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!"

September 18, 2010

Images from 2010 September 13 Northern Kansas storm chase

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 11:46 am

September 13th was my first storm chase in about two months, and I decided to chase on a day off work as the meteorological setup looked pretty good for photogenic supercell storms near the Kansas-Nebraska border.  My original target was from Holdrege, NE to Phillipsburg, KS, but storms started to form well to my east and south by 2:30 to 3:00pm.  After having a brief lunch in Holdrege, I decided to go after the first development to my south that were down in the Stockton area.  There were other better looking storms well off to my east a little over 100 miles away, but I decided not to go after these in hopes that the closer storms to my south would eventually organize and interact with the 70 dewpoints that were found from Concordia to Salina.  These storms never really developed, and after becoming frustrated impatient, I headed east toward a small supercell storm north of Beloit.  It took me a good hour to get into position, and by the time I got there, the storm was on a downtrend, but still revealing a nice hail shaft as the storm continued southeast into southern Cloud County, south of Concordia.

As this storm was dying, another marginally severe storm formed to the west of Concordia, and I made my way to Highway 9  for the intercept.  The southern portion of the storm was of most photographic interest to me, so after driving through Concordia, I bolted south on Hwy 81 and took some images of the new updraft that formed on the south flank.  This was probably the best storm updraft structure I saw on this chase.  It didn’t last long, though, and the storm approached Hwy 81 in a weakening state.  I decided not to pursue it any further and headed west on Hwy 24 to photograph the backside of the decaying, very small rotating updraft.  One rogue “bolt from the blue” came out of this weakening storm from storm summit which would have made for probably the best image of the year if I had been fortunate enough to capture it.  It was a fantastic lightning flash with the storm structure and the landscape.

I then decided to head home and maybe grab some dinner and catch a glimpse of the Chiefs game in Great Bend, but on the way, more marginally severe storms developed to my distant west-northwest as I left Beloit heading to the south.  After driving south of Lincoln, KS awhile approaching I-70, I decided to do a little night photography of these distant storms.  Lightning eventually became very proficient as the storms approached I-70.  A long, tiered shelf cloud emerged as I was shooting to the east of Wilson Lake with some sporadic distant CG’s.  My last shooting location was along I-70 at the Smoky Hills Windfarm where I managed to get a few images of the approaching shelf cloud with some lightning illuminated storm structure along with the wind turbines.  All in all, a marginal chase for me, but it was good to get out and shoot again… it had been awhile.  I usually do not like to go more than a couple months without shooting something weather related or landscape/wildlife related.

September 13, 2010

chase update 9/13 9:16pm

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 9:20 pm

Well I had all but given up on those Hill City storms in favor of
getting to a place to cattch something to eat and maybe watch a little
bit of the Chiefs football game like in Great Bend or something, but
the storm cluster north of I-70 now has grown with low level jet
kicking in and moisture racing back northwest…. decided to do some
distant lightning illuminated storm structure type shots as these
storms approach north-central Kansas. Will hang out up here around
Lincoln, KS for awhile and play with this lightning illuminated
structure stuff. Since I’m here, why not?

chase update 9/13 7:45pm

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 7:44 pm

I am wrapping up this chase near Concordia, KS. I photographed a
decent looking LP storm that formed west of Concordia with some okay
structure… and am now watching this storm shrivel up and die as it
moves southeast of Concordia. I’ll be heading back west in the
general direction of home now, but on my way, I’ll be approaching more
storms out near Hill City, so I may photograph some lightning later on
this evening.

Hail storm near concordia ks at 552pm

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 5:54 pm

chase update 9/13 3:50pm

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 3:51 pm

Well, storms formed fast this afternoon… with the best initial
storms… and one bonafide supercell off to my east a couple of hours.
I will not pursue these given the fact that I am in an area of
congested development from Phillipsburg to Kirwin… where I am
sitting right now (north side of Kirwin Reservoir). I think a
supercell will emerge out of this cluster…and as it moves east over
the next couple hours…begin to interact with the western edge of the
upper 60s to near 70 dewpoints. Patience is key.. we’ll see what
happens. Hope this works out.

chase update 9/13 2:20pm

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 2:25 pm

In holdrege early this afternoon. After lunch analysis of data would
seem to suggest the best surface convergence and focus for
surface-based storm development would be a little east-southeast of
Holdrege. 1km vis sat also suggests that I may need to head east a
little bit… toward Hwy 281 corridor between Hastings and Red Cloud.
This is where the RUC and HRRR is fairly aggressive at developing
storms by 22z or so, which makes sense. More later

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