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!"

May 10, 2005

Storm Chase – May 8

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Storm Chasing — storm300 @ 12:18 am

Upon driving to my target towards Medicine Lodge and points east, I noticed hard towers going up at like 1:30pm to my north. I was torn as to what to do, because I liked the area farther south with a bit higher instability and a little more shear. Nevertheless, the atmosphere was indeed telling me something visually, and you just can’t ignore a heavily congested area of Cu in the western portions of Central KS, especially in May.. regardless what the setup may be. So, I opted north and caught up with a south-southwestward propogating severe storm near Lyons, KS. For awhile, this was reminding me *a lot* of June 11th last year near Ft. Dodge, IA with the updrafts continuously developing on the south flank down the shear axis.

I did see a high-based funnel cloud that persisted a couple of minutes about 4 W of Lyons, but no evidence of a debris whirl beneath. I continued to follow it southeastward with periods of cyclonic shear zones with sometimes modest rotation. I did see at least two more distinct high based funnels, however, again, no debris cloud beneath. I did not observe the debris whirl weak landsput that both Davies and Roger Hill et al. observed.

The updraft of this storm was becoming less impressive with time as it was becoming more and more undercut by outflow from it’s FFD and the McPherson storm immediately downstream. The McPherson storm ultimately became the better looking storm, and after a brief break in Hutchinson, I optioned east towards Newton where I was greeted with a menacing shelf cloud. The underbelly of this shelf was spectacular with perhaps the most impressive "whale’s mouth" appearance I have ever seen. The Nikon D70 got a workout :)

I drove south to stay ahead of this storm, and then I noticed a small LP updraft to my immediate south. This storm rapidly became supercellular-ish in appearance as it approached northwest Wichita, with a great looking bell-shaped updraft base:

I followed this storm into the northwest suburbs of Wichita just south of Maize. I did have some near 1" diameter hail pelt me as I was driving south towards the updraft, which made for some fairly neat video looking at this striated updraft base bearing down on me. I then got just east of the updraft and got this view just as it was getting dark:

On the way back home to Dodge City, I was able to get one hell of an incredible lightning show as viewed from near Kingman, KS. I clicked away on the shutter for a good 45 minutes as well as video. Probably my best night lightning documentation in a couple of years:

My thanks to both Jay Antle and Fritz Kruse for invaluable nowcast support.. from a photography standpoint, this was a *very* satisfying chase.

Other photos are located on my May 8th storm chase gallery

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