July 28, 2011 Lee’s Summit, MO

By , July 28, 2011 9:52 pm

A few isolated thunderstorms developed near the house tonight ahead of a weak front. I headed out for a quick shoot along hwy. 50 just east of Lee’s Summit, MO. The storms did not last particularly long but I did manage to get a few shots before they dissipated.


June 10, 2010 Deer Trail, CO

By , June 11, 2010 4:24 pm
Began the day in Loveland, CO and made an initial drive to Cheyenne, WY as morning data and analysis indicated a decent chance for supercells developing off the Cheyenne Ridge by the afternoon. After sitting there for a couple of hours and checking the latest and greatest rendition of the RUC and obs, made my way back south to Fort Morgan. The initial storm developed near DIA and I headed southwest down I76 to Roggen. Turning south, I was quickly greeted to some jaw-dropping structure as the storm moved northeast of DIA. I followed it east on Hwy52/Co Rd 12 with great structure continuing to near Hoyt, CO. This storm eventually weakened (I assume from from the influence of upstream convection) and I dropped south on Winview Mile Rd to Hwy 36 to intercept the new intensifying storm northwest of Limon, CO. This storm displayed similar structure to the first but for some reason decided to produce the two (possibly 3) tornadoes neat Deer Trail/Last Chance. I observed the first from about 5 miles away on Hwy 36, about 10 miles west of Last Chance. I repositioned a bit further west and south when the second tornado developed about 2 miles to my southwest. There was also a brief time when a third ground circulation developed to the southwest of my position, although I was unable to determine if this was the remnant circulation of the first tornado or another tornadic circulation. In any event, this circulation did not maintain itself long with the other tornado continuing within the occluded region for about 5-7 minutes.  When this tornado dissipated, I was positioned in the northwest part of the vault and of course was soon bombarded with big hail. Heading back east on Hwy 36, I observed 3-4 inch hail, which did some damage to the windshield (its still drivable though). Met up with Josh, Barb, Al, Pam, and Mick near Lindon and followed the storm to near Anton, observing great structure on the south and southwest side of the updraft, before calling it a day.

May 24, 2010 Goodland, KS/Benkelman, NE

By , May 25, 2010 3:21 am

Scott Blair and I began the day near Goodland, KS with a storm that developed just south of the city, near Sharon Springs, KS. This storm displayed decent structure initially with hard updraft tower and well defined wall cloud. We followed the storm north of  Goodland before the updraft shrank and the storm weakened.  We stayed out expecting new development to eventually take shape across this area. We met up with Pam Murray and two new updrafts developed near Bird City, KS. We followed them up Hwy. 161 observing the lead updraft steadily shrink. However, in the process a well defined funnel developed and persisted for about 7 minutes. We followed the convection north to Binkelman and then Enders, NE, which eventually developed into  a line as the dry line initiated additional convection. After preliminarily calling it a day, I gassed up in Imperial and headed east on Hwy. 6 to McCook. Along the way, I observed quarter sized hail near Culbertson, NE. I took Hwy 83 south out of McCook, NE toward Oberlin, KS. As I approached Oberlin, a fairly new updraft along the dryline showed some signs of mid level rotation. I stopped to observe a well-defined occlusion as the RFD wrapped around. I eventually continued south to I70 and headed home observing a brilliant sunset along the way and some nighttime lightning.

May 23, 2010 Leoti, KS

By , May 23, 2010 11:18 pm

Chased with Katie Burtis,  Scott Blair, and Amos Magliocco today. Began the day in O’neille, NE and made the long trip with Amos to Garden City, KS. We arrived there by mid afternoon to observe healthy cu development across far southwest KS. A few storms soon developed, and we followed the initial cell up to near Dighton, KS before poor road options left us heading back west. We decided to abandon the northern storms and focus on a new storm developing to our southwest. We intercepted this new storm along Hwy. 25 north of Leoti, KS. The initial appearance showed a nice lowering beneath a well defined meso. Soon, a RFD cut into the low level circulation, tightening the evident rotation.  The storm soon lost its organization and we called it a day, heading back to Colby for the night.

