We're not in Kansas Anymore...
Day 10 is finally here. Our last day chasing.
SPC have a slight risk for the Plains from Oklahoma up through Kansas to Nebraska.
We set out from our base of McPherson in 40mph hot winds which soon reached 97F and headed for
the dry line.
Dry line Definition: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dry_line
A quick stop for Breakfast and the Dow Trucks were already out and about.
We passed through the town of Greensburg which was previously devestated by a major tornado during the evening
of May 4th 2007. Although much has been rebuilt, the signs of that day remain everywhere.
We crossed the state line headed South into Oklahoma. Ahead of us we could see the dry line streaching South to
North across the sky.
As we watched, to our North we could see massive and intense build-up along the line. In just 15 minutes some of
these storms went from nothing to being Severe Warned!
We waited. At first it looked as if we'd chosen a point too far south. The cap was holding firm, then boom... the cap
broke and convection started going up all along the dry line.
Moving on we picked a couple of good vantage points to watch the developing storms.
Lightning was all around us and funnels were visible from many of the cells we saw.
Finally as dusk aproached and we drove through the town of Clinton, Oklahoma we looked West. There on the Horizon it was, our first Tornado on the ground.
- Acknowledgments to Dave Vicary for this video screenshot of the Tornado.
We finished up the evening with the Storm coming over us from the safety of a Gas Station to provide protection from large hail and went on to witness an amazing lightning show.
The people of Tornado Alley take this all in their stride. Whilst devestating, the chances of actually being the victim of
a Tornado here are pretty small. Nevertheless, every year they strike and every year they impact on the lives of these
people. With more knowledge comes beter systems to warn those who live here. Systems such as automatic cell-phone alerts are already being proposed and the more people understand the behaviour of the storms the greater warning times that can be given.
I hope you've all enjoyed this brief insight into Tornado Alley, a tour which has taken us 4000 miles around America.
This has been one amazing trip. Although pretty quiet on the Tornado front, some of the structure we've seen has been
unbelievable. Netweather know how to make Stormchasing fun. Paul and Dave have done an excellent job in getting us
to the best positions for the storms as well as all the general organisation.
If you're still undecided whether to go or not, look back through the photos. You've gotta be prepared to travel to see
the sights but you will see the real America, meet some wonderful people and see weather like you've never seen before!
Thanks for reading.