5/10/05 REPORTS: IA/NE

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Dec 8, 2003
Kansas City, Missouri
Full chase report:

Met up with KU student Ben Prusia in Nebraska City to go over data at 4:00 p.m. Cap was initially inhibitive of convection, but wore down as the afternoon went on. Following issuance of MCD, I decided to head north to boundary near OAX to check out the developing CU field. North of Council Bluffs some towers were struggling to break the cap, so I went ahead and followed up to Missouri Valley, IA. Initiation was then confirmed to the east, closer to Denison - so I headed that way, cutting across into Shelby Co. as the storm became SVR warned. Entered Irwin as it became tor-warned, noticing a developing wall cloud to the south of town ... headed that way, where I intercepted what was either ground circulation or very strong RFD winds churning up the Iowa farmland (couldn't tell due to position at the time ... just saw lots of dirt flying into the air, reminiscent of the Hallam storm). Report of tornado was called in by local law enforcement at this time. Storm went on to produce multiple funnels and put on quite the nice show ... sharp CU, strongly backsheared anvil ... beautiful storm all in all. Then as rotation to the west was occluding, a fireman/spotter pointed out more debris cloud to our east being churned up. Hard to see in the waning light, but as it cleared what appeared to be a decent size tornado on the ground. Was brief ... managed to film it with nightshot.

Also - on the western flank of the parent cell, another LPish cell developed that ended up developing a meso with wall cloud. Nice lightning in this cell as it moved toward my position. Nothing like two for the price of one!

Anxious to see more of the Grand Island storm ... another beauty over there ... wow! What a great day. Congrats to all who chased and saw cool stuff today!


EDIT - here are some pics ... sorry for so many ... let me know if there are too many for the forum.

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Southeast view of anvil:
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Western view of backsheared anvil:

Closer to sunset:
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Lightning in western cell: This LPish cell came up on the western flank of the parent cell - several miles to our west ... developed a meso, wall cloud and everything as we watched the nice lightning show.
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Funnel/meso vidcaps:
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Tornado after dark? - A fire dept. storm spotter initially pointed out a debris cloud on the ground in front of this, and as the cloud cleared this came into view ... we certainly felt it was a tornado at the time (and still do).

By the way - special thanks to Ben Prusia and Holly for meeting up and going over data ... very helpful! These KU chasers are definitely getting the hang of this stuff!
Went northwest to Wahoo with my friend Josh Fiedler. Walked around town for a bit, took some pictures, drank a beer at the local bar (they've got some darned tasty German wheat beer!) After a while, took off for Schuyler, sat around, got data. Saw a storm go up to the ENE, took off east a bit for a better look -- and it fell apart rather quickly. Must have been too far north from the moisture. We'd noticed the stuff popping out by Grand Island, but figured there was no way to intercept the cell fast enough before light went away (and we'd have had to have come at it from the northeast -- NOT a good idea with that storm!) We did try to get a bit closer to it to get some lightning shots -- ended up getting too close as the storm built and built and built north, then In the end, chased us home as we got pinned behind another on-and-off supercell east of Schuyler. My pal got some good lightning shots; I got a good shot of the sunset and some bird that has red wings. :lol: By the time we got back to Lincoln (which looked to be a race against time down HWY 79, at first), the Evil Supercell From Hell had finally lined out and dissapated. Thank God for small favors!

Altogether, a fun chase day with a good friend, despite missing the Biggest, Meanest Storm I've Seen Since Hallam.
I have vidcaps from the Grand Island storm posted here:


First seven pics.

Sorry I haven't had time to edit, but, you know...

I didn't see any of the reputed tornadoes, but it was easily the most awesome storm I've ever seen sans-tornadoes...Knox cty NE storm of 8-16-02 used to hold that honor.

I'm off to........somewhere.........tomorrow.

