USA Storm Chasing Expedition - 9th May 2011

A nice start to the day, a punctured tyre...

Bought a repair kit for $54.00  This will come in handy.

Damn screw!

Welcome to South Dakota.

Love these roads.

Very fun and relaxing driving.

Weird setup today...

Wall Drug advertising has begun.... I am around 100 miles from this place.

Ahhhh... 75mph speed limit.

Vivian....  Home to the 7" Record hail stone. (Last year)

The Northern Plains.. Magnificent.

HA...  More advertising.

Chaser convergence in full action.

Lots of chasers.. around 30+ cars in town.

This is the setup for today.

Who might this be?

The dominator.. Reed Timmer and his team.

Great car... I may just need this today.

Bored.. Decided to do some wiring.

Very clean reaming here....

Me and Chris waiting for the storms.

Oh..  and the rest of.... Well....  heaps of people.

Tim Samaras parked and waiting.....

I'm trying to get creative..

The Discovery crew "Storm Chasers" checking their camera feeds.

Tim checking his forecast data.



But no storms.

Oh...  Then again.


Ok.. we have a target.


This didn't take long to explode.

Formed in around 25 mins.

Driving to the rear of the supercell.

It's getting dark.

Lots of turbulence in the sky.

This is what the storm looked like on radar.. Indicating 3.75" Hail.

2" Hail was reported.

Might be time to move on.

Looked like a funnel, but it was in the wrong part of the storm.

A nice reflection in the glass here.

You have got to be kidding me.!!!

Taking a left up Highway 73.

Some time lapse to see if I can see a Tornado.

The local sheriff & I were checking the photos carefully.. There was not a lot of lightning,
so quite hard to see a Tornado in the dark.

No Tornado spotted yet.

Hmmmm.. Suspicious, but still no confirmation.

This was the radar signature near the time of these images. We are in a safe position to monitor the storm.

A base lowering a little..

Possible funnel to the right, next the rain core, but not well enough defined to report.
We are too far to see it, unless it forms over 1/2 way.

Lots of cars heading south.

Behind the EMS/Fire cars.

Looks scary.

I patiently wait for the storm core to head over the highway and watch to the north east for any sign of a funnel.
The storm was tracking north east and produced a hook most of the time.
There is significant rotation in the mid/lower right hand side of the storm.
Even though a TVS marker is showing in front of me, I was still cautious.

These series of images were taken from an in car DVR Recorder.

I estimate the tornado passed around 15-20 metres away..

I believe the lines running across the images are streaks of water running down the windscreen.

Just after the tornado past to my left, I reversed to capture the photos below, and report
to the authorities to update the tornado warning to a confirmed status.

I drove south to observe the funnel.

I heard it coming around 4-6 seconds before it actually crossed the road. It sounded like a jet engine.

The strange thing is, the storm is moving to the North East, and this long rope tornado was moving to the west.

I reversed the car at safe speed and performed a U-Turn when it was safe to do so.

The "Tornado Warning" was unconfirmed and was radar indicated only.
There was no confirmed report until I lodged one with the appropriate authorities.

It was not planned nor intended to come that close. I targeted the rear of the storm in the hope that
I could see out the other side.. The road network was not good enough to have the necessary safety margin to
chase with the storm heading in my direction.

It is very strange that this tornado travelled from right to left.

I'm glad I picked up on the warning signs.. It should not have been raining where I was.
I drove slower when I came across the rain, just in case the storm was back building.

My last photo of the tornado.. It's roping out.

All gone.



These computer frame grabs are in sequence

This was the radar scan & SRV (Storm Relative Velocity) prior to the tornado forming.

The SRV (On the left) has not updated yet. but the BR (On the right is about to update)..

This was the radar scan as the tornado moved from right to left..
The rotation passed just in front of my car in the early stages of its lifecycle.
By all accounts, this should have been a safe area, as I was not in the path of the oncoming storm.

I guess you have to be very careful at night time, as it's difficult to see the storm structure with no light.

Report filed and I safely return to the location where the tornado once hit..

It was quite an active day for storms after dark.

Looking for other tornadoes to my north east.

Chase is nearly over.

Waiting for lightning, so I can spot funnels.

I'm exhausted.

My trusty Toyota did well today, and the side windows held up well to the high winds.