Author Topic: April 30 to May 8, 2007 - Including the Greensburg Kansas EF5 Tornado  (Read 78028 times)

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Offline David C

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Good luck guys, should be some REAL plains action over the next few days. While I would prefer the upper trough the eject out more vigorously (more rapid destabilisation), it should not matter as there will be Kansas specials on offer in anycase (4000+CAPE and 60+knots 0-6km). It will be the first time quite a few of you guys there will have experienced this magnitude of SVR so take it all in :)



 
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Offline nzstorm

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Yes, best of luck for what looks like a very interesting few days of chasing. 

I'm looking forward to reports and pics.   

I start chasing on the 12th.
« Last Edit: 05 May 2007, 02:04:31 PM by nzstorm »
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Offline Jimmy Deguara

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Hi all,

We had a surprisingly interesting day yesterday with a Lp to classic supercell going crazy near Hillsborough! Lightning bolts from the anvil made it dangerous to be out of the vehicle and the organisation to supercell status was incredible. It was very close to producing a tornado with rapid rotation. There was absolutely no chaser that we saw around this storm because it developed and organised too quickly!

Pics later - we are enroute to Kansas after pulling off a miracle with car hire!

Regards,

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Offline David C

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For posterity>>

Unfortunately, it seems that the town of Greensburg KS has taken a direct hit and there is a tornado emergency current.

SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DODGE CITY KS
1034 PM CDT FRI MAY 4 2007

KSC047-097-151-185-050400-
/O.CON.KDDC.TO.W.0027.000000T0000Z-070505T0400Z/
STAFFORD KS-EDWARDS KS-PRATT KS-KIOWA KS-
1034 PM CDT FRI MAY 4 2007

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 1100 PM CDT FOR
NORTHEASTERN KIOWA...NORTHWESTERN PRATT...SOUTHEASTERN EDWARDS AND
EXTREME SOUTHWESTERN STAFFORD COUNTIES...

AT 1031 PM CDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS AND STORM
SPOTTERS WERE TRACKING A LARGE AND EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TORNADO
.  THIS
TORNADO WAS LOCATED 4 MILES SOUTHWEST OF TROUSDALE...MOVING NORTHEAST
AT 25 MPH.

* LOCATIONS IMPACTED INCLUDE...
  FELLSBURG...
  TROUSDALE...
  HOPEWELL...
  RURAL RESIDENCES OF NORTHEASTERN KIOWA...NORTHWESTERN PRATT...
  SOUTHEASTERN EDWARDS AND SOUTHWESTERN STAFFORD COUNTIES.

TROUSDALE IS IN THE DIRECT PATH OF THIS VIOLENT TORNADO...TAKE
COVER IMMEDIATELY!!

THIS STORM HAS A HISTORY OF PRODUCING TORNADOES CAUSING SIGNIFICANT
DAMAGE!
« Last Edit: 06 May 2007, 07:58:20 AM by David Croan »
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Offline David Brodrick

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OMG, check out these aerial photos of Greensburg:

http://www.kansas.com/static/slides/050507tornadoaerials/pages/_MG_0319.html

Dave

words words words

Jeff Brislane

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It's a fine time for Stormtrack to remove the Target area access for visitors. It seems that visitors are contributing to the forum overloading and being shut down they have removed visitor access as a result. Great but it takes forever to join this stupid forum and thenif you don't post your membership gets canned! What are you supposed to do if you want to keep up with the latest developmenst and chase reports???

Lets see, the BoM website gets about 100,000+ hits a month and they don't seem to have a problem. I think Stormtrack needs to pay for more bandwidth, it's not like it's all that expensive over there!

Kiss goodbye to my stormwatching season :-(

Jeff.

Offline Michael Bath

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This is a particularly impressive VIS satpic at 23.45UTC (6.45 CDT) for central Texas.  SPC has a rope tornado spotted at the time.




Have to agree with you Jeff at Stormtrack - really peeved at no access to the reports, and they have shut down registering too.

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Offline Macca

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Hi all,

The first part of the following post was written on Friday night as we were driving to a safe location away from the cyclical tornadic supercell...

