6/21/06 REPORTS: CO / KS / NE / OK / TX

Dec 9, 2003
[Note that I started a 2nd REPORTS thread for 6/21 given the geographical and meteorological seperation between the events in the Great Lakes and the central Plains today.]

Dan Dawson, Robin Tanamachi, and I headed northwest from OUN today... We were planning on heading to Woodward to assess whether we should fully commit to another >80 miles northwest. All of us were on the fence about supercell and tornado chances initially, but we opted to continue to head northward into Kansas given that mesoanalyis was indicating 20-30kt 500mb flow just north of the OK/KS border. Surface obs indicated that the dewpoint depressions were again very high, leading to high LCLs and a tendency for storms to become outflow dominant. Marginal deeplayer shear was also progged to lead to problems sustaining any supercells. As it turned out, the 00z DDC sounding actually showed 45kts deep-layer shear, which was a good 10-20kts higher than the 12z NAM had forecast, and would be enough to consider that "Supercell-quality".

Regardless, we made it past Ashland in southern KS, and watched storms develop to our west. Noting very, very little eastward movement, we meandered westward to get a closer view. There was a storm near Meade at the time, but it's base looked less impressive with time. In fact, it looked as though the rain-free base was on the north side of the storm, which intermittent cloud features hanging down that didn't look entirely outflowish (shelf cloud), and not entirely inflowish (wallcloud). At any rate, it was apparent that the storms were a mess (no surprise given marginal shear and relatively low boundary layer RH from 30-40F dewpoint depressions), so we dropped south in hopes of finding any "tail-end charlie". After we crossed into OK, a decent base appeared to our northwest, with pretty good updraft-downdraft seperation. The base dropped a bit, and there were a couple of minor wallclouds that developed over the next 10-20 minutes -- nothing overly impressive, but better than nothing. We tinkered around in eastern Beaver county before calling the chase off due to pessimism that the situation would improve any. There was quite a bit of CG activity, however.

Overall, this chase continues to carry on the 2006 legacy of high LCLs and relatively poor flow aloft, which lead to outflow-dominant multicells for the most part. There were embedded storms with brief supercell structures (I surmise that was the case for the baseball-sized hail reported north of Minneola around 7pm), but nothing too persistent. All that said, I hope I see some good pics from the supercells just west of the CO/KS border!
Thanks Matt Jacobs for the nowcasting.

I was on the tornado warned storm west of Clay Center, KS. I got on it a little bit too late but saw probably the best mammatus display that I have ever seen while approaching the storm. After getting a little closer I saw a couple of decent wall clouds. The best one was when I was still probably 10 miles from where I wanted to be. After getting in good position on the storm it it started to gust out after about 5 minutes. Oh well, it was a very fun spontaneous chase. The worst part of the chase was that my camera is currently getting fixed so I had to do all video. I will get some vid grabs up sometime soon but they won't do justice.

Kanani and I chose to play SW Kansas today east of the surface low in western Oklahoma panhandle and close to the front dropping south. After stopping in Liberal to grab some data we debated and then headed west towards a cell coming out of Colorado towards Boise City. We were worried about leaving our orginal area sionce it was just east of the triple point and dryline bulge but this storm was looking good and showing rotation. The base was well developed and the updraft was layered like a cake. It died a horrid death minutes after we got on it (figures) and a cell well east of us became tornado warned for a reported tornado near Spearman. There was a number of cells exploding back to our east close to our origianl location of Liberal so we decided to bust back east and catch what we could since we left our original target area like noobs. We took hwy 15 out of Stratford and were moving east when Kanani asked me what I consider the question and answer of the year for us. She was looking SE and saw a large rainshaft but also saw something else. She asked if that was a tornado. Part of the vehicles frame was blocking my view and all I saw was rain so I said its just a rain shaft. She then asked "then why is it moving in a different direction and has a debris cloud??". I almost crashed I hit the brakes so hard. jumped out and low and behold ther was a nice tube tornado about 6-8 miles SE of us. By the map I would say it was very close to Sunray and from what the NWS guy told me when I called it in the Sherriff had just reported it also close to Sunray. We shot video of this tornado for almost 10 minutes before we had to move futher east to keep up. It finally dissappated about 5 minutes later. It was a nice tube but obviously weak and somewhat landspout looking and didnt move alot but it had come from a definite wallcloud with rotation. It also had a sister tornado with it for about 2 minutes. As we continued to move east on hwy 15 we came very close to the updraft and had a number of small spinups as we tried to get ahead of the roation. We stopped once we were ahead about 8 miles west of Gruver when another small landspout spun up a few hundred yards west of us in the field. It only lasted a few minutes but had good velocity and tubed most the way up to the base. You could see right through the entire thing. The sirens were going off in Gruver and people were running all over the place for cover but there wasnt much danger from these small tornados. Kanani and I both agreed theses were the kind we would all run out into with winds of maybe 60-70mph.

