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harangatang
06-17-2008, 05:26 PM
I thought would start a new thread to show you guys and gals some of my storm chasing adventures. I just graduated with a degree in meteorology and I storm chase quite frequently. I generally chase in Indiana though I did take a 2 week trip out to the Plains this summer. I have a lot of very incredible and unique pictures so I'll start with a few today and I'll post some more in the future.

The first picture was taken in Rush County, Indiana near the town of Carthage in June 2006. These are mammatus clouds which are actually quite common, but not like these. First off it was near sunset which provided absolutely stunning color to the clouds. In addition the clouds themselves were very well defined and I was literally underneath them. The term mammatus actually is derived from the word mammary. Basically, some one had a dirty mind and thought they looked liked breasts hanging from the sky. There is a very common misunderstanding about mammatus clouds in that they are a supposed precursor to a tornado. This is definitely not true and not only did this storm not produce a tornado, no storms produced tornadoes this day at all. This storm had actually pretty well died out and it was not severe at the time.

The second picture is from Fayette County, Indiana near the town of Bentonville also from June 2006 (though a different day than the first picture). This picture is of a shelf cloud which can signify strong, though not necessarily severe winds (>60 MPH). Actually right after I snapped this picture, lightning began hitting very close to me. I hopped back in the car to safety and I found out later that a guys tires on his pickup were blown out from lightning hitting his vehicle. He was fine though but I definitely wouldn't want that happening to my car.

The third picture is a more recent one from May 22, 2008 near Gove City, Kansas. This picture is of a wall cloud which *can* be a precursor to a tornado. In this instance it wasn't, but we did see 2 tornadoes later that evening. We though a tornado could drop right in the middle of the picture but it never happened. Actually we were at the end of some lady's driveway as we pulled off the dirt road we were on. She was standing in her front door and she gave us permission to stay there as long as we needed. Thankfully the storm was moving parallel to her house as even though there wasn't a tornado with this storm, there was up to baseball size hail and winds greater than 70 MPH.

The fourth picture is of a tornado from the same day on May 22, 2008 near the town of Hoxie, Kansas. It was a surprise as we were headed down towards I-70 to get some gas but we thought we would just take our time and see what this little storm was going to do first. All of sudden we see this funnel cloud and within a couple minutes a tornado drops. At this point there were no chasers on the storm at all. We called in the initial report to the National Weather Service and within a few minutes everyone from the local Police to every chaser imaginable starting showing up. It was a relatively weak tornado, rated at an EF-1 which provided some damage, but there were no injuries or loss of life. It was actually the first tornado I ever saw with my own eyes so it was one I'll definitely never forget.

About 20 minutes later the storm dropped another tornado which was a little stronger at an EF-2 but provided no loss of life or injuries as well. This provided to be interesting because while we were behind the tornado, we were only a couple miles from it. We pulled off of the main highway onto this dirt road that had very little maintenance done to it. It had rained earlier and the road was like driving on ice. I almost slid into a ditch and this other chaser actually went into the ditch. After the tornado dissipated we helped push the guy out of the ditch and stayed on paved roads as much as we could the rest of the trip. Not all of the roads are like that but that one was horrible.

Unassisted
06-17-2008, 05:37 PM
Nice pics. I've been through both Skywarn sessions a couple of times and did some spotting while I lived in the midwest. I once reported a funnel that led to a tornado warning, but it wasn't as pretty as the ones in your photos, since it was somewhat rain-wrapped. Besides, I didn't have a camera with me at the time.

Living down here, where we've had almost no measurable rainfall lately, let alone storms, I have to settle for watching tornadoes on TV.

OldRightHander
06-17-2008, 05:40 PM
Living down here, where we've had almost no measurable rainfall lately, let alone storms, I have to settle for watching tornadoes on TV.

Just ridiculous heat. I'm leaving Texas in about 45 minutes and heading for St. Paul, hopefully toward cooler weather.

Nice pictures too. I've seen a couple tornadoes over the years, but never had a camera with me, or the desire to hang around outside.

919191
06-17-2008, 05:52 PM
Being that close to those would be a thrill. That first one is less than 10 miles from where I am from.

MrCinatit
06-18-2008, 02:10 AM
Thanks for the pictures, harangatang. Great stuff.

