High Plains Drifter

disclaimer:  "The meteorological views/forecast thinking expressed are those solely of the author of this blog
and do not necessarily represent those of official National Weather Service forecast products,
therefore read and enjoy at your own risk and edification!"

May 30, 2009

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 8:59 pm

Photographing lightning this evening near greensburg ks.
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

May 29, 2009

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 7:52 pm

The small congested cu that struggled all afternoon and early evening.
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)


Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 7:40 pm

Heading back to dodge. Busted near belleville ks.
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 6:05 pm

A bust is inevitable. I met up with jon 15 w of belleville.
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

The waiting game.

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 4:25 pm

I am sitting at a little rest stop 15 miles e of smith center watching cumulus struggle to become congested cu. Obs suggest convergence is weakening a little bit. Not good. Will wait it out until 6 o’clock magic time though.
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 3:25 pm

Cumulus trying to grow to my northeast near smith center ks. Temps are near 90 at my location so the cap is very weak. Convergence is also weak unfortunately.
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 2:59 pm

Heading east to a developing cu field along weak convergence zone along ks ne border. Cap is weak here as temps s of boundary getting to upper 80s
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

May 27, 2009

Chase Acct: May 25, 2009 (KS/CO Border)

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Latest Chases,Storm Chasing — Mike U @ 11:32 pm

May 25, 2009 Tribune, KS Vicinity Storms & Brief Glimpse of a Non-Supercell Tornado

I decided to chase this day with the hopes of intercepting a non-supercell (landspout) tornado along a nearly stationary north-south surface boundary.  Surface temperature/dewpoints were expected to be in the mid 70s over mid 50s dewpoints in the area of interest which Lamar, CO to Tribune, KS.  I set off from Dodge City at 9:45am (CDT) after a whopping 1.5 hours of sleep following a midnight shift, hopefully arriving in the target area around Noon.  I knew that storms would form very early given a non-existent cap. The trick was to get on storms early in their updraft-dominant phase before evolving more upscale into a more complicated outflow dominant mess.  The first storms of the day developed along a north-south axis from near Burlington to Cheyenne Wells, and I hoped to reach the southern end of this first development near Cheyenne Wells.  I arrived in Cheyenne Wells to a signficantly weakened storm.  I didn’t hang around Cheyenne Wells long before realizing I needed to get back southeast toward newly developing sharp-looking towers — about halfway between Cheyenne Wells and Tribune very near the state border.

I decided to head east on an unpaved, but well graded farm road northeast of Sheridan Lake, CO.  The newly formed updrafts had high bases to the east and northeast.  Eventually the northern one filled in with precipitation, but I continued to trudge east.  I stopped for a short time to photograph the darkening mass off to the northeast with an interesting embedded updraft base feature.  I photographed this with some oil wells in the foreground very near the state border at around or shortly before 2pm CDT.  After this, I continued east on the farm road to get closer to the more southern updraft area of newer cells, but the road became increasingly soft and messy, so I turned around and retreated back west.  I eventually headed back south to Towner, CO and then east on Hwy 96 into Greeley County, KS.  At this point, I was getting increasingly tired and impatient with the disorganization of everything, so I decided to just bag the chase and head back home so I could get some sleep.  Well, as I was writing this off, a new updraft surge was looking rather interesting to my north as I was approaching Tribune.  Sometime between 2:30 and 2:40pm CDT, the updraft base to the north looked rather well organized, and I could make out a fairly well-defined high-based funnel cloud.  It was such a small funnel relative to the distance from the cloud base to the surface that I just simply wrote it off as an insignificant funnel — however the shape persisted for at least a couple minutes.  I was too busy driving to try to get north and closer to the updraft area, so I never stopped to get a photo of this feature.  As it turned out, this was actually a landspout tornado that Greely County sherrif confirmed.  I got a call from Chris Foltz at WFO Goodland seeking confirmation of this event (as he noticed my position on Spotter Network).  I did not confirm a tornado from this feature, but did advise him that I observed what certainly looked to be a legit funnel cloud looking to my north while I was just a few miles west of Tribune.

I finally got north of Tribune and no longer observed this funnel cloud.  The entire storm base was looking more and more uninteresting with time, so I then backtracked into Tribune.  I had thoughts a second time of just heading back home… but then a fairly stout cell formed to my west-southwest, near Sheridan Lake.  This storm had a a 50dbz core on radar up to about 25 thousand feet, which was certainly better than most of the other storms I was observing northwest of Tribune up to that point.  I could also make out a fairly healthy updraft base and pseudo lowered area way off in the distance.  I thought what the hell and decided to head back west on Hwy 96.  I didn’t get any farther than about 7 miles west of Tribune before another newly developed storm took my interest south of Tribune to my east-southeast!  I just decided to sit still there west of Tribune and watch things for awhile.  Storm updraft then began to my northwest at around 3:40pm, and I photographed this for a little bit along Hwy 96.  This new storm formed an interesting “mustache” type outflow cloud structure beneath the base which was somewhat photogenic.  I then headed north on a farm road just to the north side of Horace where I photographed this storm a little bit more.  It was at this point, around 4:15pm CDT, when I met up with the Greeley County sherrif.  He described the earlier tornado event to me and described what he saw as a small funnel, a dust debris area in the field, and nothing in the middle — fitting the classic landspout tornado description.  He said it lasted some 3 or 4 minutes.  After I was done photographing from this location, I finally decided I had enough and began my trek back home.

I reached Garden City at around 6:00pm to a surprisingly well-developed updraft to my east with pretty damn good structure.  Instead of taking Hwy 50 back home, I wanted to follow this storm since it looked so appealing visually from the backside.  This cell behaved like a left-split supercell, moving to the north-northwest during its brief life as a well-organized storm.  I stopped to photograph this updraft a few miles east of Garden City…then decided to get closer to the storm and hopefully either get into some hail or photograph more structure from closer in.  By the time I reached about 10 miles northeast of Garden City, the storm rapidly collapsed between 6:30 and 6:45pm.  After that, I finally make my final leg back home to Dodge City, in time for about an hour and a half more sleep and my next 10pm-6am shift.  All in all, not a fantastic chase photographically speaking, but my forecast verified:  There was, indeed, a landspout tornado, however brief it was, northwest of Tribune.  I just was not in the right position at the time of the event.

May 25, 2009

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 6:01 pm

Nice looking updraft e of garden city at 6pm
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

Homeward bound

Filed under: chase mode updates — Mike U @ 4:53 pm

On my way home following a so-so chase I saw but did not photograph the funnel pa3t of the 11nw tribune landspout tornado that occurred as I was driving n2 tribune earlier on. I ran n2 the sheriff that saw it when I was photographing another storm in horace
(Sent by Mike’s Alltel Blackberry smartphone)

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