Storm Chasing 2005

Hey everyone,

Been quite busy getting ready for my move to Nebraska. I start attending UNL next month for graduate school to obtain my Master's Degree in Meteorology. Here's my followup on my storm chasing experience this year...

If you want to view the photos go to:

http://community.webshots.com/user/stormchaser127

I finally have some free time here to give everyone a review of the
storm chasing expedition that I took part in from late June to early July.
I left home from New Philadelphia, OH on Monday, June 20th for the
Akron/Canton Airport and I flew into Omaha's Eppley Airfield. That evening
the customers of Tour 7 of Storm Chasing Adventure Tours met each other
at the orientation in the lobby of the hotel. The next day we took
off.

Tour 7
Tues. June 21 527 miles
Wed. June 22 546 miles
Thurs. June 23 682 miles
Fri. June 24 457 miles
Sat. June 25 619 miles
Total 2831 miles

Tour 7 was mostly a battle of high thermal ridging in the majority of
the Plains that made mid level temperatures very warm and an almost
unbreakable cap for the first two days. On Thursday June 23rd, we found
ourselves in Northeastern North Dakota near the Grand Forks area in the
middle of a Moderate Risk day issued by the Storm Prediction Center.
However, storms on this day ended up being mostly outflow dominant which
pretty much ruined the moist air mass further to south and ended any
possible significant severe weather possibilities for the day for us. On
Friday June 24th, we spent the majority of the day near the
Nebraska/South Dakota border. We ended up near the town of Chadron, NE, where we
witnessed a brief wall cloud before the storm became outflow dominant.
We did however experience a great lighning display from the hotel in
Chadron.

Tour 8
Mon. June 27 511 miles
Tues. June 28 487 miles
Wed. June 29 545 miles
Thurs. June 30 666 miles
Fri. July 1 867 miles
Total 3076 miles

Tour 8 was much more active than Tour 7 as each day there was some type
of activity that we witnessed. Monday June 27th, we ended up in
Valentine, NE for the evening awaiting for severe thunderstorms to develop
after dark due to a predicted 50 kt LLJ to kick in that evening. Around
8 p.m., a supercell thunderstorm developed in western Cherry County
about 30 miles to the west of Valentine. As we approached the storm, a
tornado warning was issued and the on-board Mobile Threat Net radar
showed a 119 mph shear inside the storm. We pulled off a country road about
about 10 miles to the SSW of Valentine and watched the storm. At
around 8:30 p.m., we saw a very rapid development of a funnel cloud and from
my video it looks as if this did indeed touch the ground very briefly
as a weak tornado. The next day, saw us in NW South Dakota for yet
another Moderate Risk day. The setup was perfect as there was abundant
moisture, strong SE winds at 20 knots, and a strong but breakable
CAP. For the first time it seemed all year, there was a well developed
surface low pressure that would be the trigger for the supercells to
develop. Unforunately, less than severe thunderstorms formed off the
Black Hills about 50 miles to our south and this activity choked off the
inflow into our developing storm and therefore ending the tornado
potential for that day. Wednesday June 29th was a frustrating day as
supercells developed in Minnesota roughly 20 miles south of the Twin Cities
but relative storm motions were 40 mph+ making them almost impossible to
chase in that area of the country. We did however witness a wonderful
cloud-to-cloud lightning show in Hutchinson, MN about 25 miles west of
the Twin Cities. Thursday June 30th saw us travelling to Eastern
Kansas and as we travelled down I-35 we stopped at a gas station in Ottawa,
KS. There we decided that the storm was moving too quickly and we
would let it pass. Intense CGs were coming down all over and we then s
tarted getting pelted by some small hail. Within minutes the core of
the storm hit and I yelled at everyone to get in the van, and we moved
to protect the side windows. A few seconds later, golf ball sized hail
started to come down along with some embedded baseball sized stones.
That night we stayed in Emporia, KS and witnessed another great
lightning show from the hotel. Friday July 1st, saw us witness two different
supercells in two different states. The first we chased just over the
KS/CO border about 10 miles west of St. Francis, KS were again we
witnessed a very rapid wall cloud development and a likely tornado touchdown.
Unforunately as the funnel was coming down we hit the infamous Colorado
hills and by the time we reached the top the funnel had lifted.
Several spinup gustnados developed in the strong outflow. Several hours
later on the way back to Omaha we stopped just south of I-80 west of Grand
Island, NE to witness another beautiful supercell this time as s
unset.

Tour 9
Sun. July 3 595 miles
Mon. July 4 538 miles
Tues. July 5 744 miles
Wed. July 6 556 miles
Thurs. July 7 349 miles
Total 2782 miles

Tour 9 began towards the start of the intense ridging that most of the
eastern half of the country has experienced over the last few weeks.
Mid afternoon temperatures in Oklahoma reached 100 degrees most days and
storms were hard to come by. The first night we ended up in Woodward,
OK as we basically positioned ourselves to be overtaken by the
developing MCS to our north and west. Small hail, wind gusts to 60 mph, and
many lightning strikes were the case off an on from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.
that late evening/early morning.

TOTAL MILEAGE: 8,689 miles
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