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06/10/04 REPORTS: Central Plains

Larry J. Kosch

It's a bit early in the evening as storm action continues to fire up across the Central Plains. Post your first-hand chase reports here. 8) LJK.
We left at 7 o'clock this morning to get to our target area early. We got to north Platte. We decided to go down toward McCook to play the dryline that was progged to come out of colorado. that was a mistake. storms tried to get going but never did. We later intercepted a large supercell that quickly went HP and then outflow dominant, ejecting 60 degree air. This was near north platte. We blasted south and caught a supercell with a LARGE non rotating funnel cloud/wall cloud. Silver Lining Tours was on this pretty late evening supercell. We also thought we saw a rain wrapped tornado. Wish we would have stayed in North Platte and caught the storm that went crazy in colorado. NEVER LEAVE THE TARGET AREA. Maybe tommorow or saturday will be a better day. I give today a 6/10. got some pretty structure pics and video, and large funnel cloud.
Originally posted by Chris Hayes
We blasted south and caught a supercell with a LARGE non rotating funnel cloud/wall cloud.

Forgive me, but how do you have a non-rotating funnel cloud? Non rotating wall cloud yes....but a non rotating funnel cloud??? :?:
from what I could tell there was very little rotation to it. It was right at the updraft/downdraft intersection. It was attatched to the cloud base, was funnel shaped. I sent Jeff Miller a pic of it.
Sigh. Talked too a few chasers too long outside the North Platte library while leaving to intercept the ne CO storm. I'm very mad at myself, but enjoyed the talk. Caught the end of some tornado west of Brule? Think that is the town name...west of Ogalla on 30 a ways. Storm looked rather crappy as it came into view. Sun finally got behind the anvil and I could make out contrast to the nw...so I slammed on the breaks and pulled onto a gravel road. It went from little to NO detail other then an anvil and weak short towering cu on the gust front south of it, to, "Oh my god there is a tornado apparently roping out in there". I mean like 30 seconds. Like, what's this, what's this, while gaining sturcture, oh tornado in there! I was fumbling so hard trying to find my cams and get some proof...lol. Got proof anyway of a cool white rope out in the rain. For some reason it did nothing for me though. Probably because it came so fast and went so fast. Like, building excitement....gone. Will do the whole pics thing later. The rainbow/s/sky/sunset se of North Platte made the trip worth it. Met and talked with a ton of chasers, which is a rarity for me and enjoyed that. All well behaved and never really a crowding issue..not even close actually. That was kind of odd. I may never chase north of I-80 out there again. Almost seems pointless to try and chase a storm with those road options. Then again maybe it was the ne movements with e-w/s-n roads spaced every 100 miles and the fact this thing north of the lake wanted to tease you with a view of what looked like soon to be tornadogenisis before slamming rain and hail around it as it slipped to your east......as you are in the middle of the trek to the next option other then n-s. Was no fun at that point. Almost got stuck trying to turn around. Had I not kept the car rolling back onto the highway it would of been stuck. I guess if I chose to not chase out there I would not of seen what I did get to see. It's a real pain in the butt(hint hint at newer chasers...stay home...just kidding go have "fun"). As you can tell by my "sentence structure" I need to go to sleep. Nothing like driving the entire length of NE and then back while doing loopty dooos in the process, in one 'day'. ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ


Oh, yes, big thanks to Randy Chamberlain and Steve Peterson for nowcasting. Thanks to the librarians who's day we all made a bit more busy. Thanks to 2 cops for apparently having a good day. Thanks to the gas stations that were 'only' $1.86. That one in Gothenburg....you can go to hell...
Just walked back in the door here in Denver and wanted to post a quickie..

First of all, I'll back up Mike H's claim of the 30 second tornado drop on the dirt road. That was the only tornado of the day..

