Sunday, February 13, 2011

Overlooked photos, day skip-a-few 9 - WaKeeney, KS RFD

Well, I certainly fell through on the "once a day, every day until spring is here"! Sort of anyway - you could swear it's spring outside right now... finally! Either way, I spent the weekend in Champaign and went technology free save for my droid, so I was unable to upload an overlooked photo. Turns out, for at least this week and next week, my weekends will actually be busier than my weekdays.

That said, I'm back. Today's photo is from, you guessed it; May 22 2008. I'm really sorry... but I can promise you that only a couple people aside from Mark and I have even heard the story behind this photo.

We had just finished our incredible day filled with four tornadoes from four separate supercells. After viewing the WaKeeney tornado at dusk, we had to quickly bail south to get out of the way of a developing supercell. The entire dryline was now lighting up as the low level jet increased towards dark. We bailed south quickly down 283 driving through sustained straight line winds at around 60 mph and 1" sized stones. Here you go, watch my PWX 2009 trailer... skip to 0:58. That's the tumble weed hurling rip roarin' core that I got the pleasure of white knuckle driving us through.

We finally got to a clearing and decided to pull off and simply relax on the side of the road for a moment to allow the storm to cross the highway, allowing us to get back to the motel we had already booked in Hays, KS. We sat there on the side of the road for probably 20 minutes, before at the very same moment, Mark and I gave each other a very uncomfortable look, before looking back out the window, and then back at each other. I think Mark was the first person to say something... but it was dead calm outside the vehicle. We immediately both looked up. Of course it was dark, so we saw nothing, but we both were very aware that we were immediately underneath the updraft of another rapidly developing supercell. The howling southeaster'lys that had been raging for the last 48 hours had come to a perfect calm outside the vehicle where we sat. Without needing to be told, I turned the vehicle around and back south we headed. Only a few miles down the road, I got out of the car and tried looking north to where we had sat. It was completely dark outside now to the naked eye but my digital slr was able to pick out some detail. I shot the following photo looking north at the RFD slot wrapping around on the freshly formed supercell crossing the road where we had sat before. Not long after, WaKeeney was clipped by a tornado.

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