Considering this year I was more than happy with the 3 we caught today. It actually surprised me that the action was this far south and not in west central Kansas like I had figured in the morning. There seemed to be some sort of boundary that most of these storms fired on and rode all evening including the Beaver county strom that moved SW along this boundary. I heard from a few people that there were a number of landspouts reported off the Beaver Co. storm but I havent sen any reports so far.

I wil try and get some video captures since we didnt have much time for still pics but I have a few. They are somewhat blurry and low contrast but better than nothing until i can get video up.

Well, today was my first "chase", more of a backyard chase, didn't even go over 20 miles, and my only guide was a map, knowledge of Ft. Riley's roads, ascanner, and my dad at home updating me every once in awhile about how the radar looked and where the storm was headed. Good experience though. The storm started to show up and darken around 7 at the earliest (this might be a bit sketchy, other than weather warnings, I wasn't paying attention to time). I was sitting in Ogden, KS waiting to see what this was gonna do, with the entire north western sky dark and some wind clouds appearing, while contemplating the tornado warning and possibly heading up to Marysville to intercept the warned storm.

However, I was told by my dad that the part of the storm that was supposedly producing the tornado was gonna swing south and hit Ft. Riley (home), he then said I should go to the local outdoor chappel that rests on a high hill to see this thing. After awhile of setting there, I could tell I wasn't gonna see much, and from what my dad said, it was still a small ways off, but it was doing weird things in terms of directions, while also merging with another cell. Thus, I decided to find another vantage point. I somehow found a good one (after doing a wrong turn, and ending up on one our glorious one way roads that circles around post) that was back in the less populated areas of post, with a good view, incidentially, it was also home to a small MP station. I pulled up, and run into a couple who was also watching the storm, and who had radar on his cell, that proved somewhat useful, but not much. Another MP also joined us, and along with the other two MPs at this station, we all watched the storm was it came closer. According to the couple, just before I arrived a funnel had started to form, but died. There were some interesting cloud formations, including one that resembled a wall cloud, but nothing that was rotating, oh well. As the other part of the storm (with all the precipitation) came around, the storm proved to be extremely electrical. While I did take a couple pictures before , I didn't feel like setting my tripod up, or getting struck, so I just watched the constant lighting.. After it got close enough that lighting was routinely going off over me, I decided to leave. Went into Junction City was it started to rain, ont he way I stopped to get a couple pictures, but nothing incredible.

Not much for a first chase, on my own, but it was fun. The wind clouds before the storm came were awesome. Hopefully I'll get another chance to chase, but if not, oh well, with me going to college in south east KS, I'm sure I'll see more than my fair share of storms this upcoming spring.

