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May 28, 2013:
Bennington, Kansas, wedge tornado

May 28, 2013: I chased today with Greg Stephens, Dayna Vettese and Brad Rousseau, Mark Robinson and his crewmate Jaclyn Whittal, Scott McPartland, Dave Lewison, Bill Hark and Robert Balogh. Our target was central Kansas, in the Salina area, in a day of many iffy targets for storms. It seemed the best of the lot (and the most reachable from our morning position in western Kansas), and conditions seemed more and more favorable as the day went on and we approached the target area near Salina. Storms fired in various targets this day, but this was the whopper, producing a 40-minute wedge tornado that barely moved. Of course, we didn't know it would barely move, so some of us had a more distant view than others as we got into position to intercept it. I'm one of those. But since it was my first wedge tornado in 17 years of storm chasing, I still count it as a pretty productive day, especially since no towns were struck. Share

A wedge tornado north of Salina, Kansas, near the town of Bennington, churns on the ground for about 40 minutes, coming in and out of the rain.

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.

    As we passed through our target of Salina, we saw cloud towers going up to the north and south. This one looked vigorous. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    We heard about a tornado-producing cell near Topeka but decided we should stop for the rapidly growing storm in our target area. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    Bill Hark gets a shot of the windmill and the storm, which was northwest of Salina. We were east of it. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    We stopped and watched it grow and were treated to a mammatus show. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    The mammatus were a sign of the storm's vigor. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    I was happy with the mammatus, but the storm was far from done. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    The storm sucked in strong inflow. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    It began to show signs of rotation. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    The storm put down a snakelike funnel - a brief tornado, as confirmed by other storm chasers. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    The storm then produced a serious wall cloud. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    Here's a closer look at the rotating wall cloud. I repositioned farther back, concerned about hail and the storm's motion. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    The catch: This storm never moved! Those of us who fell back saw a huge tornado in the rain (this image is contrast-enhanced). Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    The tornado kept getting bigger - I regret not getting a little closer. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    In 17 years of chasing storms, this was my first wedge tornado. I was very concerned it would hit the town of Bennington, but it stayed away from it. Again, this is highly contrast-enhanced. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    Just when we thought the tornado was done, it emerged again from the rain, incredibly large. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    Here's a very wide-angle shot of the storm with the tornado, which lasted about 40 minutes. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    Here's another wide shot of the storm and the rain-wrapped wedge tornado. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    From farther away, the storm spins over a wheat field. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    Inflow still flowed into the storm. Photo by Chris Kridler,,
    When it was done, we looked at continuing convection near Salina and called it a day. Photo by Chris Kridler,,

2013 reports and photos | blog | main gallery page

All photos copyright 2013 by Chris Kridler,,