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!"

November 13, 2008

More Photos of 10 November Johnson, KS tornado

Filed under: Nov 10, 2008,Photography,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 1:31 pm

Here is another photo of the Johnson, KS tornado at its mature stage.  The image was processed using mainly Levels in Adobe Lightroom and further processed using layers in Paint Shop Pro.  I used Neat Image to clean some of the noise up since I shot this at 500 ISO on my Nikon D200.  (My Nikon D3 is what I am currently using only for ultra-wide angle landscape/stormscape images, which is why all the tornado images were shot using the D200 so I could zoom in more).

There are more images!  I have uploaded an album of 22 photos showing the life of the this rare western Kansas November tornado 


November 10, 2008

Chase Acct: November 10, 2008 [brief]

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Nov 10, 2008,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 7:36 pm

Real brief.  I will write a detailed chase account later on.  I chased and photographed my first November tornado earlier this afternoon at around 3:30pm CST.  This tornado was on the ground for ~ 7 to 10 minutes northwest of Johnson, KS about 3 to 4 miles or so.  I photographed the tornado from Hwy 27 just a couple miles north of town.  Below are two photos.  The first is the supercell storm earlier on about 10 miles SSE of Manter, KS as it was entering Stanton County.  The 2nd photo shows the tornado in its mature, large stage.  It briefly took on a wedge shape appearance, as is shown.  The immediate inflow air into this storm was ~ 53 degrees temperature over ~ 47 degree dewpoint.  Incredible!! 



A November chase close to home?!?

I am really intrigued by the meteorological setup across the far southwest Kansas/western OK Panhandle/extreme northeast NM corridor for later this afternoon.  An intense, yet compact (important!) mid level potential vorticity (PV) anomaly will eject northeast out of New Mexico by midday and become centered across the area mentioned in the first sentence.  This setup has some similarities to the 26 October 2006 setup, although probably not as intense.  Nevertheless, there is the possibility for interesting low-topped, intense convection near the nose of the mid level vort max/PV anomaly where low level convergence/frontogenesis will be extremely favored.  A narrow corridor of 45 to 50°F dewpoint air at the surface may extend northwest as far as Guymon, OK or even points west of there, sneaking into an area with ~ -21°C temps at 500mb.  Since this isn’t all that far from Dodge, I will try to chase this setup and see what I can come up with.  Just the thought of possibly seeing a brief "cold core" setup tornado in November is enough for me to get out the door, however small that probability may be.  I look at the short-term RUC forecast and have visions of 26 October 2006 running in my mind.  This would be a low CAPE event, with forecast CAPE on the order of 300 to 500 J/kg in a narrow corridor, but that is enough convective instability given the degree of focused, intense ascent from this small system at the nose of the mid-level PV anomaly.  Below is a 9-hour RUC forecast:


November 7, 2008

UTM Photo of the Month — November 2008

Filed under: Photography,UTM Updates — Mike U @ 7:31 pm

Dramatic cloud-to-ground lightning flash with foreground traffic streak

Thisimage was one of several memorable keepers from a storm chase in Aprilof 2008. I was fortunate to observe and photograph one of the mostprolific "high quality" lightning producing storms I had seen in a longtime. I had the tripod set up between the east and west bound lanes ofa divided highway east of San Angelo and just so happened to capturethe streak of tail lights as a truck was traveling west. Details ofthis image: Nikon D200 body, 16mm focal length (24mm virtual focallength), 15s @ f/8, ISO 125. Photographed April 26, 2008 during a westTexas storm chase.


November 3, 2008

November 2008 update …on life :)

Filed under: Misc,Photography — Mike U @ 7:39 pm

Okay, time to get people caught up in the amazing wonders that is the life of Mike Umscheid and Underthemeso.com.

1.  Career move.  For those who didn’t already know, I was selected Lead Forecaster here at Dodge City, which is a pretty good promotion (responsibility wise and, of course, $$ wise).  What this basically means is that I will be here in Dodge City for the foreseeable future.  The ultimate goal of mine is to become a Science and Operations Officer at some point, but this is a 5-10 year time frame goal.

2.  SLS Conference and Greensburg.  I recently attended my first AMS Severe Local Storms Conference in Savannah, GA.  This was an excellent conference with an opportunity to learn quite a bit from the research community.  There is a lot of numerical modeling/simulation studies going on right now.  Wow.  Everything from simulation of observed supercells on 1 km grids to simulating corner flow regions of tornadoes on 10 to 50 m grids to very interesting simulations of tornado "debris swirl" patterns.  With increased computing technology, simulations of supercells and tornadoes will continue to become more  complex with better physics, microphysical processes, etc.  

I had been working feverishly on a conference paper with Les Lemon over the past couple of months on the "extremes" of the Greensburg storm.  This paper is online on the AMS conference website. It’s a 19-page paper that is really not all that far off from being ready for peer-reviewed publication submission.  Here is the URL… http://ams.confex.com/ams/pdfpapers/141811.pdf

3.  Photography.  Several Sundays back (the beginning of October), I gave a presentation on storm chasing and photography to the Consortium of College and University Media Centers annual conference which just so happened to be held in Lawrence, KS this year.  I gave about an hour presentation/slide show to the group.  I was surprised by the number of folks in the audience who had actually seen a tornado — more than half the room rose their hands.  At any rate, it was great to share my photography with a bunch of people who had probably never seen these kinds of storms even in picture before.  Later on that week, I gave a shorter version of this presentation at the Central Kansas Photography Club in Great Bend.  I met some more great people here, and I want to thank Jim Glynn for sharing with me all his incredible wildlife images as well as buying me dinner and the invitation to speak.  

4.  Speaking of Photography…  I haven’t done a whole lot of "field work" recently.  I did do a sunrise/early morning shoot at Big Basin the morning of October 24.  Interspersed in this post are a couple of images from that shoot.  The herd of bison that roam Big Basin Preserve offered some close-up shots as they straddled the rocky road on my way out.   The late afternoon/evening of Sat, Nov. 1 I went out to Quivira, but had disappointing results.  Crane numbers are not all that high (yet), and no Whoopers were to be found, despite there being sightings apparently earlier in the week prompting the signs throughout the refuge and notice on the QNWR website.  I don’t even have any images worth uploading I had such poor luck.  I wasn’t really in the "spirit" of landscape photography that evening either given the absence of clouds to help accentuate landscapes.  Perhaps this upcoming Saturday, Sunday, or Monday morning I’ll head out there for a morning shoot.  




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