* *  C H A S E   (and Photography!)  M O D E -- Mike Umscheid & Jay Antle beginning June 19 * *
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>> July-August 2017 -- Lightning -- New Mexico, Colorado, & High Plains. Unscheduled; during time off work.

>> Early November 2017 -- Whooping Cranes -- Quivira NWR, Kansas. May take some days off work during peak this year.

>> Late January-Early February 2018 -- Winter Bird Photography Trip -- Texas Gulf Coast? Stay tuned.


(Updated June 23, 2017 10:01:48 am CT)



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== Latest photos and blog posts from Chase Trip 2011 #2 (June 16-28) ==

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Wed, 15 Jun 2011 19:01:10 -0500
Nice supercell structure high based near garden city KS
  
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Wed, 15 Jun 2011 20:10:52 -0500
Supercell rain curtains. From gray county KS
  
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Thu, 16 Jun 2011 06:48:34 -0500
Chase Trip Day One forecast (June 16): Two targets >> first is near the colorado/kansas/nebraska tri-border and second is south-central KS
Today could be a fairly wild day for severe weather on the central and
western plains. This is the first of a number of chase days for me as
I am on AL until the 28th. I am torn between two targets right now.
Target #1 is extreme southwest Nebraska/northeast Colorado/extreme
northwest KS border region -- say Benkleman, Nebraska to Wray,
Colorado. I will be waiting for fresh storms in the 6-8pm time frame
in this area... as there will likely be storms by 4pm coming off the
Laramie Range given the upper tropospheric jet streak dynamics in play
farther northwest (right entrance region of jet). All the high-res
mesoscale models want to convect up there early... and by 7-8pm, I
fear that the western Nebraska Panhandle may already evolve into a
non-supercell severe cluster... so playing farther southeast may be
best.. right at the northern reach of the heat plume where 60s
dewpoints pull back to the west-north west north of the sfc low.

Target #2. South-central Kansas. Very interesting setup here. The
well-forecast MCS is underway as of 1140 UTC over northern KS/southern
NE. The NAM12 all along, and now the high-resolution WRF models,
indicate a signal for development of a honking, nearly stationary
supercell at the dryline/OFB intersection somewhere from like
Hutchinson to Wichita. While the mid and upper tropospheric winds
will be 20-30 knots in this area, the directional shear will be very
good and you gotta love the sfc-850mb flow...yielding very interesting
hodographs with a Bunkers storm motion near the origin. This target
is very tempting (despite the 100-degree heat). There very well could
be a tall tornado from a supercell in this environment if the dewpoint
is > 65F in this area.

At this point, I am kind of leaning toward Target #2 actually... but
this is as of the time of this post before 1200 UTC.

Wed, 15 Jun 2011 22:02:59 -0500
-Staccato Sunset- A vivid cloud-to-ground lightning flash looking to the west at sunset as a high-based storm rolled east across southwest Kansas. This image was captured only 4 miles from my house on 15 June 2011
  
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Thu, 16 Jun 2011 10:18:56 -0500
Strato cu along approaching outflow boundary. My new target area is my house lol. Will update this as needed
  
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Thu, 16 Jun 2011 11:11:47 -0500
Supercell structure from the Garden City/Cimarron/Dodge City high-based storm of 15 June 2011
I followed this storm to the east-southeast from as far west as about
15 miles northeast of Garden City. The light was fairly harsh to
shoot in with the low sun light and the high base of the storm which
was not precipitating a whole lot. After sunset, a new cell on the
southern end took over and produced a very impressive, dense
precipitation core looking to the southwest in twilight. The color
was revealed by this precipitation core was incredible! Pink and
orange colors glowed from the precip core -- a rather surreal scene
indeed and extremely photogenic.

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Thu, 16 Jun 2011 13:11:56 -0500
chase update 110pm: still hanging around the house since my target area is close. Outflow boundary quasi-stationary Anthony to Pratt to near Jetmore. Watching the area from Dighton to Ness City to Kinsley

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 16:21:20 -0500
420pm chase update. most interested in towers SE of me S of coldwater. going after that

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 17:34:14 -0500
chase update 530pm. sitting along hwy 183 N of coldwater. storm forming rapidly to my NW near Bucklin. watching things for now. 66 dewpoint inflow

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 19:15:28 -0500
712p chase update. headng back w to intercept big svr storm east of dodge city

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 19:24:03 -0500
HP beast! Heading for greensburg KS
  
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Thu, 16 Jun 2011 21:08:16 -0500
chase update 905pm. Very nice HP supercell structure from Mullinville to Greensburg. Quite happy with that photography wise. Back to Dodge.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 07:59:23 -0500
June 16 Chase Summary and Images (Day 1): Southwest Kansas -- Bucklin to Greensburg HP Supercell
The day started out with two targets in mind: One was around
northeast Colorado and adjacent far southwest Nebraska/northwest
Kansas and the other was along an outflow boundary from morning storms
with a minor disturbance in the mid levels moving into far southwest
Kansas. I decided to chase the southern target and had the luxury of
hanging out at my house most of the day to watch the atmosphere unfold
(both visually and remotely on the internet). Mid level altocumulus
(accas) and showers were developing over Baca County early in the
afternoon and were moving northeast into KS. The HRRR model was
aggressive and persistent in developing this area of mid level accas
and virga/showers by late in the afternoon. Soon, it became evident
that new surface-based cumulus was forming to the west and southwest
ahead of the accas. Storm chasers Brandon Sullivan and Mike Scantlin
stopped by my house to look at data, since this was their target area
as well. Separately, we departed south toward Minneola and along the
drive, towers were forming southeast along the outflow boundary.
Observations showed 66-67F dewpoint air on the northeast side of the
outflow boundary. The problem was, that surface-based air had high
inhibition since it was some 15 degrees cooler than the 104-106F heat
on the other side of the outflow boundary. This was a problem. These
storms that formed on the outflow boundary quickly moved northeast and
were essentially elevated above the outflow boundary. The storms
looked like crap, visually, and strong 25-35mph southeast winds...
very moist... were essentially blowing right underneath these storms
(one was north of Greensburg and the other was southwest of Pratt.
The storm northwest of Greensburg actually produced a small mid-level
funnel cloud, but it was totally benign. I saw this storm going
nowhere, and at the time, I was actually becoming a little more
interested in the Pratt storm since it was getting more aggressive on
radar... plus it was tail-end (even if it was slightly elevated).
Sometimes slightly elevated storms can transition to surface based if
the updrafts get extremely intense. I went to Pratt... got to the
other side of the storm...and it too looked like crap. This was
frustrating.

