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  • Writer's pictureMichael Thornton

The first chase of 2018

Updated: Dec 24, 2018

After such a slow start to the 2018 chase season, May is finally here and I'm chasing on the first day! Weather models all agree that today we could have tornadoes in Kansas. I left Norman around 9am, and headed North towards Great Bend, KS. After setting up outside of Great Bend, storms began initiating. Eventually I picked a storm, and began to chase it on Kansas's dirt roads.

It was obvious that this Thunderstorm was going to be the dominant one of the day, as I continued to chase this Thunderstorm it transitioned from LP to HP. I followed this soon to be tornadic Supercell all the way Northeast into Ellsworth, where the storm was still HP and other storms were forming from the Southwest that were going to merge into the dominate Supercell. I looked at the radar on my laptop to see if there were any storms that were showing potential that were all by themselves, and sure enough a tornadic storm that was all by it's self on the Oklahoma/Kansas border was heading my way. So I took a huge risk and went Southwest on Highway 156 and then went South on Highway 281, which allowed me to come straight at the tornadic storm that was all by itself. In the end this was a HUGE mistake, as the tornadic storm I had left would produce a wedge tornado, and the storm that I went Southwest for died about 20 minutes after I got onto it.

I have been chasing for 6 years, and at the time I felt really stupid for leaving the HP Tornadic storm near Ellsworth for a smaller tornadic storm to the Southwest. But then I found out that many other chasers, even some who were well known left the HP Tornadic Storm for the much smaller Tornadic Storm and also loss out like myself. So, at least I knew I wasn't the only one who thought it'd be a better option. I was able to capture this nice Sunset near Medicine Lodge, KS though. But a wedge tornado picture would've been way more cool!



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