Well – today turned out to be another very frustrating and also very sobering day.

I won’t spend long talking about the day apart from the fact that the cap held over all of Kansas all day. The cap broke down in the far north eastern Texas panhandle and a tornadic storm moved into far north western Oklahoma. Only minor damage was reported from this storm. A left split from this storm moved NE through the OK panhandle and into southern Kansas where it developed into a monster cyclical supercell. This supercell became tornadic just before dark (8:30pm) and it is now 12:30am and this cell is still raging through south central Kansas and has produced numerous large, violent tornadoes.

We tried to get in a position to view the storm near Greensburg at around 9:30pm, however, a very large tornado which was on-going during our northward run and this crossed the road we were on about 20mi ahead of us. Unfortunately, this large, violent tornado hit Greensburg and rural properties to the south of there. Other small towns and rural areas to the NE of this location have also been hit by this long-lived, violent tornado producing storm (it has produced several large tornadoes).

Our chase was cut short as we drove N along US 183 about 5mi S of Greensburg when we reached the place where this very large tornado had crossed the road (in a near parallel fashion – the tornado was moving NNNE) just 15 minutes earlier. Power lines were strewn all over the road for about 1-2mi like spaghetti, power poles were leaning at a 45 degree angle if they weren’t snapped off, trees were stripped bare, LARGE farm machinery was overturned (possibly dumped upside down). We could hear cows mooing in agony, a poor dog had endured the tornado and somehow survived but was terrified. We came across 3 properties which all had EXTENSIVE damage. The last one which we stopped at had a family sitting in a car who had driven here to search for their relative in what remained of the house (it was completely destroyed). An elderly woman in the vehicle had also had her house destroyed and it was her son’s place where they were searching for her son. Her daughter was with her, however, they had not heard from the missing person since the hail started at his house. These people were in shock. After about 5 minutes they received a call from a friend who informed them that the missing man was ok. The elderly woman wanted to go home to bed but her house was no longer there. We left them at this point to leave them to come to terms with what had just happened to them – they had just lost two homes in the one family. We headed back to the S back through the damage. Gas pipes had ruptured along the road and gas could be heard hissing out of these pipes. This place was like a war zone.

Emergency vehicles from all over the place were/are heading for Greensburg which took a direct hit from this same tornado. From the limited information we have heard, this violent tornado hasn’t left much in Greensburg. As I type this, more emergency vehicles can be heard outside either arriving at the hospital here in Pratt or heading out to help. This tornadic storm is still going near Great Bend with very strong hook echoes (note plural).

Certainly a very sobering experience and one you would never hope to happen. It will be a miracle if there are no fatalities from this event tonight. A long lived, violent tornado producing supercell at night is the last thing anyone wants.

Macca & Chris

……………………………….

So that is what I wrote the other night. Just to add to that, there have now been several fatalities reported with more likely to be found when rescue/clean up workers clear more of the debris. As you have seen from the links posted on this thread, this was a massive tornado (officially 1.4mi wide and upper end EF4 or lower end EF5 – yet to be confirmed) and the people of Greensburg had no chance. Dodge City NWS issued the tornado warning for Greensburg 20 minutes before it hit so the people of town at least had some time to take shelter….but not many shelters withstood this violent tornado. People who took shelter in their basements ended up being trapped when their houses just collapsed on them. I could go on and on with all the stories we have heard over the last 24hrs. It has been estimated that 95% of the structures in Greensburg have been severely damaged/destroyed – I don’t know how a town can recover from this.

It was certainly a very surreal experience for us and for many chasers that night. Coming across such extensive damage to property/people makes it really hit home how vulnerable we are. One thing we noticed yesterday was the really strong sense of community in this area. People from all over central/SW’rn Kansas were pulling together to donate food/shelter/money for the people of Greensburg. Unfortunately yesterday (Saturday) saw another round of severe weather in the exact same area and many towns in south western and central Kansas were under multiple tornado warnings again less than 24hrs after the previous bout. Greensburg was tornado warned 3 more times yesterday. And today isn’t looking great for them either with a 3rd day in a row of severe storms (and possibly strong tornadoes) to develop over the same area this afternoon.

