Our Sunday started with the morning weather briefing. The forecast charts indicated that it would be an active day.


The vans left Emporia, Kan., by 11 a.m., heading east toward the Missouri border. Our radar screen by early afternoon indicated there many “super cells” throughout Kansas. Bill Reid of Tempest Tours of Arlington, Texas, made the decision to head east.


We began chasing a storm around 4 p.m. We followed this cell for about three hours, finally stopping outside of South West City in Missouri. Bill spotted a circular motion in a cell just to our east; the vans stopped as we all quickly jumped out. We could see a funnel drop out of the skies and reach the ground about a mile from our location -- our first tornado of our tour. The sight of a rope line tornado was awesome, but what were more impressive were the roaring sounds we could hear. It does sound like a freight train.


We then drove to the touchdown site; fortunately the tornado had touched down in a sparsely settled area. The only damage appeared to be a destroyed building.


Our ride to our next overnight stop was treacherous as we constantly drove in heavy rain and hail. We did find a protected bank drive-through where we could get protection from the hail. The hail measured 1.75 inches in diameter.


Our day was a success. We headed for Tulsa, Okla., arriving about 11 p.m. at our motel.


We were fortunate to have seen a tornado, one that caused limited damage and no loss of life. We were about 30 miles from Joplin, Mo., a city that has been ravaged by a killer tornado.