And sorry for no pictures, but my camera, aside from my crappy phone one, is a 35mm film, so I have to wait to get them developed. Oh, and my apolgies for my crappy terminology, I can't seem to recall the part of the storm that usually produces the tornado (rain free base?).. I couldn't really see a mesocyclone, but that may have been my point of view.
I messed around east of Beatrice for a bit till the east convection turned a bit hopeless. Then I decided to head south and hope the stuff near Concordia organized. Well GPS really pissed me off as I tried to get back to 77 on gravel roads. None of them were finishing through like they showed on the GPS. I finally dig out my delorme map and find a paved road that would get the job done. So delay #1. As I get near Marysville KS on 77 I could see the train arms coming down. I could have made it around them well before the train but opted to just wait....and wait I did. Delay #2. I get through there and encounter delay #3. I'm still cussing about delay #3. As I come to highway 36 I see a cop going east down the hill and slowing down to turn onto 77 where I am(I'm facing south, he's turning north). So seeing him right there in front of me I make sure to stop at the sign. I come to a complete stop, though briefly(OBVIOUSLY!!!!$#@%!#@%$!@$#@), and make the turn. Then the prick whips around and turns his lights on. I thought perhaps the car that went by going west before me was speeding. I pulled over and could not believe he was pulling me over. He asks for my stuff and I'm like, what are you stoping me for. He says I rolled through the stop sign. I said back, "ummmmmm no." I made a point of coming to a complete stop because he was right there infront of me. It was honestly very far from being a roll through. I didn't stop for 3 full seconds though either. I figured the car coming to a stop would be enough, espeically when I'm not even crossing this intersection. $120 ticket later and I'm still rather pissed off. What a POS. I'm seriously contemplating disputing it, if for nothing else than to piss him off. I was cussing up a big storm once I left there(F5 level for sure). Then I forgot about it while chasing. Then as I got closer to home tonight I started thinking about it again and am really pissed. What a prick. Rolled through it my a$$. I know how to roll through a stop sign, that was not rolling through! That was stopping because a cop is 30 feet away and in plain sight. *bangs head on desk* I finally make it 3 years with no tickets and now get 2 retarded ones in a months time(other was no seatbelt!!!.....only reason I got stopped on that one). I freaking hate this year. Actually I hate something more than the 2006 chase year. I hate these anal freaking cops there are out there. Piece of $h_t. $120 and insurance points/money for making my stop not long enough in a wide open 4 lane intersection while making a turn not even across traffic...with zero cars in sight heading west. Hell his turn across traffic with no stop while looking at me was more dangerous than my quick full stop to turn right.

That is what I remember most about the chase, lol...officer (insert any number of words I called him earlier and now). After pos let me go, the Concordia storm was being warmed for reported 3 inch hail. I was hoping the storm would save a few of those for someone's head. I got on that storm(after several stop sign roll throughs) sw of Washington KS somewhere. It would wind up having the better storm structure of the two I would be on. It lost some of that structure and looked like it was having issues being rained on so much, so I left it and head south towards Clay Center. Not long into this that southern storm was tornado warned. The structure on it was never very good. It had a high base and was rather unorganized. After chatting with some cattle(who seemed much more intelligent than officer pos) I opted to head north into the storm with hopes to get through it and see if the sky behind had anything to offer. A few times south of Clay Center I had to stop on the highway as you couldn't see a thing. I'd guess winds of 60mph with a few quarter sized hail stones thrown in. I was actually hoping for more hail so that maybe I could see the highway. The sky behind the storms didn't dissapoint, as it often doesn't. There were some nice mammatus covering most of the sky. I shot a few stills during the twilight and then headed for home, making sure to roll through every sign I could find.

Today my chase tour Guests and I watched in awe as left and right moving tornado warned supercells joined forces N of Burlington, CO in the most impressive display of this type I can recall.

My target for today was Goodland . We checked into our Motel early in the afternoon ignoring the early severe storms in SE CO. I decided to take a shot at storms firing very late in the afternoon near my target.
By late afternoon we drove W to Burlington and watched the first towers go up.

We were just E of the first severe warned cell SW of Burlington. The storm split and I went with the left mover since the right split was very close to the mess of storms in SE CO.

I also noted the now nearly severe storm in Yuma County. This storm was more isolated than the right mover I let go. The storm soon split and started moving S towards our left mover. We stayed just N of the left mover and shot amazing pics and video of this event.

The first pic below shows a ---POSSIBLE---weak tornado from the left moving tornado warned supercell. After I took this still I zoomed in and shot video . I have been unable to watch the vid yet on a TV screen . From watching the vid on my camcorder LCD it does appear there is sustained slow rotation at cloud base and with the dust on the ground. I am looking W a few miles SSW of Burlington.

In the next pic you can see the left mover in the foreground and the right mover to the WNW as they collide.

3rd pic below is after the 2 tornado warned cells have merged .

After the cells merged we were able to get back S of the still tornado warned storm as show in pic # 4

In the last pic the tornado warned storm had started to weaken after sunset






Dean Cosgrove
This turned out to be an excellent chase to close out the chase season. Supercells near Agenda, and Clay Center, KS produced large hail and great structure before becoming outflow dominant.






After a quick dinner in Junction City, KS I was treated to an excellent lightning show.

See addition pictures here.

Scott Currens