Friday, May 27, 2011
Chase 4 May 19th Kansas MUD Tornadic Supercell
Yes I actually had car engine light trouble, my car wanted OIL!!!!!
Bound for central Kansas target for tornadic severe weather, Shep and I were delighted to be chasing in the VAD - Velocity Azimuth Doppler, my car, for gas price reasons and nobody else was able to go. I was really excited to be smelling the Kansas dewpoint, and just chasing (period). We got to Oakley, KS and could see convection beginning to pop along the boundary, but remaining capped. We began heading south hwy 83 to Scott City to drive east to Great Bend, where we finally intercepted a developing linear embedded cell along the line of convection. It was impressive only for a short period of time when it was all dieing as they would rain out moving north northeast. Shep watched the tornado warned cell up north of I-70, and both decided since it had an easterly component and was the only thing worth of notice to chase. We drove up and intercepted some crazy looking shear along with greenish skies along the rolling hills of north central Kansas. We played around coring the storm as it was going through pouring rain cycles.
Following this cell as it continued to spawn tornado warning, we enjoyed ourselves in some flooding and impressive backside updrafts. In Lincoln Center, KS we drove through some rising waters and than headed east on hwy 18 to get in front of the cell again. Finally getting in front we saw it regaining potential and the chase caravan initiated once again driving north on 106 towards Minneapolis, KS. We could see ahead of us mesocyclonic structure with wall cloud attempts, mostly scuds.
Once arriving in Minneapolis, KS, we began driving north to intercept a very well pronounced meso moving slowly eastward. I remember only because of the video we captured the dialogue of our conversation as we were about to enter into a state of unknown vulnerability. Passing unknown decisions back between Shep & I, we still found ourselves driving east on a dirt road called Oxbow to get to hwy 81. At least we thought we would get to hwy 81. While driving on Oxbow Road, it was a steady dirt road, just a little wet from normal precipitation, but as we kept going it only got worse. Boating mode was set on my Saturn from this point forward. Just as we reached what seemed to be a bridge my Saturn was beginning to lose rear traction causing me to slide to the right. And into the cropping ditch I went sliding to officially get stuck. The backside precipitation was following us as is was wrapping into the meso moving northeast. So we had to wait till we could get outside to attempt for what would be 3 to 4 hours outside trying every idea that we could come up with until it was hopeless. Thankful my car didn’t die after so many attempts driving back and forth in the mud to get to the center of the road. Attempts to call Triple AAA, but with these conditions, it was helpless. My only concern at this point was the lack of oxygen since I wear oxygen now when I sleep. Stress, anxiety, and extertion are not very helpful in this situation so I just stayed in the car and did what I could as Shep went out and attacked the wheat, mud and Kansas river forest. My appreciation for him doing everything he could to get us out. It was than he got back in my car around midnight that we would have to wait it out till morning. An MCS was heading our direction which would bring more rain and lots of lightning all around us as we slept the night stuck in MUD. It was actually very soothing to hear through the night, and I was able to rest somewhat which was another blessing. The next morning Shep called Josh Wiest, the savior of the situation. He used Google map to look up houses around our vicinity to see if they had a tractor since we were surrounded by beautiful wheat fields. Josh was able to contact a farmer who willingly drove the tractor easily down the deep enriched muddy road. Thanx Josh. Once again "what an ordeal."
Total Miles: 563