Tag Archives: Gustnado

5/30/2011 chase- A Family affair

This chase was the first time my wife has gone on a real chase. Sure we’ve played around with local t-storms after dinner together but never before has she committed to hitting to road and driving until the storms end. Until now!

On this chase I also brought along my neighbors. They moved here a few years ago and seemed to be freaked by any weather so I was stoaked they wanted to come along. They did bring their own vehicle just incase in was too much.

Mike Vetter met up with us in Lake Andes, our target, and hopped in the hot seat.

DSCN1841I could tell by the look in his eye what he wanted to do, go south into Nebraska. I cringed a bit because I had told my wife we would just hug the SD/NE boarder because she had to work at 4:30 am the next morning.

I never chase in the state I tell her I’m chasing. It’s always the next state or 2 away.My excuse is always “But they touch” meaning the states. I think deep down inside she knew we weren’t staying in SD. As we approached the Welcome to Nebraska sign I kept my mouth shut, but she noticed it, and before she could say anything I shouted  “see I told you they touch”.  But so far she was enjoying herself so we continued our play.

Our group arrived in Atkinson, NE  about 30 minutes before the storm and saw the Twistex team repositioning for another intercept. DSCN1851We topped off the tanks and started heading east for an intercept. Right to the south we could see the storm approaching. And boy was it mean. We jockeyed around for a bit to avoid the monster hail core. That was a good plan because that thing was putting down monster grapefruit sized hail and was a great looking storm.



We decided to make a very aggressive play down a dirt road and got treated to a kickass gustnado that crossed about 100 yrds in front of us! It spun up real quick and was wound pretty tight.


The word of the night was gustado after gustnado,.

We caught this monster near O’ Neill, NE

(my wife filming this dirty thing)


This storm had sick rotation and as it was going linear the stronger cells would break away causing these gustnado swarms. They seemed to be everywhere.

My wife and my neighbors seemed to be excited about our next trip.

First Chase of 2011 Kansas

The first chase of 2011 went off without a hitch. Picked up Joe Miller and Greg Rardin, in Rock Valley, IA at 8:30 a.m. and headed out to our initial target of Emporia, KS. with a planned stop in Ottawa, KS to meet up with Brent Koops.

The trip was just humming along great, we were all chatting it up on the ride and planning a strategy on how we would chase once storms fired up. We arrived in in Topeka, KS and I was in heaven with 93 degree temps (low 40’s in SD) and kept pushing through towards Lyndon, KS and Brent called to tell us he was just about 2 miles from Lyndon so we all decided to just meet there and hang out a bit.

We decided to continue on to Emporia and grab some dinner and top off the tank and wait. But being the impatient man that I am I made the call to move back toward Lyndon and hold up somewhere between there. Joe Miller was talking with Ben Holcomb on spotterchat and he was just a few exits ahead of us sitting at a crapping gas station so we met up with Ben and Mike Boik and waited some more. I was seriously looking like a CAP bust and just before all hope was lost BOOM, there it was.DSCN1185

The shear was intense and was cutting the tops off of the towers but this think kept building so we all took off after it. In hindsight we should have 5-10mins earlier but the chase was on. This storm was turning into a beast.


As we pushed closer to the storm just off to my left we could see the a small gustnado form. For those of you who don’t know, a gustnado is a specific type of short-lived, low-level cyclonic cloud that can form in a severe thunderstorm. 

We didn’t see the gustnado that caused damage but the video and images I have seen lead me to believe that it indeed was a gustnado.



After this, the storm was just moving to fast to catch back up with it so at dusk we gave up a pointed north.

I am satisfied with the chase. Logged 869 miles on the first chase of the season and getting ready for more this season.