2018-06-11 Reports: NE/IA/MO/IL

Discussion in 'Target Area' started by James Wilson, Jun 12, 2018.

  1. James Wilson

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    Wedge or no wedge day is the story of this day. This site need a discussion thread and hopefully some pictures and videos to settle the matter. I got in late this morning and have to work but will review video later to add if it helps.

    I left Pierre South Dakota after chasing north for the last few days and headed to our target of Plattsmouth Nebraska. We saw initiation around Ashland and headed that way. We sat in Louisville and watched the large rotating wall cloud go over the town and drop a tornado just east of town. From there we headed SE of Louisville and from a hill watched what looked like multiple brief drops from a distance. We saw the “WEDGE” from that hill and later from a bit lower vantage point. It looked like a wedge but due to the large wall cloud we earlier saw and other reports I am doubting what it really was too.

    Here is a photo of the cell to the east of Louisville … again I hope to add better photos or video later.

    Nebraska.jpg
     
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  2. James Wilson

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    Here is a quick video of the early wall cloud at Louisville.

     
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  3. Quincy Vagell

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    Long story short, no wedge tornado, but there were multiple tornadoes throughout the storm's life cycle, including over Louisville and later on to the east of the town.

    Here's my account in chronological order with times, to help other chasers. If anyone has any accounts with exact times, to the nearest minute, please chime in.

    I started the day around Lincoln and slowly drifted east. Storms in northeastern Nebraska started to rotate fairly quickly, but I was holding off for more discrete activity, either down the cold front or along an outflow boundary in the warm sector. Once a few cells started to develop southwest of Omaha, I zeroed in.

    The chase sort of went from 0-60. I dropped south near South Bend and noticed a lowering cloud base that was beginning to rotate. What captured my attention from the start was how low the clouds were and that will be a common theme throughout this account. At first, the rotating cloud couldn't have been more than 100 feet wide and it wasn't a funnel cloud, but I don't think it was a true wall cloud either. I followed this feature a little bit west and the following photo shows that it looked like at 5:22 p.m. The feature was originally horizontal, but it was tilted at this point.
    180611a.jpg
    Just moments later, the feature consolidated into a growing, low-hanging wall cloud. I found a spot to set up and was prepared to broadcast live via Periscope on Twitter, but due to issues linking to Twitter, it was the only real broadcast I attempted. I did not want to waste too much time trying to fix something that could distract me from the chase.

    This short video begins at 5:28 p.m. and was shot 3 miles northwest of Louisville, looking SSE. I'm usually not this animated during a chase, but it appeared as if I was finally going to see a tornado this year. The video is inconclusive, but shows a very low wall cloud (base lower than 200 meters) and some wispy scud rising into the cloud. A small, wispy tornado was observed by multiple chasers over Louisville, but I believe that happened a few minutes after this video.

    Please excuse the quality. It does not look that bad on my phone, but there's some sort of issue with either converting the file or uploading it to YouTube. It wasn't HD, but it's a lot less muddy than what's shown.

    Here's a direct link to the Periscope broadcast, which appears to be somewhat better quality:
    https://www.pscp.tv/stormchaserQ/1yoJMVRVoNlxQ

    The next 20 minutes was spent driving through downtown Louisville, dodging debris and racing east to get out of the residential area. As a result, the growing wall cloud was not clearly visible, so it's likely that I missed seeing a tornado due to structural and terrain obstructions. At 5:49 p.m., I reported a "wedge-shaped wall cloud, base <200m, rotating. Wind damage in area." This was 1 mile east of Louisville.

    The first decent photo I captured of the storm at this stage was at 5:59 p.m., 3 miles east of Louisville:
    180611b.jpg
    The low wall cloud is clearly visible, with inflow to the east. It was also around this time that the mesocyclone started turning right, so in anticipation, I dropped south and east. I did not want to be directly under the mesocyclone in case the whole thing dropped.

