Chase Date: May 24, 2021
Scott Peake, Jesse Risley, Darin Brunin, Daniel Shaw, Charles Peek, Aaron Jayjack
Miles Logged: 746
States Chased: KS
Tornadoes Witnessed: 5
Largest Hail Encountered: 1.25"
Highest Wind Encountered: 90MPH
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks
The Selden Kansas Tornado was one of the craziest of my chase career. I was involved in a motor vehicle accident as well as getting very close to a not-very-strong tornado.
We started the day in Colby, Kansas at the Hampton Inn. I started my usual morning forecast and quickly figured out this one would be “easy”. The outflow boundary from the previous nights storms was clear as day on the visible satellite. How could I mess this day up? Stick with the boundary.
Before leaving, I decided to renew my stay for another night. Ran into Daniel Shaw and Charles Peek down by the front desk and caught up with them.
We hit the road in the afternoon, heading down to the Leoti area. Brittany drove since I had some work to finish up on the way. As the storm near Leoti started to mature, I finally was able to log off for the day.
In search of hail, we headed into the core by driving up highway 25. There was not much of any hail to be found, so I decided to head back south. Somewhere along the way, I lost data and would stay that way for the next hour it would seem. I watched the storm north of Leoti struggle with multiple updrafts and lack of strong backed surface flow. It also seemed to be pretty high-based in my opinion, but it was Western Kansas.
Western Kansas Roads suck
I started to travel down a dirt road. I made it a couple miles down before conditions seriously deteriorated. Multiple roads were covered fully in water. The only real option was to bail back west to Highway 25. Unfortunately the roads would be a huge detriment, and I was pretty convinced the storm was trending more linear than anything from observation. A decision was made to go north.
Eventually I got a blip of data, and a message came through from Bill. He had seen 3, maybe 4 tornadoes. My heart sank. I got grumpy as hell. It seemed like we had busted, and did it with an “easy” forecast. I continued north on 25.