We woke up and had a quick breakfast before leaving for the Nebraska/Kansas-border which was our target for the day. The predicted storm area was quite large where Colorado had the better lift but north Kansas had amazing CAPE and great shear. The day really sounded promising, as long as the lift would be there!
So, we drove east over most of Nebraska and then down to northern Kansas, stopping at Phillipsburg, KS. Once again we bumped into the people from Extreme Tornado Tours but to my great pleasure also Kimberley George and Martin Lisius from Tempest Tours, whom I had been in contact with for a long time without having ever met them. As always, it feels like a great coincidence when you meet storm chasers you know at random gas stations and out on the fields – even though it is not all that much of a coincidence. We are all there for the same reasons!
After some 30 minutes waiting at the gas station in Phillipsburg, Tempest Tours, flew off somewhere and we saw a storm growing on the map. The chase was on!
…for about 10 minutes.
By the time we had reached the storm, the tower has failed to break the cap and was gone again and there was nothing else around. Albeit starting to feel a bit worried we still had hopes for the day. Our area showed an insane 5.000 CAPE! All that was needed was some lift, and there was a boundary coming in from earlier storms in Nebraska.
We waited for an hour or so until we finally gave up. We had the option of either going 140 miles to our west or go home. We would probably reach the storms to our west at dusk and even though they may be worth it, it just seemed like too much of a stretch. Would it really be worth two hours in each direction to see some structure in the dark? Instead we just cut our losses and started the long haul back to Tulsa.
The disappointment was tangible and it did not get better when we started getting amazing reports on the other target area of the day, Colorado. Multiple, fantastic high contrast tornadoes – some where one of the best I had ever seen. Colorado was never really our main target but it was still very difficult to handle the disappointment of the last three days.
After the first disappointment settled I started looking at things from the bright side again. Me and Randy had a really nice conversation on our long trip back to Tulsa. I was listening about Randy talking about his many incredible and interesting stories from his life. Randy has had a difficult life but is still going strong and with a positive attitude towards life. The conversation kept us both awake until we finally came back to Tulsa at 2.30. The Outlaw Chasers still had another few hours to go to get back to Springfield, MO!
I really hope Randy and Lisa gets to film their eye of the tornado (and prove my doubts wrong) and show the rest of us the footage! I will, most likely, never chase with them again since we have such different views on chasing but I hope to see them on the roads (and on YouTube) in the future again.