Storm Chase: 1 June 2001

Chaser: Dorian J. Burnette

Preliminary Destination: southeast of Newton, KS

Note: Images are shown as thumbnails in the chase account. Click on the thumbnail to view a larger image.

This is what I will call a "reaction chase." I had a feeling thunderstorms were going to develop across southcentral Kansas, the question was just when would that happen. I decided to wait until the last minute and see if things would actually be able to break the cap. When I heard of a tornado warning for McPherson County with the storm moving southeastward, I decided it was time to head out to intercept the thing.

I started out heading westward on K-254. Once I came upon the junction of K-254 and Butler Road (a.k.a. Andover Road), I turned onto Butler Road and headed northward. At this time I began to see a large wall cloud well off in the distance. I decided to head west on the next dirt road and then take Greenwich Road northward. As I passed by Furley, KS, I took some pictures of the large wall cloud off to my north-northwest (images below).

Wall Cloud Wall Cloud Wall Cloud

I continued to head north and east on dirt roads to get to a point where I could just sit and watch this thing. There was also another non-severe thunderstorm off to my west-southwest. So I made certain to get into a spot where I would be in between the tornadic storm and the non-severe storm. I found that spot on a dirt road southwest of the town of Elbing, KS just west of the Butler/Harvey County line. The big story with this storm was monster barks and no bite. As I observed the storm, the first large wall cloud dissipated and a new one formed. There were times when funnel clouds were observed. I also was able to photograph a complete sequence of wall development, maturity (with a funnel cloud), and disspiation (images below; sequence goes from left to right and top to bottom). Do note the amount of time in which all of this took place (approximately 3 minutes). This is a prime example of how fast changing the severe thunderstorm environment can be.

Organizing Wall Cloud Organizing Wall Cloud Organizing Wall Cloud
Wall Cloud with Funnel Cloud Wall Cloud Dissipates Wall Cloud Dissipates

This was the storm's last try at tornadogenesis. The other interesting thing I noted from watching this storm was the fact that I saw very little cloud-to-ground lightning. The little cloud-to-ground lightning that I did observe was well away from the wall cloud. I did follow the storm for a short distance on into northwestern Butler County, but seeing nothing to concern me any, I decided to turn around and head back to the west where a couple of other thunderstorms were developing. No warnings were being issued on these storms, as they were mainly heavy rainers. I went through one of them, and as I came out of it into bright sunshine, I knew that there would probably be a very nice rainbow off to my east. I stopped at K-196 and Greenwich Road to view and photograph the rainbow (images below).

Rainbow Rainbow Rainbow

After photographing the rainbow, I continued south on Greenwich Road to K-254. From there I went east to Butler Road and then south to Andover. On the way, I hear of no more severe thunderstorm reports with the exception of thunderstorms that are way out west toward Dodge City. With that being the case, I decided to call it good and head back towards home.