Tragedy At Table Rock Lake

/Tragedy At Table Rock Lake

Tragedy At Table Rock Lake

Good morning bloggers,

There was a boat tragedy, with at least 13 people dead and this count is likely going to go up as people are still missing, at Table Rock Lake near Branson, MO yesterday evening.  The system we saw developing over central Kansas turned southeast and tracked right over Table Rock by evening. There should have been no way that any boats were on that lake with this system approaching. I have been down there the past few years, and I understand how, once you are out on the lake, there is very little time to come back to dock once you are out there and a storm is approaching.  This storm was moving fast, but there was warning and it is a tragedy that could have been prevented if the weather conditions were being seriously monitored. It is rare to have thunderstorms moving 40 mph in July, and this unfortunate storm created the conditions for people to lose their lives.


After I arrived at work yesterday, I saw this little system spinning over central Kansas. It was just east of Salina and thunderstorms organized around this and started producing 80 mph winds. The SPC enhanced the risk and it turned southeast directly over Table Rock Lake.

Lake Radar

The captain of that boat likely did not have a lot of time to make a wise decision.  Unfortunately this moved fast and created almost impossible conditions to get back to the shore. The video from the eye witness says it all as we can see the duck boat with 31 passengers on board in trouble and going over.  Very, very sad.


Here are the storm reports from yesterday. There were 33 tornado reports all clustered over Iowa. I am sure it will end up being around 15 or so tornadoes, but a July outbreak of severe weather none the less.  Here are two of the tornadoes from two separate updrafts in this rare multi-cell severe thunderstorm near Altoona, IA.


And, look at todays outlook:


There is a moderate risk of severe weather over the Tennessee Valley in this active July weather pattern. Let’s hope there are no more disasters today.

Incredibly Accurate Forecast Made 12-Weeks Ago For This Week.  This is from the 1-Weather App using the LRC:


A 12-Week Forecast was provided for this bride and the wedding is tomorrow. The LRC provided the insight and this forecast was made without a computer model. Think about that!  And, we hope that Matt & Joell have a great wedding.

Have a great day and thank you for sharing in this weather experience featuring Weather 2020 and the LRC. Go over to the Weather2020 blog to join in the conversation or read everyones comments.


2018-07-21T11:27:55+00:00July 20th, 2018|General|60 Comments


  1. Richard July 20, 2018 at 8:55 am - Reply

    Finally, a longer blog writeup.
    But right out of the gate, for you to go into shaming the boat operators and captain, thats not cool.
    We all know you go down there. So do thouusands of otherpeople.
    That terrible event is all over the news and online.
    Pat yourself on the back for forecasting that storm. But leave the shaming out if it.

    • Real Humedude July 20, 2018 at 9:19 am - Reply

      Richard….that captain should be shamed. What an moron, he cost all those people their lives. The storm was headed their way for hours, no reason they should have even considered going out with that approaching. I would go further than shame, if the captain survived I would want him tried for 17 counts of voluntary manslaughter as he had a chance to monitor the weather but he failed to do so. When you are a captain you are responsible for every life on your boat, they took their profit incentive over the safety of their passengers. I am really heated about this, somebody should have been aware of their surroundings and warned the captain to go back immediately. So preventable, look at the radar!!!

      • Richard July 20, 2018 at 9:29 am - Reply

        There were more boats out there.
        There was another Duck boat. It made it back safely

        • REAL HUMEDUDE July 20, 2018 at 9:46 am - Reply

          so what, there’s more idiots out there in the storm so that makes it ok?
          It’s even worse they could have killed those people too! The captain and company deserve to have every bit of shame and blame put squarely on their shoulders. Accidents happen, but this was gross negligence to ignore a Severe thunderstorm warning in a POS boat like they had

          • Heat Miser July 20, 2018 at 11:03 am - Reply

            I think we need to see the results of the investigation before you go off attacking the captain. Mabye it’s his fault, mabye now. We don’t know what he knew or when he knew it regarding the incoming storms. Overall liability does belong to the company for sure though….no questions about that,

