05/26/06 REPORTS: CO / KS / NE

Feb 22, 2004
Golden, CO
Michael and I were on the Elbert County, CO tornado warned storm from birth to death today, saw many funnels including this long lived thin funnel! Will have video up soon. A fun chase right in our backyard that had the dewpoints not mixed out we would have had a major event I feel.

Edit: I timed the funnel and it lasted 7:20 minutes, also I added the picture below with two funnels at the same time!

>> Click here for video 11 mb <<
>> Click here for full report <<





>> Click here for video 11 mb <<
>> Click here for full report <<
Last evening I was in central IN chasing, this evening I chased the Oakley-Hill City supercell/s in nw KS about the time it went severe. Yesterday when I opted to chase Indiana I told myself if I don't get a tornado this time I'm done for the year, finished. You'd think you keep at them long enough luck will turn around again. I guess I'm sad. I have a hard time with thinking the day I let up will be the day. This kind of grows each day you don't get a tube or see something really amazing. The more in a row the more you are affraid to sit that one day out.

After about a hundred cops I get to the target and storm. Man are they all over this weekend. Also covering the highways are slow people pulling campers(and the chicken drivers behind them that can't pass no matter what). These two don't go well with me as the one forces me to speed. I've been trying to stick to the 5-10 over thing and am really suprised all these miles, and now cops, that I've still not gotten that ticket that has my name on it. Jinx(I'll get it tomorrow).

Ok, the storm. It wasn't too impressive when I was topping off in Hill City. Right after doing so the east side gets a big nasty shelf pushing east. To the west there were 2 areas/bases curling south(the two mesos refered to on the now page I assume). I wanted to chase whatever would become the nastiest but really didn't want to drive east with a target to the nw tomorrow. I also was fearful of the west storm/s and if it'd drop south or not. 9 times out of 10 it seems the lead storm is the one to chase when there are a couple close together like that. Evidently any seeding isn't nearly as much of a negative factor than having good inflow. I thought that east storm would take off east and do what it did, but the west still looked good and I had no desire to drive east.

I drive back west into Hill City(I had briefly went east of town) and then head south. During this time the structure got a lot better to the west. It slowly changed back into one main updraft and meso. Before this the areas pointing south kept getting that independence day type of structure, but very high and not exactly in any insane fashion. Then as it became one storm it had an elevated arc come south and around with a sculpted "lowering". This lasted for a good while as the storm just sat in this one spot. At the time it made me think of that MT supercell some got a couple years ago, Elkhardt or something? It probably wasn't as good as that, but close and similar. During all this I only saw one chaser while I was passing through Hill City. I talked to another chaser and it sounded like many where on the storm, or getting onto it(not sure what they saw of it). Like the last 3 days now it wasn't anything insane, but it was good enouh to keep me happy. One day when I get a chance to be home for a bit I'll get some pictures up of these days.
First day out... and left Portland, OR yesterday at 2PM.....

Started today in Twin Falls, Idaho and booked it to only really have a chance at the cell that was tracking from Wyoming into the Panhandle of Nebraska..... stayed on it from 5PM until dark... since it was the only thing for miles.... and saw a whole lot of outflow dust.... and that was all she wrote.

Now in Rapid City, SD hoping for a little Dakota love tomorrow.....
NE Colorado Bust

I wasn't planning on chasing today but after looking at the morning obs, I decided to chase. What a long drive since I started in Sioux Falls, SD. I headed west, then south toward my original target area of Ogallala, NE. Storms were already forming in Colorado when I arrived in North Platte. I turned west, then south from Sutherland in hopes of intercepting development out of Colorado. I ended up in Holyoke, CO. I watched the Kansas cell that later produced a reported tornado tornado rapidly develop far to my south. From my position and my anticipated chase back north for Saturday, I decided I couldn't reach that Kansas storm. The Colorado storms turned to mush. I decided to start heading north when a new updraft formed about 30 miles south of Julesburg, Colorado. There was some brief inflow features and a nice updraft, then it croaked. I am now in one of the last hotel rooms in Rapid City, SD looking at data for Satyrday's chase.

Bill Hark
Andrew Ashley, Doug Mitchell, Owen Shieh, and I targeted Hill City and were on the storm from pretty much from the start. With a storm like this tornadoes didn't even become a factor on if the chase was successful or not. What a great treat for Owen and Andy on the last day of their chase vacations before Andy heads back to England and Owen heads to Norman to start his internship at the NSSL. Observed numerous gustnadoes and a couple of midlevel funnels but overall the storm was very high based and never really had a chance of putting down any tornadoes. When the storm had its best structure we were very close to the meso and it didn't allow for full structure shots so I will have to stitch together some photos later today.





We were in Hays when the storm fired just to our west. Observed it for several hours. Saw some great examples of Gustnadoes.

A quick photo stitch here.


Could not make the Colorado storm so we chased the Hill City storm from when the severe storm warning was issued. It began to rotate and but never got going besides what looked like a small funnel nothing like the Colorado funnels. It was not bad to just be under a base considering we left Oklahoma City 11:30am. Not a bad effort considering we left Oklahoma City at 11:30am due to some minor hitches.

I find the similar structure of both storms interesting.


Jimmy Deguara
Well, yesterday caught me by surprise! I was back in Kearney, visiting the fam, when Darren Addy called me at around 4PM and asked me if I'd been watching the weather. I hadn't. :) But a quick check of the surface obs and the RUC hinted that if I was willing to drop just a bit south into northwestern Kansas, it might be a fun day. So, I quickly got the car ready (you've never seen me Rain-X so fast!), swung by to pick up Darren, and off we went. We dropped south from Holdrege, and as we did, we could see that the cap had definately broken to our southwest. As we approached the storm that was east of Hill City (at around 6PM, IIRC, though my timeline is fuzzy), the sky was putting on one heck of a mammatus display:

We sat in Norton for a little while watching the storm split. The left split was more or less just sitting there spinning like a top, while the right split, which was quite questionable at first in terms of prospects, soon took off to the east like a jackrabbit and exploded. We took the right split. No, of course, we were behind and just north of the storm by this point, so we ended up having to punch it. But by that point it seemed very clearly outflow dominant and was transitioning to a something more linear. Darren managed to nagivate the pea hail and crazy winds that were lofting enormous amounts of dust to our north. Eventually, we punched through and got east of it, and holy cow, was that an incredible sight. The storm had developed a HUGE roiling shelf cloud followed by a boiling mass of really dark clouds caused by the outflow. All the pictures below are from after we got east of it. We also ran into a bunch of people on the road who were from Canada and Michigan -- we didn't have much time to talk as the storm was closing in at a rapid clip. I never got a chance to give them my name and number like they wanted -- so if anyone knows these guys, just point them here or send them to my blog (backingwinds.blogspot.com). ryan at digicana dot com is my email address.

No tornadoes, but WOW what an incredible looking storm! Seriously, it looked like something out of Independence Day! Most of these shots are taken as we race east past Phillipsburg and Kensington.

(a note on this last picture: in order to get the shot with the cemetery sign readable, I had to horizontally flip this photograph in photoshop. Props to Darren for seein' this photo!)