Friday, May 22, 2009

Chaselog 5/20/09 North Central, Nebraska

So, where to begin? Headed out with Andy Gabrielson of and First off, MAAAD props to Andy for how well he handled the backass hillbilly slick narrow mud "dirt roads" that the Nebraska DOT for whatever reason feels the need to call "roads." I know for a fact if I had been driving we would've ended up in a ditch atleast a couple dozen times. So, thanks Andy for handling those roads like champ (and doing the majority of the driving)!! Alright, left my house at 9:00 am to get down to Andy's place in southwest Minnesota. Got down there around 1:00 pm, jumped in his car, headed west on I90 towards Plankinton, SD. We dinked around for a while driving through some corn fields Twister style. Headed south towards O'Neil, NE where we saw some turkey neck towers starting to go up (again, props to Andy for seeing them through the haze). Nearly hit the only car in the south central part of SD on a dirt road on the indian reservation. The towers tried about 5 times before they actually broke the cap and got above 20,000 ft. We got on the storm closest to us around Atchison, Nebraska and got a rotating updraft that was on the northeast side of the storm. Thanks to Brad Nelson at it makes a little more sense about why the updraft was where it was. We watched the updraft for about 6 minutes, then headed east to try to reposition as the storm started to move. There must've been some boundary or stronger cap just to the east of us that killed every storm that hit it the entire night. Bailed on the first storm and headed south towards the O'Neil area as more storms were firing and we could see inflow nortches on the reflectivity. To make a very long and frustrating story short, thanks to the horrible road networks in north central Nebraska, we barely got any views of these storms. Twisting, winding, dead end dirt roads+hills=no view. We did get one quick view of a wall cloud that was near North Platte, NE that had some danglies under it but being so far away and hills in between there was no way we could tell what was happening. We continued to head towards the storm but it was getting dark and the storms were falling apart. Started heading home between 9:30 and 10:00. Headed towards Grand Island, NE in hope of finding some food but nothing worth eating was open, so we continued east on I80 towards Omaha hoping to find something good to eat. Nope, we kept going towards Sioux City, IA on I29 and finally gave in and got some McDonald's. Got back to Andy's around 5:00 am just as the sun started rising. I kept going on I90 to make it home, got home just before 10:00 am, then slept for 21 straight hours. All in all I'd say it was worth it. If we could've gotten just a little more moisture I'm sure we would've seen a tornado (or noodle as Andy would say). But we got some nice structure. Keep in mind this is the short version after we left the first storm. If you want to hear our adventures on the dirt roads in Nebraska, leave a comment. But I figure I better not get in to it since we have enough to write a fricken book. Stats: 1374 miles, 27 straight hours up, 25 of that in the car, saw the sunrise 2 days in a row, got ZERO sleep in between, no watch ever issued, but still some cool storms. Pics:

Turkey neck towers start going up:

Towers looking better:

Towers looking more crisp:

Rotating updraft:

Storm starts dying as they hit some sort of boundary and so does the updraft, all in less than 10 minutes:

Cropped picture of the wall cloud near North Platte, NE. View is from about 12 miles away and you can see the annoying hills we had to deal with.

Click here for a time lapse of the rotating updraft!!


Andrew said...

You crazy. But I like it. You actually saw a rotating updraft, something more rare than hen's teeth this year.

Midwestchaser said...

I figure I've seen more than other so far this season. I dunno if I'd do it again for nearly 1400 miles, but I definately dont regret going Wednesday.