      • Heat Miser July 20, 2018 at 10:58 am - Reply

        Sounds like that Severe Thunderstorm came up really fast, and those boats are really slow. I doubt the captain gets blame for this, but the company will likely get the holy hell sued out of them. Perhaps in the future, these slow heavy boats can’t go out if we are under a Severe T-storm Watch if they are unable to escape a fast incoming severe storm before it hits. The only way I’d blame the captain is if he was told the storm is incoming and he didn’t try to get back to dock. He would also get blame of course if he abandoned ship to save his own hide instead of staying to help his passengers escape.

    • Heat Miser July 20, 2018 at 11:06 am - Reply

      I don’t think he shamed anyone…esp the captain. He said it came on him fast and he likely didn’t have enough time to get them to safety.

    • JoeK July 20, 2018 at 3:58 pm - Reply

      Okay Richard, it is time you are called out for your bogus BS. First, I don’t see where Gary shamed anybody, he pointed out the facts and they are pretty clear. I spend a lot of time on the water and ALWAYS monitor the weather. This Captain and this company should have a system in place to monitor the weather. Period! You are wrong and your assessment is WRONG

      • Richard July 20, 2018 at 6:40 pm - Reply

        What I said
        “But right out of the gate, for you to go into shaming the boat operators and captain, thats not cool.”
        I did not say nobody is to blame. I just did not see the reason for Gary to point it out in his writeup.
        But that was just my opinion. And I have been duly raked over the coals for it.

        OF COURSE somebody is to blame. There will be, and should be, HELL TO PAY, to whoever green lighted those boats to be out on the water with thunderstorm watch being issued hours before.

  2. hoopsA1 July 20, 2018 at 8:57 am - Reply

    ummmm no where in your 12 week prediction did it says anything about a severe weather outbreak. of course in the summer time there are chances for isolated thunderstorms so not sure how to grade that forecast

    • JoeK July 20, 2018 at 4:26 pm - Reply


      Thunderstorms = the possibility of severe weather. I am taken back by your assessment of the forecast. Generally speaking, most systems during the summer have the possibility to become severe. Forecasting thunderstorms 12 weeks in advance in a specific area and having that forecast verify is pretty amazing.

  3. sierravista July 20, 2018 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Hmmm…shaming? “The captain of that boat likely did not have a lot of time to make a wise decision. Unfortunately this moved fast and created almost impossible conditions to get back to the shore.” Doesn’t sound like shaming to me. Terrible tragedy.

    • Richard July 20, 2018 at 9:28 am - Reply

      Yes. Shaming

      “There should have been no way that any boats were on that lake with this system”

      “This storm was moving fast, but there was warning and it is a tragedy that could have been prevented if the weather conditions were being seriously monitored.”

      There will be investigations. This will be talked about for weeks.
      Meteorologists will say how/why it happened. Leave the shaming out of it

      • ClassyCat July 20, 2018 at 3:45 pm - Reply

        And what about what he said isn’t absolutely true? It’s not even opinion. Responsible people monitor things like that, especially when you hand people depending on you. Shaming? I call that telling it like it is. Get real dude. Good grief.

      • JoeK July 20, 2018 at 4:01 pm - Reply


        His “shaming” comment is baseless and completely stupid. We all should be use to this type of behavior and posts from Richard by now. Bottom line, any company that operates any type of tourist based business has a responsibility to monitor the weather for safety of their customers, especially one that operates on the water

        • ClassyCat July 20, 2018 at 4:09 pm - Reply

          Said better than I did.

