Recap – Ten, Eleven, Home.

Day ten began in Dodge City, KS following our significant tornado day.

Regarding that day – I still haven’t gotten around to analyzing my images to figure out exactly how many tornadoes we saw, but I now know it was at least eighteen. I had previously counted a pair of tornadoes orbiting around the main circulation as a single tornado, but they are in reality a pair of distinct satellite tornadoes. Counting the cone tornado that was on the ground as well, that makes a total of three tornadoes that storm had on the ground at once.

Unreal.

Our setup for day ten was kind of muddy… very large risk area where something would probably go up, but nothing was really guaranteed. The morning started with a brief look at some damage around Dodge City. After that, we hit the road for Salina, KS. However, when no cumulus field went up in the area and there was development southeast of Wichita we headed that way.

We got on a low-precipitation storm and briefly followed it. Unfortunately, ultimately what happened is our storm fizzled and there was a large wedge tornado just east of Salina.

Whoops.

In storm chasing, nine out of ten times when you don’t see cumulus clouds in your target area, you’re going to bust… yet bust we did. We made the best decision we could with the information at hand, but sometimes in chasing that’s just not enough. It’s a tough pill to swallow, missing a storm like that.

…but catching over eighteen tornadoes in two hours the previous day made it much easier.

Our trip home consisted of an all-night marathon that got us home by 4PM on Thursday, which included a Hokie Storm Chase first: riding off into the sunrise.

I’ve included a few images from our brief damage survey, our storm, the drive back, and an unrelated image of Snowball, one of several unofficial canine mascots of the Virginia Tech Meteorology Club.

This chase is by a good margin the best I’ve participated in. It had it all – stunning landscape, incredible storm structure, and a (probably literally) once-in-a-lifetime ballistic tornado-producing storm.

But, that’s all behind us now and I’m in full recuperation mode now to be ready for the second trip departing Monday.

Let’s go!

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