I've seen a few instances of mammatus, but only once like the ones you have pictured. It was during my teen years. There were a couple of warnings, but nothing ever did hit the ground (in retrospect, the warnings could have been set off simply because of the clouds).

bucksfan2
06-18-2008, 10:25 AM
harangatang that 3 picture is stunning with the different colors.

So if you majored in meteorology do they teach you how to be wrong? ;) Do they teach you how to incude panic? ;) jk.

flyer85
06-18-2008, 10:30 AM
great pics.

My wife's sister lives in Hoxie(yeah, I've been there). Always chuckle about Hoxie because they had a Pizza Hut on Wheels(I kid you not) that would come into town every other Friday and make Pizza Hut Pizza from the pizza oven in the back of a truck.

harangatang
06-18-2008, 02:13 PM
Nice pics. I've been through both Skywarn sessions a couple of times and did some spotting while I lived in the midwest. I once reported a funnel that led to a tornado warning, but it wasn't as pretty as the ones in your photos, since it was somewhat rain-wrapped. Besides, I didn't have a camera with me at the time.

Living down here, where we've had almost no measurable rainfall lately, let alone storms, I have to settle for watching tornadoes on TV.We ran into a tornado that was rain-wrapped a week later just to the east of Kearney, Nebraska. We saw a bunch a transformers exploding and we knew to stop and not continuing to drive right towards it. If you've ever heard of an HP supercell, that's what produced the one we were following. Also tornadoes can occur in bow echoes that are rain-wrapped as well.

harangatang
06-18-2008, 02:20 PM
Thanks for the pictures, harangatang. Great stuff.

I've seen a few instances of mammatus, but only once like the ones you have pictured. It was during my teen years. There were a couple of warnings, but nothing ever did hit the ground (in retrospect, the warnings could have been set off simply because of the clouds).Not to rip on the people at the National Weather Service, but you would be surprised how many tornado warnings are issued without a tornado. It really comes down to the fact that the National Weather Service basically issues tornado warnings based on whether the storm contains a detectable mesocyclone (large area of rotation) on RADAR. Of course there are other reasons a tornado warning can be issued, such as spotter reports and law enforcement reports.

Unassisted
06-20-2008, 12:00 PM
Not to rip on the people at the National Weather Service, but you would be surprised how many tornado warnings are issued without a tornado.
'Tis better to overwarn than underwarn. Between the multi-Billion dollar radar network and reports by spotters and chasers, NWS has enough information these days to justify every warning. http://bbs.roddenberry.com/images/smilies/twister2.gif

harangatang
06-20-2008, 05:10 PM
'Tis better to overwarn than underwarn. Between the multi-Billion dollar radar network and reports by spotters and chasers, NWS has enough information these days to justify every warning. http://bbs.roddenberry.com/images/smilies/twister2.gifWell the thing is RADAR shows above the surface and just because there's rotation doesn't guarantee a tornado. While I agree it's better safe than sorry, at the same time overwarning can prevent people from taking action in the future (just the way things are, it's no ones fault). The NWS has went to the polygon warnings in an effort to try to curb overwarnings.

Another problem I have is the fact that all tornadoes warnings aren't equal in my opinion. Take for example a day like June 4, 2008 when the Wilmington, Ohio NWS office issued tornado warnings for Dearborn, Ohio, Boone, Kenton, Pendleton, and some others too. While there were tornadoes that were confirmed they were all weak tornadoes. I happen to be from Dearborn County and my parents live within a couple miles of where an EF-0 tornado touched down. My parents called me and were all freaked out at the tornado warnings. The thing thing on a day like that was if there were tornadoes, the environment was where the tornado damage would be comparable to the damage of straight line winds. Actually the estimated winds were estimated to be less with the tornado than with some of the other straight line wind damage in the area. On May 3, 1999 the "tornado emergency" was created when the F5 tornado tore through Oklahoma City. This wording was to distinguish that this was a horrible tornado ready to tear through a populated area, but only in the wording of the text message. It doesn't do enough in my opinion in the body of the tornado warning. I think that in those types of situations that the actual "tornado warning" should be scrapped and they should issue a "Tornado Emergency".

harangatang
06-20-2008, 05:12 PM
great pics.

My wife's sister lives in Hoxie(yeah, I've been there). Always chuckle about Hoxie because they had a Pizza Hut on Wheels(I kid you not) that would come into town every other Friday and make Pizza Hut Pizza from the pizza oven in the back of a truck.That's hilarious, there's definitely nothing there other than a gas station so I'm sure it was pretty popular.