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


About This Shoot
Date: 20 June 2011
Location: Northwest Kansas to Southeast Nebraska from Hill City, KS to Beatrice, NE
Shoot Type: Storm Chase
Rating:
Description: The "Hill City" significant tornadic supercell w/ multiple tornadoes (and other outflow-dominant storms later)
Synopsis:
Jay Antle and I had one of the storm chases of our lives, intercepting an incredible, cyclic tornadic supercell early in the afternoon near Hill City, KS. The main long-lived tornado (rated EF-3) was photographed from fairly close range, within a mile, and became a wedge as it was crossing Highway 283 just to our south. Other tornadoes were photographed farther north from a greater distance as the storm was moving quickly north toward the Nebraska border. After this, we decided to blast east along the Nebraska-Kansas border to intercept early evening storms near Beatrice, NE, but these were not tornadic, nor very photogenic.

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Preliminary Storm Reports from 20 June 2011


1630 UTC SPC Products from 20 June 2011


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Evening Meteorological Charts from 20 June 2011


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20 June 2011


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.

#1

#2
(click on thumbnails for pop-up of larger images)

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.
  
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

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.
  
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

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.
  
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

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
  
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

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.
  
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

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
  
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

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.
  
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

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 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 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 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 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 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 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.