21 May 2016 / Leoti, Kansas Supercell and Tornadoes

This was a fairly easy target with a nose of moist and unstable air sticking north across western Kansas, and moderate mid-level flow beginning to spread across the region as the upper ridge shifted east.

We made Garden City by 3:20 pm and ended up spending a good deal of time in and just north of the city through 5 pm, watching towering cumulus and small CB’s from our northwest to west to southwest.

Convection to the northwest was the most aggressive, and the decision was made to move a little closer.  We made stops near Modoc and eventually Marienthal just before 6 pm.  Storms were severe, but they were broken up into several different updrafts that were heavily weighted on their north sides.  Just after 6:30 pm, one updraft became dominant over northwest Wichita County.  For the next two hours, the storm sat nearly stationary along the Wichita/Logan county line.  The storm evolved into a beautifully sculpted updraft, but mid and upper level flow was spreading precipitation to the southeast, making it somewhat problematic getting shots from the typical point of view.  We observed three tornadoes with the storm that were all brief and appeared weak.  The first occurred at 7:04 pm about 10 miles north northwest of Leoti.  The second formed not long after the first dissipated about 12 miles north of Leoti.  After about an hour without a tornado, the storm reorganized and a third tornado was produced about 14 miles north of Leoti at 8:03 pm.

We ended the evening shooting lightning and watching the updraft of this long lived storm shrivel from about 10 miles north of Leoti.