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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!"

July 19, 2008

Chase Acct: July 19, 2008 (Northwest KS)

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 1:11 am

I started this chase at 1:30 am.  Yes.  Since my sleeping schedule wasmessed up, I was pretty much up for good by that time.  With a fullmoon out, I decided to do some moonlit landscape photos at MonumentRocks north of Scott City.  By the time I got there around 4am, though,the moon was getting very low in the sky.  I experimented a bit with"flashlight illumination" of the Monument Rocks formation.  Overall, itwasn’t much of a success, as it’s difficult to spread even amounts ofillumination on such a large subject.  None of the images turned outall that great to my liking.  Sunrise was a little bit better, though,and I got some decent images in the sunrise light. 




Fast-forwarding to later in the day… 

This was kind of a gamble chase — gambling that there could possibly be anything of interest to photograph in terms of storm structure given the crappy summertime flow regime.  It was a gamble that I think paid off, because even though the storms I chased were barely severe, I managed to photograph some interesting storm structure — not necessarily updraft structure per-se, but beautiful, tall, contrasted rain-shafts, impressive rain-foots, and even some small/weak gustnadoes at the leading edge of outflow boundaries.  There was a brief moment of excitement north of Colby when two storms were converging on each other, ultimately forming a decent but brief rotating area when the storms converged.  At this point, a very nice looking and rather low-to-the-ground wall cloud formed — actually one of the better looking wall clouds I’ve seen all year!  It didn’t last long, though, and evolved into an outflow dominant shelf cloud.  I photographed probably 6 or 7 different storms over the span of about 3 or 4 hours from northwest of McCook to Atwood to southeast of Colby.  I witnessed and reported through SpotterNetwork 3/4" or larger diameter hail on two separate occasions – the largest hail witnessed being a piece just barely larger than a quarter just west of Atwood on the back edge of a storm.  I also saw a bunch of small, short-lived gustnadoes along an outflow boundary southeast of Colby.  I got one CG lightning image from the Lightning Trigger and that was it for the entire day from a lightning standpoint.  I got back home just after midnight — thus concluding my nearly 24-hour chase day!  I slept for 13 hours after that :)   Below are a few images from the chase:







  1. Fantastic series as always Mike. Keep up the good work!


    Comment by Dann Cianca — July 21, 2008 @ 11:20 am

  2. Good shooting kid!
    Let’s get together at QNWR for cranes this late fall!

    Comment by Jerry — September 7, 2008 @ 2:14 pm

  3. Jerry, thanks for the comment! I am very much looking forward to QNWR fall season for sure! -Mike

    Comment by Mike U — September 7, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

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