Yesterday looked like a bust until storms fired just to our west as the light began to fade. While looking for a place to eat dinner, I spotted some towering cumulus clouds close by, and we raced towards them (which was about 20 miles west at the time). We ended up on a tornadic storm from it’s beginnings through its tornadic cycle(s), but the tornado(es) passed by us under the cover of darkness as we navigated in and around the Bear’s Cage.
One of us may have caught something on film or with our cameras, but it’s going to take awhile to go through the footage to try to spot the tornado during the brief moments lightning lit up the sky. I’ll get the video and photos that I took up eventually, but we must leave soon to get in position for tomorrow’s Moderate Risk, which will mean around 8-10 hours of driving today.
Although we didn’t see the tornado, someone on the back side of the cell did. Daniel Shaw got photos of a rope tornado that was actually bent back behind the Bear’s Cage… a very unusual spot for a tornado. His pictures and account of the storm is here: Daniel Shaw tornado 5/9/2011. He also has rather colorful commentary to go with the images, but I’m fairly sure his “distance to tornado” estimates were a bit off.