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!"

October 29, 2006

GR2 Analyst graphics of Oct 26th Minneola, KS area tornadoes

Filed under: General Weather & Forecasting,Oct 26, 2006,Special Cases — Mike U @ 7:56 am

I’ve made a couple images from GR2 Analyst of the storms I chased on the 26th.  The first is at 2135 UTC (4:35 pm CDT) during the time I photographed this tall dusty tornado. (click on the images to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)

Here’s the second at 2143 UTC (4:43 pm CDT) during the time I photographed a beautiful tornado about a mile to my southwest:

(click to enlarge)



October 26, 2006

Southwest Kansas Oc-tube-rfest!!

Filed under: Oct 26, 2006,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 7:16 pm

Jackpot on a gentleman’s chase…  more details in a full chase account soon! 

Dusty tornado near Minneola, KS on October 26, 2006 

October 19, 2006

Now THIS is cool!

Filed under: General Weather & Forecasting — Mike U @ 12:08 pm

We just installed the new GRLevel2 Analyist software at work, which is a 3-D rendering software of 88D radar imagery.  Along with level-II archive data available from NCDC, you can have a lot of fun going back and looking at old supercell events rendered in 3-D.  It’s amazing some of the storm structures you can easily pick out with some of this data.  I’m going to try and recreate some eye-level 3D renditions of level-II radar data  of storms I chased, especially ones with impressive storm structure that I photographed.  Here is a sample below of just what I’m talking about: 

(click image to enlarge)

October 14, 2006

Sandhill Cranes have returned!

Filed under: Photography — Mike U @ 4:25 pm

Sandhill Crane in early morning light at Quivira NWRWell it is that time of year again… avian migration.  It is mid-October now and birds are really on the move.  Not the least of which are the Sandhill Cranes.  I was off work this weekend and decided to take a couple quick trips to Quivira to check out the new scenery of birds.  I went up there Friday afternoon after work and arrived there about 5pm or so.  I did not see or hear a single crane until I got about halfway through the drive along Wildlife Drive (the north part of Quivira NWR at Big Salt Marsh).  I finally heard the familiar call of the Sandhill Crane wayyy in the distance.  You almost always hear this birds before you see them, they are so loud and persistent.  A bunch of them were moving in from the north, apparently after a long day’s worth of flying.  They were landing on the southwest shore of Big Salt Marsh, which is their primary roosting ground at the refuge.  In the meantime, I photographed a couple of Avocets in good light, along with a myriad of gulls flying around.  The sun was getting pretty low, and I wanted to get closer to the cranes, so I drove south a couple miles on the sandy road, NE 90th Ave. which skirts the west edge of the refuge.  This road takes you to the closest approach to where the cranes are roosting, just north of the K-19 Rd, by not even a mile.  Several hundred, if not a thousand or so cranes were flying low back and forth from the roost to the nearest cultivated fields about a mile or so to the west.  This was the perfect spot to photograph them from.  I stayed here until sunset.  I got some decent shots, but I had my camera set up to some poor settings, and combined with the low light, a majority of them didn’t turn out very well.

Sandhill Cranes leaving roost, flying towards the nearby fields at sunrise.The main reason I wanted to make this afternoon trip was to investigate a morning shoot location, since I was going with a friend of mine, Scott from work to photograph.  Scott and I left around 5:30 getting to the refuge around 7am.  At first, the cranes were silent, making it impossible to determine if they had possibly moved overnight… but after awhile, it became pretty obvious where they were as the grew louder and louder.  We positioned ourselves exactly where I had setup last evening…and sure enough, just about every crane that left the roost, flew over the road where they did last night to the fields directly west of the roost.  The light was pretty darn good, with cranes flying silhouetted against the rising sun.  This is certainly a part of Kansas that very, very people will ever experience.  The number of cranes were in the couple thousands flying over the road!  Anyway, after the majority of them left roost to go loaf and feed for the day in the fields, we took a drive along Wildlife Drive, since Scott had never been to the refuge.  Not a whole lot of activity until we approached a very large flock of gulls on the northwest end of Big Salt Marsh.  I had never seen such a large flock of gulls before like this one… When I got home I had to ID this gull since I’ve never photographed this one before.. "Franklin’s Gull" — a migratory bird that breeds up in the northern Dakotas and south-central Canada.  Reading a little bit about Franklin’s, they actually can reach a population of nearly one million birds during peak migration at Great Salt Plains NWR in northern Oklahoma, about 100 miles south of Quivira NWR.  Anyway, a good little weekend short trip to Quivira!  I’ll upload more photos in the next couple weeks after I get all my Yellowstone/Teton photos processed and uploaded.


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