05/17/05: REPORTS: Central Plains

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Myself, Tony Laubach, Jon VanDeGrift and the WeatherVine Team caught this non-supercellular tornado southeast of Gothenburg, NE today at 6:15pm CDT. After it weakend we followed the circulation up close for another few miles. It was an exciting payoff for a long drive!

[Broken External Image]:http://www.stormchaserco.com/20050517_T1_1.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://www.stormchaserco.com/20050517_T1_2.jpg

[Broken External Image]:http://www.stormchaserco.com/20050517_T1_3.jpg

>> Click here for video! <<
 
Scott Eubanks and I chased the tail-end charlie supercell from Hill City, Kansas through south of Phillipsburg for over two hours. We targeted this area for the superior chance of discrete cells with supportive directional shear ahead of the dryline, which is what we got. Our storms maintained their relative isolation from initiation until they were caught by the squall line well after sunset.

The southernmost storm fired just north of I-70 and we reached it south of Hill City, greeted a symmetrical updraft base and a quickly developing wall cloud.

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The storm gained intensity as it moved east northeast and swallowed nearby updrafts and small showers to the south. This was a rotating updraft that developed a crisp cut and sweeping striations around the base of the meso. In northeastern Graham County, the storm became more LP-ish and a corkscrew updraft appeared beneath the growing low cloud deck.

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We watched this feature glide over Kirwin Reservoir as a new supercell developed to the west, providing an awesome light show when the setting sun ducked beneath the anvil and spread over the choppy waters.

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We had low expectations for this chase and were thrilled at the presentation and evolution of this supercell. Great day.

More pics and larger images on the chase blog.
 
Fun Nebraska Day
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Just getting into Salina, KS at 2am after fun chase day in Nebraska. Saw one nice 5 minute long landspout just south of Cozad, NE. We then shifted south to view a impressive view of the supercell storm / line segment as the southern end takes on a majestic "Stacked Plates" effect at sunset.

I have more images and timelapse to process and will once I have time. For now off to catch some zzzzzz.

Fun Day!
 
A long and frustrating chase. The previous evening, I chose North Platte as the best place to stay for Tuesday's storms. Upon review of the data in the morning, I had two possible target areas. One was slightly north of North Platte, the other was in central South Dakota. I liked the predicted more backed winds in SD if the cap could be overcome. I chose the South Dakota target, The drive north appeared easy. In the Thedford area, I ran into a whole group of chasers. I continued north to the town of Mission, South Dakota. I was going to continue north on 83 but I saw a line of cars and trucks as far as I could see. There was a sign for road construction, one lane. No problem, I headed east on 18/183. Soon, I encountered another one lane construction zone. After about a 20 minute wait, myself and some other cars were escorted for several miles of rutted, slippery dirt road often behind even slower moving construction equipment. I could have walked faster. I finally made it to the other side, blasted east then north on 183. Storms were beginning to fire in my target area south of Pierre. As I got close to I-90, I hit another construction zone. Again, the wait was about 20 minutes and a long escorted drive on rutted roads. Even more annoying, I was watching my storms "line out" while a nice tornado-warned supercell was developing near where I spent the night. I finally reached I-90 and played with a picturesque line of severe storms. Nothing special but pretty. I am now in Omaha, Nebraska and checking data for Wednesday.

I hate South Dakota! Please avoid those construction zones I mentioned earlier.

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More images

Awful road construction.
http://www.harkphoto.com/temp051705construction.jpg

Another storm image
http://www.harkphoto.com/temp051705storm2.jpg

Bill Hark
http://www.harkphoto.com
 
I intercepted the Cozad-Lexington-Kearney complex when it first went up southwest of Farnham, after targeting the McCook area. I did observe a few "dust walls", from a distance, and perhaps one or two of those could have been either gustnadoes or weak landspout type tornadoes. I was always farther east for the structure given the high bases. God it was windy. I pulled up a metar plot/radar overly on StormLab and both kearney and holdrege had like 15033G43KT. The dust was a real problem when I was at Overton (between Lexington and Kearney). New activity was developing south of the interstate as the sun was getting lower and this proved to be very picturesque as it moved towards the Kearny vicinity. A few pics from the chase below, quickie post-process job for timely documentation purposes...

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/albums/2005may17/DSC3177.jpg width=400>near Johnson Lake, southwest of Lexington

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/albums/2005may17/DSC3227.jpg width=400>southwest side of Kearney looking WNW

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/albums/2005may17/DSC3246.jpg width=400>~5 E Kearney looking NNW

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/albums/2005may17/DSC3252.jpg width=400>~5 E Kearney looking towards Kearney
 
I saw the same vortex to my south that Verne also saw at about 16:04. I also saw this vortex to my North which would have put it just South West of Junction 164 of I80 at 16:06

video does suggest that it was a brief weak tornado from a weak meso. This picture however does not do it justice.

Many thanks to Ryan McGinnis for cleaning up the image :D

[Broken External Image]:http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/stu/northplatte.jpg
 
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