June 5, 1996 Kansas City Chase By Mike Umscheid

From: Mike Umscheid : 

First of all, what a storm.  Wow.  The outflow boundary from Tuesday Nite
MCS in NE really jumped the activity in NE Kansas Wednesday evening/nite.
I, unfortunately, had to work on Wednesday night, so the only other thing I
could do was bring my scanner to work w/ me.  Around six in the evening, the
first cell that went thru Lawrence area earlier in the afternoon was gone to
the SE.  The clearing took place and a beautiful shot of the anvil of the
supercell was now visible to the NNW (I am in Overland Park, KS -- about 8
miles SW of KC proper)  I had occasional access to television and noticed
that the warning map on most of the local stations showed a tornado warning
for Atchison Cnty, KS.  The supercell was headed SE on a course to hit just
north of KCI airport (MCI). I thought to myself, "damn I wish we were on
line for this one".  But, in the back of my mind I also thought that there
was a remote chance that it would be headed towards us -- if it turned
right.  I was able to see a glimpse of the radar image from a severe weather
update break-in on one of the local stations. It was beginning to enter far
northern Leavenworth Cnty, KS, still no signs of a right mover.  Every now
and then, I was able to listen in on KID77 NWS EAX wx-radio.  They had
interrupted their normal broadcasting to give severe wx info.

I dont remember any specific times, but around 8pm (not really sure) was
when NW Leavenworth Cnty was getting hit by the, now impressivelly
developed, meso.  Pleasant Hill was giving reports of tornado sighting just
west of Easton KS, on the border of Leavenworth and Jefferson Counties.
About half an hour later, the storm looked like it was really spinning up
now.  the whole storm was rotating like crazy.  The storm was now beginning
to turn right just a little..."oh yeah", I thought.  It was on a direct
course for Basehor and Bonner Springs in Southern Leavenworth Cnty.  Funnel
cloud and tornado reports were still coming in from Pleasant Hill.  This
storm was not losing anything, in fact it might have been strengthening a
little.  Looking at radar and hearing reports from Pleasant Hill, it seemed
to be making a bee line to my area, Eastern Johnson County.  I went to step
outside with a couple of co-workers to check out the situation.  Incredible
lightning show was visible to our NNW.  Very vivid lightning crashed as CG
and CC sizzled the sky.  It was now around 930pm or so.
It became very apparent now that we were in direct line with this supercell.
We all decided to go outside to check out the situation.  Johnson County was
under a tornwarn now.  Sirens started blaring.  If the storm was not to turn
any more to the right, we would get nailed.  Now about 10pm, NWS EAX is
broadcasting live with live reports.  This was great.  5 minutes later,
funnel cloud and tornado reports were coming in of sightings in Northern
Johnson County.  About 15 of us were outside the bowling alley facing north
to the action with only one source of information determining our
safety...My scanner tuned into NWS EAX.  Incredible CG lightning was all
over the place.  There was hardly any wind to speak of.  About 1008pm, EAX
was reporting sightings in the Shawnee KS area of Johnson county....Heading
SSE....towards us!  Looking to the northwest, I couldnt see any signs of
mesocyclone structure....of course, only lightning could determine what we
would see.  about 1015pm, we started getting rain.  No signs of tornadic
activity yet.  EAX now reporting tornado sightings in the Lenexa area about
6 miles NW of us!  Now the storm was curving right a little more and I
thought that we might not be in serious danger any more.  The core of the
meso was now along I-435 near Lackman road!...3 miles WNW of us!  The
lightning gave me enough light to see the base of the core of the meso,
where the tornado would be...way off in the horizon to the WNW.  The storm
core was moving due south now.  It was now headed toward Olathe in central
Johnson County.  We (luckily) spared the bears cage which contained 70+mph
winds and baseball size hail...we only had pea size.  This was one
incredible storm, and I only wish it was in day light so I could see the
structure of this beast.

The funnel cloud only made sporadic touchdowns from Leavenworth county to
southern Johnson county.  The most damage was in the town of Basehor in SE
Leavenworth Cnty.
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|Mike Umscheid                 &&&&&&&&&&&     /
|Olathe East H.S.               &&&&&&&&&      \
|*Overland Park, KS              &&&&&&    OJC*|
|wxobserv@tyrell.net              &&&&         |
|http://www.tyrell.net/~wxobserv    &&&        |
|--been there,                       &&        |
|  never seen that.[-------->]      \\&//      |
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