2008-06-05 Beatrice, Tecumseh and Johnson, Nebraska Tornado

Thirty minutes with a chainsaw got a tree off my satellite dish and house from last night’s shenanigans. This time I dragged my brother along, left noonish to York then south on US-81 to Geneva. Storms took forever to get going, so we had time to train-chase and look for internet to borrow.

Taking county roads to get around Beatrice, this road had been flooded the night before and I didn’t trust the bridge–to drive on, at least 🙂


Just west of Fairbury, I thought this was a little high for my tastes, but there were other chasers here and it was rotating. However, not warned for anything.


And this was just east of Fairbury, nice base but moving off the front and crapping out.


Stacked plates! Inflow from a number of levels, condensing and becoming visible.


As I drove from Fairbury to Beatrice, finally two storms formed south of Beatrice in Kansas and headed north. Got near Beatrice as they became Doppler-indicated TOR warned; sirens going off in town (no risk to Beatrice since they were south of town heading northeast.) Got into the rain between Beatrice and Tecumseh, following a bunch of motorcyclists who got absolutely drenched…

Pulled up to the Super 8 in Tecumseh and got some internet just as a Doppler-indicated TOR was issued…for Tecumseh! Couldn’t see a thing, rainrainrain…the nowcast said it was heading just east of Tecumseh, I headed east on US-136…because…that’s what I do!

136 takes a jog to the north just south of Johnson, which caused me to adjust my perspective on the wind direction, one the road turned back to the east I noticed a 180 deg wind shift within the space of ten feet! My brother was talking when he noticed me slamming the brakes and shifting into reverse…he asks “why are we backing up?” and I reply “wind…” I looked off to the north and the rain bands were twisting and braiding…hmmm.

Thirty seconds later the radio updates the TOR specifically mentioning south of Johnson, US-136 is one mile south of Johnson…! So, never having been inside a tornado before this season, this was the third one in two months! Don’t try this at home, kids. 😦

I’d rather have been a mile away and gotten a picture. High-Precipitation supercells, one after the other this year.

Got to Auburn as one more storm became Doppler-indicated TOR in Falls City, soon thereafter spotter-confirmed. Extrapolating meant I could get to it between Rock Port and Mound City, Missouri–until I came across US-136 being flash flooded and closed east of Auburn. That was it for today, Sonic in Auburn (ick) and then back home.


Author: Damon Hynes

Used to chase tornadoes, until Ma Nature ran out of them...

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