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Tornadoes  ...... Tornado Tim was there.
Click here for Tornado Tim's Interview with Ralph TV in Australia.

Our first unrestricted video chase of the year started on April 23rd at 3:30 am from Greeley Colorado. On this chase video you can see Josh Wurman tornado researcher and Sean Casey who is filming for IMAX. You can see Josh Wurman's Doppler truck scanning the tornadoes while I film the tornadoes forming right near them. 

It is a good thing I started out from home on Monday morning because as the day unfolded the tornado chances changed from the night before.  On Sunday evening everyone was thinking Wichita Falls Texas area, but as Monday morning came around at 3:30 am it became apparent that maybe more between Shamrock Texas to Guymon looked good.  I started for Lamar Colorado and once there began to believe the best location would be closer to Elkhart Kansas so I headed there next. Things still looked good for Guymon so I jogged over to it, and made contact with two friends who were out chasing with me VIA cell phone.  Once to Guymon I thought the dew points and temperatures were better slightly south so I called Mike and Gene and told them to meet me at Perryton Texas. We met up on the west side of town and now the predicting was getting more difficult.  Storms were close to firing from Perryton to Shamrock.

   I wanted to come in on the south side of the storms so we went down to Canadian Texas and about then the storms picked up intensity.  One large storm was building near shamrock, while other smaller ones just northeast of us.  We choose the northeast storms allowing us to come in on the southwest corner where tornadoes form. I navigated us from Hi-way 60 to 283 north.  We paused before committing north. It began to look as though everything south was having a problem with a strong cap, hindering storms from reaching severe status.  Just then a severe warning was issued for the storm just to our north so up we went towards Catesby Oklahoma.  As we neared it I could see a tornado starting to form on the southwest corner of the storm by us.  Then a tornado warning was issued for the storm so we picked up speed to get close. As we followed the storm it appeared to try to set down several tornadoes, some reports were that it had done so, or the storm just north of it.  We followed the storm to Buffalo Oklahoma where it was clear this storm was a tornado producing storm. A few times a tornado formed as a classic rope tornado, and was quickly shielded by hail and rain.  As we chased this now powerful storm we passed back into Kansas to road 160 and headed east into a pounding golf ball size hail storm. I kept hoping my windows would hold and finally cleared the hail and there to our right was at least 2 tornadoes trying to form. As I neared Protection Kansas I decided to park in the city limits to film it from the eye of a local resident of the town.  Sirens were blazing as several tornadoes formed in front of me.

Protection Kansas Part 1

Protection Kansas Part 2

Click here for larger photo of Larger tornado at Protection KansasOne tornado came very close to town and roped out right in front of me; then behind it another larger and more powerful tornado dropped to the ground and started churning up the prairie.  At one point I had two tornadoes on the ground with 2 others forming very close to me.  It was exciting for me but frightening for the local town people where most had taken shelter in their tornado shelters.


This chase we were just South of the Bad Lands in South Dakota.  We watched a tornado form and drop about 10 miles from us while we drove to get closer to it. It was incredible to see a nice elephant trunk tornado all the way to the ground in such a beautiful area. But because it was so far away from us we had only one choice, to keep driving in valleys and ravines to get closer. I thought that was better than trying to zoom in on a distant tornado. Finally after about 15 minutes, we were underneath the storm. We watched it as it continued to produce funnels, but no more touchdowns. I shot some nice time lapse video while Krystallin taped the funnels worming out of the core of the storm.  Later we read one report that said it had a rain wrapped tornado about 20 minutes after we shot our last video. 
       That was about the time we were in some very intense winds about 6 miles from the core of the storm.  It was so HP at this point we just followed it, and it was very windy, but we obviously couldn't see the tornado in the rain if there was one there. It was an incredible chase as we were admiring the bad lands view, winds of over 80 mph pounded our car.  At one point our front bumper began to sag to the ground on the right side. It looked like it had broke off from the frame of the car and was falling off the car.  We all believed the bumper was a goner, hanging down to the ground, bending over. When we finally got out of the winds,  the bumper straightened back up and it was fine.  I have never seen winds that strong that it bent our car's bumper like that.  We were stunned to think of how intense the winds were to do that. 


This is video of the Guymon Oklahoma tornado chase, where we filmed the tornado forming near Campo Colorado and followed it all the way to Guymon Oklahoma.  At one point we found our selves on very muddy, dirt roads.  Krystallin and Kindra told me to stay off the side roads, but I didn't listen.  We got into the high winds of the edge of the tornado producing part of the storm and the rain and hail started coming down.  I backed up the car to get out of the worst of it and the front end of the car slide into the deep ditch. We sat there leaning forward on our seat belts from leaning so sharply into the ditch with a tornado bearing down on us. The front end of the car was all the way into the ditch and the tires just spun in the deep mud. 