Well, we followed that storm in central NE. We went north to Aurora then to Central City. Followed this storm for a couple hours.... There could have been a few brief tornadoes at the beginning of the storm, but we did not see a tornado. We did see alot of dust being picked up, so I could see how this could have been reported.

Needless to say, this was an amazing supercell. The structure was incredible, truly indcredible. Due to the wifi being touch and go here in the Super8 in York, I will have to post pictures later.
Peggy and I chased the gorgeous, classic supercell near Kimballton Iowa. What a beauty! The LCL's were quite high yet there was amazingly a brief tornado touchdown. A condensation funnel tightened up a couple times and we caught definite rotation of dust on the ground under the funnel at one point (got some video but no stills of the rotation on ground. The photo below is a digital still where the RFD dust can be seen). This structure on this cell was incredible. We also stood in the strongest RFD winds we have ever experienced with corn husks whipping by. What a day! Must rest now for tomorrows chase.

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Good luck out there!
The following is an account of the chase made by Dick McGowan and I of the tornadic storm over Shelby and Audubon counties, Iowa. We got an unintentional late start leaving Lee's Summit near 4:00 pm, but sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. Our general plan was just to drive northward to the vicinity of the warm front, and hope something would fire close enough to track down. We raced up I-29 along the MO/NE border. All along the way, with hardly a cloud in the blue sky and no watch boxes yet issued, it had the feel of a bust in the making. Thinking more in terms of NE than IA, and trying to avoid navigating the suburbs of Omaha around rush hour, we decided to stop in Nebraska City, take a brief look at what the SPC had to say and then head west on Hwy 2. After going about 10 milees in this direction, Dick caught a building cumulus just out of the corner of his eye back to our NE. Difficult to judge the distance at that point, but we knew it must have been to the east of Omaha. Making a U-turn, we treked back E, then went N on US 75, crossed a toll bridge (!) that must have been built in the great depression at Plattsmouth, then quickly got back to I-29 N, raced up to I-80 E, and began trying to hone in on the south side of the cell. At this point, it was quite beautiful to the eye and very tall, but without a visible anvil. It seemed to be just absorbing any and all secondary convection for miles around, staying nice and isolated. The first clue to actual location was a severe t-storm warning for Shelby Co, with the storm centered north of Harlan. The first warning we heard had the cell moving ENE at 45mph, but I believe in hindsight that was some kind of error, because the storm was next reported to be moving at 20mph which seemed more consistent with our visual observation. We decided to turn N on hwy 173, right along the Shelby/Audubon county line. Just outside of Kimballton, we saw a group of chasers setting up to enjoy the show at a crossroads and received news the storm now had a tornado warning. Wall cloud came into our obvious view to the west and slightly north. We decided to cautiously proceed a little further north and then stopped alongside the highway. A law enforcement officer quickly informed us we couldn't park there and told us to go straight ahead to park the next crossroads further north. After filming for just a few minutes, we saw a thin condensation funnel followed by circulating dust immediately below and called in our report. I would say this feature lasted no longer than 1 or 2 minutes. Even so, we felt maybe we were too close to the oncoming wall cloud, and retreated south to join the band of ~10 other chasers at the next crossroads. We were fortunate to meet a meteorologist amongst this group, who was quite helpful in helping us identify some of the features we were seeing. At this location, we observed another funnel cloud briefly develop and then either dissipate or blend in to the view of dark precip core looking NE. As the storm slowly moved east, we decided to follow it. However, the road actually curved northeast and - unknown to us at the time - the storm itself was taking a bit of a right turn. As we approached the town of Hamlin, in very quick order - it became obvious we were underneath the wall cloud and we felt a tremendous buffet of wind. We made an immediate U-turn and then - in the grass just up ahead of us about 300 yards beside the road we saw a very obvious violent circulation of wind. It was probably only 25 or so yards in diameter, but amidst the shock I wasn't measuring. It veered off to the left of the road as we sped south to get out of harm's way. Reaching our next point, we stopped to observe the storm slowly push away to the east and, as darkness was beginning to set in, tried to get some shots of what was left of the rear flank of the storm against the setting sun before returning home.

