2016-09-15 REPORTS: NE/KS/MO/IA

Discussion in 'Target Area' started by Andrew Constans, Sep 16, 2016.

  1. Andrew Constans

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    I'll kick this one off with an intercept on the Bennington/Fort Calhoun cell NNW of Omaha.

    Got off work around 4p after watching the Dodge/West Point area cell wrap up on radar and pick up a tornado warning. Decided to go watch the cell out west (Elkhorn area) for a few before date night, posted up on Fort and 108th with a clear view to the west. There was a pronounced lowering with some quality upward motion, but no rotation. I gave it 10 minutes and decided to head home, but checked the radar for a minute to be sure I wasn't going to miss anything.

    While I was looking away, the entire scene changed. I looked back up to a nice big wall cloud with crazy upward motion. I got north via 108th to keep pace with it, still not seeing much rotation. I missed my turn to 680N and took 133 instead, which landed me right in the bears cage. Cue a left turn onto curvy highway 36 to keep south of the wall (which I thought was straight, forgot my nav tablet at home) and I'm suddenly looking right up into a rotating wall cloud. I could see some little spin ups in the scud beneath it, and the wind was all over the place.

    With nowhere to pull off/turn around, I gunned it west and managed to clear it a few minutes before it went tornado warned. I set up with a good vantage point on 132nd Street looking east as the cell continued NE, there was a brief funnel visible as I relocated to escape a wet hail filled RFD. Off duty NWS employees verified this, but did not see any debris.

    In all, it was a success on execution. I'm definitely not chasing without a navigational aid again though, that encounter was WAY too close for comfort and I'm incredibly lucky that cell didn't decide to drop a tornado as I realized my mistake. I've never really been scared chasing yet, but that changed for a few incredibly lucky minutes last night.

    Edit: apologies for the image scaling - here's the gallery http://imgur.com/gallery/4Al3U

    49f55148a79f6fc92fbcd2534e6190ba.jpg

    48424f938ad6dbdab559cdd82421adfb.jpg
    Looking West on Fort as I decided to go home, looked back up and was moving before I had a chance to get a pic
    02d01da0bdef17917e2a312121be6c86.jpg
    ^4:40PM - tornado warning issued
    4d1092d275a20772392ac9560caffa4f.png
    4:45PM
    3e7e0752e2f6a43f97603d9fcece7d24.jpg
     
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    #1 Andrew Constans, Sep 16, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
  2. JeremyS

    JeremyS EF2

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    I had a great local chase yesterday! I was initially going to go out earlier in the day, but the parameters made me rethink things and I stuck it out at work. I saw the first "new" cell of the day go up out near Columbus/Norfolk and had the thought of leaving work then, but again still stayed at work.
    Finally about 330-345 some cells started popping just to the west of Omaha. What ended up making me leave was the fact that our dog was outside and I didn't want him to get wet, so I left work at 4p. While driving home, I received an alert for a severe tstorm warning for my county and points north, and then noticed the cell about an hour to my west was tornado warned now! At this point, I figured if storms were going to have some warnings with them, it would be worth heading out since they were so close. My plan was to play with the storm that was only about 10 miles away from me and then maybe head northwest towards the other cell. The tornado warned cell had pretty strong rotation on it for quite a while and eventually was tornado warned for most of 2 hours, but never did see anything confirmed.
    I headed towards the suburb of Bennington and there were reports of golf ball sized hail just north of there. There was also a rather nice tail cloud that had formed but overall the storm didn't look that crazy. I made my way to the west of Bennington and looked back to my southeast and saw a very low and slowly rotating wall cloud. I stopped near some big lake where there were a bunch of mansions and grabbed a couple of pics of it. I noticed some ping pong ball sized hail scattered around the ground. Prior to seeing the large wall cloud I still was thinking I would head the 45 minutes or so northwest towards the tornado warned storm, but upon seeing this I changed my mind. Sure enough a couple of minutes thereafter a tornado warning was issued for this storm.
    I had to stop and get gas quickly in Bennington as the tornado sirens wailed. I headed back east down Hwy 36 and went north on Hwy 133 towards the storm. There was still a pretty nice wall cloud, but a new small cell formed on the south side of the storm and my view became blocked by rain. When I cleared the rain of the smaller cell to the south, the wall cloud had pretty much dissipated it seemed. However, a few minutes suddenly a very strong area of rotation appeared. I took a county road off of the highway and headed east a mile or so and then had a road that headed north towards the area of rotation. My thought was this is going to produce a tornado. The area I drove into though was very hilly and had a ton of trees. From my vantage point, I had a pretty decent view and wanted to get closer but didn't want to risk my view. Very quickly thereafter a large funnel formed that was spinning rapidly and stretched half way to the ground. I was maybe 1/2-3/4 mile away and could start to audibly hear a roar. I looked towards the ground and sure enough could see several suction vortices appear! There appeared to be some branches/small trees or something that got lifted up. I got out of the car with my camera and snapped a couple of pictures but wanted some video. I have my dashcam running but not sure how well this would show up, so I ran back to the car and grabbed my iPhone to take a video. By the time I got back out to the road the vortices visible on the ground lasted only about 5 more seconds and then disappeared. The funnel was there a while longer though. A lady came over the hill and stopped and I told her there was just a tornado a few moments ago down the road. She told me her house was just ahead, and I said I don't think it hit any structures. She offered me shelter if I wanted it, but then realized I had equipment with me and that I was "one of those tornado guys" LOL.
    I stayed with the storm for a while thereafter. A new large wall cloud formed to the southeast as a new area of rotation formed when another cell merged with this one, but it never came close to producing again.
    I headed home and was back by 730. I have video that I will try to upload as well a bit later.

    Bennington wall cloud.jpg
    wall cloud by Bennington, NE

    tornado1.jpg
    don't think you can quite see the condensation vortices on the ground

    tornado2.jpg

    wall cloud.jpg
    remains of what was a much larger wall cloud near Fort Calhoun
     
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  3. JeremyS

    JeremyS EF2

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    I've uploaded a video of the brief tornado to YouTube:
     

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