our perspective. It could have been straight line winds of course but worthy of note.

There has been no rest for several days now.

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
« Last Edit: 09 May 2007, 07:05:18 PM by Jimmy Deguara »
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Offline Macca

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In any given strongly unstable environment, the conditions are often more favourable for wedges after dark as the lower levels cool, the LCL height lowers, and thus not only does this increase the chances of tornadoes (alone), but it also provides for better conditions for wedge tornadoes.  It is also common here that the LLJ increases sigificantly during the evening/overnight (again providing another factor for increased tornadic activity after dark in a strongly unstable environment). 

I guess when you think about it, the lower the LCL, the less "wide" a tornado needs to be to meet the wedge definition (wider than it is high?).  So to have an LCL of just 200m (700ft), the tornado would (only) have to be 250m wide to meet the definition.  Certainly not a large tornado on the grand scale.   

Macca

Offline David C

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Yes, anecdotal at least, it does seem to me too that wedges are more common at night. In saying that when you are talking abut a 1+ mile wide tornado then all the standard tornado parameters would be at the top end of the scale. It is just a question of when the storm moves into a suitable environment, day or night. As you guys have said, the increase in the low-level jet (this possibly as 'inhibitory' vertical mixing decreases and / or due to baroclinicity via +ve west-east temperature gradient over the sloping terrain of the Plains) would be critical since this increases the low-level shear as well as maintaining ongoing northward advection of moisture (hence a lowering of LCL with nocturnal cooling). This could both intensify and in effect 'bring' the low-level mesocyclone closer to the ground - probably explaining any day/night bias in distribtion of strong violent (and large) tornadoes.

Anyway, good stuff from everyone over there, we are all enjoying the reports immensely back here!
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Offline Michael Bath

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Hi all - here are Jimmy's photos during this severe weather outbreak. Click on the links for the full set of images on each date.


Wednesday 2nd May Click on this link for all images

Extreme SW Texas south of Junction. Storm became tornado warned as basically a tailend charlie storm and remained surprisingly tornado warned for some time. We saw but did not film or photograph the rain slot trying to get better position. We then headed back east with it - you can see the squall line - very turbulent motions!



Thursday 3rd May Click on this link for all images

We hung around Waco, Texas during the afternoon on this particular day. We left the mess of the tornado watch box in east Texas given conditions were still ripe and recovering in this region. Seeing a persisting weak cell visually and on radar, we headed north to intercept it. It looked rather weak - very narrow anvil. From the time We proceeded west towards the cell north of Hillsboro, Texas - the storm had intensified and developed a cow catcher structure, a crisp side anvil and dangerous anvil bolts. The lightning bolt action became a barrage lasting at least 5 to 10 minutes. We finally were able to find a good location to stop.

A wall cloud developed and finally the severe warning turned to a tornado warning. The whole scene was in high contrast with good time lapse from two video cameras. The wall cloud being up close seemed to either redevelop or perhaps I lost perspective being so close.

Finally we dropped south and the wall cloud NW of Hillsboro was rotating rapidly. The clear slot introduced a rain shaft but no tornado seemed to make contact.

The storm met a quick demise into the typical LP supercell shrink stage. It ws quite nice to see the inflow persist right up until complete obliteration.

A fantastic chase and no chasers around - just the pick up trucks.






Friday 4th May Click on this link for all images


My friends and I were late to the tornado travelling along 160 when the tornado was crossing 183, and Greensburg, Kansas. Our target was SW Kansas and we remained in the area for some time at Anthony then met Macca and Chris at St Johns. We had initially moved towards cells erupting in eastern Texas panhandle and extreme NW Oklahoma and were just too late for those tornadoes and then headed north taking a bad road option (well the intent I guess under pressure was to intercept the storm near Pratt).

We were stopped amongst the very long damage swath along 183 near Greensburg, Kansas. I was sickened to think what it had done to Greensburg at this point given the extensive damage to power poles as well as a house. We headed back to Dodge City, Kansas and passed numerous emergency vehicles. The mood was one of sadness for the rest of the night.

I have checked video although at best I think besides stills of the structure, only one possible tornado on my images thus far. Brad has a very high possible tornado looking image - perhaps the new developing tornado?

Edit: Since this writing, Jimmy Deguara has documented images of the Greensburg tornado

More about the video stills are mentioned in this post:

http://www.australiasevereweather.com/forum/index.php?topic=424.msg3521#msg3521




Saturday 5th May Click on this link for all images

Chased with Tim and Kay Marshall, The Eades couple and a few others in the crew. Intercepted a supercell organising and quickly developing a wall cloud in the rural areas SE of Greensburg and SW of Pratt, Kansas. There was a brief touch down up close and personal here. We then headed generally northeast and we noted at least 3 more brief touchdowns along the marathon trip north.

We then let this go and dropped south to the east of Greensburg, Kansas. We filmed an area of rotation and had lost contact with the crew. It was at this time we decided to to head back to Dallas - drop-off and pick-up. Luckily so, as we arrived well into the early hours of the morning. We off course hear the large tornado threat once more on the NOAA radio as we dropped south. Tim Marshall got a multi-vortex of one of the tornadoes.




