07/02/05 REPORTS: Central/Northern Plains

  • Thread starter Steve Miller TX
  • Start date

Steve Miller TX

NW KS "Mid level funnel-o-rama"

I intercepted the nice isolated supercell in Norton County, KS. What a whacky forecast! The models really struggled with this one and I kept thinking S/C Nebraska as the place to play with most of KS capped off. Just the opposite happened with KS lighting up and NE completely void of convection.

As I stopped in WaKeeney, KS, I saw a nice line of TCu to my NW. The dewpoints were pretty sad compared to what was forecast and with temps soaring to near 100F, it was discouraging to say the least.

I approached Norton, KS (and tagged by a state trooper to donate to the state's general fund) and saw a small cell literally explode before my eyes about 10 miles to the NW of Norton. It quickly looked like it meant business, so I hung around the outskirts of town watching it. The anvil and structure were pretty nice.

Eventually, it matured and went SVR. With it being pretty high based, I knew the place to play would be just behind the main updraft. I'm sure glad I did! The updraft was about as violent as I've seen with such a high-based storm. The very steep lapse rates (9C/km from 700-500mb by my calculations) and instabilities exhibited well.

Soon, the updraft split as the RFD descended..clearly marked by boiling cloud elements. The entire base arched and took on a horseshoe appearence with the northern part of it wrapping up tightly and stretching resulting in pretty vivid rotation. Small funnels started forming around the updraft as it did.

This cycle would repeat itself several times and was quite amazing to watch like some classroom lab demonstration of updraft dynamics. :) Several more elevated funnels would form, but most were pretty brief and small. However, there were a few that were quite prononced.

At one point as the storm entered Phillips county, the updraft really got beefy and the base lowered slightly. It started blasting some very intense RFD bursts as evidenced by large dirt plumes getting kicked up underneath it. At one point, I thought it was a developing tornado as one particular dirt plume got kicked up and stretched/sucked into the updraft. This was quite an amazing site to behold. As I got closer, the RFD winds were at least 60mph rocking my vehicle and making it impossible to leave any tripods unattended.

I kept following it and watching the amazing updraft antics until I was treated to the last part of the show. One of the northern updrafts that split got really stretched and was rotating pretty nicely. It took on the appearance of a drill bit and produced a couple of elevated funnels. This was pretty cool!

Thereafter, it got dark and visibility was waning as well as the updraft structure lost any visual appeal. I headed to Belleville to get ready for Sunday's action.

Here are some pics:

1) What you don't want to see in your rearview mirror :x :

2) Exploding cell NW of Norton:

3) Nice updraft structure and the start of the splitting updraft structure...see any evidence of rotation? :wink:

4) The best mid level funnel of the day. Check out that crazy updraft structure with the RFD slicing in the middle:

5) The big dirt plume kicking up on the outer edge. It wasn't directly under the updraft, but close to the edge:

6) I din't think it was tornado, but I kept having a few brief moments of reconsideration when the dust started getting drawn back into the updraft:

7) Black & Decker cordless drill :wink: This pic is at an angle to capture as much of the structure as possible:

8.) The last good elevated funnel: