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!"

June 9, 2005

ChaseTrip Day 5: Setup day for “Day 2″

Filed under: Chase Trip 2005,Storm Chasing — storm300 @ 8:36 am

Jay and I met up with "Papa Cyclone" Jim Leonard and his chase partner at Oasis Inn restaurant in Chamberlain, SD yesterday before departure to North Platte. We took a route through the sand hills of Cherry County, and stumbled across this interesting waterfall along the Snake River southwest of Valentine (see photo below). Jim had to take his partner back to Kearney since his vacation ended, and we all met up once again in North Platte. Jim, Matt, Jay, and I met up with Bobby Prentice, Scott Fitzgerald, and Greg Henneman for a nice dinner along with my friend Christina Hannon of the North Platte office. Afterwards we spent the rest of the evening having a little video party of some of the previous days’ action.

Chasing resumes again today with a target somewhere southeast of here from Oberlin, KS to Holdrege, NE. It looks like a big day with high CAPE and high Shear for nasty supercell storms with giant hail. Traditional early/mid-June supercell setup!


June 8, 2005

ChaseTrip Day 4: South Dakota Supercell/Tornadoes

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Chase Trip 2005,Storm Chasing — storm300 @ 10:08 am

Oh my gosh what a day in South Dakota. Jay, Matt, and I watched a gorgeous supercell thunderstorm develop in the southeastern part of Badlands Nat’l Park. The storm moved slowly northeast and revealed some of the most amazing barrell updraft structure I’ve ever seen. To top it off, the storm produced a 5-6 minute tornado near Potato Creek south of the Badlands. Amazing day with lots of chasers around. Not much time for more detail, but a few photos are posted below. Jay and I are in Chamberlain, SD this morning and plan to head southwest into northeastern Colorado to setup for tomorrow; the beginning of another possible incredible stretch of supercells and tornadoes.


June 7, 2005

ChaseTrip Day 3: Montana Tornadoes!!

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Chase Trip 2005,Storm Chasing — storm300 @ 8:50 am

Matt C, Jay A, and I observed the Ekalaka supercell/tornadoes from inception from the south. Our chase route was the state route #323 from Alzada, which was a beautiful drive watching the atmospheric convection unfold. Ultimately, the storm we had monitored to our due west for the longest time during our drive north… took its vitamins and became an incredibly sculpted supercell updraft with large, menacing wall cloud to the southwest of Ekalaka. We approached Ekalaka and upon arrival noticed the first tornado, a slender trunk with full condensation to the ground for like 15-25 seconds or so. This tornado dissipated, and we continued to the north side of town on hwy #7.

We watched the next two tornadoes from this vantage point. The 2nd was a slender truncated cone about 1/2 to the ground… then as the tornado cyclone continued to stretch, the next tornado was more or less a large truncated cone. We could not discern any debris cloud, but our observations certainly indicated that this was a tornado. Roger Hill saw some brief debris clouds, apparently, as his group observed from farther north on #7. We had no good options east so we blasted north to Baker where we ran into Roger and his tour group and also Adam Houston. It was good to see you guys! The complex became linear with a few embedded mesos/notches until the whole thing became more or less a big bow thing on approach to Bowman, ND. Great structure day with our first Montana tornadoes!

Supercell thunderstorm southwest of Ekalaka, MT

Tornado looking west-northwest from the northside of Ekalaka, MT

Beautiful supercell updraft with truncated cone tornado in the background

Photos at http://www.underthemeso.com/gallery/view_album.php?set_albumName=2005jun06

This morning Jay, Matt, and I are in Spearfish, SD at the same motel and the same room as we were at last night. Looks like we will be heading east and slightly south of here today for more fun in southern SD/far northern NEB?

