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Large tornado was approaching Excelsior Springs from the south. Same tornado which began in Liberty Kansas and tracked behind us up State Road 69.

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Tornado near Mosby at 5:24 PM CST

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This thumbnail links to a more contrasted image of the storm near Beverly at this time, about 4:29.  The tornado has either just lifted or is still on the ground, impossible to tell

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Horses near Excelsior, MO reacting to approaching storm at 5:49 PM

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What we thought was the Platte City tornado, but as the damage path indicates it had dissipated by the time this image was taken at 4:29, probably not


This first major event of the busiest week in tornado history left us disappointed and frustrated.  First, a list of what went wrong:

1.  We positioned ourselves on the eastern side of the metro area, thinking it made sense to avoid fighting traffic while chasing the storms
2.  We constantly found ourselves looking into raincores or behind storms, gazing through haze and hills to see what were apparently tornadoes in every direction
3.  The most exciting part of the chase, when we encountered the outer edge of the initial tornadic circulation near Liberty at about 5:15, we documented poorly.  When will I learn to let the camera run no matter what?

Considering that we arrived in the area in plenty of time, and in fact stopped near Lawrence well before initiation, within ten miles of where the Bonner Springs supercell fired, we finished the day with poor imagery and tired eyes from having driven all the way to the KC area after something of a grueling chase the day before in NW Texas. 

Here's what I wrote for the blog:

"We had three or four distinct events. First, Jeff and I may have seen a tornado near Platte City in the Northwest Quadrant of Kansas City, Missouri.

Later, we saw the outer edge of circulation as a tornado formed in downtown Liberty, Missouri, where large debris floated through the air in a strangely dim light with rotating rain curtains and screaming inflow behind us. We bailed out of the approaching tornado and raced it up State Road 69 toward Excelsior Springs where we saw the somewhat rain-wrapped wedge grind from the south toward a Wal-Mart near the edge of town. When the precip was too heavy to stay, we continued up the highway and witnessed a very small, non-violent (and therefore not meeting the classical definition of a tornado) circulation which crossed the road near Wood Heights.

Unfortunately, these storms and tornadoes peeked in and out so quickly and in such hilly terrain that our video isn't even close to what chasers saw in Kansas City proper or, apparently Southeastern Kansas. But the experience of being in the outer circulation of a developing large tornado was surreal enough to more than make up for the lack of glorious footage. I may have images of the Wal-Mart wedge that are *decent,* but after three straight days of driving constantly, I'm in no condition to upload them. In the morning, I'll post them.

A huge thanks to Jeff Gammons for great nowcasting, staying on the phone with us constantly as we skirted the edge of the tornadic storm moving through North Central KC metro. Also, Rob Hall made himself available, too. Thanks to both. Congratulations to all my friends who had success the last two days: Shane, Scott Currens, Chris Sokol, and many others. "

Kansas City, MO NWS Report

Jeff Lawson's Report

Chase Page