6/27/05 REPORTS: Northern Plains through Eastern US

Dan Robinson

Embarked on a 6-hour, 170-mile flash flood chase today in southern West Virginia. I went after a cluster of severe storms on the VA/WV border around 3PM. The storms were nearly stationary for about an hour before rapidly pushing east. CG activity was frequent and spectacular but I managed to miss catching any of them. Glen Lyn Road in Mercer County near Athens was transformed into a huge waterfall by the overflowing Laurel Creek. Power was out in a large portion of the county due to wind damage, of which I encountered a great deal of.

The interesting thing about these severe storms is that they occurred in a climatologically unfavorable area for severe weather, the high-elevation spine of the central Appalachian mountains. Looking at storm reports and lightning strike data reveals a distinctive minima in this region, which sees less thunderstorm activity than just about anywhere else in the entire USA east of the Rockies. Wind damage was likely more pronounced due to the fact that trees and structures here are not subjected to severe winds on a regular basis (relatively speaking). It was very strange ending up in this area of the state on a chase.
Shortly after posting my report in TALK, I began chatting via phone with Verne Carlson and Jon Van de Grift. Verne and I's conversation ended with, "lets meet in Hudson". Against all odds, Verne and I met at the Conoco in Hudson, jumped into his truck, and hauled balls into Sterling where we jumped east on US Hwy 6 into Holyoke and shot northeast into Amherst and stopping in Venango, Nebraska where we stopped and watched the core haul east. We turned around and stopped back in Amherst to shoot some incredible lightning and mammatus before returning to Hudson where we split and headed home.

Round trip: 411 miles


The storm just northeast of Hudson, Colorado. We could see this thing from Denver.


Looking north on Hwy 6 at the mammatus as sunset was approaching.


Time exposure of mammatus field overhead after dark from Venango, NE.


One of the better lightning shots from Amherst, Colorado.

What a fun, last-minute trip. I was folding laundry and fired out of here in a swimsuit and white tee shirt. We were pretty naked in terms of equipment as we were getting radar updates via cell phone and updates via NWS Radio. It was worth the trip to see a beautiful supercell and awesome mammatus and lightning. We punched a half mile into Nebraska and laughed at ourselves for our 6pm depature from Denver, the latest I have ever chased.

All-in-all, it was fun and makes for a funny story. Hoping we'd get a late tornado after it dropped 8 in Nebraska. We were hopeful, but weren't expecting much as the storm had been going nuts for several hours. It was cool! Hope someone got the tornadoes! We tried! :D

Witnessed the following in Grundy County Iowa:
1. Small hail
2. Shelf cloud
3. Incredible CG lightning
4. 50 to 60 mph wind gusts
5. Torrential rain

Footage made the KWWL Channel 7 news and made me a quick 50$. :D
Chased the convection just SW of Omaha, NE...

At first a very solid LP updraft went up in Sarpy County... We left my house and went to investigate this around 7 pm... Soon it developed some banded features near the base and took on a corkscrewish appearence... We stopped at the Flying J truck stop and watched some cool looking almost rounded wall cloud type features under the base, and obsevered some of the striations on the back of the updraft... Storms then rapidly intensified in Norhtern Cass and Southern sarpy counties...

We found numerous amounts of hail, some a little bigger than nickle size throught the night in Cass county, almost zero visibility in a strong wet downburst that created some wind damage in Louisville, severe street flooding, and some of the most amazing lighting both CG and CC i have ever witnessed in my life...

Pics and video soon to follow...
Well I watched some TCU develop around 4 pm near mankato..we got on highway 14 and went towards Janesville..We went about 5-10 miles east of Janesville and watched this thing produce very heavy rain and strong winds..We then turned on to a gravel road to see whats going on behind this thing as clouds were being sucked into the sw end of this storm..Well for about 2 minutes this roped out funnel starts dancing around the sky. It was pretty weak. Law enforcement reported a touchdown with this. My pictures suck but oh well lol
Here are the pics-