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 29, 2009

UTM Photo of the Month — July 2009

Filed under: Photography,UTM Updates — Mike U @ 2:11 pm

Rare dual dust jets amidst massive inflow to supercell thunderstorm

It is not uncommon to observe a dust inflow jet feeding into a mature supercell thunderstorm on the High Plains. It is rare, however, to see two mirror-image dust jets feeding into the same updraft as shown here. The surface inflow into this storm was immense, with 30 to 50 mph east winds blowing into the storm, which is looking west in this image. Details of this image: (Hand-held) Nikon D3 body, 14mm focal length, 1/100s @ f/2.8, ISO 800. Taken June 13, 2009 at 8:42pm CDT near Hugoton, Kansas

July 2009

Underthemeso.com "Photo of the Month" -- July 2009

June 24, 2009

Chase Trip 2009 Concludes

Filed under: Chase Trip 2009,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 9:57 pm

It was another successful chase trip, but not without some significant disappointments.  The highlight storm of the trip was the Baca County, CO – Morton County, KS Supercell of June 13th.  This storm landed me some of my best images of the year, including a “shot of the year” candidate — a rare image of mirror inflow dust jets feeding into a massive supercell thunderstorm.  Not to mention, this storm yielded me my only tornado images of this vacation — a nice, tall, dusty tornado south of Pritchett, Colorado.  Another memorable moment of the trip was the mammatus over Pratt, KS on June 15th.  This was probably the most amazing mammatus I have ever seen.  Daytime lightning photography was also a success on two occassions in northeastern Colorado — June 14th north of Limon and June 21st near Iliff in the northeast corner of Colorado.  Of course, there were the low points — including the most low-point chase day in my 12 years of chasing storms — the “Bust for the Ages” on June 17th.  Other busts on this trip included the only true “blue sky bust” of the trip which was in Iowa (of course) on June 18th.  Another rather painful busts was June 16th, where we chased weak storms near Sidney, Nebraska while a stationary, classic supercell was parked just southeast of Wichita while we were eating dinner in Sidney.  So the three-day stretch from June 16-18 was indeed one I wish to forget — but I was in good company.  Jay Antle and Evan Bookbinder certainly provided a lot of wisdom, entertainment, and all around good times during the trip, and I thank them for that!  I just wish they wouldn’t have listened to me at 6:24pm on June 17th. But we were chasing in my Jeep, so when it all came down to quick-acting decision making, I guess I had the say in where we were going :)   Despite these disappointments, rest assured, the chase trip was another success!

Day 13 (June 23): Southeast WY/Southwest NE Panhandle Storms

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Chase Trip 2009,Latest Chases,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 9:18 am

From a tornado perspective, my target area failed. From a unique chase/photography experience, it was a success. I chased WEST of I-25… yes, you heard me right. A supercell formed north of Laramie and just sat there developing on the southwest flank. I said to hell with waiting on it, I’ll just drive to it. It was a very risky move because should other more siggy storms develop east of me, I would be screwed because the one-way trip around SR211/Horse Creek Rd. is about 65 miles. This road was perfect to get a closer view of the storm, but the problem was the 7000-7500 foot terrain between me and the updraft base and any lowerings… so about 80% of the drive was just seeing a dark mass to my west without seeing what was beneath the base. Finally, once I neared Horse Creek (NW of Cheyenne), I could see underneath the base. There was indeed an ominous scuddy lowering. I had to break out the 80-400mm lens since the storm was rather far away still. The southernmost of the conjoined, elongated convective entity became increasingly photogenic as I approached Federal, WY. Once again, I took advantage of the telezoom lens to get some compositions of the distant, but very beautiful supercell Cb with mountainous terrain on the horizon. It was a nice sight, complete with classic blocky lowering beneath the distant rotating storm.

Ultimately, this initial storm complex sent out a wad of outflow that ended up becoming the end of the potential tornadic phase of this chase. I followed Hwy 85 then 216 to Albin and became increasingly frustrated at the lack of any structure. Not even tiered shelf structure. I essentially threw in the towel and made my way to I-80. A storm cluster south of Kimball was sparking fairly consistently so I decided to shoot this. Another small supercell-looking cell then developed back west, so I turned back west on I-80 to Pine Bluffs again. As this thing was dying, yet another storm was developing just about on top of my during my drive back to Pine Bluffs. Once I reached Pine Bluffs, I decided to hang out on Hwy 30 northeast of town adjacent Union Pacific rail line. The golden hour light was getting pretty good with numerous convective elements to photograph. I even had a distant rainbow looking east down Hwy 30. That’s right, today I photographed BOTH a morning rainbow AND an evening rainbow. I find that extremely unusual and quite rewarding actually. The sunset light was just getting better and better. Rich, vivid pinks, violets, blues made the convective elements in the sky just jump out at you. Then, before I knew it, I had a pink storm structure to my north with a nice rain-free base and lowering! A large “scud bomb” developed beneath this lowering, and I had an amazing scene in front of me to my north. A non-severe pink storm with a gigantic “tornado look-alike” hanging down below the rain-free base. Simply amazing sky. Just phenomenal. I was fretting about the mis-target today (not chasing the higher CAPE along the front farther east into Nebraska), but that was only until the incredible photographer’s golden hour light gave me a nice treat. I’ll say that this was nice cap to my chase vacation — one with many wild swings in emotion, as most of you have all read about through the various blog posts.

Day 12 (June 22): North Dakota Supercells

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Chase Trip 2009,Latest Chases,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 9:11 am

I photographed several severe storms/supercells from northeast of Dickinson to Mandan to Wishek, North Dakota.  Below are a few images from this chase:

June 23, 2009

I lied. I’m staying in Kimball, NE

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 10:10 pm

I don’t feel like driving in any more rain, LOL.

Mike Umscheid Photography



Thank you for the incredible colors!

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 9:39 pm

Well, I may not have seen a well-sculpted supercell or even a tornado
this evening, but as a fine art photographer, the evening was a
success. Photographers light was simply amazing with some of the
deepest pinks, violets, and blues I have seen all season. What a way
to cap off the vacation! The storm I photographed in the saturated
colors wasn’t all that bad, with even a “tornado look-alike” hanging
down from the base! No one will ever know the difference!! This is
the reason I chase out here. I’m heading to Sidney for the night.

Mike U

Mike Umscheid Photography



outflow garbage

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 7:10 pm

Outflow dominance rulz the world. Or at least where I’m chasing right
now. I’ve seen enough outflow scud to last several lifetimes. If
this doesn’t improve in the next 30 to 45 minutes, chase is over and
going to head to the nearest motel.

Mike Umscheid Photography



in-situ update

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 6:40 pm

I am along Hwy 85 watching aggressive new growth just to my north. I
am hoping this will become the new action. Outflow boundaries from
the northern storm and also the storm farther south in Weld County had
collided. I am not sure what to expect now. I have a fairly warm
southeast wind, so I am keeping my fingers crossed. The northern
storm tripped the WSR-88D TVS algorithm, but looking at velocity data,
there was some bad improperly dealiased velocities that the algorithm
tripped on. there is no TVS with that Hawk Springs storm. More in a
bit perhaps.

Mike Umscheid Photography



New cells developing

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 6:26 pm

Nearby along hwy 85 at 525pm mdt
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

Supercell updraft nw of cheyenne at 434pm mdt

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 5:35 pm

(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

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