    The next photo comes in at 6:06 p.m. and isn't all that different from the previous photo, except that it's not a panoramic. It shows the low, rotating wall cloud just to the north.
    180611c.jpg
    The terrain for the rest of the chase was increasingly hilly, causing terrain to block a clear view of the wall cloud and any brief spinups that a few chasers reported. At 6:25 p.m., I reported "very close to wedging out... 4 ESE Louisville, NE." The large wall cloud was probably near its lowest point, as it looked as if it was only 100 meters, or so, above the ground. As I was driving, I was focusing on the road ahead, so I let my rooftop video camera take in the footage. At no point was there a wedge tornado. It was simply terrain playing tricks on eyes. As low as the wall cloud was, through confirmation from numerous chasers, the storm did not "wedge out." Interestingly enough, at the exact same time and location that I made the 6:25 p.m. report, SPC had an LSR reading "large wedge." It seems like several chasers had erroneously reported this.

    Anyway, here's a video that runs from approximately 6:18 to 6:36 p.m. Unfortunately, terrain obstructs view of the system during it's "wedgiest" state. I sped the video up to 16x the actual speed to condense this portion of the chase:

    The final photo that I'll share is from 6:35 p.m. and it shows the striated mesocyclone, just minutes before the storm was absorbed by convection along a cold front to the immediate west.
    180611d.jpg
    I shifted south to (barely) stay ahead of the strong outflow winds the evolving convective system was producing. I thought that I might catch a discrete storm on the southern flank of the system, but I made it into northeastern Kansas before I called the chase off. A few cells around sunset showed brief rotation, but nothing from my vantage point looked like anything else besides a shelf cloud.

    Overall, I found the chase to be exciting, as it featured what was probably the closest thing I've seen to a tornadic supercell this year. It did produce multiple, brief tornadoes, even if I did not conclusively see any of them. Despite that, it displayed one of the lowest wall clouds I have ever encountered and the storm structure was very photogenic.
     
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    #3 Quincy Vagell, Jun 12, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2018
  4. James Wilson

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    0-60 is right ... there were a group of us trying to get ahead of the storms at one point and drove through some spin ups. Here is an unlisted video of those. You will see the trees blow then two spinups (about 17 seconds in) on the road and to the right as I drive by. It seemed this cell was chasing ME all the way past 36 highway

     
  5. Quincy Vagell

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    Speaking of being chased, I was observing the soon-to-be tornado from the north, which is definitely not the most ideal spot. I ended up letting the storm pass and dropped south through Louisville. As much as I love Nebraska, it gets increasingly hard to chase as you move east toward the Missouri River. In this case, the Platte River was actually the obstruction for the initial tornadoes near Louisville, aside from the town itself. Ideally I want to be south of such a system, but it happened so fast that with only the one nearby river crossing at the time, I held on.

    Chad Cowan has some close-range video footage of a tornado crossing the Platte.
     
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  6. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    Short-term models began picking up on storms forming during the late afternoon along I-72 in MO/IL and tracking south. Mesoanalysis showed nearly 4,000 j/kg of surface-based CAPE & 30 knots of bulk shear, more than enough basic ingredients for a Midwest sleeper. Visible satellite showed a synoptic boundary or front stretching from near Hannibal, MO southeast through Mount Vernon, IL, and an outflow boundary from previous night's storms was draped east-west across the St. Louis metro. Surface observations showed backed surface winds areawide. By 3PM, agitated cumulus was in progress along these boundaries all the way up to I-72. That is not a scenario to ignore in the Midwest, especially in June!

    This storm between I-72 and St. Louis was the result. This was at Medora, Illinois, north of Alton. It was briefly tornado warned for a short-lived circulation on radar about 25 minutes before I arrived on it. Borderline supercell with hints of RFD, but a dominant forward flank outflow.

    june1118a.jpg

    A nice CG lightning barrage accompanied this storm. I captured a strike within a tenth of a mile with a shock wave that visibly shook the dashcam.

