(16 June 2011)
* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *


About This Shoot
Date: 16 June 2011
Location: Southwest Kansas around Greensburg, KS
Shoot Type: Storm Chase
Rating:
Synopsis:
First day of my extended storm chase trip close to home. Intercepted the first storms north of Greensburg, but the main supercell of the evening was a significant high-precipitation storm with fairly strong rotation near Bucklin which moved east into Kiowa County with fairly classic supercell structure complete with large wall cloud southwest of Greensburg.

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Preliminary Storm Reports from 16 June 2011


1630 UTC SPC Products from 16 June 2011


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16 June 2011


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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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.

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 19:24:03 -0500
HP beast! Heading for greensburg KS
  
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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 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 16:21:20 -0500
420pm chase update. most interested in towers SE of me S of coldwater. going after that

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 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 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.