The Barton Co Tornadoes Part 2, The Trip East

All images and text © copyright Gene Moore unless otherwise indicated.

Our monster barrel cloud was wrapping up in the rain behind us and a new rain free CB (cumulonimbus ) was moving north. It converged with the down stream precipitation area from the first storm. We took back roads to an area north of Susank. Before any rain fell from our new cell an impressive mesocyclone formed and begin dipping close to the ground. As the cell merged with an outflow boundary from an cell along the warm front and immediately the rotation increased and the vertical motion became almost tornadic.

meso east of Susank, Kansas

The updraft traveled north only about 2 miles and become a dramatic wall cloud. From our vantage point it was hard to see how substantial the circulation was or if it's a shallow low level wall cloud. As we got south of the mesocyclone we could see that it extended deep into the storm. The rotation at the base of this mesocyclone was tornadic; although, no circulation was on the ground at this time. Tornado reports came out quickly for this mesocyclone. At a distance it probably looked like a tornado, and it certainly was rotating fast enough to pass for a tornado.

violent wall cloud  

It's surprising there was no debris cloud under this circulation. Generally a circulation this deep into the storm and wound this tight, puts down a tornado fast, but this time the the mesocyclone broadened slowing the tornadic process. It was amazing to watch with incredible up and down motions on the back side as condensation forms and dissipates at the speed of a time lapse movie. The intense part of the circulation was located on the southeast side of the wall cloud. It lowered a little then spun up dust from the ground on occasion, but didn't produce a tornado at this time

wide angle - cone funnel forming funnel stronger and lowering

Two wide angle shots with my 17 and 24 mm lenses show the changes in the circulation; it was moving south in the second shot. Also, by the second image a well developed funnel formed. This circulation came down twice, but I didn't get stills of that scene. Later, other chasers informed us a dirt debris cloud was in progress on the other side of the hill. We saw condensation funnels shoot to ground and dissipate a couple of times. We were attempting a move south and east when the tornado came down, which is sometimes the way these things work. It lasted for about 5-6 minutes.

tornado east - video capture tornado east

A couple of video captures (grabs) are included here. As usual the quality leaves something much to be desired, but you get the idea. We had a good tornado in progress just to our east. I got these on video after locking up the brakes and getting set up again. I did miss the taping the condensation funnel to ground.

Funnel with intermittent touchdowns - 24 mm wide angle  

In our final scene of this sequence is a wide angle of the mesocylcone and funnel. The system produced at least two more tornadoes, including one good size tornado we didn't see. A couple more chase teams were on the storm at that time. We broke off the storm for a while and ate a late lunch. Later we rode out a high wind storm at Mc Pherson, KS as building damage occurred across the street from us. After that less than fun experience we dropped south and got on a complex that would later produce a tornado near El Dorado just after dark. We did see that tornado, but could never get good photography positioning on the storm. The tail cloud and inflow banding associated with that storm were the best I have seen all year.

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