Then, in no time, the Dodge City storm all of a sudden back to the
west (which I had not originally gone after because I thought it was
becoming a linear piece of garbage) was taking on a different
character. I drove back west through Pratt and on my way to
Haviland-Greensburg. I arrived at Haviland and observed some fairly
decent HP supercell updraft structure to my northwest. I photographed
this for a little bit then continued on west to Greensburg as
supercell was really getting its act together near Bucklin. I drove
west on Hwy 54 to near Mullinville where I set up the tripod for the
first series of images. I then back-tracked to Hwy 183 at Greensburg
and shot south about 7 or 8 miles to a nice viewing point along a
county road. My best images of the day came from this spot with
fairly classic supercell storm structure. The storm went on to
produce a menacing lowering/wall cloud, but I never noted any
significant cloud base rotation (plus, the visibility back in there
was rather poor). After this sequence of events and the storm
continuing to move east... I decided to head south to the
Kiowa-Comanche county line and go east a bit where I took my last set
of images from along the county line east of Hwy 183. The supercell
structure was becoming a little bit less impressive and the rear flank
gust front shelf cloud was kind of overtaking the structure from my
perspective. I then proceeded to let the storm go by me as I drove
back north toward Greensburg on Hwy 183. As I approached Greensburg,
I was buffeted by 60+ mph east winds behind the storm... which was a
difficult cross wind to drive in (even at a reduced 50 mph). By this
time, the sun had already set, so I was too late for behind-the-storm
photography in waning sunlight. There were some nice anvil zits
(lightning) behind the storm, but low clouds were interspersed among
the storm's backside faint mammatus/lightning and unfortunately did
not make for good photography. I ended the chase at this point and
headed back home.

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Fri, 17 Jun 2011 09:44:39 -0500
Chase Trip Day 2 - June 17. Target: Eastern Colorado downwind of the Palmer Divide for early-mid evening high based supercell potential.
Day 2 target I will first drive out to Lamar for lunch and then
re-evaluate from there. More than likely I will drive northeast
toward Limon for the first storms coming off the Palmer Divide. CAPE
will be marginal at best for severe weather/supercells with 800 to
1200 J/kg expected in marginal moisture of mid 40s to near 50
dewpoint. The deep layer shear is great, however, and the early runs
of the HRRR model depicts supercell looking simulated composite
reflectivity "blobs" in east-central Colorado later this afternoon.
So there is some hope.

Outlook: Day 3 (Saturday) will be in the same general area, so
wherever I end up tonight, I will probably lodge near there for the
night (Burlington or Goodland?) instead of driving back to Dodge only
to go right back out there the next day. After Saturday's chase, I
will drive back to Dodge City to pick up Jay Antle who will drive to
my house late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Sunday and
Monday look like definite chase days as a nice trough approaches the
plains. Tuesday could be another chase day farther south along the
trailing front in northwest Texas/southern Oklahoma or it could be the
beginning of a nice long drive to the northern High Plains (Montana?)
to get ready for the next Pacific jet to impact the northwest yielding
chase opportunities way up northwest by Thursday of next week. This
is still speculative, though, with a lot to potentially change (and it
probably will).

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 13:50:44 -0500
chase update 145pm cdt. in Lamar, CO just had lunch will head northwest toward Punkin Center/Karval area (S of Limon) will shoot for southernmost organized storm

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 16:06:16 -0500
Supercell forming near calhan Colorado. Looking west
  
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Fri, 17 Jun 2011 17:15:06 -0500
Mean looking HP Supercell south of Limon co!
  
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Fri, 17 Jun 2011 18:43:03 -0500
640pm chase update. HP Beeeeaast! Moving southeast across east-central Colorado. Great structure.

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 20:49:55 -0500
chase update 845pm. heading s to syracuse ks get gas and see what up w/ these storms to my west. heading back to dodge after chase

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 22:59:32 -0500
1055pm chase update. Let the storm pass me at Lakin KS. Backside incredible. anvil zits, lightning illuminated mammatus.. and stars. Amazing!