    At Troy, a burst of outflow kicked up dust along I-55:

    june1118e.jpg

    Video edit from the day:



    Blog with more images:

    http://stormhighway.com/blog2018/june1318a.php
     
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  7. JeremyS

    JeremyS EF2

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    I chased 6/11 in eastern Nebraska. Left Omaha and made my way west of Fremont. A nice cell formed about 5 miles to my west when I was near North Bend. This storm formed right on or even just behind the cold front that was clearly visible on radar. I normally don't like storms right on the cold front for tornado potential. I watched the storm slowly strengthen and eventually had a precip free base on it's southern end that would occasionally develop a non rotating wall cloud in different spots along the base as I now sat just north of Fremont.

    I saw the first blips on radar form down by Gretna about 25 miles away and thought that's the storm I am going to go after. It was ahead of the front and by itself. I knew I had some time though as storms wouldn't be moving very fast at all and I was relatively close. I was going to leave about 5 different times, but just when I was ready to leave the Fremont storm though it would look a little more interesting with lowerings etc. Finally a much wider base formed on the southern end and a lowering with an inflow tail started to form. Shortly thereafter a tornado warning was issued. It never looked that great on velocity scans, but definitely looked pretty.

    Meanwhile the storm near Gretna/Louisville had really exploded and I started to notice the couplet on the southern end of the storm. I finally pulled myself away from the Fremont storm just as it started to weaken and made my way south. The storm was already tornado warned over Louisville and I was kind of kicking myself for not leaving when I initially thought I should. I had to deal with rush hour traffic from the Omaha metro area and heavy rain and by the time I made it down south, the Louisville tornado had lifted. The storm still had clear inflow on it's southern end so I felt I would still try to get around the south side of the storm.

    A line of storms now formed along the cold front to the west and was catching up pretty rapidly to the cell. I was racing trying to stay ahead of this severe squall line and was able to stop a few times only briefly to try and see into the HP cell as it headed towards Murray. It was tornado warned again and a couple of times I could see a suspicious lowering back in the storm. I eventually made it to Nebraska City about 7p and not wanting to get any further from home I found shelter in a car wash as the storms were warned for 80 mph winds now and hail. The storm passed through town with maybe 60 mph winds and I headed home. North of me several miles, the storm produced another brief tornado and knocked over 9 semis on I-29 near Thurman, IA.

    Looking back, I wish I would have bailed south right away as the Louisville storm did produce some brief tornadoes and had amazing structure, but I still was able to see some amazing structure with the Fremont storm which was tornado warned as well, and it's always hard to leave a tornado warned storm anyway.

    Early storm survey from Omaha NWS. Looks like 6 weak, brief touchdowns so far:
    https://www.weather.gov/oax/TornadoSummaryJune2018

    Tornado warned storm near Fremont, NE
    Fremont1.jpg

    Fremont2.jpg

    Storm near Murray, NE
    Murray1.jpg

    Murray2.jpg
     
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    #7 JeremyS, Jun 13, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
  8. Todd Lemery

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    087570C9-355F-4529-BE3D-95C9C0BF4F19.jpeg I spent the night in Sioux City and drove down to Beatrice to to do a little visiting until storms popped. I didn’t want to get get tangled up around Omaha or Lincoln because of city driving and wanted to stay on the South side of the storms when they popped up so I stayed well clear and South of the cities. We drifted out of Beatrice in the afternoon to await initiation. It was hotter than hell waiting for the first storms to pop. When they did, I tried to have patience waiting for a storm to pop a little more South than the cities. When they dropped the second tornadoe warning I couldn’t take it any more and started heading that way. Ultimately seeing several funnels drop and then pull back up before being able to pull over for pics. The storm had started to speed up and didn’t allow a lot of time for roadside viewing. I’m including a cell pic of a funnel on the way back up. It dropped immediately after an obvious clear slot had opened up and I really don’t have many good pics to show anyway. Stuck with the storm until Tarkio, where we threaded North through the storm and headed to Shenandoah for the night.
    Instead of making a separate report for 6-9, i’ll Just add that we were late to the storms North of Waterloo and didn’t see the reported tornadoes from that storm, but did see some good looking structure before calling it a day.
     

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