Went out for a chase Friday evening and I was rewarded with one of the most intense lightning shows that I have ever seen. I drove up US 169 into Coffeyville Ks, then over to Independence to Moline where I shot the tower that you see below. I then proceeded west toward Udall and Belle Plain. Bailed south just before the storm hit Belle Plain and damaged some buildings and uprooted many trees! I shot the "moon shot" below just north of the Wellington Airport. Then decided to roll south to a developing "tail end Charlie" that Lanny Dean and Chad Berryhill were on just south of the Oklahoma/Kansas border, near the town of Braman.
Got to Braman, and met up with Chad & Lanny while they were shooting lightning. I ran up to Lanny's van, set up the tripod, clicked the shutter on my Rebel XSI, and BOOM! Lanny and I captured the nice bolt that illuminated the Tahoe (below). We sat there shooting for all of 5 minutes and I started to feel raindrops. We decide to go back towards Braman and get off the dirt road when the rain started coming sideways at the truck. I was about 1/8 mile behind Lanny as the rain and wind became ferocious. I soon lost them in the mess and thought to myself "am I in a stinkin' tornado?" The wind buffeted the Tahoe and I wondered if I should stop or keep rolling trying to get south of the wind. The wind wasn't terrible, I estimated it about 60-65 MPH, but I kept wondering if that was it or was stronger winds coming? After about 5 minutes of white knuckle driving on a dirt road that was quickly turning to slime, the rain and wind let up, but not before turning directions. Was it a tornado? I don't think so. But it was a scary moment. I caught up with Lanny near Braman and we discussed what we just drove through, we were all a bit nervous as we started to hear sirens growing louder. A fire truck, ambulance, and no less that 6 Kay County sheriffs whizzed by and entered I-35 heading south. We wondered, what happened?
Lanny busied himself reporting our observance on Spotter Network(55-65MPH wind just NW of Braman), which was quickly flagged-probably by some kid wannabe chaser that has NO experience in the field. We later found out that the sirens were responding to a pickup truck that was blown off the interstate about 1 mile south of our location. There was a minor injury to a child, transported to a local hospital. Verified report? I think so....BTW, Spotter Network has become useless--people that may have a personal grudge or inexperienced "kids" can jump in and flag valid report that was verified by witnesses and law enforcement. This report did not make it into the official LSR probably because of two factors, the inappropriate flagging of Lanny's report and the fact that the Norman boys were asleep and didn't warn on the storm. We actually saw and photographed a persistent rotating wall cloud on the tail end of the storm. Rant over...lol
We found another county road just outside of town and pulled off to shoot more lightning. Boy were we in for a show!! This is where the top pic came from. Spectacular light show provided by ma nature! Sorry about the watermark, if you would like to purchase a picture, contact me but I will not give those away thank you. All in all, a great chase. 10 hours in the truck, storms initiated in my target area, did not see any tornadoes, but was treated to the coolest light show that I have ever seen! It was great to meet up with Lanny & Chad as well. Two of the best guys in storm chasing! BTW...check out Chad's new website-- .
Chase forecast update for April 25 - May 7
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