May 20, 2010: Travel day and landscape images in Kansas



chase images and log by William T. Hark, M.D.


This was a travel day to get in position for possible storms in western Kansas on Friday. There was a slight possibility of tornadoes in Texas but the chase area was poor and it would take us out of position for future opportunities in the northern Plains. We had a leisurely brunch at Denneys with Charles Edwards and his storm chase tour group and celebrated George Kourounis' 40th birthday. We then headed west to Garden City, Kansas and stopped along the way to take photos and check out the scenery including new green construction in Greensburg, Kansas. Our group enjoyed a nice steak dinner at Casey's Cowtown Steak House in Dodge City.

Breakast at Denny's with
the Cloud 9 tour group

Motorcycle parked at
my hotel

Greensburg, KS

New arts center
Greensburg, KS

Weird signs by the road

The only tornadoes
seen that day


May 21, 2010: Cap and construction bust

Iíll call Friday May 21, a cap and construction bust. The day started in Garden City, Kansas. There was the possibility of supercells and tornadoes anywhere from the Texas to Wyoming. The chance was slight and there were multiple targets. The Texas Panhandle was ruled out due to poor upper level winds and being far away from Saturday chase possibilities. We finally decided to go west to Burlington, Colorado and consider targets in northeastern Colorado/Nebraska and in southeastern Colorado. Burlington was the decision point. There was better moisture towards the south and better upper level winds northward. We stood around and discussed the possibilities. Most of the group was leaning toward areas south of Burlington while I was leaning toward the Nebraska, Panhandle. Finally, I decided to break off the group and head north as I was worried Iíd be too late for storm formation. Storms were expected to form along the mountains and move eastward. I probably stayed too long. I left Burlington and headed north on 385. I still could have intercepted the storm of the day, but I encountered the worst type of construction: The Pilot Car. I donít have much patience for traffic delays and this is the worst type. For miles along 385, there was only one dirt lane. Traffic was stopped until the pilot car arrived to slowly escort that group over the one lane. At the end of the section, the pilot car takes the group of cars going the opposite direction along the one lane. Needless to say, I was not happy with a wait that was about 45 minutes. The nice lady with the sign warned me of another one lane area farther up my route. I took an alternate road but the damage was already done. As I continued north, I saw on the radar storms forming in Wyoming and one became tornado-warned. When I reached Kimball, Nebraska, I assessed the situation. The cap was suppressing storm development farther south. The tornadic storm was to my northwest but too far to intercept before night. I called off the chase and headed to North Platte, Nebraska for the night at a Super 8 by a very good Mexican restaurant. My friends also eventually meandered north but called off the chase and stayed in Ogallala, Nebraska. This was Chris Kridler's last chase day, and she turned around to drive back to Florida. There was the possibility of supercells from mid-Nebraska up into South Dakota on Saturday but the cap was a problem. I planned to get up early for a possible long drive to South Dakota. The situation appeared marginal but could go nuts if the ingredients came together, and I wanted to be ready to reach the target area. I did not know that evening, but the following day would be one of the best chase days that I have ever experienced.

I don't like pilot cars!

I love the open road in Nebraska!

Go toMay 22, 2010: Bowdle, SD wedge and other tornadoes

All images Copyright 2010 William T. Hark