  4. Real Humedude July 20, 2018 at 9:33 am - Reply

    HRRR is once again developing convection in KS that may wander in and affect our area. I know there are many that would welcome this, I’m really curious about SPC update later on as I think major instability may build once again today as we have very little debris clouds. Not as much severe weather as yesterday, but enough to get some storms kicked up. I randomly called it yesterday that that might be the most active severe weather day we had all year, and it may indeed have been just that considering the IA tornadoes. It just felt incredibly unstable at lunch an I could feel it in my bones there would be major storms

  5. sierravista July 20, 2018 at 9:46 am - Reply

    True comments from Gary, Richard. The boats should not have been out there. I heard that the Captain survived, and I’m sure we will hear his explanation soon. Conditions should have been monitored! The other boats were lucky.

  6. LYITC41 July 20, 2018 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Reminiscent of the Whippoorwill tragedy in June ’78 down at Pomona. That blew up pretty much w/o warning but this yesterday, everyone has radar today and that line was moving toward them all afternoon. to be caught out there is inexcusable so you’re wrong Richard. The litigation has probably already started.

    • JoeK July 20, 2018 at 4:02 pm - Reply


      10 thumbs up! Spot on

  7. Richard July 20, 2018 at 10:29 am - Reply

    My point was that there will be plenty of shaming and blaming.
    Plenty of finger pointing. Plenty of investigations. Plenty of lawsuits.
    People are dead. Children. The boat is 80 feet down at the bottom.
    The canopies are the problem. No way to escape if boat takes on water.
    It was a like a raging ocean. The winds came up suddenly, like they did here.
    My thoughts and prayers are with those families.

    Yes, the company should be held liable. Not the captain. He works for the company.
    If he is told to be out there he goes,

    • Heat Miser July 20, 2018 at 10:53 am - Reply

      Did the captain live? Isn’t he supposed to be the last one off? I thought the captain was supposed to go down with his ship if everyone hasn’t been evacuated?

      • TDogg July 20, 2018 at 10:57 am - Reply

        I heard on the radio the captain did not make it.

    • Real Humedude July 20, 2018 at 10:54 am - Reply

      NO, absolutely not. You put your foot down as captain and say firmly, “HELL NO”. The captain is who has the final word. That boat was death trap from conception, and anybody with a brain could see a storm was brewing. Not just a random pop up, a major squall line in fact. Winds didn’t come from no where, they are being warned about from every weather outlet you can think of. The captain should be held accountable, as well as the owner. Not involuntary ether, they made a conscious decision to go out there. Just sickening

      • Heat Miser July 20, 2018 at 11:00 am - Reply

        If its true that there was plenty of notice and the if the captain was notified of the incoming severe weather and didn’t try to make it back, then it’s on him. If that’s not the case, i.e. he tried to get back but couldn’t get back in time, then the company is liable in all kinds of ways.

      • Hockeynut69 July 20, 2018 at 12:31 pm - Reply

        I agree Hume, they did have plenty of notice, companies like that should be monitoring the weather conditions. This storm formed up in Kansas and it was a few hours before it made it’s way to Table Rock. When in Kansas it had a history of 60-80mph winds. Aside from that how many people die each year due to lightning? No reason they should have been on water with a large storm heading their way. This was totally avoidable and should not have happened. Someone probably thought they would be in and out of the lake prior to the storm hitting and they could make some extra cash by going. Too me that is cutting it too close, because as we know storms can speed up or slow down. A large error in judgement on whoever made the call to continue the excursion and go in the water. They will likely not open again if not from their error in safety procedures but possibly due to the financial bankruptcy that is likely to happen in the aftermath.

    • JoeK July 20, 2018 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      “if the captain is told to go out there he does” WHAT, the CAPTAIN of any ship has the final say. The winds didn’t come up all of a sudden, we have this thing called technology, the threat of storms was evident long before they arrived.