After that storm, Todd S. and myself made a round around the lake and decided against pursuing that storm any further. We shot back into Ogallala for gas/data and a visual check of a new storm forming. Radar began to show a hook trying to go, so we opted to jump on Hwy 30 eastward to catch up to this now tornado warned storm. It did nothing; we jumped back east on I-80, catching a new tornado warned storm; it, too, did nothing. Continuing east on I-80, I merged in behind Tim Samaras and Carl Young and we punched through the line of storms which sent small dents in the side of my car from horizontally driven hailstones :shock: . We got off at Exit 211 (will get a name later) and met with Roger Hill and his group among many others while observing what Tim dubbed a scud bomb. The oddest series of cloud dancing above us as we jotted a hair east back to NE-21 and on I-80. With darkness falling, I split off in Lexington, turning around and heading for home..

Mucho thanks to many people; Todd S. for a fun chase partner, the North Platte library for putting up with a crowd of us. To many others whose names are in my brain which is now snoozing.. so much for a quickie.. I'm going to bed.. it's 1:40am.. but that's the jist of things..

Goodnight from Denver where no hail fell today! :D
Overall a decent day...

Wanted to target just over the KS/NE border to the north, but due to time (we left OUN about 930a), we only made it to Norton. By the time we got there, we set up shop for a bit as it appeared that TCU were trying to break the cap along the dryline. A storm busted to the south of us, in Trego co., and we headed for it. However, by the time we got close, it looked like garbage, the svr warning was cancelled for it, and radar showed a general multicell structure. Seeing new development to our northwest, we turned around and headed northward. However, after passing through Norton again, the storm in Norton co. heading north went severe. We stopped to watch it for a few, and it appeared to be a nicely-structured anticyclonic supercell for a while. By now, the convection to our northwest looked less impressive, while the storm to the south was cycling up again. So, we headed south again and into far eastern Graham county near the Graham / Rooks / Phillips co interface, where we saw a very nice (structure-wise) LPish storm. The storm was tornado warned, but it didn't appear that it had any chance of dropping a tornado, as it was high-based. We followed this storm northeast as it stayed looking like LP, although it had incredible structure across northern Rooks co., southern Philips co, and into Smith co...

By the time we got south of Phillipsburg (I think that's the town), we saw a brief tornado / gustnado to our east. This started the gustnado fest... In total, I bet we saw 25-30 gustnadoes ... They were absolutely everywhere! In fact, seeing how they were occurring along the RFD gust front under the flanking line (well, the other half of them were occurring behind of the RFD gust front under what appeared to be a second flanking line leading northeastward into the meso), we were not concerned of real high winds, as they were weak, small, generally short-lived (most around a minute), and moved in every which direction. So, we decided to play in them for a while (we drove through 3 of them and ran through 5-6 maybe..LOL it was blast)... By this time, the sun was starting to set, and the base was lowering considerably. We did notice a very nice looking storm to our northwest (it had the largest overshooting top I've ever seen)...

At any rate, as darkness was increasing, we noticed the storm's first real attempt at a significant lowering occurring to our immediate northeast to the northwest of Smith Center. We repositioned and saw the wallcloud become better organized. Suddenly, a large tube of dust kicked up on the east side of the wall cloud, extending all the way to cloud base. The jury is still out on our side as to whether it was just a landspout / large spinup along the RFD or whether it was a legit tornado... Whatever the case, this meso occluded after about 10 mins of some decent rotation. However, a nice lowering rapidly developed to our northeast... And lowered... and spun.. and lowered.. and BAM! A small funnel develops on the side of it, and slowly meanders its way to the ground. Having stayed with this thing since 6p (it was now ~10p) and thinking that it wasn't going to produce given its highly-LP appearance, we saw our first (or second or third depending upon whether two tube rotations the extended more than half way to cloud base (from the ground) will be classified as a tornado) tornado of the day... The tornado seemed to rotate about the wallcloud, as it appeared to stay on its periphery. Full condensation to the ground, vivid lightning behind it made it a nice tornado to view. The tornado stayed in the stovepipe/elephant trunk stage for about 10-15 minutes, before beginning to rope out... We estimate this was near Red Cloud, NE... A large lowering persisted with this cloud, although we had to call off the chase do to other committments (e.g. I have class in about an hour)... The supercell continued to show incredible structure for the entire time was saw it... Awesome...

