Today's chase started in Perryton, TX. Having only limited data, (SPC for a few minutes) I could see that I needed to get to central KS. I picked Hays, partially because I knew I could get wireless there and partially because I knew Dave might be there. His tracker has not been working, and it still showed him in O'Neil, NE.
I left Perryton, went through Liberal, bypassed Dodge City and arrived in Hays. No sign of Dave, and so I headed up to Wakeeny as Bobby was there at a BP. Wakeeny has at least two exits, and I pulled off at the wrong one- but who should I see? Dave and the VT/Pulaski crew filling up.
I chatted with them, filled the tank and we all drove across to Super 8 to use their wireless. They have four active chase days. A few of the guys were throwing a frisbee around until it was carried by the wind onto the roof of the hotel. Eventually, it worked its way down to the edge of the roof, and the next gust blasted it over the hotel completely into the back of the lot.
I rode up to the other exit and met up with Bobby. He had drive down fron SD, just a Dave's group had.
A small chaser convergence began to form. Then for no reason at all, I locked my keys in the car. It was so dumb, and I've never done that before. A phone call to the local police and an officer was able to unlock my car in a few seconds. Chuck Dosell told me this sort of thing happens all the time.
I went back to check on Dave's group. Then a tornado watch was issued for our area until 11:00pm. Bobby came over to out exit, introduction were made and all eyes turned to the sky.
A few cells began to pop up- a few began to break the cap. Bobby and I both jumped on a strong cell to the southwest. We ended up going down a bunch of dirt roads and intercepted several rotating wall clouds. We were originally south of I-70, but ended up crossing over it and being north of it for the rest of the chase.
At one point just west of Wakeeney, we are watching a lowering, but the contrast is bad. We decide to head north along 183, we are watching a lowering, but the contrast is bad. We decide to head north along 183 when the storm drops a tornado. I fumble around with both cameras and the steering wheel and manage to snap a few photos. I'm sure I have some shaky video as well.
I stop to take a few more photos as the tornado ropes out and disappears. Bobby is somewhere along the road- I passed him and didn't realize it. We catch up and follow the wall cloud east for a bit. It is still rotating heavily and has produced another funnel cloud, but does not tornado again while I'm on it.
The daylight hours are escaping and the storms are beginning to form a line. We decide it would be good to beat the other chasers to a hotel. However, developing storms in the flanking line cut us off from Wakeeny. We end up heading for southwest to Garden City. We ate at Wendy's in Scott City then down to Garden City Super 8 for the night. Internet and a decent stay for like $62.