June 20th, 2011 - Pleasanton, NE Tornado and Stamford, NE Tornado

June 19th, 2011
Pleaseanton, Nebraska Tornado day

Chased with:

The day started out with driving.  Imagine that!

We headed down to a tornado warned cell and immediately Jon started getting some great footage.  Be sure to check out his Youtube channel for some video of what we experienced over the trip.

We approached the storm and saw the craziest build on these clouds I may have ever seen.  Staunch, upright and massive - Lucio kept exclaiming, "Now THAT is the upside down top hat I'm talkin' about!"  It really was gorgeous.

Take a look at the photo above.

Look inside the rain shaft there, where the hail core would be.  See any kind of a shape?  One that, perhaps, looks like a trunk tornado?  Well, I didn't notice it.  But, Jon Williamson did after I posted some of these photos.  I decided to take a peek at the photos and contrast enhance the image to see what it looked like.  And, well...

So, little did we know this thing was already producing.

I got a radar grab as we got close to the storm - the velocity scan looked fairly impressive, and we'd notice as we got closer to the storm how much it really was moving and swirling around. 

At this point I'm short a few photos, and you'll have to visit Jon's Youtube channel for the goods on this part.  We were near Stamford, Nebraska.  We headed closer and closer to the storm and ended up having to backtrack a tiny bit because of lack of road options.  Where we would have continued south, and in fact wanted to head west a little, the only option was a minimum maintenance road, which we did not want to take.  After turning around and heading back north, we squirreled around a bit, and then looking out the window realized there was ground rotation in the field next to us.  Because of how quickly it happened and how quickly we had to drive, I don't have any photos.  Sometimes in those moments I am just not able to photograph anything... and more only able to say "DRIVE FASTER!"

In the moment, Adam got some quick video out the window, and has enhanced a few stills:

Further enhanced to show the updraft rotation:

As we pulled ahead we did have the opportunity to stop and look at the tornado, which ended up being a funnel cloud with a swirling base, then dusty tube of dirt and debris, though it was not fully condensed.  Here are two images, the first is color and contrast enhanced to see more detail, the second is a less enhanced image.

After the tornado dissipated, we cruised on down to another warned cell in Pleasanton.  With what seemed like just a little bit of driving and repositioning to the storm after deciding not to drive into a very intense RFD core, we came up on a gorgeous white tornado.

And just like the Stamford tornado, this one roped out just as soon as it seemed to have appeared.  We didn't even have a chance to get out of the car to watch and record it.  All images we have are shot out of the windows / doors of the van.

Overall, a very successful day on what was pretty much the last chase day of the year for many chasers.  We celebrated at Applebees for dinner and the TIV crew rolled in to the parking lot.  I decided to give my friend Tony Laubach (from the Twistex team) a call, and they all headed down to hang out as well.  What followed was a great celebration and super fun party.  Here are a few of my favorite shots from the crazy night!

My favorite shot of Sean:

My chase partner Skip, with my very old and dear friend Tony Laubach, and crazy Adam in the background:

Tim asked me to take a photo of him & Sean.  So glad he did - I love this photo.

Then, Adam got to drive the TIV.  How wicked awesome is that?

Back at the hotel:

I frickin' love this photo:

Sean and Skip being devious:

After we left the hotel for a field where we could light up some fireworks to celebrate:

white tornado photos