Anytime, any place there is a storm to chase, that is where you'll find the Hunters of Thunder.

May 25th Part 2 - Monsters in the Dark

Its  not often that you have a safe situation to chase tornadic storms in the dark. But with the storms moving very slowly in a single direction, the opportunity presented itself and we decided to drop south after a second tornado near Russell, to the cyclic (producing one mesocyclone after another) supercell near La Crosse, KS. 
Initially, we were hoping to get lightning illuminated structure, but it quickly became clear that the tornadoes were also revealing themselves periodically under the storm structure, even though the lightning frequency wasn't perfect for what we were trying to do. While we could have gone closer it turns out, for safety sake and to keep us out of danger we stayed a reasonable distance from the storm - but what a show. As we arrived the storm already had 2 tornadoes in progress, a 45 degree stovepipe/rope, and a weaker tornado from the new wall cloud. 
Two tornadoes, a ghostly white stovepipe and a rope extend from two wallclouds simultaneously. Photo: Brad

The two tornadoes persisted for a while, occasionally illuminated by lightning. Photo: Brad.
It wasn't long before a new circulation really got going and the storm began to produce a classic cone tornado which later transitioned into a stout stovepipe. 

The cone tightens in shape under the structure. Note the new wallcloud and mesocyclone to the right of the cone and closer to us, which is the area of next development. The beaver tail extends to the right of frame. Photo: John.

The strong stovepipe, likely just northeast of La Crosse, Kansas. This tornado persisted for some time. Photo: Brad.
The next phase saw another cone plant briefly, but the circulation didn't have quite the same gusto as the previous two.

A brief cone tornado from the next wallcloud circulation, which also produced multiple vortices moments before. Photo: John.

This was followed by a multi-vortex tornado with satellite as the storm moved closer to us.

A large multivortex under the main wall cloud with a satellite rope to the right of frame. This continued the trend of multiple independent circulations within the storm at any one time. Photo: Brad.

The multivortex strengthens while the satellite begins to disappate. Photo: Brad.

Satellite seperates from the cloud base and ground, yet still causes dust swirls while the multivortex continues. Photo: John.

Multiple funnels extend down from the multivortex wallcloud. Photo: Brad.
The storm continued to cycle wall clouds as the circulation planted a seperate trunk tornado from its very low base, while yet another produced an impressive dust swirl under another trunk and a second under a nearby wall cloud. 
A dark trunk extends down from another circulation, contacting ground behind the rise. Photo: John.

Dust swirls rise from weak vortices under the wallcloud on the left, while a trunk kicks up a large amount of dust on the right hand side. Photo: John
The cyclic behaviour continued for one final cycle before the storm finally began to weaken, close to midnight.
The final multivortex and wallcloud. Multiple funnels interact with ground throwning dust into the air. Photo: Brad.

 It definitely goes down as one of the more unique experiences we have had while chasing, though it was disappointing that the supercell structure and at least a few of these couldn't occur during the day - imagine what they would have looked like!

While the 26th was an environment that went to waste (no storms properly formed), the 27th saw us chasing in northern Kansas once more. If you like what you have seen so far, keep up with the latest updates by liking us on facebook, at Hunters of Thunder, and tell your friends.

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