Friday, May 21, 2010

5/23/2010 FCST

I will be starting my 5 day chase trip on Sunday. Not gonna go real in depth right now because I'm frickin tired and to be honest I dont have the best idea of what's going to happen on Sunday. However, there will be some sort of boundary slowly moving across Nebraska. While this same boundary may affect SD/MN/IA, the best shear looks to be farther to the southwest and a very juicy atmosphere with MLCAPE values nearing 4000 j/kg across south centra/southeast Nebraska as per the WRF. Another problem farther to the north/northeast is that surface winds will be running more parallel to the boundary. Not completely sure what kind of boundary we are talking about, looks like a slow moving warm front but who knows. Anyways, the only real problem is the cap. I think the new WRF might be a bad run in terms of CINH as it breaks it down rather weird IMO. Also, I personally think earlier models may also have been a little aggressive in breaking down the inhibition with a large swath of no CINH across NE in to KS. Another strike is the upper winds are not ideal, but with decent helicities and strong to extreme instability, I think it could be a fun day. Models are still going back and forth about where exactly the boundary will end up but that will be a chase day call anyway. Regardless, I will out Sunday across south central Nebraska or north central KS. Be sure to watch my stream at and wish me luck on my first "chasecation"! Will be out chasing Sunday thru Thursday.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

4/29/2010 Chaselog: KS

Finally have some time to write this up. Left Wednesday night to get a couple hour head start on Thursday's drive. Was thinking I would stay in Iowa for the chase but wanted to leave Kansas open and I did not want to make that drive in one day. Stopped off at a rest stop for the night Wednesday night about 40 miles north of Des Moines. Got back on the road at about 6 am Thursday morning. Surface winds were REALLY strong, made for a difficult drive. Grabbed some breakfast at Perkins in Des Moines, got back on the road towards Omaha. Got to Council Bluffs, IA (the east side of the river from Omaha) and looked over data. Sat around, trying to figure out what to do. Finally decided to get south to Nebraska City, NE. Grabbed some lunch, looked over more data, the more I thought about it the more I really didnt think Kansas was going to go. Had a Cu field starting to build over me, although they had hardly anything to them. Continued to sit in Nebraska City and watch the Cu. At about 3:00 I read on ST that towers were starting to go up west of Salina, KS (Salina was my prelim target 2-3 days before the event, but like I said I really didnt think KS would go) and get a text from Brad Nelson with a pic of the Cu they are watching. Turn my GR over to Topeka and I see echo tops starting to show up. They weren't impressive but it was obvious that the cap was eroding and storms would go soon. Now that I knew KS was gonna happen I bolted south. However, while I was sitting in Nebraska City I somehow switched off my power strip. So while I'm on my was to KS I notice that my computer battery is at 49%, and I think WTF!?!?! No, no no no no, I know I didnt pop a fuse, espcially since I had no extra ones. I go in to switch fuses (can't remember what fuse I took out to replace the cigarette lighter), and still nothing. On top of this, at the same time my computer decicided to freeze up and had to reboot everything. The switched fuse didn't do anything (keep in mind the fuses in my car are a PAIN IN THE ASS to change), I start thinking I should just head home, cut my losses. Must've been out of desperation I flip the switch on the power strip and whaddya know, it's working again. I still have no idea how I turned it off, but was just extremely happy I got everything figured out. So after this little debacle I continue south. The first storm looked good on radar for a while, even had a couplet on velocity for a couple scans. Plan was to intercept it near Marysville, KS. After I got to Marysville the storm didnt look good visually and didnt look good on radar. Even still, tracked it north for a few miles. Got a view of the base, a little wall cloud, sucked up scud but the scud didnt get pulled up very far. Chased it a couple more miles, ran in to fellow Minnesota chase Jacob Thumberger on a random back road yet again (same thing happened on April 5th in northwest Missouri). The storm puked out, saw another storm to the southwest, nothing else in the area, decided to go after it and try to intercept it near Washington, KS. That's exactly what ended up happening. A nice hill gave me a nice view of the base when I was approaching the storm, but too far away to tell exactly what was happening. Surprisingly the terrain in that area is kinda crappy. Kept going on highway 36 (I think it's 36) to a mile or two west of Washington. A nice feature was hanging on ground to the right, with another area to the left. The area to the right reminded me of a couple of Hollingshead's pics, except no tornado. Still not exactly sure what it was, it looked detached from the base, but I don't know for sure. Watched it for a while, got some video, watched it die out, started to focus my attention to the area to the left as it was came obvious this was the new inflow area. Didn't really have much to it when I was west of Washington, but not long after I started to head back east it REALLY ramped up. Once I got east of Washington, it really started spinning. A large wall cloud with probably the most incredible structure I've ever seen. No rain or hail wrapping around to cut off my view, just incredible. Quite a few trees just off the highway, so had to find an area where there were few trees and I could get a good view of the ground in the distance, which was surprisingly hard to do. Finally found a spot to pull over and got some more video and some pics. Watched it for about 6 or 7 minutes, then had to get back east. Chased it east and north a little bit, watched it puke out too. Apparently a little spinup was reported north of Washington, but I never saw it, then again I wasn't real close. Let that storm go and dove back southwest to try to catch another tornado warned. This third storm looked good on radar but didn't have a view of the base. Can't remember exactly what road it was, but the only road I had to get to the north-south highway I wanted was a northwest-southeast road. It ended up being ok because on my way to the north-south oriented road I was just east of the base of a storm that got tor-warned while I was heading to the storm to the south. This storm also had a nice base and what I think was a wall cloud but it could've been the start of the soon to be very impressive shelf cloud. Either way it was pretty cool. Eventually got to the north-south highway in time to watch the storms line out. I was definitely not dissapointed though, the shelf was simply increible. Didn't get in front of it long enough to setup the tripod, but did get to snap a pic or two of it. Ran in to the only hail of the day while trying to get south of the shelf cloud and even then it was only a little pea size hail. All in all a very good chase, and definitely glad I didnt turn around after my little equipment malfunction. I think the pics do a better job explaining the day than this writeup so I'll let them speak for me.

The first storm north of Marysville, KS:

Second storm near Washington, KS. The feature to the right is the one I was saying I don't know what it is, and sorta resembles a couple of Hollingshead's pics (not sure what day they were from):

Same storm, new action area. Still west of Washington:

Storm east of Washington:

Shelf about 10 miles northwest of Washington:

Possible tornado, although I can NOT confirm:



Sunday, May 2, 2010

About as close as you can get to producing without actually doing it. Informal chaselog 4/29/2010

I still have pics and video to go through from the Washington, KS area from Thursday so I'm not going to make a big chaselog about this day yet but I will soon. I just wanted to show some pics I took that appear to show a funnel trying to extend to the ground. A very brief, weak tornado was reported in about the same area at about the same time but Topeka's write-up about it said a condensation never reached down when the TOR was reported. The pics that I have show SOMETHING just to the left (west) of a large wall cloud under the same parent meso. Everything was spinning like crazy but unfortunately I was a bit too far away to see the little dust spinup that was reported and a nice pair of trees block the view of my video camera just as the funnel was coming down. I didn't even notice this during the chase, and even when I got home and looked through the pics I didn't notice it right away. Eventually I did notice something hanging off a feature to the right of the main wall cloud. Still hard to say what it was, could be scud for all I know but my timelapse of the area showed this feature rapidly rotating with good rising motion. Anyways, here's the pic and link to the timelapse video. Let me know what you think!