Sunday 6th May Click on this link for all images

This was a basic let down - my target was Woodward, Oklahoma but we were unable to get to the storm on time so we opted for activity south. Nothing really happened and all south action collapsed. The Woodward storm went to produce tornadoes in Wichita County, Kansas. Of course we enjoyed the cannons lightning bolt and thunder combinations:)




Monday 7th May Click on this link for all images

We were inside the core of the storm that began in Denton county and chased it northeast to Sherman. Made a wrong turn and missed the wall cloud. Some incredible lightning "cannon" and power transformer glows here. Now what was interesting was one transformer glow that lasted about 5 seconds over a few hundred metre length. Was it strong winds? It was near the shear region within the storm although can't tell exactly.

Had driven in hail to less than the size of golf balls in the core and torrential rain.




Tuesday 8th May Click on this link for all images

We started out near Gainsville, Texas and then headed WSW towards Archer City. We then basically gave it a try to intercept the Throckmorton supercell but only could get in time for a cell developing to its east. This exhibited interesting behaviour as it became tornado warned. The wall cloud was visible to our SW and then a thick rain shaft rotated around the east side. Quite spectacular but the rian spoiled the show. A nice shelf cloud followed us back.




We await the next decent system. Thanks to michael for preparing images once more.

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
« Last Edit: 19 June 2007, 04:35:46 PM by Jimmy Deguara »
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Offline Macca

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FWOR!  Nice pics Jimmy!!!  Great to see how things looked from slightly different areas too!

We went on a very local chase here this afternoon.  Some moderately strong storms developed to our SSW late this afternoon and moved northwards towards us so we drove about 20mi south of here (Wichita Falls).  It pushed out a nice guster and some infrequent CG's.  It was moving at about 10mph (very slowly) and we basically followed it back to Wichita  Falls and let it run over the top of us.  It had some nice gusty winds and some quite heavy rain.  There is now a large area of thundery rain sitting over us with one flash every 3 to 4 minutes but no bolts  :( .  Here are some pics...

 http://macca.bsch.au.com/gallery/20070509

The next few days are looking very dubious (although so were the last two...hehe...but moreso over the next few days).  Tomorrow might be ok for some more thundery action as the upper low which has been sitting over the southern Rockies for the last 6 days finally moves off to the east (over us) but after that, upper level ridging looks to take ahold of the plains.  There are two stormy options to play with when this happens...one is to head east into the lower Mississippi valley which will be ahead of the upper low and will have ample moisture for some pulse storms.  The other option is to head up to the northern plains (Nebraska & the Dakotas) and play any upper troughs which ride across the top of the ridge.  There is quite a bit of moisture up there as well and I think most chasers who are on their "chasecation" during this period will take this option as the first upper trough looks to be drifting over the Dakota's Friday/Saturday/Sunday. 

Macca & Chris

[Edit:  Just as I pressed "send", a massive FLANG just hit about 300m away!!]

Offline Mike

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Top stuff fellas!  Just great photos and 'commentary' of the past day's events.  The severe weather is getting plenty of television coverage here in OZ!  Certainly has been a fierce outbreak of tornadoes this season in the US.  Has been a pleasure to read your reports one and all.  probably makes it more exciting considering we aren't there to witness the storms!  Dang!

From viewing the WRFs there's still some stuff to come although some areas that had numbers like -8 LI's, CAPE 4000-5000 were stuffed up by mid to high level frontal cloud that really messed things up and wrecked any tornado formation.  Certainly some weak shear expected over the next day of less than 40kts in the low to mid levels but southern TX and parts of Oklahoma still looks inviting on the models.

Pity that developing low on the east coast is weakening, too much cooler water underneath!  wuold have been a doubleheader to head out there if that was strengthening to hurricane status!

Good luck and keep safe guys.  Enjoying the posts from you all!

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Offline Jimmy Deguara

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Macca and Chris,

The storms you have intercepted includig the night tornado are impressive - including the storm in Throckmorton county a couple of days ago! You have done well.

Hope we can meet up today for an Aussie, Slovenian, and Finnish BBQ. And of course some alcohol somewhere in there:) Be good to echange the current exciting moments!

We are still in Lindsay, Texas near Gainsville at the Lindsay Inn.

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
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Offline Jimmy Deguara

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« Last Edit: 14 May 2007, 05:16:00 PM by Jimmy Deguara »
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Offline Jimmy Deguara

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Hi,

Just so that people know this is the supercell that exploded and became a monster only an hour and half later to level Greensburg:





We were onto the other tornado warned storm that eventually collapsed so we raced north for this cell - the rest is history. The marathon catch up and finally move into damage path - 4 miles of damage along 183 - levelled house, tree branches, gas rupture and snapped power poles.

Regards,
Jimmy Deguara
« Last Edit: 14 May 2007, 05:37:11 PM by Jimmy Deguara »
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Offline Jimmy Deguara

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After two attempts at obtaining video stills, I have been able to further solve the confusing events of the evening, what was observed, and importantly, uncover a few probable sightings of the tornado based on video. The conditions were very difficult for chasing given we were late to the event and given the tornado (based on other chaser accounts) the tornado became rain-wrapped for a while only to emerge as it crossed and created more damage on route 283 north west of Greensburg. The video evidence of the probable tornado is consistent with this latter stage.

Also included are various images of the damage along the road, the storm structure and some of the lightning.







All video stills available here:
http://australiasevereweather.com/video/stills/2007/20070504.html

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
« Last Edit: 19 June 2007, 02:04:28 AM by Jimmy Deguara »
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Offline David C

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Fantastic mate - I knew you must have had something on video - also some good shots of the structure there!!
« Last Edit: 18 June 2007, 06:30:41 PM by Jimmy Deguara »
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