Ok – so yesterday was a HIGH risk day (per SPC convective outlook) and this morning (Sunday), there has been 91 preliminary tornado reports across 7 states. This is likely to decrease by nearly half as many of these tornadoes have been reported more than once.

We started our day in Pratt, Kansas. A line of strong storms developed early in the day (11am-12pm) and quickly became supercellular. This line of storms didn’t produce many (if any tornadoes) and by mid afternoon these were moving off into north central kansas. We drove around checking out a few of these storms but they didn’t seem to be able to get really organized (I think the instability this early in the day was not enough to stand up against the insane shear…70-80knts at 500mb). Later in the afternoon, more storms developed on the southern end of this line over NW Oklahoma and SW Kansas. We were in Great Bend at the time and decided to head towards Dodge City area to pick up one of the more isolated storms in this line. (There were 3 storms to our SW to choose from, we picked the middle one to start with). We had to drive west of the most northern of the three storms to avoid its core and it wasn’t long before our storm was clearly in view. We got in a nice position to the ENE of the base and shortly after we stopped to watch, a tornado warning was issued for this storm (based on Doppler indicated rotation). Surface winds increased as we watched and they swung more to the SE (as opposed to S’ly as they had been for most of the days). The cell started to look quite nice for a while. It put out a big outflow push as an RFD came down to the west of the base and a nice wall cloud developed and had some rapid scud motion and rotation briefly. We were pretty close at this stage and had to boot eastwards to get out of the way.

Eventually, the outflow appeared to get the better of this storm so we left it to race off to the NE. Another nice cell was coming up from the SW so we dropped back into Pratt, gassed up and then headed west to intercept this tornado warned storm (based on spotter reports of confirmed tornadoes). We waited about 5mi Wof Pratt for the precip to pass over the road and then we headed into the action area. This is where things got interesting. We watched the base for about 10 minutes and saw some more rapid scud motion but no torandoes. We moved back east to get to a north road option and we did this several times over the next 2 hours - jogging east and then N to intercept the storm as it cycled through tornadic phases much like the previous evening. We saw what looks to be a tornado which emerged from behind the storm (see pics) at about 8:15pm looking NW towards Trousedale and then as we pushed N along SW 70th Ave from Bayers, we approached US 50 from the S and saw a very nice solid stove pipe tornado on the ground near Macksville to our NNW. Fortunately, Macksville was spared by this tornado. It was right on dusk at this point and the tornado was difficult to see (no digi pics) but the lightning illuminated the tornado nicely on video. The road north was blocked by EMA (emergency management) so we just had to watch from a distance of about 3mi along with quite a few other chasers. This tornado dissipated shortly after this and another tornado developed from the same circulation about a minute later (see pic/s). This was a smaller elephant trunk tornado and this lasted only 30 seconds or so. A much larger tornado was off to the N of us (about 5mi) however, given our location and the now near darkness, we weren’t able to see this.

We dropped back S a little and then raced eastwards again before another northward jog to position ourselves NE of Stafford. We were now ESE of the main circulation, looking almost due W. Several large lowerings were looking ominous to our WNW and after talking to a few chasers last night, they were about 3mi to our W and were very close to a large wedge tornado. We’ll have to check our videos at some stage but this may’ve been what was off to our WNW. After watching this for about 10 minutes, it appeared to weaken and the whole line of storms became less discrete and looked much less likely to produce more tornadoes. We decided at this point to call it a day. We headed east to Hutchinson, KS were we finally too some time to rest and catch up on what has been a crazy few days. In review, we definitely got 2 tornadoes yesterday, possibly as many as 4. Its nice to get the first one under the belt and hopefully we can get a few more in our time here. I’d really like to get some in full daylight so we can get proper photos but I won’t complain about what we got.