  8. Trevor July 20, 2018 at 10:57 am - Reply


    You think we may get storms again, hoping the Ottawa area can get some rain can see my beans are really starting to show stress. Lots of corn already have been chopped

    • REAL HUMEDUDE July 20, 2018 at 11:55 am - Reply

      It’s developing as we speak just NW of Topeka, hopefully targeting your area and mine. 3k NAM and HRRR are on board. We sure need it SW and south of the metro! Beans are in a sorry shape, they will be next on the chopping block if rain doesn’t materialize. If we can squeak by till next weekend there is a Good Looking system showing up then, maybe it poofs who knows

      • Trevor July 20, 2018 at 12:39 pm - Reply

        Hoping it continues to build up. Keep thinking just enough to get us by till a good rain but time is starting to run out. Not holding my breath today seen this too many times to get my hopes up

        • KS Jones July 20, 2018 at 1:13 pm - Reply

          Not much to it– we got a light rain for five minutes awhile ago as some of the spotty system passed over. We could get more sprinkles, but I’m not expecting more than that. The best part is, it is 76° & cloudy.

      • Jordan July 20, 2018 at 12:58 pm - Reply

        So, am I going to get missed to the north, south, east, or west this time? lol

        • Trevor July 20, 2018 at 1:03 pm - Reply

          Looks like SW, not much there anyways unless it builds might settle the dust

          • REAL HUMEDUDE July 20, 2018 at 1:10 pm - Reply

            We are entering peak heating period so we are in best time of day to maximize this little disturbance. Any kind of rain drop beats no rain drops

            • Jordan July 20, 2018 at 1:31 pm - Reply

              This little disturbance is drifting slightly to the east, and it looks like the energy feeding it in Nebraska is still popping stuff up. I might get a nice soaker hose .2″-.3″ if it manages to make it over me.

  9. sierravista July 20, 2018 at 11:10 am - Reply

    News said this: The boat’s captain survived, but its driver did not, according to Sheriff Rader.

  10. Richard July 20, 2018 at 11:33 am - Reply

    I have never been on the Duck boats.
    I hear that it is a 1 1/2 hr tour on land and water. The water being the last part of the tour, to go back to the docks.
    A road/ramp leads to the water. No turning back once on that road to go to ramp. They got in water to go back to docks just before warning was issued.
    But yeah, the company/operators should not have allowed any boats to be on water, or on the tour for that matter, since a watch had been issued hours before.
    There have been several incidents over the years, across the country, with Ride the Ducks.
    Even people getting run down on roads !
    Those boats were put out of comission by military for a reason. Not safe.
    Take them all out. No more on land or water. Put them in a museum.

    Sorry, just wanted to come here, see forecast this morning.
    Looks like a nice weekend. Hope Hume is wrong about anything popping up today.

  11. Jon Behle July 20, 2018 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    My question for anyone is why are the boats out there period if there is lightning around.. Let alone severe thunderstorms?

  12. Getmbuck July 20, 2018 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Lawsuits are coming regardless via civil trial and possible criminal trial for all onboard and company decision makers. Schlitterbahn managers and owners are being crucified over one death in KCK. Consistent reports of water entry time was well after STW issued. No excuses

  13. KS Jones July 20, 2018 at 1:51 pm - Reply
    We saw high winds + bad weather roll in, so I decided to get a refund and leave with my wife. Headed out, countless first responders + emergency vehicles were going in #Branson to help with the #DuckBoat incident. Branson Belle crew helped toss life preservers to those overboard.

  14. f00dl3 July 20, 2018 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    Should not have happened. Not in 2018, when we have text alerts on our phones, cell phones, there is no reason in hell why the company couldn’t have communicated a “do not go in the water” message to all their boats in the field. God knows how much GPS tracking Fedex, UPS, and many corporation company cars have in them less how much you are being tracked in a Rental car. I’m sure they have some sort of way to do this they just didn’t want to because they didn’t want to loose the money.

    • Heat Miser July 20, 2018 at 4:18 pm - Reply

      mabye it was already in the water and a ways off when the imminent storms formed. I read that the tour lasts 90 minutes. I know emotionally we want to rip anyone who might be responsible, but lets let the investigation happen before we start assigning blame. It’s the fair thing to do.