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 00:31:21 -0500
Supercell forming near calhan Colorado. Looking west
  
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Sat, 18 Jun 2011 09:17:41 -0500
June 17 Chase Summary and Images (Day 2): Eastern Colorado to Southwest Kansas -- Long-lived High Precipitation Supercell from Calhan, CO to Tribune, KS
Day 2 was a successful day of storm chasing and photography. My
target was southwest of Limon where I thought the southeastern-most
storm would form and thrive in unrestricted east-southeast inflow air.
Once I arrived at the target area along Hwy 94 near Rush, CO, a storm
was already in progress. I first went north on a county road north of
Rush about halfway to Simla when the storm took on supercell
characteristics. It had classic structure at first and revealed a
slowly rotating wall cloud for a little bit as it approached my
location north of Hwy 94. It then became outflow dominant quickly as
it continued east-southeast south of Limon. I followed it east along
Hwy 94 stopping occasionally to photograph the shelf cloud structure
of the rear flank gust front of this now well-established HP
supercell. Some of the best HP supercell structure came when I
stopped at a location a couple miles northeast of Wild Horse on a
county road photographing the storm with a dilapidated looking wheat
field in the foreground. I then continued to Kit Carson and stopped
again a mile south of town to photograph the multi-tiered shelf cloud
and updraft of the HP supercell with the town in the foreground. I
continued south to Eads and met up with the storm again east of
Sheridan Lake. At this point, I went north and east on some dusty
farm roads with the menacing storm to the north. I stopped for a
quick "grab-and-go" shot of some outflow/shelf cloud structure and
then got my butt back south to Hwy 96 near Towner, CO. I stopped one
last time to photograph the incoming dusty storm with the town of
Horace in the foreground then let that storm finally go after chasing
it for 160 ground miles from roughly 2100 UTC (4:00pm CDT) to 0145 UTC
(8:45pm CDT).

To complete the chase, I stopped to get gas Syracuse, KS then
proceeded to follow another storm (to the southwest of the original
long-lived supercell) east to Lakin. At Lakin, I let the storm roll
over me with some pea size hail and 50 mph winds. Once the storm
cleared, I drove east of town about a mile or two and photographed
some amazing anvil/updraft lightning complete with mammatus and a
pristine clear sky in the storm's wake with stars visible. This was
quite the treat to complete this exhaustive chase! I drove back to
Dodge City watching a fairly amazing lightning display along the way
home.

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Sat, 18 Jun 2011 11:25:42 -0500
Chase Trip Day 3 (June 18): Target is eastern Colorado and adjacent far western Kansas. Still undecided about which latitude (I-70 corridor or farther south like Highway 50) as both areas have equal chances at supercells this evening

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 13:01:02 -0500
Chase update 1pm. Lunch in garden city then to Lamar Colorado. Probably chasing a palmer divide storm again?



Sat, 18 Jun 2011 13:53:38 -0500
150pm chase update. cumulus noted distant west throgh sw. se colo. lamar to springfield is my target of choice

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 16:01:31 -0500
chase update 4pm cdt. So far I look like a dumb chaser driving away from an already established supercell near Limon. Went south to Springfield. Still early.

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 16:46:56 -0500
chase update 445pm cdt. nothing can get going down here. a promising updraft is dying a horrible death. thats it, going north for Limon supercell in progress

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 18:03:20 -0500
6pm chase update . approachng sheridan lake. its a big hp beast by my 1st look at it to the north. just like yesterday. wow mammatus ahead of it.

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 18:14:33 -0500
Wicked multi tiered shelf approaching Sheridan lake
  
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Sat, 18 Jun 2011 19:00:48 -0500
7pm chase update. grade-A multi tiered hp supercell structure sheridan lake colo. !!!

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 20:30:28 -0500
chase update 830pm. watching a fairly picturesque saucer updraft form to my northwest as I sit north of Deerfield KS.. hoping lightning activity increases here at sunset.

Sat, 18 Jun 2011 21:40:41 -0500
935pm chase update. nasty looking supercell on a path for the umscheid estate. gotta beat it home!

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 00:31:50 -0500
-Sheridan Lake Stack of Plates- High Precipitation supercell near the Colorado/Kansas state line 18 June 2011
  
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Sun, 19 Jun 2011 09:48:38 -0500
Chase Trip Day 4 (June 19): First day chasing with Jay Antle. Target is northeast Colorado as it looks like another great day for a Palmer Divide initiated storm. Should hit good CAPE air late afternoon/evening on approach Neb./Kan.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 14:32:15 -0500
230pm chase update. driving west on I-70 toward LIC. Not going after initial cells at wy/co/ne border.. initiation likely over Palmer Divide or near/north of Denver

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 17:56:09 -0500
chase update 6pm cdt. heading northeast along I-76 toward Sterling, CO. a lot of messy sub-severe storms hoping the atmosphere can sort itself out. Cb east also.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 18:14:52 -0500
613pm chase update. going to head east on hwy 6 get south of supercell near crook, co. and keep southern atom-bomb Cb in play to our east-southeast.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 19:17:58 -0500
chase update 715pm. blasting east on Hwy 6 to get into position of dual supercells, one tornadic south of Waneta, ne.. hopefully we will be in position by 8pm

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 20:51:10 -0500
chase update 850pm. what a pain playing catchup to McCook supercell.. have to go south or else get cored.. its right turning again. going for structure farther south.

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 21:28:27 -0500
chase update 925pm. all around a crappy frustrating chase this is all due to a poor forecast plain and simple. still behind the mccook storm and it is now getting dark

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 21:45:17 -0500
chase update 925pm. all around a crappy frustrating chase this is all due to a poor forecast plain and simple. still behind the mccook storm and it is now getting dark

Sun, 19 Jun 2011 22:14:24 -0500
chase update 1015pm. heading to wakeeney for the night. we are quite frustrated we could not get into the inflow sector of the mccook storm. try again tomorrow

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 01:04:48 -0500
Chase Trip Day 4 (June 19) Summary: Northeast Colorado target failure leading to miss of Benkleman/McCook supercell from the inflow sector
Below are a few images from the backside of the Benkleman/McCook
supercell from south of McCook looking east-northeast at around the
time of sunset. It was all around a frustrating chase day as our
target around Last Chance to Akron failed to produce supercells.
Supercells did form east of the target and we were caught too far west
playing catch-up for a long time... and never really getting into any
good viewing perspective of the storm from the east/southeast side.
We ended the chase near Red Cloud and headed south to Wakeeney, KS for
the night. Managed to get a couple images that were decent from the
backside of that nice supercell, but the results of the day could have
been far better if we made a better forecast.