Today is looking interesting again with the possibility of more strong tornadoes. There is a lot of on-going convection already over much of KS, OK and TX but the boundary (cold front) is forecast to retreat westwards today and another upper level impulse is set to over run this boundary later today. It’s a little difficult to work out how things are going to pan our given all the convection at the moment but if this can clear out by early-mid afternoon, there should be time for sufficient instability for supercells. Shear is also still quite nice with 30knts at 850mb from the SE overlayed by 50knt at 500mb from the SW. If this comes off, there is more turning in the lower level winds than the past two days and with the mid-level steering winds being slightly weaker, storms may be slightly slower moving. At the moment, we’ll probably target somewhere like Ashland in far southern Kansas.

Link to pics from our Mexican storm day – mammatus from the un-chaseable storm and a photo of the cell on radar on the laptop…

http://macca.bsch.au.com/gallery/20070502

Link to pics of the developing monster supercell which went on to produce the Greensburg tornado…

http://macca.bsch.au.com/gallery/20070504

Link to pics from yesterday including two of the tornadoes (but not the nice stove pipe which we only have on video)….

http://macca.bsch.au.com/gallery/20070505

Macca & Chris

(Currently staying in Clinton, OK as lines of thunderstorms pass about 5-10mi to our west with the odd storm passing over us...we had a lightning strike the building across the road...sparks were flying and the thunder was awesome!)

Offline David C

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Excellent report and congrats on the tornadoes -- great stuff, although the flip side of it all must have been all too evident for you guys as you approached Greensburg that night. The DDC area has copped an absolute flogging from this system and the wording in some of those tornado warnings was just spine-chilling. In addition, at the time there was a velocity image posted on storm track showing the off-the-scale TVS (~150 knots total shear) right over town. Back in 2004 we were on a storm, in the general same area btw, that was visibly spinning like a top and produced an EF4 and that was up at around 112 knots. The point being, this latest storm (Greensburg) was just brutal, and was brutal for over 100 miles.
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Dave,

Could you post any links here of video or pics of good storms and tornadoes that you see on stormtrack.

Jeff.

Offline David C

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Offline David C

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Here's some more footage, this time from May 5 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roOVvEGyrzk
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Offline Macca

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Hi all,

Currently getting FLANGS galore but in between storms, I have just taken two screen captures (literally photos of the screen of my video camera) of the stove pipe tornado we got on Saturday night (last night).

http://macca.bsch.au.com/gallery/20070505

Enjoy,

Macca & Chris

Offline Jimmy Deguara

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Hi all,

We have not been able to post for a few days because we have been on the road since acquiring the second vehicle.

First, congratulations on Macca and Chris for getting onto the tornado on the 5th May. We met them prior to getting those tornadoes same storm but we were destined to return to Dallas to pick up and set down friends in the group (arriving 3:30am). We did get two tornadoes and possibly a third daytime tornado - one was up close and personal within half a kilometre but not strong and no funnel developed. Impressive video as we headed on the go with rotating wall clouds etc.

On the night of the Greensburg, we were also cut off by the damage and on the way when the wedge was touching down, within 20 miles as the tornado ripped through the city and then as we headed up the 2 miles of downed power poles etc, Ray and Brad suggested they had observed a tornado consistent with the now smaller tornado direct north that did damage and cut off the northern road option. We will have to check video but low light made it difficult to observe. The scene of desctruction made us feel sick - for me it was the first time I was turned off by being in the area knowing there were and would be fatalities with a mile wide.

Yesterday was relatively crap though we had some blasting canon cg's in Clinton and that echoed across the whole neighbourhood for at least 10 seconds and vibrated the building!

Anyway, I will cut short here. Today is more like cold front central with likely HP supercells - lots of rain and thunder. We will play an easy day possibly along the red river rather than extreme SW Texas.

In relation to references to the supercell that hit Greensberg, I would like to add that this will go down as one in history as wedge fest. It is vary rare to get a cyclic supercell that puts down of the order of mile wide wedges one after the other. It was a long tracked supercell and one that prodcued tornadoes for at least 5 to 6 hours - I have not read up the reports at this point.

I will put some images online when time permits.

Regards,

Jimmy Deguara
« Last Edit: 09 May 2007, 11:33:18 PM by Jimmy Deguara »
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Jeff Brislane

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Dave, That is awesome video! Those guys a completely insane and that wedge is just frightening!