High Plains Drifter

disclaimer:  "The meteorological views/forecast thinking expressed are those solely of the author of this blog
and do not necessarily represent those of official National Weather Service forecast products,
therefore read and enjoy at your own risk and edification!"

April 10, 2008

Spring Snowstorm Chase: April 10, 2008 [post 8]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 11:05 am

1.5 to 2 inches of slushy accumulation so far.  Despite how heavy the snow has been falling at times this morning, the accumulation has not been all that impressive, particularly due to the warm ground and indirect insolation from the fairly high early-mid April sun angle.  It’s just tough to accumulate snow rapidly this time of year unless it is really coming down with like 35 dBZ radar echoes.  If it was 5 to 8 degrees colder, we’d probably be at around 4 or 5 inches of snow.  It’s been stuck at 34F degrees the whole time so far, which is really cutting down on the accumulation potential.  Snowfall-liquid ratio is probably 8:1 or so.  0.31" of precipitation has fallen since it has changed over to snow according to the North Platte ASOS… that equates to roughly a 6 or 7 to 1 ratio.  Pretty weak.

Spring Snowstorm Chase: April 10, 2008 [post 7]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 7:50 am

Regional radar image.  Dotted red line represents the rain/snow line.  This is a very impressive radar image.  There is going to be a LOT of snow where I’m at!!:


Spring Snowstorm Chase: April 10, 2008 [post 6]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 7:17 am

Rain has changed to snow in North Platte.  I drove west about 20 miles on I-80 to see where the rain/snow line was at about 715am or so.  It was 36F in North Platte when I left with light rain.  By the time I reached mile marker 160, I was getting large snow flakes, but then it changed back to rain by about marker 158… this was likely due to precipitation intensity.  As I was driving back, the temperature was holding steady about 34F and the rain was very chunky… about 75% melted snow as it was reaching the ground.  As I got back to North Platte, it was almost entirely back to all snow as precipitation rate was fairly intense.  So, as I type, I look out the motel window at heavy wet snow now finally.  Now let’s commence the accumulation! 


Spring Snowstorm Chase: April 10, 2008 [post 5]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 5:29 am

36 degrees in North Platte with "chunky" rain.  The radar loop out of Goodland, KS is very impressive with significant precipitation echoes across all of northwest Kansas.  The temperature continues to slowly drop here in North Platte.  It is snowing and 32F in Ogallala about 50 miles west of here.  I estimate the rain/snow line to be probably 20-30 miles west of North Platte as of 6am.  Below are a couple more model forecast snowfall amounts for this storm, the first is the "Dev" RUC20 model and the second is from the NAM.  Both are suggesting 10-12" here in North Platte.  The NAM shows a significant 20" bullseye across north-central Nebraska:


Spring Snowstorm Chase: April 10, 2008 [post 4]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 12:19 am

10-12" forecast ending 10pm Thursday night from the latest "Dev" RUC20 model!  The RUC is also showing sustained winds in the 25-30kt range.  Given the quantity of snow expected, am thinking that at least near-blizzard conditions will be likely tomorrow afternoon!


April 9, 2008

Spring Snowstorm Chase: April 10, 2008 [post 3]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 11:49 pm

Below are a few images I put together of some of the model forecast meteorological fields:




Below are a few images of official National Weather Service watches/warnings and a point forecast for North Platte (per the gridded forecast output for North Platte, the North Platte NWS office is calling for 6-7" in North Platte):



Spring Blizzard Chase: April 10, 2008 [post 2]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 9:43 pm

Arrival in North Platte.  I’m staying at the Quality Inn along I-80, arriving about 9:30pm or so.  It is currently 41°F here and is already snowing west of here in Sidney.  The motivation for this trip was to experience one last good winter storm, and the timing fits perfectly with my days off work.  I am not due back to work until Saturday morning.  The peak of the storm is expected to be roughly Noon tomorrow (Thursday 10th) through Midnight or so.  A classic upper low bombing out over western Kansas puts this portion of the High Plains in the cross-hairs for 10+ inches of heavy, wet snowfall.  There’s some question about how much this snow will blow around (versus plastering against everything) given how wet it is expected to be, however, north winds will increase to 25-35mph tomorrow afternoon with frequent gusts above 40mph.  This could be quite fun!  