      • f00dl3 July 20, 2018 at 6:10 pm - Reply

        The tour does last a long time but part of it is drive time. When I went on it back when I was younger living w/ my parents I remember they do a sight-seeing tour of things down the way, attractions. It’s about a 30 minute drive just to hop in the water. The time you are in the water is 15-25 minutes tops if my memory is right. They had plenty of time to tell the operators to stand tight or even have the passengers take a break and seek shelter if weather really became nasty. Given that someone even posted a video of the sky when they decided to opt out before hitting the water at the lake, I think they had time to back out.

  15. REAL HUMEDUDE July 20, 2018 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    Textbook drought showers ….

    • Jordan July 20, 2018 at 4:36 pm - Reply

      Of course they look like they’re turning into something substantial just a county or two southeast of your farm lol.

    • Jordan July 20, 2018 at 4:39 pm - Reply

      I guess that’s a little further than a county or two, but still.

  16. Tdogg July 20, 2018 at 4:53 pm - Reply


    Real Humey/Richard/Robert Racy

  17. Blue Flash July 20, 2018 at 5:49 pm - Reply

    Ride the Ducks operated in Branson for 40 years without a single incident. I’m sick of hearing how dangerous the ducks were. Any boat could be swamped in the kinds of rough seas they encountered. Of course they should not have taken the risk with a storm approaching. It will be interesting to see how the communications failed. I am sure in 40 years there were dozens of similar circumstances that were handled properly.

    I suspect this will bankrupt the company. Close to 300,000 excursions made safely, but this is the kind of attraction that will be remembered by the one failure. In our society’s quest to make life absolutely safe, this kind of potential danger cannot be tolerated.

  18. NoBeachHere July 20, 2018 at 5:59 pm - Reply

    Just a small point here.
    Point out a feature in an approaching cloud/clouds or perhaps a system. Specifically state “ look at that, I wonder if that’s a storm or just rain”.
    Then watch their response. Some will do nothing, some will only look at a weather app forecast and say,”there is xx% percent chance of rain” and do nothing else. A lot of folks don’t even look at radar, they only look at forecast. Look at a dang radar, live radar, know your location and which way it’s moving. Especially when out on water or camping, if you have service. If not, use a radio and find the NWS. No excuse for this, Period!

    • f00dl3 July 20, 2018 at 6:19 pm - Reply

      And on the other hand with the way models have been this year on Thursday morning I was gonna go running at 4:15 AM but when I woke up look at the radar there were storms just where the models said they would be in NE KS diving from Nebraska. They were not organized, but several models showed them picking up strength at KC. I opted to wait until 6:30 AM to start running because of this, when it became obvious they were not going to make it to the SW side of the metro before the heat set in. Being someone who runs and bikes alot, I rely heavily on my own Radar app I developed, and while I can’t say I’m perfect, for the most part I know when a situation is too dangerous to chance it. Weather, being weather, can surprise you…. but to me the hardest thing to predict is storms that pop up out of the blue / summertime popcorn style storms that usually produce more lightning and heavy rainfall but not much severe weather. Supercells you will usually know when they form and give extra heed because of watches/warnings. Plus you kind of know what they will form along since supercell storms are usually triggered by either an outflow boundary, dry line, cold front, or warm front. Significant wind events the squall line will establish and it’s easy to pick up moving your direction even an hour out – it’s actually more chance if it will die before it gets to you in that scenario. Squall lines usually ride a warm front, cold front, or outflow boundary with the core of winds and tornado threat right along that boundary. The squall line that hit table rock rode the outflow from the storms in the morning that impacted areas east of Independence and north west MO when the outflow boundary stalled out when it hit the ridge.

  19. f00dl3 July 20, 2018 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    ^ you can see the morning activity throw out the outflow that the squal line rode along.

