5/24-27/97 chases by John Moser


From: John Moser 

Well, dog tired from a three day marathon chase that began in Se KS on
Saturday night and ended with the supercell bomb chase just south of Tulsa,
OK last night. Leaving Missouri on Saturday morning I had no idea that on
this chase I would see Tim Marshall, Dave Hoadley, Cloud 9, The Vortex Team,
Doppler on Wheels, Jim Leonard,  The Meatwagon (which enjoyed the RFD blast
along with our chase team), the best back sheared anvil EAST of I-35 and
------4 tornados, one tube near Benton, KS on Sunday, one elongated cone
near Beggs, OK, wedge hybrid near Slick, OK, and the famous White Tube
tornado on 75 south near Winchester, OK (all on monday)....This was a WOW
chase....(Jay, I will give you a copy of the tape for the picnic....)

Our chase team varied at times but consisted of three TWC forecasters,  Mike
Phelps and Matt & Betsy Crowley (hope the last name is correct guys, sorry
if not..), Jay Antle, John Roger and a few others. We had six chase vehicles
in our armada and at times, a few tag alongs from the general public.

The May 24 chase in se KS was eventful in that a chaser convergence gathered
at a local gas station to watch a severe storm to the west. Cloud 9, Jim
Leonard amongst others joined to watch the spectacle. Afterwards it was off
to Wichita, KS to spend the night.

The next day we camped out near Medicine Lodge in south central KS, playing
the dryline as opposed to the surface low to the north. When the storms
began to fire up to the north, we left and payed dearly. The largest
supercell of the evening formed just east of medicine lodge and produced the
great wedge that Cloud 9 saw at 8:30. We did see many funnels and a narrow
tube tornado near Benton, KS. After the lighting show it was back to Wichita
to the Chaser Super 8 motel where amongst others, David Hoadley was staying.

The next morning we chatted with Tim Marshall a bit (always a pleasant
experience) and decided to camp out just east/southeast of OKC to play the
dryline again, however, at 4:00 the congestus was much more impressive to
the north so we decide to beline for just south of Tulsa, OK. We left
Shawnee and took 177 north to 66 east and hey, we hear the Vortex Crew
coming up on our heels!! Towers are firing up and at 5:30, the first tornado
watch is issued.

Chasing in northeast Oklahoma is not easy and we soon find ourselves with
several supercells to choose from. The atmosphere was primed; the temp was
87, dewpoint was 73 and winds out of the southeast at 15 when the first
towers went up at 0Z (the CAPE was 5-7000kj!!!) Okay that gives you serious
hail......amongst other things.....

The details of the chase are still fuzzy because I did not keep track of the
roads we were on, however, I do know our first tornado was the elongated
cone near the town of Beggs, (Upon watching the footage of the elongated
cone tornado it is interesting to hear Eric Rasmussens voice on the tape,
camcorder had picked up the Vortex transmissions from the scanner),The
second tornado of the day was a real fluke. We had decided to bag the storm
when off to the southwest we saw a lowering and within seconds, a large
wedge hybrid decended. Rain wrapped but awesome in size. The third and final
tornado of the day was seen along 75 south near the town of Winchester, a
white tube that split in half when it fizzled, really neat!

In all, our chase footage from Sunday in central Kansas and Monday in
Oklahoma, tallied 7 funnel clouds, 14+ wall clouds and four tornadoes, the
best being the hybrid  wedge heading northeast as we stared at it to the
southwest...Okay good thing it roped out!!! Well, the infamous "White
Tornado" along 75 highway was memorable too.

For me this was a dream chase, meeting so many great chasers, having the
Vortex crew within 3 miles of our target zone, many tornados  and then to
end the day with the most awesome back sheared anvil I have ever seen; the
mamamtus stretched to the west for miles.....Each protrusion glowed red as
the sun set...awesome!!!

Photos to be posted once our website is complete.

PS: Those on the cloud 9 tour this weekend hit the jackpot!!!

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