I chose to do this versus severe local storm chasing for the simple reason being I could not have made it down to the Abilene, TX area earlier today immediately following my last Midnight-8am shift.  If I had a chase partner that could leave with me right when I got off work, I could have done it, so I could sleep on the way to the target, but it was not to be.  Also, I had considered giving Thursday a shot for low-topped severe storms near the surface low, but am not overly excited about the prospects of seeing anything worthwhile — that being said, I think there could be an interesting low-topped supercell or two very near the deepening surface low tomorrow perhaps along the KS-NE border.  I really liked the looks of the winter weather aspects of this system, so I thought "what the hell" and decided to head north to a location I thought might get plastered given the track of the 500mb and Surface lows.  So I chose North Platte.  I’ll post a couple weather maps in my next post. 

Spring Blizzard Chase: April 10, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 2:59 pm

I’ve made a very impromptu decision to drive to North Platte, NE to be a part of what looks like an amazing Spring snow storm across much of western Nebraska.  I will arrive in North Platte about 9pm or so, and plan to be there through Friday.  The storm will be at its height tomorrow (Thursday 10th).  Given it’s spring time and temps not being too far below 32F, major highways should be cleared by late Friday, allowing me to get back to Dodge in time for "back to work" Saturday.  This looks too good to pass up, and I love an opportunity to witness heavy snow and wind (and possibly thundersnow!).  I’ll provide fairly frequent updates with snow amounts around North Platte, as I’ll be staying at one of the hotels along I-80. 

January 11, 2008

New Year’s Update

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 9:17 am

I haven’t posted in the blog in awhile, so I thought I’d give my readers a brief update on things.  I recently got back from an awesome trip to Florida (first time there!) to watch our KU football team give an impressive performance at the Orange Bowl.  I went with my longtime friend and college roommate Jonathan Smith.  I uploaded some photos from the festivities.  What a time!

As you can see from that link above, you may notice this new page/format.  I’ve decided to completely re-structure the way I process, organize, and upload my images now — almost exclusively through Adobe Lightroom.  The main reason for this is to save time.  It was just taking too darn long to meticulously process image after image — it was becoming a drain.  That said, I will always take extra care and time to post-process images of importance.  These carefully processed images will ultimately have a resting spot where my Gallery currently resides.  Over the next year or so, image albums on the Gallery will be transferred to "Collections".   http://www.underthemeso.com/collections.  All new shoots from this point forward (actually since about November 2007) will be accessed through "collections".  All the albums will be linked through this repository of mini blog-like posts and also a handy menu system.  Clicking on the thumbnails of each of these small posts will take you to a Flash album.  Also, by going this route, it also allows me to attach EXIF data to the images, which I’ve been wanting to do.  

What about Gallery now?  Gallery will evolve into my portfolio of sorts.  A "best of".  Thus, Gallery will become much smaller in time as a result.  This is a good thing, actually, because I want Gallery to be the showcase for only my best images whether it be stormscapes, landscapes, or wildlife.  This will be my ongoing 2008 project for Underthemeso.com — this sort of restructuring.  Only once I get this pretty much completed to my liking will I finally set up some sort of online store where folks can order prints directly through Gallery.   

I’m going to be very busy through early April as I will be giving talks about Greensburg at a number of conferences/seminars/etc.  Here’s a list of events I’ll be speaking at:

January 29 @ 6pm CST — Wichita/South Central KS AMS — Wichita, KS
February 16-17 — National Storm Chaser Convention — Aurora, CO
February 23 — Douglas County, KS Advanced Spotter Seminar — Lawrence, KS
March 1 – ‘Storms of 2007′ Showing & Fundraising event — Pratt, KS  (date may change, still tentative/in organization)
March 8 — TESSA National Storm Conference — Colleyville, TX
March 12 – Virginia Emergency Management Conference — Hampton, VA 
March 29 — Central Plains Severe Weather Symposium — Lincoln, NE
April 5 — Great Lakes Meteorology Conference — Valparaiso, IN

December 15, 2007

Kansas Snow, Dec 14-15 2007 [post 8]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mike U @ 9:52 am

10.4" officially as measured at the NWS Dodge City.  Well, this makes it two straight seasons now with at least one 10-inch snow event (the last being April 13 this past Spring).  The wind did pick up with gusts to 25 mph, and given the light, powdery nature to the snow, drifting was very common.  There is two-foot drift on the backside (facing south) of my duplex building.  There’s another long 14 to 17 inch drift in between my Jeep and my neighbors cars out front.  Below are a few photos from the event (click on the thumbnail for the full size version): 


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