Summer storms north-central KS into south-central NE (Part 3)
* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *

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)