A few observations about this storm: there were apparantly many spottings. From what I saw, funnels formed several times and the touch down we saw was brief. From our observation this was not one continuous tornado track. The wall cloud was a very nasty, writhing looking thing that seemed to say: "I'm going to take my time around here and do whatever I want; don't overestimate me, but don't underestimate me, either, for I am uncertainty come to life." Although this definitely was not a multiple vortex tornado, it seemed to me like one could easily imagine such with stronger development - thin funnels seemed to form around a central area of circulation. Perhaps if this storm had stronger venting in the mid-levels and/or the cloud base was lower, it may very well have become quite violent.

Thanks again to our nowcaster Derek Shaffer, who got us to the good part of the storm again! Two events in three days now. This is quite a rush!
I drove to Omaha and then up to IA and chased the Audobon Co. storm. I followed it from before Irwin to SW of Guthrie Center. I saw some great rotation and a couple of wall clouds and funnels. I may have seen the ground circulation that occured without a condensation funnel. Initially I had thought it was the RFD kicking up some dust but looks like what I saw on the Omaha news. I need to look at my video closely and see if I may have missed some of the other touchdowns. Either way I had a great time on this chase, saw a beautiful storm and shot some ok pictures. I am ready for round 2 tomorrow.

Here are a couple of the pictures I took today. I will work on posting up more to my website soon and see about video footage.

Some towers beginning to go up along the warm front NW of Omaha, but could not break the cap.

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This is of the Audobon Co. storm from the SW of it, shortly after it broke the cap.

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The anvil.

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Wall cloud with good rotation south of Irwin.

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Wall cloud with continued rotation and rapid upward motion.

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An updraft that was just dancing in the air, rapid rotation and vertical motion with these clouds. I have some good video of this and will post when I can.

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EDIT: just noticed the pics are very pixelated I will work on that tomorrow.
Got a rilly late start due to honeydew stuff in Omaha, as a result I blasted north on I-29 to Mo Valley, getting there I had to make a decision to go to Shelby County and get bridge-screwed if this backbuilt, or go to Blair and get bridge-screwed if Shelby became dominant. I saw some chasers at the Mo Valley Mickey D's sitting watching Shelby go by, so I decided on Nebraska.

The best-looking cell made the mistake of wandering off the WF too far, and got vaporized within the space of a half-hour. I got 10 drops of rain out of a north wind in Herman NE. Time-stamps are an hour off--6 was actually 7.

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To quote Gertrude Stein: "There's no there, there..."

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Inflow to nowhere...

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Blair to Grand Island was too far to do at 8PM, so that was it.
>> Click here for full report <<

Myself, Tony, Amos, Katie Burtis, Patty, and John intercepted the Tornado warned cell coming out of Grand Island, NE. It quickly went "stacked plates" as it grew and moved slowly NE. One of the best mesos we had all seen in a long time. We stayed ahead of it until dark and dove south on 81 towards York, NE when Katie spotted the tornado below in the lightning flashes!

Meso NE of Grand Island, NE
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Tornado NW of York, NE at 9:41pm CDT by Katie Burtis
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>> Click here for full report <<
Chased the big supercell in Central NE yesterday, and that sucker was enormous. I got at least 5 funnels and one tornado on the ground from this thing... Here's just a FEW of the dozens of stills I took (and 3HRS of video)...

