June 8, 2009: Down day in Wichita, Kansas


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



June 8th was a relaxing down day. I drove in a caravan with Dave Lewison and Scott McPartland to Wichita, Kansas. We stopped by a Radio Shack in Derby, Kansas to buy some more equipment. This Radio Shack has one of the best Ham radio stores that I have enountered, and it is very popular with chasers. Amazingly, this Radio Shack actually has radios and not just cell phones and toys. Scott and Dave bought a dash mounted unit and installed it later that day. I used the time to check my equipment and prepare for another day of chasing. I had dinner at the Texas Roadhouse that evening with Scott McPartland, Dave Lewison, Mark Robinson, Jack Kertzie, Peter Rowe (Angry Planet producer and cameraman), George Kourounis, and Nik Halik, an Australian adventurer and cosmonaut. The group was excited about the prospect of "long track" tornadoes predicted for the next day. We stayed at the Wichita Inn by the airport. I booked an additional night since I would be leaving after tomorrow's chase.


June 9, 2009: Storms in eastern Kansas


I initially had high hopes for Tuesday. There was sufficient moisture and upper level support. A moderate cap would initially suppress storm development. The SPC had issued a moderate risk and there was a 15% chance on tornadoes. I like anything over 2%. I was chasing with the same group and we had spent the night in Wichita, KS. Upon reviewing the AM data, we settled on a target of Harper, KS that was just to the southwest of Wichita. We mainly wanted to stay away from the city traffic. There was a boundary moving south from previous storms and we expected it to stall just to our north. Storms would hopefully form along that boundary. In Harper, we waited and checked data. Although the SPC continued to have the moderate risk, we noticed that our winds were remaining from the southwest instead of the southeast. A tornado watch for our area was issued. After a couple of hours and much discussion, we decided to shift to the east, Surface winds were slightly more to the south and there was an area of cumulus developing just east of Wichita. A couple of small storms had formed to the northeast of Wichita. We arrived in Winfield and storms exploded. We focused on a storm that formed almost on top of us. It was the southern storm in a small group. We were also watching an isolated storm in Oklahoma but our surface conditions were better. We headed east on 160. Near the town of Moline, our storm strengthened and developed signs of rotation. We parked about a Ĺ mile north of the 99 and 160 intersection. Our storm was organizing and we experienced almost hurricane force winds. The clouds were swirling and we saw some rotation but no definite wall cloud. Apparently, a local chaser saw a brief tornado near our location but neither our group nor Cloud 9, who were also in the area, saw the tornado. We then shifted east on 160 trying to keep up with storm. We came out near Independence, Kansas. The storm had a bluish core and shelf-like structure. At this point, the tornado potential was nil and it was getting late. I said goodbye to the rest of the group and headed back to Wichita.

This day ended a short but fun storm chase trip. Although no tornadoes, I did see some amazing storms and I was able to chase with some friends that I havenít chased with in a few years. I left Wichita for home on June 10th. Hopefully, 2010 will be a more successful year. Total Miles Driven: 2142

Checking data
Harper, KS

Surface winds veering
Where do we go?

Developing storm
Winfield, KS 5:15 PM

XM image 6:05 PM

Near intersection 99 & 160
View to north 6:28PM

Near intersection 99 & 160
Hurricane-force winds 6:34 PM

Storm view after core
now more linear

Independence, KS
core to the north


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