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Mon, 20 Jun 2011 08:49:04 -0500
Chase Trip Day 5 (June 20): Target KS-NE border early afternoon Stockton KS to Alma NE then north toward Central Nebraska late afternoon into evening.
We sit in Wakeeney this morning with an elevated supercell producing
baseball size hail near Oakley at 7:30am CDT. It's going to be one of
those days. There could be a tornadic supercell as early as noon or
1pm not too far north/northeast of where we sit this morning in
Wakeeney. It could be a long, tiring day of storm chasing.

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 12:43:45 -0500
chase update 1242pm. taunted the storm headed to Hill City. Moundage vertical towers. Sacrificed two gummy bears. Heading west to Hill City for intercept. Wish us luck.

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 14:24:57 -0500
chase update 225pm. multiple tornadoes at close range north of Hill City. including satellites and a wedge.

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 15:19:54 -0500
chase mode 318pm. wow its only 320pm after one of our most incredible tornado intercepts. blowing off storm and heading east now to position for evening development

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 17:41:39 -0500
chase update 540pm. approaching fairbury, hope to beat hail core to fairbury and get on the other side!. it will be close. then picket fence strategy with more storms south moving up

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 18:07:01 -0500
chase update 605pm. other side of this beatrice storm is shelf cloud. outflow dominant. storm near junction city ks looks supercellular will head toward marysville ks

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 18:52:56 -0500
chase update 645pm. well, it is all shelf clouds around here in far southeast nebr/northeast ks.. so we will jump ship and call this a chase day and head back to dodge
After some discussion, we have decided to call both Tuesday and
Wednesday down days with the potential for resumption of chasing with
a better looking pattern by Thursday and especially Friday.. Will try
to get the windshield replaced tomorrow in Dodge then depending on how
long that takes, may head to northeast new mexico for wednesday's down
day for some sightseeing and whatnot.

Mon, 20 Jun 2011 19:17:18 -0500
Large dusty tornado crossing hwy 283 north of hill city KS earlier today. Will post a few of the real pics late tonite.
  
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Tue, 21 Jun 2011 08:37:10 -0500
One of the rogue tennis balls or baseballs that got us as we observed the hill city tornado yesterday.
  
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Tue, 21 Jun 2011 02:31:55 -0500
Wedge tornado looking south-southeast from along Highway 283 north of Hill City on approach to Edmond-Densmore at around 2:00pm CDT on 20 June 2011
  
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Tue, 21 Jun 2011 11:32:47 -0500
Chase Trip Day 6 (June 21): Down day in Dodge City also getting windshield replaced. Chasing resumes tomorrow in W TX or TX Panhandle (marginal setup) with better setups starting Thursday/Friday

Tue, 21 Jun 2011 12:23:49 -0500
Chase Account of Significant Tornadic supercell from near Hill City north to near Norton, KS (part 1)
Summary & Images (part 1)
Below is a map I have constructed of the route Jay and I took as we
followed and documented the significant, long-lived tornado from
northern Graham County into Norton County, Kansas. Also on this first
post is an image of one of the many dusty debris whirls we saw beneath
a significant rotating area very near our location as we drive north
and east along dusty county roads northwest of Hill City from 1:40pm
to 1:50pm CDT.

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Tue, 21 Jun 2011 12:54:10 -0500
Chase Account of Significant Tornadic supercell from near Hill City north to near Norton, KS (part 2)
Summary & Images (part 2)
The sequence of images below are during a 1 minute and 40 second
period of time as the tornado strengthens rapidly and changes
character significantly as it approaches Highway 283 north of Hill
City. White specks in a couple of the images are distant giant hail
stones falling in front of the tornado(es). The lower left image
reveals one of the satellite tornadoes adjacent the large tornado.
  
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Tue, 21 Jun 2011 12:58:32 -0500
Chase Account of Significant Tornadic supercell from near Hill City north to near Norton, KS (part 3)
Summary & Images (part 3)
After driving north a couple miles on Highway 283, we stopped again to
photograph the now well-established wedge tornado after it had crossed
the highway behind us. This is looking south-southeast. Right about
the time of the third image in this sequence (2:03:30) is when we
turned east on Highway 9.
  
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Tue, 21 Jun 2011 13:04:30 -0500
Chase Account of Significant Tornadic supercell from near Hill City north to near Norton, KS (part 4)
Summary & Images (part 4)
Below are the sequence of images of the large tornado approaching
Highway 9 as we race east to get east of it's path. At 2:06pm, we
were in the tornadoes path at around Edmond, KS and maybe a mile or so
east. We safely made it far enough east before the tornado(es) made
it to the highway and the last image of this sequence of images at
2:12pm shows the incredible rain and hail-wrapped beast to the
west-northwest by only a few miles.
  
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Tue, 21 Jun 2011 13:09:55 -0500
Chase Account of Significant Tornadic supercell from near Hill City north to near Norton, KS (part 5)
Summary & Images (part 5)
This last sequence of images show the last tornadoes we saw from the
storm looking to the northwest from near Prairie View, KS
  
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Wed, 22 Jun 2011 14:11:49 -0500
Chase Trip Day 7 (June 22): Drive day to tomorrow target near Billings, MT. Leisurely drive up I-25 reaching Casper, WY by 7pm MDT or so. May be a Bighorn Mts storm early evening to observe

Wed, 22 Jun 2011 23:37:25 -0500
In Buffalo, WY this evening (June 22) after a 700 mile long drive starting from Clayton, NM. Nice steak dinner in Casper, WY. South-central MT tomorrow

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 09:41:51 -0500
Chase Trip Day 8 (June 23): Today is a chase day in south-central or central Montana. Will head to Billings by early afternoon and re-evaluate and go north or west from there.
Starting off the day in Buffalo, WY where Jay and I stayed at the Big
Horn motel... a favorite that Vince Miller and I frequented during
2007 and 2008 June chase trips.

