Day 4 began in Pratt, Kan. Our morning briefing indicated that “super cell” development would begin by early afternoon in central Kansas. The vans were rolling by 11 a.m. and headed north.

Day 4 began in Pratt, Kan. Our morning briefing indicated that “super cell” development would begin by early afternoon in central Kansas. The vans were rolling by 11 a.m. and headed north.


The storm chasers spent the afternoon waiting for a storm to develop, stopping several times to observe the skies and receive satellite and additional weather data via the Internet.


Finally, about 5 p.m. a “super cell” developed. The race was on the get ahead of the developing storm. We did manage to reach the storm and stopped on a ridge to watch and take photographs. The winds at our location were blowing strong at 40 mph as the super cell was growing in strength. We could see rotation in the storm but unfortunately we were unable to see any funnel development, as the area was beginning to get hidden by wrap around heavy rain and hail. We did continue to follow several cells but did not hit pay dirt. We did however see a fantastic sunset as lightning illuminated the weakening super cells over the Kansas horizon.


The day had ended without seeing a tornado, but the team was pleased to have seen the beautiful sunset. The vans arrived at Great Bend, Kan., at 10 p.m., having driven 350 miles during Day 4.


Meet Chris


In my continuing series on storm chasers, I introduce another member of our chase team, Chris LaPine.


“My name is Chris LaPine from Ontario, Canada. I am a technical consultant to the broadcast and cable industries. My interest in storms developed when I was young. Initially I was very nervous however a visit with my cousin coupled with a late evening storm placed me in a position where I had no choice but to watch the storm. I was immediately hooked as I watched the storm develop and move on. Since then I have always been fascinated with and respectful of storms as the power of mother nature puts on a display. I have seen tornadoes on television and for years I commented to my family that tornado hunting would be cool to do and one of these days I might do it. The kids smiled and my wife frowned. In 2010 I received a Christmas gift from the family, which was essentially ‘here is the gift certificate, you’re booked, now go hunt a tornado.’ So here I am riding with a diverse group of people, all having the same general interest in, and fascination with, severe weather and tornadoes.


Bob Ulchak is a weather enthusiast from Quincy, Mass., who is chasing tornados in  “Tornado Alley” through May 27. Follow him here and on his blog, http://blogs.wicked local.com/weather.