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5/10/05 Grand Island Report

Will post a full report later but saw this amazing storm develop from nothing to a full blown supercell right in front of us in a matter of minutes (it seemed). There was explosive development. At one point there were five mesos indicated on Threat Net and we saw 3 gustnadoes, one of which hit our van. The RFD was amazing, causing significant visibility issues with blowing dust everywhere. I quickly posted some photos at www.gustfront.smugmug.com. More later.
I chased with a friend Hannah Schumaker and quickly identified building CU field crossing the I-29 and gave chase. After about forty minutes the storm finally started to show some improvement. With a nice wall cloud and a very nice funnel. While flanking a little extra growth in the hook which had precluded our view. There was a good 20 minutes with unobstructed viewof the UDI and some good footage indeed. After a while and many other tornado warnings for Gutherie county we gave chase to use some night vision. Which quickly became a game of storm chaser leapfrog. Essentially took some lightning shots and got the wall cloud.

Good to see you all out there,

What I witnessed:
1. Tons on large hail-Maximum approximate size-1.75 inches in diameter
2. Intense CG lightning
3. 50+ mph wind gusts
4. Very heavy rain
Where at?: Dallas County, Iowa!
I had a late start getting out of Omaha and things pretty much went down hill from there. I arrived in Fremont, NE a little after five and set up at Sapp Bros truck stop to get data. I was right under the heart of the Cu Field and watched numerous cells try to shoot up, but get squashed by the cap. After reading the MD I decided to move west towards Columbus. Driving west the Cu field started to thin, so I stopped in Schuyler for data. I ended up spending ½ hr trying to find a decent wifi, because my radar wouldn’t download any images ( I had problems in Fremont, but couldn’t figure it out. Duh!). Now I know it was because the NWS servers were screwy. By then the Grand Island monster was raging, and I was reluctant to go further west and run into that thing about dark without and radar updates, so, using satellite images, I targeted a growing cell off to my ne near Scribner. I followed this cell from a far and watched it grow from a bubbling Cu, through merger with another cell, to anvil stage, and then watched it die as it ran into the back of the Shelby County, IA storm. Maybe someday I’ll figure out how to forecast a decent target. Pictures of the event can be seen in my gallery “2005 May 10thâ€￾.

Well thanks to my right foot weighing more than my left.............we made it in time for the shelby/audobon co. IA storms. here are some pics 30830bc6d92181f7a2ced7420ef3dc53.jpg

NOTE: Last pic: If u ever see this guy near Plattsmouth NE , better break your wallet out! $1.25 gets u across the river. This storm had nice rotation from the time we stumbled onto, it was trying, such a high base to work with. Some nice wall cloud photos, dust swirl under wall cloud/ small funnels, that tightened a little. Location was 1 mile n of kimballton (i think) and then 1 mile east of, then closer to audobon. Some nice RFD, and ground circulation can be verified with this storm, we left it at audobon to hightail it back to KC. Special thanks to meteorologist/chasers out of Omaha for the baron's shots. To all that chased kearney area storms...WOW what structure, nice photos Mike H!! Sounds like u guys had fun.
About the same story as everyone else on this storm so I will just show my pictures...

spin up about 5 to 10 mins after tornado warning issued. This was about 4 miles east of Harlen, and ½ mile north of 44.
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Just after that spin up, same location. Rotating wall cloud with some scud.
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And look how fast the RFD cut into this thing. This is 4 minutes later.
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Farther down 44 the storm really started looking mean. Here another meso/RFD kick up lots of dust.
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After dark, I headed south to 80 as the storm was now moving south east. I got slightly ahead of it, hoping to get some good lightning pictures but only managed to get a couple good ones.
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Doug Raflik
[email protected]
I began the day with a target of Ansley, wound up in Central City where I swapped phone calls with Neal Rasmussen about how badly the setup was coming apart. Cu fields were thinning and the sun was hot. About the time we decided that we'd wait only another thirty minutes, our cu returned (a very rare happenstance in 2005), and began to bubble. Within twenty minutes of the first turkey towers, we were chasing.

As I wrote in the TALK thread, I saw a lot of dust on the ground, all caused by RFD. No tornadoes. I know that later in the day, Verne Carlson and his crew filmed a tornado on the southern end of the new development near York. Whatever the case, it was one of the most beautiful sights of the year, a spectacular supercell.




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