May 12, 1995
I left Norman, Ok with John Finch and Steve Courton at 2 minutes till 11, am. We headed up to Wichita Ks then to Great Bend Ks, (I don't recommend driving through Great Bend, The lights slowed us down conciderably) Our next town was Hays, where we cought up to VORTEX. TV radar showed a rotating cell approaching Plainville. We went to Plainville then headed just west to get a good view as the storm approached. The inflow winds were Incredibly strong but they were cool. The storm was moving just south of east. the mesos were moving to the north-east. We didn't want to get cought up in the core so we headed east on 18 where we continued to see several wall clouds. Near Natoma we stopped to watch the storm behind us. There was a wall cloud probably just south of Plainville. We saw what appeared to be a tornado come down briefly, but we could not tell if it was rotating. I am sure VORTEX would have seen it if it was a tornado. We turned south on 281 where we saw a rotating wall cloud form just to our north-west. It crossed the road just to our north. We were cut off and had to head south twards I70. we could see the structure of the stom from there. We cought up to the storm again near Sylvan Grove. Howie had his portable doppler deployed and several VORTEX vehicls were there watching a lot of rising and sinking motion above Sylvan Grove. After the threat was gone we went north and then east on 18. Darkness cought up to us by the time we turned south on 81 twards Salina. Steve told me to look back to our north-east at a lowering. As I looked it was lit up by a flash from a transformer. It was a tornado! We stopped and got out the tripods. We watched for about 30 minutes as a tornado was clearly visible from the lightning flashes. The tornado had a nice debris cloud on the ground and then roped out. We were about to go when we saw that it was still there and even wider. (I wish we just had a couple more hours of daylight) The tornado disipated and the time was now 9:34pm.
May 13, 1995
We expected storms to fire in north central MO. We stopped in Chillicothe to call for information. when we got off the phone the beginnings of a supercell was to our north. We headed east on 36 to get ahead of the storm We turned north twards Milan then east twards Kirksville. It was obvious that the storm was outrunning us. Another storm was growing to our south. We continued on 6 to Quincy. the storm was now to our north-west. We turned north on 96. A wall cloud was visible. we followed 61 to the east then noth then east. Between Industry and Vermont we stopped to watch the scud rising rapidly into a wall cloud. The entire cell to our east was rotating anti-cyclonicly. We turned north at Vermont then east on 136. At Duncans Mills we turned noth-east. A tornado apeared to our North-east. We got video and a few slides. It was in its rope stage and soon dissipated. The time was 6:20 pm. W continued north-east twards Pioria. along the way we stoped to view the storm. a rope funnel appeared to our north. Debris was still falling from the tornado. We watched several other storms between Pekin and Tremont untill dark, then headed back home on a long drive. Overall a succesfull chase, but it could have been much better.