May 7, 1993 Tornado Outbreak

May 7, 1993 was a significant severe weather day, with severe storms extending from south Texas to the Canadian border. Many tornadoes touched down, including one near Wilson Lake, Kansas.

In our chase car were Dr. Brian F. Jewett and Dr. Bruce D. Lee of the University of Illinois Department of Atmospheric Sciences, and Gwen Pech.

We departed the University of Illinois two days prior, suspecting that May 6 would be the significant severe weather day. After an overnight stay in Omaha, NE, we did intercept storms in south-central Nebraska the next day but these storms were non-tornadic. The following day, awakening in north-central Kansas, we drove west on I-70 towards Russell, KS, intercepting this storm southwest of Wilson State Park, southeast of Russell. The storms were fast-moving, and we drove north-northeast, shooting slides and video (with few chances to stop and tripod).

The 8mm video shown here was taken by Bruce D. Lee, while still photographs were taken by Brian Jewett and Gwen Pech.

Clip on any image below to see a video clip (all are MPEG):

First tornado (1.7 MB)

Tornado #2 (1.8 MB)

Tornado #3 (760K)

Tornado #4 (690K)

#4 - another view (1.1 MB)

#4 - zoom in (1.7 MB)
Here is another view of tornado #4 (close up, 1.1 MB).

You are invited to browse through our still photographs of these tornadoes.

The fourth tornado was rated F4 and was estimated to be 1/2 mile wide. There was one fatality (at Wilson Lake), 6 injuries, and over one-half million dollars in damage. The tornado damaged the marina area as well as four homes, a power sub-station and one farmstead (Storm Data, vol. 35, number 5).

Brian and Bruce study and numerically simulate the initiation and evolution of severe thunderstorms. Brian is a research scientist at Illinois; Bruce is an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado. We work (Brian) or collaborate (Bruce) with Robert Wilhelmson, NCSA Senior Research Scientist and professor at the University of Illinois.

For further information, please contact us:

Brian F. Jewett Bruce D. Lee Robert B. Wilhelmson
(217) 333-3957 (970) 351-1448 (217) 333-8651
corrected email address
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Most of the footage was shot by Bruce D. Lee, with the exception of a small part of the tornado #3 footage which was shot by Brian F. Jewett. The video shown here is copyright 1993 by Bruce D. Lee, Brian F. Jewett and Gwen Pech. Please respect our wishes and our copyright and do not distribute the images or video seen here without our permission - thank you.