5/29/97 KS chase by Fritz Kruse

From: "Frederick C. Kruse III (Fritz)" (vortex@PTA6000.PLD.COM):
Subject:      6  tornados near Dodge City


It all began with a gloomy rainy morning here in Dodge City, Ks as
two vacationing meterorologists; Fritz Kruse and Greg Michels; were
set to begin our chase day #3. Wednesday was a primer for what was
to be a prolific day on Thursday. We were using our newly purchased
DeLorme Kansas atlas to get us into some back roads near Meade and
got too close to a nice hail shaft eminating from a low-topped
storm. Anyway we got into some quarter size hail for about 15 minutes
which thankfully did not do any damage to the Bravada. But that was
just the primer day #2 as we honed out any map navigation problems.

Thursday chase day #3 it was nearly 3 pm when we finally decided to
leave the cleave of the internet and head out. We noticed on the
surface map a warm front which extended almost east-west just north
of Dodge City. A severe thunderstorm warning was just issued for
northeastern Gray County and we could see this storm to the northwest.
We looked at the DDC radar one more time and this cell was beginning
to explode. We then drove 5 miles north of DDC and noticed a nice
multi-cell with some rather weak looking lowering and scud that was
pulsing downward in strength. We then went another mile north and
watched it take on dramatic changes. The sky was almost overcast with
strato-cu deck.

A lowering reformed quickly in the south part of the storm and started
to rotate rapidly. I said to Greg "Whoa we might have something here"
Within 1 minute a funnel formed out of a now rotating wall cloud and
at 329 pm the first touchdown of condensation to the ground. There was
no debris cloud as we has a good rain all morning and the fields were
wet. Temperatures were around 70 with a dewpoint of 60. After 20 seconds
on the ground it lifted and within 20 more seconds a rope tornado shot
to the ground for 2 seconds followed quickly by another rope tornado
just north at a differant angle. It started to rain heavily so we went
another mile south and stopped.

A very impressive tail cloud was pouring in from the northeast;
stair-stepped and laddered into the main storm body; it looked like
a segmented worm and was rotating like a horizontal tornado; this
possibly was streamwise inflow/vorticity. This cloud looked very much
like the Ness City Tornado tail cloud from last year.

A large funnel emanated out the south end and was pushing southward
(backbuilding). It then shot a condensation funnel to the ground to
make tornado #4 that lasted only 10 seconds. This large funnel then
roped out to the south and another dimple funnel formed in the main
body nearer the intersection of the tail cloud. Condensation hit the
ground and tornado #5 formed just between a grove of trees to our
west. This tornado lasted for about 2 minutes and went about 2 miles
in back of a farm house and lifted. About another minute or two this
circulation and funnel shot down the last and biggest tornado looking
straight west down the dirt road around 10 miles northwest of DDC.
This tornado #6 lasted for another 20 seconds and then roped out.

What a chase; easiest of the year; after 30 minutes and 8 miles of
driving we netted 6 tornados. These all occurred in an open farmland.

This system developed right along a warm front and then dropped into
Dodge City with torrential rains and hail. Greg and I kept to the
southeast of the storm and followed it as it took on a large bow echo
shape south of Dodge.

The chase ended with a nice supercell in the Oklahoma panhandle that had
an impressive lowering next to a hail shaft northwest of Luverne. To the
west of the lowering and on the other side of dry slot was an areas
of strong anticyclonic rotation, and we both commented that we may see
an anticyclonic tornado; but it never produced. After watching this cell
for about an hour we decided to head back home to see our video from the
DDC storm.
Frederick C. Kruse III
e-mail vortex@pld.com

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