June 6, 2005

ChaseTrip Day 2: Drive to Dakotas

Filed under: Chase Forecasts/Outlooks,Chase Trip 2005,Storm Chasing — storm300 @ 10:00 am

Jay and I left Salina by mid morning and met up with Matt Crowther in York around noon, then continued our merry way through central and northern Nebraska… arriving in the Black Hills by mid evening. During the drive we noticed the incredibly lush landscape with all the recent rains in Nebraska. The hills are very green and picturesque right now. On the drive along I-90 to Rapid City we observed some convection developing to our west and northwest with one, perhaps small marginal supercell to our northwest in NW SD somewhere. Another small storm went just south of us as we were driving east, which revealed a brilliant rainbow as we got just west of it. I got some decent stills as we were driving along I-90. These were some very picturesque storms which was a pleasant surprise on a non-chase day!

This morning we are in Spearfish with a target northwest of here in far southeastern MT near Ekalaka, perhaps. It looks like a good day for storm structure, I can’t wait! Jay and I will be chasing with Matt C for the next week or so.

Mike U

June 5, 2005

ChaseTrip Day 1: South-Central KS Bust

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Chase Trip 2005,Storm Chasing — storm300 @ 9:25 am

Well, Jay and I have our seemingly annual high-risk bust out of the way. We left Lawrence around noon for a target near Wichita. Things looked great for supercell thunderstorms, the shear profiles looked good and the instability was very good. Storms formed quickly after 3pm or so and I think there were too many storms oriented along the shear vector such that competition for discrete long-lived supercells was fierce… there was just too much storm interaction and anvil seeding. We caught a storm that went up fast near Augusta, but it was moving into the water-logged Flint Hills so we had to abandon the storm. Other storms went up near Winfield and Ark City but they had the same problems. There were a couple of tornadoes reported out of all this activity in eastern KS on the 4th, but the most impressive event, by far, was way up north in Brown County, KS. Jay and I didn’t even really consider that far northeast in our morning forecast. This event was only an hour and a half drive from Lawrence! Storm chaser Mike Peregrine documented a long-lived, beautiful tornado out of this storm which was very classic and high-contrast. Congrats Mike!

Here is a shot of a shear funnel near Arkansas City, KS:

Jay and I are in Salina this morning, the 5th, and will be making the long drive along with Matt Crowther (who we will meet up in Grand Island or so) to the western Dakotas for what looks to be a decent several days of chasing coming up beginning Monday.

Mike U

June 3, 2005

Chase Trip Comenceth Tomorrow!! June 4-16

Filed under: Chase Forecasts/Outlooks,Chase Trip 2005,Storm Chasing — storm300 @ 9:12 am

This morning is June 3rd, the day of my friend David’s wedding here in Johnson County, KS. It is scheduled to be an outdoor wedding in Leawood at 6:30 this evening, however, the weather may promote things to "Plan B"… there is a large MCS engulfing eastern KS as I speak. It may very well clear out here by early afternoon, and all will be well. We shall see.

Then tomorrow, Saturday the 4th, chasing begins. I will leave for Lawrence and meet up with Jay and we will set out in his RAV4. We were originally going to take my new 2003 Jeep Liberty, however it is sitting in Clayton, NM at this time awaiting significant repairs. To make a long story short here, I collided with a large rock on a county road in mesa country somewhere between Springer and Clayton, which caused a lot of mechanical damage with a busted transfer case, front differential is messed up, and a damaged oil pan. I probably won’t see my Jeep, fully fixed, until at least a week and a half as it will be repaired in Clayton at Brad’s Auto Service. My insurance is taking care of me though, since the damages will most certainly exceed 2 or 3 grand.

I’m excited about the chase trip. I think the pattern will certainly support days on end of chaseable supercell thunderstorms across the high plains and northern plains. Saturday’s chase target, initially, looks like somewhere close to home!! Emporia, KS?? We shall see… but I invite all my friend and fam to keep tabs with the goings-on of the trip through my Blog as I will try to keep it updated daily with the day’s accounts and some photography.


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