Well, despite driving 1040 miles in 20 hours, it was an excellent chase. While the tornado decided to wait until after dark, the structure was amazing... Additionally, being able to play in the gustnadoes was enjoyable too... Much of the rotation was probably <45mph and smaller than 20 feet in diameter, though there were a few larger ones. This was all behind the RFD gust front, and largely under the clear skies to the southwest of the RFD clear slot. Hey, and a nice tornado to boot. It did look as if the tornado remained in rural areas, thus the reason I have called it a "nice" tornado....
Sure guys you were in the neighborhood, and didn't call me, I work out of No Platte I heard traffic on .550 and the 146.700 rptr here, btw that TIV in Gothenburg was cool. later Ryan
I arrived late at the tornadic storm in Keith county Nebraska and made the decision to go to the North side of Lake McConaughy and wait on the storm rather than trying to see the reported tornado on the South side of the lake North of Big Springs. As the wall cloud was coming over land on the North side of the lake a funnel began to take shape. Northwest of Lemoyne the funnel came very close to touching down but I never saw any rotation at the ground. Read report of a tornado NE of Lemoyne but I didn't see one. I followed the storm to the NW saw a couple more funnels and got lost for about one and a half hours on some road that went through cattle ranches, the road was shown as paved in my DeLORME atlas, but in reality it was hands down the worst road I have ever been on. I don't think I have ever been as happy to see a paved road as I was yesterday. I stopped and got a good look at the TIV in Flats, at least I think that was the town.
On the way back to Wichita I saw a potential nominee for the Darwin Awards. Somebody had tied a mattress to the hood of their bronco with the box spring on top of the mattress. He must have known it was coming undone and hit the brakes to hard, because when I drove by the mattress was on the hood of the car and he had run over his own box spring(or whatever it is called). It was one of the funnier things I have seen in a while.
Big Springs, NE Tornado
June 10, 2004
An excellent day across southwest Nebraska took place along a dryline punch by mid-afternoon. Marcie Martin and I observed three tornadoes in Deuel and Keith counties. The most significant tornado lasted for nearly twenty minutes northwest of Big Springs, NE. This tornado first started as a large funnel with dust circulating below. As the storm evolved, the tornado became quite strong as numerous vortices whipped about the base of the tornado. Eventually, the tornado roped out within 75 yards of our location, resulting in power flashes and a very dramatic sight. We observed a brief dust whirl tornado under a new meso shortly after the first tornado. The last tornado observed occurred northeast of Lemoyne, NE as a long condensed tornado stretched down for a few minutes. An excellent chase across southwest Nebraska.

Photos of the event can be found here:

I'll have additional photos on my site from this chase and others in the next few weeks.

Scott Blair
Jay Antle and I intercepted the Big Springs, NE 37-minute tornado event (I consider this to be one single tornado event that had moments of only weakly tornadic circulation at the ground).

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/chase2004/jun10/Dscn8034.jpg width=300 height=225>
Time ~2:51pm MDT

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/chase2004/jun10/Dscn8041.jpg width=300 height=225>
Time ~2:58pm MDT

<img src=http://www.underthemeso.com/chase2004/jun10/Dscn8044.jpg width=300 height=225>
Time ~3:01pm MDT

The tornado then became a large stovepipe shaped tornado, eventually evolving into a big cone a few minutes later before finally roping out in that serpentine fashion around 3:22pm MDT.

More images and a brief account on my 2004 chase trip log page at http://www.underthemeso.com/chase2004/triplog.html

Mike U