Brief Summary of Chase Trip Day 6 and Day 7

Day 6 -- Tuesday June 21. Jay and I hung around Dodge City most of
the day as I had my windshield replaced out of my Jeep due to a very
large hail stone impact. We then decided to drive to Clayton, NM for
a couple of reason. A) we love Clayton and love green chili and we
heard that the Eklund Hotel and Saloon had re-opened. Jay and I were
very pleased to find out that that indeed is the case and we actually
stayed at the Eklund (despite $$). B) There was a chance at northwest
flow storms in eastern New Mexico and the TX Panhandle per the GFS and
the NAM that we were watching as a potential to chase for Day 7
(6/22).

Day 7 -- Wednesday June 22. After it became clear that the northwest
flow chase potential had dried up, we decided to make this a drive day
to what looked like a much better setup for severe storms over
southern Montana. We left Clayton mid-morning and drove north all day
reaching Casper early evening for a steak dinner then on to Buffalo,
WY for the night.

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 12:53:43 -0500
chase update 1252pm cdt. midday towering cumulus forming over Snowy Mts south of Lewistown. From Billings will likely head north to Roundup and investigate. HRRR model favors this area

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 13:39:09 -0500
chase update 135pm cdt. in Montana you can see developing storm bases from 90 miles away. Towering cumulus development continues on the Snowy Mts. Heading N to Roundup

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 14:42:31 -0500
First storm dissipation to the north near grass range Montana. 242pm cdt
  
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Thu, 23 Jun 2011 15:25:00 -0500
Musselshell river washed out road east of Roundup Montana
  
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Thu, 23 Jun 2011 16:28:55 -0500
chase update 430pm. going to head to Harlowton where convective activity from Bozeman and points north increasing... can drop down to I-90 at Harlowton if too far north.

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 18:37:41 -0500
chase update 635pm cdt. photographed some intense CG lightning southeast of Harlowton. Storm intensifying to our southwest. heading back east toward Ryegate then Lavina

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 21:03:37 -0500
chase update 9pm cdt. traveling along an awesome gravel road hwy 310 southeast from musselshell to custer, mt. great storm views, awesome lightning, fine structure for good images.

Thu, 23 Jun 2011 21:36:57 -0500
chase update 935. Ugh flat tire on that sweet gravel road. letting the storm pass then tire change and back on the road. chase is pretty much over now, so sheridan or buffalo,WY for the night.

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 00:30:05 -0500
Going to be in Buffalo WY again tonite after another enjoyable storm Chase despite an unfortunate tire blowout N of Custer MT



Fri, 24 Jun 2011 10:31:52 -0500
Chase Trip Day 8 (June 23) Summary: Sub-severe electrical storms in Montana from Harlowton to Roundup
Here are a few images of the awesome lightning storms we chased in
southern Montana. Unfortunately, we had to end the chase earlier than
we wished due to a tire blowout on one of the gravel road we took from
Musselshell to Custer, MT.

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Fri, 24 Jun 2011 12:12:53 -0500
Chase day 9 (june 24): target of Lusk WY to Harrison NE for more high based Supercell potential



Fri, 24 Jun 2011 14:23:49 -0500
chase update 223pm cdt. theres a high based storm already moving toward Casper, we can play with it for awhile as it follows us east along I-25 toward Douglas.

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 14:46:16 -0500
Storm trying to organize near Casper WY. Good CAPE ahead of this storm 2000 j/kg
  
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Fri, 24 Jun 2011 15:24:10 -0500
chase update 322pm. quick gas up here in Douglas then continue south and east. Storm really getting organized to the west and will enter better moisture/instability in a couple hours.

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 15:25:51 -0500
Shelf cloud approaching Douglas WY
  
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Fri, 24 Jun 2011 17:27:12 -0500
chase update 525pm cdt. Kind of a mess of storms in southeast Wyoming with storm intercept options not so obvious. we will head back west to I-25 to catch new mountain storms coming east

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 18:32:50 -0500
chase update 630pm cdt. following new storms forming near Laramie Peak. Just captured a beautiful, distant CG lightning flash with Laramie Peak in the background.

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 19:41:39 -0500
chase update 740pm cdt. Chase is pretty much over as storms are not materializing in the Torrington/Scottsbluff area. Too stable behind the first big round of storms. Scottsbluff for the night.

Fri, 24 Jun 2011 20:58:12 -0500
Holy uptick! Whats that to the west of scottsbluff! We just sat down for Mexican food. Whoops!
  
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Fri, 24 Jun 2011 22:50:10 -0500
chase update 1050pm. Jay and I are following some lightning storms approaching Scottsbluff... Late Night lightning photography mode until whenever!