I decided to drive deeper into the ditch hoping to gain momentum going down, so that maybe we could get up the opposite side of the ditch.  It was our last chance to get out of the way of the tornado.  I gunned it and in deeper we went, got just enough speed to make it up the other side and into a field of heavy grass, giving us enough traction to drive a few hundred feet to a path back onto the road and out of the way of the tornado producing storm. The radio kept announcing that a large and destructive tornado was in the storm, so it made it seem pretty dangerous while we sat stuck in the ditch, but in the end it wasn't really a large tornado after all.  The 2 girls were not too happy with me that night.

Click this link to see a photo of the girls next to Sean Casey's TIV from the next day. We ran into Sean Casey's TIV and Josh Wurman's Doppler trucks on almost every chase this season.

 


This is video from the week of May 20th chasing tornadoes in Kansas and Texas. The tornado
in Kansas was south of Hill City Kansas, and there must have been a hundred chasers on this storm. 

Chasers were parking in the road, setting up tripods in the road, it was nuts. At one point an emergency vehicle came over by us and the officer told us to tell the other chasers that there are many emergency vehicles out there that need the roads open, and could I tell them to keep the roads clear. He said at one point a police officer almost crashed because of chasers sitting in the middle of the road.  He was right, there were more dumb chasers on this chase then I have seen before.  Really, what moron parks in the middle of the road and sets up a tripod there?  We saw plenty of them, and even some chase tours letting their tour people do the same.  Shame on all of them.  I wish this officer had given it to all of them.  One day someone is going to die from chasers and chase tours doing this and someone will have a huge lawsuit on their hands, and I will supply the video free of charge of the vehicles and people doing this.  Get responsible everyone, lives are at stake. 


We also got a weak tornado south of Sterling Kansas on the 24th of April.  This was the most overblown tornado I have ever seen.   Reports by so called professionals made it sound like this was some huge tornadic storm. I have never seen so much wild, over blown reports as I have this year. Here are the exaggerated reports from the SPC's Storm Reports page.

0010 8 SSW STERLING RENO KS3810 9826 MULTIPLE BRIEF TORNADOES WITH DUST CLOUD ON GROUND. WALL CLOUD IS ROTATING RAPIDLY. (ICT)

0022 4 W NICKERSON RENO KS3815 9816 ROPE TORNADO SKIPPING ALONG THE GROUND. VIA KWCH-TV (ICT)

I was the first,  yes the first chaser under this tornado.  I parked as close to the tornado as the roads would allow, and at times I was directly under it as you will see in the video. 

Here is the video of that tornado, or multiple tornadoes.  Yes it was technically multiple tornadoes but from the video you will see what you imagine from the reports and what it looked like was very different.  As you watch this movie the best part are the tornado winds I captured on tape. Since I was less than 50 yards from it much of the time you can hear the tornado winds. Keep your volume up to hear it all.

Lastly here is a photo looking up at the tornado. Anyway I guess I can say I got multiple tornadoes from this storm, but it wasn't that great if you ask me.

 

The craziest story of the year comes from the BBC and an interview.  We had setup an interview as usual with our BBC Radio friends.  They called as we were chasing a tornado warned storm, and we agreed we could still do the interview, so they would call back in about 10 minutes.  Well just after they hung up with that arrangement a tornado started forming to our left. It was a nice cone shaped tornado with a funnel worming out of the middle of it.  Then rain and hail wrapped around it and we lost visual so we used our GPS to stay with it. As reports came in from the NWS radar on the location, we used the GPS to stay within a 1/2 mile of it.  Well it must have turned a little and came closer to us. The winds were insane, we could hardly stay on the road so we decided to drive into a low ditch area along the road for safety.  Then BCC called for the interview. I immediately stated we were in a very dangerous position and I had to cancel the interview so I could focus on staying alive.  This report made it to the air waves in the UK and that was the last they heard about Tornado Tim that night on the radio.
        The next morning the radio station was jammed with callers wanting to know if Tornado Tim was still alive.  So many calls came in that the station called me later that morning and said they just had to have me on the air to prove I was alive and well, and that my fans in the UK were concerned about my safety.  So that afternoon we went back on the air and explained what had happened to the listeners across the UK.  I would just like to say thank you to everyone in the UK for their concern for us.  So, thanks from Tornado Tim, it meant so much to me to hear you cared.

 
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