05/17/04 Reports KS

I just left from Hays last night. D'oh! I ended up chasing just northeast of Dodge City this evening. There were a few small storms. It was nice to see something, but it really wasn't all that intense. There were a couple lowerings, but they only lasted a few minutes total, and they certainly weren't rotating. Met Jason Boggs at the Holliday Inn. Always fun to meet chasers out here.
Due to finals week, I wasn't able to get on the road until about 5:15 this evening. However, once I did get on the road I headed for 18 north of 70. I saw a lot of junky looking cumulus mostly to my WNW and decided I needed to head south and towards 70. By some amount of luck, (I didn't have any nowcasting available to me, and I can't go lugging my desktop around) I ended up running into the Russell cell. I ran into it around 6:45, and I was able to view base from a couple miles. I couldn't see any rotation though from that distance. By the time I was able to get closer though it showed signs that led me to believe it was weakening. I watched it for about 20 more minutes, than decided to head back home to Manhattan.

Maybe not the best first successful chase, but I was pretty pleased with myself :).
Yes that is pretty much what we saw today. It did look real nice for a while but we had to keep moving E on the I70 to avoid this massive intense curtain of precip - you could see it a hundered yards away - very defined. It was clear when the storm died however, a real shame, would have been in a perfect viewing position if it produced!

Jason Foster and I, along with the Weathervine bus, intercepted the tornadic supercell near Russell, Kansas and observed it exhibit several lowerings, rotating wall clouds, and a mothership meso between along Interstate 70 to Ellsworth. This storm emerged as the lone surviving cell from a complex southwest of Hays and tightened up when it crossed into the better moisture and stronger low level jet east of Russell. Quite a photogenic supercell that suffered from the brisk outflow/cold front on which it formed and cool RFD that undercut at least four serious attempts to drop a tornado. Encountered dozens of chasers on the roadway and all of them drove courteously and responsibly. A fun chase day in Kansas.

I also want to thank Steve Miller for his excellent nowcasting on May 16 in Nebraska.
Today’s target was to play the frontal boundary that was lying across central Kansas. I was not sure exactly where along the boundary storms would be favoured – I liked SW Kansas near to the triple point – but I also liked central Kansas where the moisture looked better in the end I settled for a safe bet and set up at the flying J WiFi point in Salina. Visible Satellite show a Q field developing around great bend so were elected to go there! On route convection fired to out west so we directly there ASAP.

Two updrafts were noted and here we were very sensible and parked up to observe them at range instead of blindly going after the south cell. It then became clear that the north cell was the real deal (the south cell did not even devolve a pecip core!)

We got right up to the meso on the north storm just south of Gorham on I80. Using dirt roads we were able to stay with the meso as it tracked parallel to I80. It did produce a wall cloud that was rotating – but it was struggling – something was wrong.

We stayed with the cell until it suddenly died near to Dorrance on the I80 (some 25 miles). I think that it was undercut!

This was a very satisfying chase for me – OK no tornado – but positioning / intercept was spot on and on the gravel / tarmac roads south of the interstate were devoid of other chasers! And we had a great view to boot!
May 17, 2004 Russell Kansas Supercell with cone-shaped rotating wall cloud

After spending the night in Grand Island, Nebraska, I checked data. My
original plan was to drop south to Hays and possibly further south. Another area of
concern was north central Nebraska. While at the hotel, I ran into Jeff
Piotrosky and we checked additional data. We first targeted an area along a boundary
just south of Concordia.
By 4:15PM, it was obvious our current area was not going to develop
significant storms. A storm was forming to the southwest near Hays, Kansas and others
near Dodge City. We blasted south, then west on I-70. By 6PM, a developing
supercell storm was visible to our west near Russell, Kansas. Although initially
high based, the storm was intensifying and beginning to rotate. Inflow bands
formed and electrical activity increased. We arrived in Russell at 6:12PM at
stopped at a Sonic for a quick meal while watching the storm develop. At 6:24,
Jeff yelled “tornado warningâ€￾ for just west of Russell and a minute later, the
town’s tornado sirens blasted. We moved to an area of better visibility and
easy escape option. Interestingly, my weather radio was delayed in sounding the
warning when compared to Jeff's XM satellite system. To the west, we watched
a developing wall cloud approach the town. It was rather disorganized as it
passed over the town. Clouds swirled overhead. The wall cloud coalesced into a
rapidly rotating cone-shaped lowering just to the east at 6:43PM.



