(15 July 2011)
* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *


About This Shoot
Date: 15 July 2011
Location: Northern Kansas into southern Nebraska from Kirwin, KS to Grand Island, NE
Shoot Type: Storm Chase
Rating:
Synopsis:
Photographed very high-based storms as they formed at the nose of 102 to 106 degree heat. The first storm formed south of Phillipsburg and produced a microburst as visually noted by a formidable rainfoot developing over the north side of Kirwin Reservoir. Numerous storms developed and the whole cluster of storms remained disorganized. A stronger isolated storm formed on a north-moving outflow boundary west of Red Cloud, NE and I decided to chase this toward Hastings, NE without much success due to extreme dewpoint of around 80 degrees and very tall corn plants everywhere limiting my view. I ended this chase at Grand Island late in the evening and headed back to Dodge for an all-night drive

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1630 UTC SPC Products from 15 July 2011


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15 July 2011


Tue, 26 Jul 2011 09:52:07 -0500
Summer storms north-central KS into south-central NE (Part 1)
Summary & Images (part 1)
The first set of images are from the first storm I intercepted on 15
July near Kirwin, KS. This first storm showed some promise at
developing into a formidable storm, and while it did briefly reveal
some decent storm structure, it never really made it to the next level
and quickly became outflow dominant (not surprising with temperatures
over 100 degrees). The deep moisture was still just a little bit to
the east of the Kirwin area at this time. I manage to photograph a
decent rainfoot to my southeast from near the north side of the Kirwin
Reservoir:

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#4
(click on thumbnails for pop-up of larger images)

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 09:56:53 -0500
Summer storms north-central KS into south-central NE (Part 2)
Summary & Images (part 2)
After the initial Kirwin storm more or less dissolved with a bunch of
other weak storms developing all around it... the focus turned more
toward lightning. I managed to capture some decent daytime
cloud-to-ground flashes with the lightning trigger as I followed the
cluster of storms east across Smith County, KS southeast of Smith
Center from about 4:15pm to shortly after 5:00pm:

#1

#2

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(click on thumbnails for pop-up of larger images)

Tue, 26 Jul 2011 10:12:41 -0500
Summer storms north-central KS into south-central NE (Part 3)
Summary & Images (part 3)
It became quite clear that the storms in north-central KS were just
not going to mature into something worth chasing. An outflow boundary
from the small cluster of storms I was chasing was really spreading
east well ahead of the actual storms. The northern outflow boundary
surged north into south-central Nebraska, and a severe storm
eventually formed along this outflow boundary to the north. I decided
to go after this storm, but it was an extremely frustrating intercept.
I never really did get any good images of the storm itself as it
moved north at a fairly decent clip toward Hastings, NE. I finally
managed to stop somewhere between Hastings and Ayr, but when I got out
of the car to set up to shoot, my glasses and my camera lenses
immediately "fogged over". The dewpoint temperature was near 80
degrees!! It was extremely humid, accentuated by the very tall corn
growing around this part of Nebraska. This made stopping to
photograph a very tough task since the 9-foot tall corn stalks were
obscuring the horizon line in many areas. This was extremely
frustrating. Finally, I decided to just bust it west to get on the
other side of the storm to see what kind of scenes I could photograph
on the back side. A brilliant rainbow emerged about 10 miles west of
Hastings, but when I went south on a paved road down to Holstein,
there was a) no place to pull off to shoot and b) the east wind
driving the rain made it impossible to shoot this rainbow in
incredible light without drenching my gear and getting a rain drops on
the lens effectively making any clean shot an impossible task. So as
I drove south, the rainbow ultimately faded away without one image of
it. I wish I had that back, because the corn field and a few
beautiful barns with this vivid rainbow would have made calendar-type
images. I continued west with flanking towers developing to my north.
Other storms developing over northwestern Kansas were moving
northeast toward the Beaver City, NE area and I had decided to just
head west in hopes that these would further develop. They eventually
died, and I turned around to try and keep up with the backside of the
Hastings, NE storm complex, which was now approaching I-80. I drove
all the way up to Grand Island and pretty much called it a chase at
that point. Although it wasn't before I got one last image of a
decent cloud-to-ground lightning flash adjacent a power plant and tall
corn field in the foreground. I got some dinner in Grand Island and
decided to make the long drive back to Dodge City, ending this two-day
chase trip. But there was one last photography opportunity awaiting
on my way back home to Dodge City!
See the July 16 chase account

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(click on thumbnails for pop-up of larger images)

Sat, 16 Jul 2011 22:41:37 -0500
-Energy Trifecta- A unique image showing three symbols of energy in 1) the obvious cloud-to-ground lightning flash, 2) a coal power-generating plant, and 3) a mature corn crop which can be used for ethanol production
  
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 15:56:30 -0500
Storm near Kirwin KS with rainfoot.
  
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 11:54:14 -0500
chase update 1150am. Leaving ogallala for McCook. Like the ESE winds in north-central KS with upper 70s dewpoint. Lunch in McCook then mosey east-southeast perhaps?

Fri, 15 Jul 2011 10:09:43 -0500
Chase Day July 15: Target Northern KS/Southern NE along a stationary front and near the 70-degree dewpoint air at the nose of the excessive heat plume. Models suggest storm development this area