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 00:41:46 -0500
chase update 1240am. Enjoying awesome late night lightning illuminated storm structure with bluffs in the background south of Scottsbluff, NE

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 10:13:58 -0500
Chase Trip Day 9 (June 24) Summary: Part 1 -- Casper, WY Supercell, Guernsey left split storm, followed by Laramie Peak storms
Summary & Images (part 1)
Jay Antle and I intercepted the first storm of the day as we drove
south out of Buffalo, WY. We met the first storm near Casper and
followed it southeast along I-25 stopping occasionally for
photographs. At Douglas, we decided to continue south as the southern
end of the storm was supercellular and another more linear storm was
beginning to tear off more toward the east and northeast. This
northern storm actually ended up becoming dominant as it rolled east
through Lusk and Harrison (our original target area) and eventually on
into northern Nebraska later in the evening. Other storms forming off
of the southern Laramie Mountains were moving northeast while the
supercell we were following was moving southeast. This interacted
with the southern storms and the process ended up being destructive to
pretty much all convection in terms of supercell structure. A cool
looking left-split storm moved northeast quickly toward Guernsey which
had a pretty white hail core to our southeast. We let all this stuff
try to sort itself out around Guernsey, but it never did and it all
eventually just died. New storms were forming over the Laramie
Mountains near Laramie Peak which caught our eye, so we went back west
to the interstate at Dwyer Junction. We drove north a few miles and
stopped to watch one of the storms roll off Laramie Peak. The
cloud-to-ground lightning was infrequent, but I managed to capture one
of the flashes to the west with Laramie Peak in the background.
Afterwards, we followed this weak storm east as it sputtered along the
way to Torrington and Scottsbluff... where we ultimately called it a
chase and had mexican dinner. While eating, a new supercell formed
just southwest of Scottsbluff, and we took a peak outside every so
often during meal to observe the incoming storm. We drove back to the
motel and watched the storm roll over us with some 1/2" diameter hail
at our motel on the east side of Scottsbluff. Later in the evening,
new storms formed to the west of Scottsbluff which we set out to chase
for lightning photography. See part 2 below.

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 10:30:17 -0500
Chase Trip Day 9 (June 24) Summary: Part 2 -- Scottsbluff, NE area late night supercells
Summary & Images (part 2)
Jay and I noticed new storms forming west of Scottsbluff at around
10:00pm CDT. We packed up the gear again and set off, first, for just
west of town as we tried our hand at lightning images with the first
storm. It was moving east fairly quickly and we followed it east of
town and let it go east of us. More storms were forming, though, to
our south and also again back to the west. We drove south from
Melbeta through some of the bluffs southeast of Scottsbluff and
stopped for awhile to photograph some nice lightning-illuminated storm
structure of multiple cells oriented west to east to our north.
Mammatus was visible through some of the flashes in the wake of the
first cell in this sequence. More organized storm structure was
photographed through lightning flashes with the bluffs in the
background through about 12:20am CDT. Once the storm structure lost
some of its interest photography-wise, we drove back to Scottsbluff.
This was a fun late-night shoot!

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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 12:04:16 -0500
Chase Trip Day 10th (June 25): do not have to go far today. More storms off Laramie Range. Good CAPE and shear again for supercells. Hang around scottsbluff thru aftn.



Sat, 25 Jun 2011 14:07:27 -0500
chase update 205pm cdt. After visiting Scottsbluff Natl Monument we are heading toward Laramie County for todays storm chase target

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 16:27:51 -0500
chase update 425pm cdt. storms around the LaGrange, WY are struggling to reach the next level of strength. waiting for the atmosphere to give us a clue what to do next

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 17:31:31 -0500
chase update 530pm cdt. the storm near Harrisburg is dying. left out e-w outflow boundary with towering cumulus along it. heading S to Kimball.

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 18:17:12 -0500
chase update 615pm cdt. monitoring towering cumulus development along the east-west outflow boundary to the northwest from Kimball, NE. uptrend visually is good

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 19:11:00 -0500
Supercell structure rapidly forming north of kimball Nebraska
  
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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 19:26:53 -0500
chase update 725pm cdt. amazing upside down wedding cake structure supercell updraft northwest of Dix, NE!!

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 20:25:34 -0500
chase update 824pm cdt. Dangerous supercell moving toward Sidney, great structure, nice high-based rotating wall cloud, multiple cloud base rotations and high based small funnels

Sat, 25 Jun 2011 20:47:52 -0500
Sidney Nebraska Supercell a beauty!
  
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Sat, 25 Jun 2011 22:54:41 -0500
chase update 1052pm cdt. a very successful chase is drawing to an end.. top shelf supercell storm structure Kimball to Sidney, NE. Great in golden hour photography light

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 10:37:09 -0500
Kimball-Sidney, Nebraska Supercell at around sunset on 25 June 2011
  
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Sun, 26 Jun 2011 10:42:32 -0500
Yeah, there will be some interesting storms today. 10am ob in McCook Nebraska is 71/71 with 1 mile visibility in light fog with a southeast wind.

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 11:53:50 -0500
Chase Trip Day 11: target western Nebraska I-80 corridor. Big springs perhaps north a bit. Could be active day.



Sun, 26 Jun 2011 13:39:47 -0500
chase update 138pm cdt. some towering cumulus from alliance south to sidney along n-s boundary. upper 60s/70 dewpoints east of it. extreme CAPE developing. will hang at Oshkosh

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 14:37:57 -0500
chase update 238pm cdt. set of turkey towers to our southwest. we are heading to I-80 near Chappel NE. Playing edge of the cap again today, worked out well yesterday, but today?

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 16:23:28 -0500
chase update 421pm. towering cu struggling to the ssw and convergence weakening. heavy cumulus over Laramie mts this may be where initiation occurs.. heading west on I-80

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 18:53:43 -0500
chase update 655pm cdt. making a run on a supercell in the northern sand hills of nebraska. should be in good position east of alliance by 8pm cdt. Cb looks good from distance

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 20:11:34 -0500
chase update 811pm cdt. Jay and I are officially chasing in Cherry Valley! Wish us the best...

