05/16/04 Reports: KS, NE, SD, MN

Larry J. Kosch

Thread is started for today's storm/tornado chases and photos. Place your reports here. 8) LJK.
Hats off to Mike H for this quote in the forecast thread:

"Ummmmm. That is some down right scary shear! Sooner or later one of these huge looping hodos will "verify" in a big fat wedge up here. "

NWS says in reply:


nuff said,

Good Job Mike!

Hope everyone was safe and had fun today.

Tornado, Wall Clouds and other phenomena caught by our team

As our target pick for yesterday and today was O'Neill, Nebraska, we maintained our decision and headed off for O'Neill....and had a successful chase as we caught the Tornado near Inman, NE near O'Neill.

We observed a frighteningly menacing wall cloud that was extremely close to the ground with tornado. The rotation on the wall cloud was absolutely awesome, the tornado was great as well. Photographs will be coming once we download them off Jacki's digital camera (software not on this computer.) This storm's inflow was amazing. There was also the familiar "greenage" as well to add a scarier appearance to the storm. The rotation was amazing and rapid as well...the meso circulation looked to be a couple 2 to 3 miles wide as a whole. We watched this for close to 20 to 30 minutes I believe along with other chasers and some nice locals who stopped as well. Traffic on the road was totally stopped as a result of the combination of chaser/local convergence and stopped traffic looking at the beast

After catching this tornado, becuase it was moving NE and out of view, we took L45 (i believe, have to doublecheck) headed east on US 20 to keep touch with another area of rotation to our north which was TOR warned. We were just a mile or two south of the communities warned in the TOR warn, and were able to maintain visual on the storm thoroughly. We saw in the area of rotation several funnels coalesce and then dissipate...but nothing really made it to the ground after this. There was one suspect area which APPEARED to be close to the ground but I could not confirm rotation on this storm.

Looking right however, we noticed a whirlie on the ground...what a treat to see a gustnado to our east on the forward edge of a shelf cloud. We have pictures of this feature as well.

Driving back to S. Sioux City was hard as torrential rains, punctuated by CG/IC lightning was difficult. However, we made it home, exhausted, tired, but pleased at a successful chase.

We will have pictures of the meso and tor up on our website soon. A very rewarding and satisfying chase.

Jeff Miller
Jacki Earnest
Dawn Miller
Garrett Cook
J Squared Chase Team
REPORT: May 16, 2004 South Central Nebraska Tornadoes

[Broken External Image]:[URL]http://www.bnvn.com/weathervine/images/nebraska_051604/rockville_torn1_a_small.jpg[/url]
Tornado # 1 near Rockville 6:50 PM
(click to enlarge)
courtesy Jeff Gammons

Jason Foster and I, along with the Weathervine gang and Scott Eubanks intercepted two tornadoes on a supercell that moved from Sherman to Howard County in southern Nebraska. We observed the first tornado near Rockville in southeastern Sherman County about 6:50 PM CST and the second near Boelus in southwestern Howard County about six minutes later. We were travelling southeast and then east on Nebraska State Road 58.

Our original target was Broken Bow, a location between the moisture and thermal axis and near the differential heating boundary stretching from southwest to northeast as cited by SPC in their MCD for the area. We believed the shortwave would likely help initiate storms along the boundary which would then move eastward into the low level jet and intensify. This is more or less what happened.

We learned of the storm in Gosper County south of Lexington and I-80, and raced south on 183 to position ourselves west of the updraft region. However, near the intersection of 30 and 183, the storm had moved near enough that we observed the first of a series of lowerings and rotating wall clouds that tracked through Buffalo County. To mirror the storm’s northeastward movement we navigated through some slippery Bob’s roads as the storm cycled several times, but without successful tornadogenesis.

As the storm reached the Sweetwater to Ravenna area, it intensified dramatically, morphing into a tall wedding cake appearance with strong inflow from the southeast. On 68 north of Ravenna, a large but elevated rotating wall cloud hung over the road directly in front of us. We decided to scoot underneath it as it looked somewhat disorganized and offered us a chance to regain a favorable viewing position. This was a fortuitous move since, about fifteen minutes later, the first cone shaped tornado touched down about four miles to our north. It was down about one minute, and, from Boelus looking north, we observed the second tornado five to seven minutes later, this time at a longer distance—perhaps six miles. Our second tornado also presented a conical appearance and lifted quickly.

Several intersections were jammed with chasers and tour buses, which we rapidly evaded. However, most drivers behaved sensibly and co-operated. Again I think the publicity of sites like Stormtrack and lists like Wx-Chase have effectively disseminated the ideas of pulling off the road, using hazards, and watching carefully before re-entering the roadway.

