Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
Weather, photography and the open roadClick for an important message
Storm Highway by Dan RobinsonClick for an important message
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                   Wednesday, May 22, 2013 - 4:39AM CST

DAY 6: Wichita, Kansas to Henryetta, Oklahoma

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After Saturday's chase, I had stopped for the night in Hillsboro, Kansas, anticipating a target in Missouri on Sunday. However, reviewing data when I awoke in the morning revealed that I would be heading south rather than northeast. I made it to Wichita just as a supercell storm was getting established to the southwest. I expected this storm to gradually turn right and go through the heart of Wichita, possibly becoming tornadic as it did. For this reason, I did not want to intercept the storm right away, rather choosing to stay on the east side of the city and wait for the storm to come to me. I also did not want to have to traverse the metro area traffic to follow the storm.

The storm went tornadic quickly, much sooner than I'd anticipated, dropping several tornadoes to the southwest of Wichita. Just as it entered the city limits, it transitioned to a messy HP storm with convection on its southern flank. This was a good thing for Wichita, which I believe narrowly dodged a major bullet with this storm evolving as it did. By the time it reached my position on the east side of town, it looked like a monster, but with no strong circulation apparent either visually or on radar. I took this shot just before bailing to the east to avoid getting caught in large hail:

The rest of the day was spent dropping south on successive storms all the way to I-40 in Oklahoma, each of which either went outflow dominant or dissipated as I approached them. The final shot of the day was this storm in Henryetta, Oklahoma along I-40 that previously produced violent tornadoes, one of which struck Shawnee:

I stopped briefly in Tulsa to visit with Greg McLaughlin, Terrence Cook and crew, then resumed the trek northeast as I needed to be back in St. Louis for work Tuesday. I chose to target Missouri on Monday, since it was the only logistically possible one given my schedule. I stopped for the night in Joplin.

NEXT PLAINS EVENT: Kansas supercell, May 27 >

Is Joplin still on the map after the destruction a couple of years ago?
- Posted by Linda A.

It is, Linda. The only town I know of that has been wiped off the map by a tornado was Manchester, South Dakota (population 6).
- Posted by Tim

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