2008 MAY 22: GOVE, KANSAS AREA TORNADOES

video grab, 2332z 4 miles south-southwest of Collyer

  A taxing pair of chases started on Thursday the 22nd in northwest-central Kansas.  Taxing because storms moved fast over saturated sandy roads clogged with chasers, and then the same thing happened the next day.  Bob Fritchie and I observed six tornadoes before the day was finished, but they didn't come easily. 

We started in Garden City and ate lunch in Oakley, where met Andrea Griffa and the Italian stormchasers, among others, then turned east and finally south from Grainfield.  At SR 4 we turned east toward Uttica where we observed an elephant trunk tornado obscured in rain.

video grab, 2248z 5m north of Alimota

We raced north to keep up with the circulation and saw a large, bowl-shaped lowering with dust below, which many reliable chasers believe was a tornado.  From our perspective, it was difficult to tell one way or the other.  At around 8 miles south southwest of Collyer we turned west to close on the meso and improved our contrast.  As we manuevered to avoid a slippery road surface we noticed a tall, cone tornado about one half mile to our east.

video grab, 2325z 10 miles south-southeast of Collyer

We stopped to shoot video and stills and noticed another, larger tornado behind us.  Bob and I found ourselves between these two tornadoes, the one above and the one below.

video grab, 2325z 8 miles south-southwest of Collyer

After the tornadoes we turned north toward town and the highway.  Our circulation produced another tornado over our left shoulder, which Bob filmed out the back window.

video grab, 2332z 4 miles south-southwest of Collyer

At the interstate, the circulation remained southeast and emerged over the highway as a vigorously rotating merry-go-round structure with funnels and cones touching down momentarily.  We elected not to dash underneath this feature as it threatened to produce another giant tornado out over the highway; I-70 wasn't America's safest roadway last week. We observed our final tornado of the day about 16 miles north of Wakeeney looking back to the south where a consistent funnel which lifted a dust plume for five minutes. Again the tornado occurred along the highway and was later confirmed by Al Pietrycha.  I'll post grabs later.