the evening was now nearing nightfall, a
successful tornado chase seemed
unlikely. We began looking at the
best routes for getting us back toward
home. We also started plotting out
potential places for a dinner stop.
So as the storms were beginning to line
out, so made the decision to work our way
east toward home.
nearly stopped for dinner as we passed
through Manhattan, Kansas, but Ryan
insisted we keep moving to make sure no
more tornadic storms were to be had.
Turns out, that
was the best decision of the day. As
we continued east through Wamego,
Kansas, we were ahead of this line
of storms, we pulled the car over east of
Wamego to face the line. What we
were about to see would be totally
unexpected. Out of the front
windshield, we watch a seemingly flat base
go to a lowering with rotation.
it came closer to us, a Tornado Warning
was issued for the storm. As it came
overhead, we got back in the car and
headed east to get back in front of
it. It wasn't long before Ryan who
was monitoring the storm out of the back
window, yells out "IT'S
TORNADO-ING!!! PULL OFF! PULL
Although we never
saw the tornado condense all the way down,
Brian's friend Travis in that Wamego
Kansas Fire Truck confirmed it was on the
ground as it came over our head in our
first stop as well as when we stopped
again and were viewing it further down the
road. This was also confirmed by the
National Weather Service Survey Team.
But there's a
tragic side to this. At the same
time as we were recording and watching
this tornado with much jubilation, Brian
is on the phone. His "Oh, No"
responses were constant. When I
finally asked "What's going on?", he tells
us that his apartment building is on
fire. Although we made one more
quick stop down the road without photo
success, the chase ended abruptly and the
focus turned to getting Brian back as soon
as we could. This was the scene back
at Brian's place while we were watching
Courtesy of the Kansas City Star
was a very odd situation having the joyful
reaction of a successful tornado chase and
the most stressful fear you can possibly
have realizing your whole life is being
changed forever going on in the car at the
same time. This without Ryan and I
realizing what Brian was conversing about
on the phone until we asked.
was returned home without delay.
Storms rolled through as we arrived
complicating the situation even
more. We did everything we could
to help Brian and his wife Debbie.
Eventually, they were checked into
a motel for the night. After a
long talk with both of them, it was
decided there was nothing more we could
do there, so we reluctantly came home
during the wee morning hours.
Weather Service Damage Survey