  20. Jason July 20, 2018 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    Regarding the table rock incident it’s the pilot/captains responsibility to into account all factors in the safe operation of a “vessel”. It’s easy for us to say “we saw it heading that way” but did he? Was there a marine radio on board which all have wx band on them? He may have not been able to carry his personal phone while “on warch” to check radar. Had he survived and held a uscg licence he would have lost it and found himself in court reguardless. Uscg law says it’s the captains responsibility to take into account all factors when operating a “motor vessel”

    • KS Jones July 20, 2018 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      A survivor of the tragedy, who lost nine of her family members in the accident, says the captain of the boat told her family not to worry about life jackets, Fox affiliate WXIN reported.

      “My husband would want me to say this – he would want the world to know that on this boat we were on, the captain had told us ‘don’t worry about grabbing the life jackets – you won’t need them’ so nobody grabbed them as we listened to the captain as he told us to stay seated,” Tia Coleman said.

  21. Richard July 20, 2018 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    JoeK and everyone

    What I said
    But right out of the gate, for you to go into shaming the boat operators and captain, thats not cool.”

    I did not say nobody is to blame. I just did not see the reason for Gary to point it out in his writeup.
    But that was just my opinion. And I have been duly raked over the coals for it.

    OF COURSE somebody is to blame. There will be, and should be, HELL TO PAY, to whoever green lighted those boats to be out on the water with thunderstorm watch being issued hours before.
    There would have been no way in hell I would have been anywhere near water knowing there was a strong possibilty of t-storms.
    Even given the lightning factor, which has been pointed out on here.

    The whole day yesterday felt ripe for serious storms.
    That wind whipped up so fast. Reports in Topeka and areas south of high winds. We all thought it would mainly affect the metro. But as Hume said, it was going to hook south, and it did. And that was 2 hrs before it hit the Branson area.
    So, yeah, they had fair warning. Plenty of time to decide NO BOATS ON THE WATER. The Branson Belle had already made the decision that it would stay put. So why did the Duck company give a green light for their boats to go out ? Will the public ever know the answer.

    • JoeK July 20, 2018 at 10:14 pm - Reply


      You are entitled to your opinion, but I think you missed my point as well as numerous others on here that agreed that nowhere in Gary’s post did he shame anybody. He stated the facts. As individuals, every time we operate a vehicle, it is incumbent on the operator to act responsibly. A boat is no different and possibly even more dangerous. There are so many dangers on the water and one of the most critical dangers is the weather. Any person that is a seasoned boater knows the weather can change in an instant and one must be prepared. This is exactly why the majority of boats on the ocean have radar or emergency radios tuned to the weather. Fresh water boaters should be no different. People have a false sense of security since they are so close to land, this can and does lead to more incidents. The point is that what Gary stated was both benign in nature and spot on. NO SHAMING. For the record, just as you stated your opinion, Gary is entitled to his as we all are…..think about that and then evaluate whether you think he was shaming or doing as you did and share his opinion.

      • Heat Miser July 20, 2018 at 10:29 pm - Reply

        Agreed, he didn’t shame. Sometimes Richards gets a little self righteous indignation, and even when it doesn’t fit he still feels the need to jam it in there. LoL

  22. Kurt July 20, 2018 at 8:50 pm - Reply

    2.6 magnitude earthquake in St Joseph at 5:46 pm today. Can’t get it to rain, but we have a fault line

  23. Nick July 21, 2018 at 12:58 am - Reply

    the duck boat thing is sad to have happened, I too think that there were mistakes made and the details will come with time, for now though it goes to show how fragile life is and how sometimes we need to take life day by day. An unexpected illnes has hit a close family member or mine this past June and it really makes you take a second look at things. Sadly I didn’t feel the quake here in St. Joe, but I did feel the 5.8 oklahoma quake a while back up here, so feeling a quake(small one) is off my bucket list 😛

  24. Me July 21, 2018 at 10:03 am - Reply

    The LRC is a piece of crap just the same as most models and forecasts these days. Things are happening that apparently we can’t measure or see.

    • JoeK July 21, 2018 at 10:55 am - Reply

      I guess it is true, you just can’t fix stupid

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