Sun, 26 Jun 2011 22:04:55 -0500
chase update 10pm cdt. heading to Ogallala for the night. cool shelf cloud structures in far so. Cherry Co. then vivid colors on western horizon as storm approached south of Hyannis

Mon, 27 Jun 2011 07:26:53 -0500
Chase Trip Day 12 (June 27): 2nd to last day of vacation. From Ogallala, NE will make long drive to Raton, NM via I-25 for post-front moist upslope supercell potential Raton-Clayton, NM

Mon, 27 Jun 2011 13:30:06 -0500
chase update 130pm cdt. post-front moisture upsloping against Sange de Cristo Mts of northern New Mexico. Stronger front pushed moisture farther south may go to Las Vegas NM

Mon, 27 Jun 2011 15:32:42 -0500
chase update 330pm. just finished lunch at Mission at the Bell restaurant in Trinidad, CO. Hottest green chili sauce ive ever had. damn good too! initial showers forming west of here

Mon, 27 Jun 2011 17:55:11 -0500
chase update 555pm cdt. rapidly developing storms west of Raton in the mountains... about to move out... will be observing from south of Raton.

Mon, 27 Jun 2011 18:12:46 -0500
Storm forming rapidly west southwest of Raton NM. Already split once.
  
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Mon, 27 Jun 2011 20:59:02 -0500
chase update 857pm cdt. intercepted a southeast moving supercell that was difficult to intercept as we decided to go northeast instead of southeast first. decent structure. rocky roads!

Tue, 28 Jun 2011 11:53:54 -0500
Chase trip day 13 final day (june 28): leisure drive through mesa then storm Chase se Colorado into southwest or west central KS where better moisture lurks.



Tue, 28 Jun 2011 17:23:54 -0500
chase update 523pm cdt. after a nice drive through the mesas northwest of Clayton, we are in Springfield watching storms form northwest with good cloud-to-ground lightning so far

Tue, 28 Jun 2011 19:46:42 -0500
chase update 745pm cdt. on a menacing high-based dusty severe storm with good multi-tiered structure and embedded mid level circulations in far southwest KS.

Tue, 28 Jun 2011 19:59:46 -0500
High bases severe storm rolling southeast toward Rolla KS
  
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Tue, 28 Jun 2011 21:27:17 -0500
chase update 926pm cdt. amazing lightning in fantastic light with laminar updraft structure west of Hooker, OK! Will follow this for nighttime lightning until we are tired or lightning fades

Tue, 28 Jun 2011 22:09:40 -0500
chase update 1008pm cdt. heading west to Guymon let storm roll over us and hope for some nice lightning from the back. too much of a chore to stay ahead of this line now

Tue, 28 Jun 2011 23:23:28 -0500
chase update 1121pm cdt. tried to photog. lightning behind the storm after we let it roll by us south of Hooker. too much trailing stratiform rain and not enough good lightning. back to Dodge

Fri, 1 Jul 2011 21:20:35 -0500
Chase Trip Day 10 (June 25) Summary: Kimball-Sidney, Nebraska high-based supercell
Summary & Images (part 1)
Jay Antle and I intercepted an awesome supercell on Day 10 of this
storm chase trip. Our target was east of the Laramie Mountains as
fairly high CAPE was lurking over the eastern Nebraska Panhandle with
upslope winds increasing by late afternoon and early evening. After
spending some time at Scottsbluff National Monument early in the
afternoon, we set sights on mid afternoon storm development northeast
of Cheyenne. The first storms developed over northern Laramie county
and we drove southwest from LaGrange along Hwy 85 to observe these
first storms. The storms sputtered along as they moved east toward
the Harrisburg area. At Harrisburg, we had to make a decision what to
do next. There were storms trying to get organized up in the Lusk, WY
area well to the north, but what caught our eye more were new towers
forming to our southwest along the outflow boundary left behind from
the first storms that we were following. As a result, we went south
to Kimball. This ended up being a very good call as the group of
towers to our west-northwest organized into an awesome supercell. We
navigated farm roads northeast of Kimball with the storm updraft to
our west-northwest. We tried to remain in the sweet spot
east-southeast of the updraft about 8 to 10 miles to get the good
structure shots of the storm. The supercell cycled through numerous
mesocyclones with a number of wall clouds and occlusions observed. We
also saw a number of dusty spin-ups, mostly caused by RFD hitting the
surface, but one or two of them were fairly intense and cold have been
tornadic. Several persistent mid-level funnel clouds were also seen,
particularly as we were driving south back to Highway 30 northwest of
Sidney. But it was the structure of the storm itself that stole the
spotlight with amazing hues of aquamarine. The bell-shaped nature of
the updraft and the vault just downstream of the updraft itself were
amazing. As the sun was getting lower in the sky, we dropped south
toward the Cheyenne Ridge south of Sidney. More laminar banding of
the updraft was evident, taking on the classic "mothership" appearance
to the northwest. Anvil lightning was frequent overhead with the
persistent, harmonic sound of grumbling going on way up in the upper
troposphere. We continued to stay ahead of the storm south and east,
through the very large Peetz wind farm, and eventually down to Hwy 138
with darkness increasing after sunset. The supercell eventually faded
away late in the evening as it approached the Julesburg, CO and Big
Springs, NE area, but not before putting on a nice display of anvil
zits (short, intense spurts of lightning within the anvil). This
ended up being, for me, the most photogenic supercell of the 2011
season to date.