We followed east on a side road. The lowering continued to rotate but just
wouldn’t produce a tornado. It cycled between more and less organization. The
east road became muddy and I turned back and dropped south through Russell
before turning east again on I-70. I soon caught up with the storm. The rotating
wall cloud was slowly moving east, just north of the interstate. It became
more defined but no tornado.


I followed it for several miles. Thanks to Jason Politte for nowcasting.
Groups of chasers lined an access road parallel to the interstate. Many chasers
were standing along a low hill in the open watching the storm as the area was
hit with CG’s. (Cloud to Ground lightning.) Very dangerous. I followed the
storm to Wilson. It cycled with more wall clouds before dying. The show was over.
I drove back to Russell Kansas and met with Jeff Piotrosky. We had dinner at a
steak restaurant and ran into Charles Edwards and his tour group, George
Kourounis, Mark Robinson, David Sills, Sarah Scriver and other chasers. I am now
checking data (high speed internet, yeah!) at a hotel in Russell.

An absolutely amazing storm. No tornado but a very fun chase.

Bill Hark
I spent most of Monday on the south play and didn't get a whole lot out of it. Most storms we jumped on did go SEVERE WARNED, but quickly went outflow dominate and weakened dramatically. We ran into several chasers who were on these storms, and no one witnessed anything to write home about. I ended up dropping into Dodge City for one last attempt at a storm that looked like it was trying to get its act together; good warm inflow and a solid, low base (another problem; very high bases). That, too, quickly went to crap. I grabbed some Taco Bell and returned to I-70 for the night, enjoying a nice, quiet trip back up.
5/17 and 5/18 a.m.

I was on the cell to the SW of Mike Hollingshead, I believe - as it formed over extreme NE Kansas, SW Nebraska. From 40 miles away it appeared whispy, blocky and highly disorganized. As I got closer there was a lowering in the SW quadrant of the storm, which then dissipated and was replaced by another as backbuilding occurred to the Southwest of Hiawatha, Kansas. Will post a couple of photos later ... the second lowering had some scud that attached itself to the base ... but the storm remained highly elevated the entire time I was on it ... in fact, I lost interest before it moved off toward SW Iowa and broke off the chase.

This morning, however - another report - very interesting stuff! ... I woke up to a green sky, which always rocks my world. Looked out and there was a low gust front moving toward the house. Suddenly vapor appeared under the gust front and was sucked up into it! ... I even thought it could be a small tornado, then checked radar to see that the storms were very linear at the time, so I discounted it. Then my brother called after I got to work to tell me that a row of trees were topped, with one larger tree knocked down in the exact spot where I had observed whatever this was. Apparently a small gustnado, from my best guess ... but how cool is it to wake up to THAT out your back window first thing in the morning?! ... Rock out!!
Right Now

Didn't want to set up a new thread for this, but just wanted to share what it looks like out the window from the 24th floor in KC right now - - - this is the back-side of a linear group of storms that moved SE through the area this morning - (didn't take time to clean up the exposure on these - just wanted you to see the sky) -

<img src=http://img47.photobucket.com/albums/v143/mikeperegrine/WEBVermillion0011.jpg>

<img src=http://img47.photobucket.com/albums/v143/mikeperegrine/WEBVermillion0015.jpg>

<img src=http://img47.photobucket.com/albums/v143/mikeperegrine/WEBVermillion0010.jpg>