I will have links to Weathervine’s imagery soon. I have video of both tornadoes, but no intention of going through the rigmarole of producing screen captures when the Florida guys are doing that right now. Mine can wait for the next highlight tape. I did not take still photos as we were moving and I was driving.
I saw a brief tornado near Rockville, NE between a patch of trees but it vanished before I could find a place to stop. I also saw rotating wall clouds. Still a fun chase. I hate those slick dirt roads in Nebraska as I missed out on better views by trying to avoid those roads. Thanks to Jason Politte for nowcasting.

High-based funnel near Miller at 4:45PM

View of storm heading north on 10 toward Hazard

Wall clouds north of Dannebrog


Bill Hark
Cool pics everyone and well done on your successful chases. I was right there, the only problem was we had to jog S into Kearny to get some gas - I think that today made all the difference. We tried to zoom up N on the 10 and then E through Hazard etc but I think we missed them by 20 minutes or so. I am soooo very gutted - it must have been all the 4WD around the dirt tracks today - buying a gas can tomorrow!

Anyway, here are a couple of pics - how close was I?

[Broken External Image]:http://www.chaseruk.co.uk/160504 025.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://www.chaseruk.co.uk/160504 026.jpg
Fritz Kruse and I chased supercells in Western KS on 5/16 from 20 S of Oakley to around Scott City. Supercells kept regenerating on the west flank all evening long back on the US-83 corridor.

We observed this funnel cloud..possible brief tornado..looking northwest from a location 5 ESE Scott City a few minutes before 8:30pm CDT:

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/chase2004/may16/Dscn7631.jpg width=320 height=240>

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/chase2004/may16/Dscn7633.jpg width=320 height=240>

Mike U

Well I figured out who the insane folks were on the highway east of Amelia...lol...and I knew it couldn't be anyone else. That little pic on there doesn't tell the story. You guys have to have some very sweet footage. Congrats on the catch. Lucky I didn't run you over, if that was indeed you who were ON the highway. If you are lurking on here, did you notice a black mustang drive by and if so was it about the time of that image channel 7 has up? And were you the least bit worried?

Thanks Mike,

I saw you drive by, but my focus was primarily on the tornado and wall cloud. Shortly after you drove by we packed up and moved about 200 to 400 meters East. Sorry if we worried you, I was right on the very edge of the road to the left and Jim was on the edge to the right so as to leave the road open for anyone flying East or West. You had some great pictures on your site....great job!

Just a small correction to your comments:

We were in a very safe position....we got great video of that little funnel on the left side of the meso and the closest part of the meso was still a decent distance from our position. (that picture on your website is very misleading because that funnel that almost touched down was at least 400 yards or more away, but it appears in your picture to look closer to our position than it actually was) But we were in no danger from the meso it was moving quickly to the Northeast. WOW, that multivortex structure looked awesome for about a minute!!!

Happy Chasing......and it looks huge for Nebraska on Wednesday!!!!!
So you did see that that up close funnel 7 has on their site was a nice tor just before that? Did you get video of it before the seg of their still?

Simon and Jim's image

Before that. Because it was this part that worried me..lol. It wasn't the stuff later so much. I figured if they had the whole video they'd have a still of when it was a tornado. And it was damn sweet looking right before that. And it was getting quite close. At the time it seemed like if you didn't leave the second I went by you'd be really pushing it to get out of the way. But maybe that is because I was still in get the heck out of here mode. It seems as though that tornado was moving ne then actually started pushing east as it lifted a bit. Is that correct? It seemed alot closer to the e-w highway futher back and that it was heading straight for the highway, yet never really crossed it. I probably just missjudged the speed early on because it was so close. Still can't believe the northern portion didn't plant one on the highway. Anyway, look forward to seeing your vid.

I find it odd the image KETV in Omaha "grabbed" from the video to put on their website. There is plenty of video where the condesation funnel came all the way down, but that is the image they chose to use? Strange.

CNN also decided to use very little of the good, photogenic footage. Instead, they mostly used video of us videotaping while moving down the road, looking out the window at the massive meso. Interesting what they decided to use.

We were never in any danger. In fact, we didn't even have to drive east as far as we did. I was just making sure we were ahead of the actual wall cloud or mesocyclone circulation. But man, what a nice tornado. I'd have to review the video again, but I think the tornado was moving more north than east.

Does anyone know how many tornadoes the other tornadic cell produced?

Jim Bishop