Below is a sequence of images of the early stages of the supercell
from north of Kimball to northwest of Sidney while we were on the farm
road grid north of Hwy 30:

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Fri, 1 Jul 2011 21:45:28 -0500
Chase Trip Day 10 (June 25) Summary: Kimball-Sidney, Nebraska high-based supercell (Images part 2)
Summary & Images (part 2)
Sequence of images of the Kimball-Sidney supercell during the good
"golden hour" light along and just south of I-80 to the Colorado
border south of Sidney:

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Fri, 1 Jul 2011 22:07:01 -0500
Chase Trip Day 10 (June 25) Summary: Kimball-Sidney, Nebraska high-based supercell (Images part 3)
Summary & Images (part 3)
Sequence of images of the Kimball-Sidney supercell after sunset as
viewed from near the Peetz wind farm north of Crook, CO. The
supercell was shriveling up as it approached Chappell, NE and
eventually dying out towards Big Springs, NE area

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Fri, 1 Jul 2011 22:58:37 -0500
Chase Trip Day 11 (June 26) Summary: Shelf cloud in the Sandhills (near Hyannis, NE)
Summary & Images (part 1)
Overall, this was a rather frustrating day in terms of supercell
interception. A day that started out with a lot of hope and potential
with very high moisture leading to extreme CAPE over western Nebraska
turned out to be largely a dud of an event. The atmosphere decided to
convect early in the day in the sandhills of northern Nebraska with a
large area of elevated severe storms that moved southeast across
central Nebraska and leaving in its wake a rather large cold pool.
The best surface-based airmass was found to be over extreme
northeastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska, but this area was
very capped. Jay Antle and I decided to target the area from Oshkosh,
NE to Julesburg, CO. In this area, towering cumulus flirted with
development into storms at times during the afternoon, but the low
level convergence was weakening due to winds responding more to the
elevated heating over the Laramie mountains. Cold frontogenesis was
occurring over central Wyoming, and storms eventually formed over the
Laramies along this front. We gave up on the capped airmass from
Oshkosh to Julesburg and drove west toward towers forming near
Cheyenne. Other storms were visible in the distant northwest through
north. Ultimately, we decided to go after a nice looking storm (both
visually and on radar) well to our northeast near Rushville, NE
entering the sandhills. It was supercellular in nature, and visually
it revealed rock-hard towers with some corkscrewing to the convection.
We blasted east on Hwy 2 from Alliance to make an intercept on this
southeastward moving storm and would be in good position by the time
we reached Hyannis. Problem though. It was moving into the cooler
airmass left behind the earlier day storms. In fact, the airmass was
so moist and not all that warm that low stratus was developing ahead
of the storm. Bad news for photography!! This was really
frustrating. Nevertheless, we continued north to intercept the storm.
It became more elongated on radar, and we were finally greeted to a
wonderful multi-tiered shelf cloud about 15 miles north of Hyannis.
We stopped for a bit to photograph the approaching shelf cloud over
the landscape of the sandhills. We then backtracked to Hyannis and
continued south on Hwy 61 stopping again to let the storm approach us.
We found a decent spot to pull off that had some adequate views
looking west amidst grazing cattle and a small pond. At sunset and on
the other side of the approaching shelf cloud, the sky lit up in
intense orange and magenta hues. The light was incredible, but I wish
it was a bit closer to us! Nevertheless, we got some good photos of
this amazing light with the shelf cloud approaching. This would be
the last of photography for this chase, but at least we managed to
photograph something out of this overall frustrating day. We headed
back to Ogallala, NE for the night.

Below is the sequence of images when we stopped north of Hyannis, NE
for the first look at the approaching storm and shelf cloud:

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Fri, 1 Jul 2011 23:11:30 -0500
Chase Trip Day 11 (June 26) Summary: Shelf cloud in the Nebraska sandhills, near Hyannis (Images Part 2)
Summary & Images (part 2)
Here are images from around sunset with the incredible saturated
colors to the west behind the shelf cloud approaching us south of
Hyannis, NE along Hwy 61:

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Mon, 11 Jul 2011 20:30:46 -0500
Chase Trip Day 12 (June 27) Summary: Northeast New Mexico supercell from near Raton to near Gladstone
Summary & Images (part 1)
On the second to last day of my storm chase/photography vacation with
Jay Antle, we decided to target the area around the Raton Mesa for the
potential for supercell storms by late afternoon and early evening as
a cold front pushed south overnight and during the day down the high
plains with post-frontal moist upslope winds developing. From
Ogallala, Nebraska, we made the long drive down I-76 and I-25 down to
Raton, arriving mid-afternoon. Showers and weak storms were
developing over the mountains and we decided to monitor this
development from just south/southwest of Raton. Finally, a strong
storm did emerge southwest of Raton which visually had a
well-developed base. It was moving east-northeast toward us, but the
track of the storm appeared to be such that it would go between Hwy 64
and Hwy 56. We decided to take the northern route once the storm
approached I-25. This took us, unfortunately, out of position for
quite awhile, as the storm turned more to the right and was moving due
east if not south of due east a bit. Once we reached Capulin along
Hwy 64, we took an unpaved road south, which we could only average
about 30 mph on due to the rocky nature of the road. We were well out
in front of the storm, but as we headed south on this road, the storm
was rapidly approaching. As Jay drove, I managed to capture a few
images of the storm approaching to the west with decent supercell
structure and dense precipitation core. Once it was clear we were
south of the track of the storm, we finally were able to stop and take
some photos. The storm was on a downtrend, however, as it was getting
close to sunset. We let the storm continue on to the east as we
reached Hwy 56 finally and photographed the backside of the weakening
storm. This essentially sealed the chase day and we drove back west
on Hwy 56 back toward I-25. Before that, however, we stopped one more
time to watch and photograph the world's smallest rotating updraft.
This was rather bizarre, but it was so small, yet the updraft revealed
some barber-pole twisting structure to it. All in all, it was a
successful day in that we photographed a supercell storm, however, I
believe that we would have had a better perspective of the storm had
we dropped south early in the chase south to Hwy 56. We were
positioning ourselves for later in the chase once the storm got into a
better road network, but it just wasn't to be since the storm died
sooner than we had hoped.

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