DAY #7: Two for the price of one
08 May 2003
Chanute, KS  - Pittburg, KS

CHASE LOG 1000: Daily briefing

1030: We depart Chanute, moving west. Today is an unusual day: I purchased a car adapter for the camcorder and I will record as much of the day as possible, in order to record the WHOLE chase experience. (I eventually recorded large portions of six one-hour mini-DV tapes this day, stopping the camera only long enough to changes tapes, take bathroom/fuel breaks, and skip REALLY repetitious stuff!)

[Wedge Tornado, Yates Center, KS]1910?:  As we cleared the rain field, north of Yates Center, we see pinkish sky below base to our west. "That's either a wall cloud or a tornado," Bill announces on the 2-meter, as we begin to clear most if the trees. "Tornado!" I answer, as I get a brief glimpse of a stovepipe/wedge hybrid silouhette on the western horizon. As we move toward town, we see a large tornado (maybe  300-400 yards across) bearing down on the north side of town (where we just exited). Everybody's adrenaline is going pretty strong now. Our drivers work their way quickly through town and we jump on E US 54, tearing off at the speed limit (more or less).  With the tornado behind us and to the left (our 7 o'clock), we try to put a safe distance between us and Yates Center, as we hear damage  reports coming  in on NOAA and 2m bands at almost the same time.  The fast moving (40+ mph) wedge move to our 8 o'clock, where would have a great view if not for intermittent groves of trees. Nothing like outrunning a tornado when you have a bad view!

1915?: About 5 mi E Yates Center we parked for a brief look at the tornado. The RFD churned up and confiscated my Kansas map (with all the warning notations, storm motions, warning times). Oh, wellll (not what I said, probably -- oops). [Side note: Fortunately, I had taken video stills of the map, so I was able to reconstruct it later! What a lucky accident!]

1945?: As we drive through Iola, the sirens are going off and we see people walking in a brisk yet orderly manner into the church for shelter, with firemen on hand. We turn  N US169. A few miles north of  Iola, I call out "Funnel  on the 3!". The funnel drops almost immediately, giving us our second tornado of the day. We turn east, going through Colony. North of Kincaid, we see downed power poles and a flattened outbuilding, presumably  from tornado #2.

2100?:  North of Columbus, Bill decides it is too risky to go into the tornado-warned storm to our south
(the 0128Z tornado in the SPC's storm reports?). We head up to Pittsburg for the night.

2200?: We grab a late dinner at J&B's, a local sports/"college kid" bar, complete with karaoke. The kitchen just closed, but in true Kansas style, they re-open it for us! Steak, booze, and sophomores belting out tunes to the jukebox! Who could ask for more at the end of this day?

2300: All in all, a tough day with excellent results: two videoed tornadoes after struggling with rain for several hours.

(More entries will be added here, as I took around 5 hours of video this day, in an effort to capture an entire chase day, not just the end results)

ROUTE:  CHANUTE, KANSAS (11 a.m.) -- West Kansas 39 -- north US 75 -- Coffey County Kansas -- north US 75 -- Burlington -- north US 75 -- interstate 35 West 155 -- mile marker 151 at. 43,849 mi. -- exit 131 -- bathrooms/fuel/food break (-- 1:12 PM) -- North -- Allen Kansas -- West US 56 -- Council Grove (quick stop: fuel/bathroom/food/camera repair break) (3:05 p.m. -- 3:15 PM) -- West US 56-2 miles west of  Delavan, Kansas -- East US 56 past Delavan -- (4:57 p.m.) . east of Council Grove on East US 56 -- 3 mi. east of Council Grove (5 p.m. -- 5:01 p.m.) -- returned west to Council Grove -- South to Dunlop (Road 9) -- Road 200 South -- Road South southeast -- Yates Center -- Iola -- Colony -- Kincaid -- end Pittsburgh's Kansas (44,176 mi.) -- dinner: J&B bar and Grill -- motel:?

Bill gave us our daily briefing: a busy day, with another tornado out break (the second in four days) expected.
Phone connection in the room was not locking a baud rate , so no data. Such is life 'on the farm.'

BREAKFAST: Holiday Park Inn [Chanute,KS] - The eatery attached to the motel was filled with locals, usually a good sign. I had the Grandma's Special Breakfast (3 eggs scrambled, 3 strips of bacon), decaf coffee and a glass of tomato juice (not necessarily in that order).
LUNCH:  What's that? We ate on the run.
SUPPER: J&B bar & Grille, Pittsburg - Filet mignon, a Heineken and some mixed  drinks (7-up and vodka) were excellent. What a great way to celebrate such an eventful day.

MOTEL: $MOTEL, Pittsburg, KS


The map is full for this day, too:

[Storm Reports Map for 030508]

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