May 22, 2010 Bowdle, SD

By , May 22, 2010 11:41 pm

Started the day in North Platte, NE and got a late start heading north with Scott Blair, Lauren Hill, and Chris Hill. We stopped for lunch in Valentine, NE, meeting up with Amos Magliocco who joined the rest of the convoy for the day. After a a stop in Murdo, SD to reassess the situation, it became clear we needed to go north and east as the better moisture axis had shifted. Extreme CAPE values had developed by the mid afternoon across north-central into eastern SD with a warm front lifting across portions of northern SD. We were initially skeptical of the day as little cu had developed to this point. However, heading east out of Murdo, we finally noticed the first stout cu developing between Gettysburg and Selby, SD. Heading north on Hwy. 83, we observed convective initiation across this area, which rapidly became supercellular. We took Hwy 20 east then Hwy 47 north to get into position. While on Hwy 47, a stout lowering was observed which quickly showed signs of rapid rotation. Soon the circulation tighten and a cone funnel developed. The first tornado developed just west of Hwy. 47 characterized by an initial cone funnel with debris fan below. The tornado then transitioned into a stove pipe shape then back to a more broad cone with debris whirl beneath as it crossed Hwy. 47. We jumped north on Hwy 47 then east on Hwy 12 to stay ahead of the tornado. As the circulation crossed Hwy 47 and then Hwy 12, it widened and again fully condensed, becoming a wide cone. As we observed the tornado along Hwy. 12, the RFD precip soon cleared revealing a white meso with grayish cone beneath on the south side of the circulation. We continued to move east on Hwy 12 to Bowdle and then north again on Hwy. 47. At this time, the tornado transitioned to a large wedge with an intense, rapid ground circulation. This was by far the most intense tornado I have ever observed. As the tornado traversed the field, it crossed a line of metal power transmission towers, which were toppled over. The RFD was quite intense at our location, occasionally  wrapping sheets of rain. It eventually  crossed Hwy. 47 engulfing a radio/cell tower while becoming more rain-wrapped. We decided to continue east on Hwy12 again when a second tornado developed north of the road. This tornado took on a stove pipe appearance before becoming an elephant trunk and then dissipating. We continued east on Hwy12 before turning north again at Ipswich. We positioned ourselves northeast of the meso where our contrast would be best given the larger amounts of precipitation that was beginning to wrap around the back side of the storm. There we observed a third tornado, which was a cone with several tentacles extending to the ground. This circulation soon became rain-wrapped, then re-appeared and became rain wrapped again. We let the low level circulation pass south of our location and headed south on the back side of the storm. With day light winding down and the storm becoming increasingly HP in nature, we decided to get ahead of the storm to get some structure shots. We ended the day in Aberdeen with some dinner before heading south for the next day.

May 21, 2010 Torrington, WY

By , May 21, 2010 10:36 pm

Chased with Scott Blair, initially targeting NE Colorado as rapid moisture was advecting into the high terrain. We were counting on either the Palmer Divide or the Cheyenne Ridge to initiate convection by the mid afternoon hours. Well, neither scenario occurred and the only storms that developed were off the mountains in eastern Wyoming. Out of the initially ragged convection, one storm finally developed into a supercell producing a brief tornado early in its life cycle. By mid afternoon, it became evident that storms were not going to develop in our area of interest. So in a last ditch effort to salvage the day, we headed north to intercept the eastern Wyoming cell. We arrived on the storm north of Torrington, WY where we observed a relatively tight area of rotation as the RFD wrapped around the low level circulation. This feature eventually occluded but failed to produce a tornado.  We headed north on Hwy 159, observing golf ball sized hail. We eventually called it a day due to poor road options.

May 19, 2010 Leedey/Dover, OK

By , May 21, 2010 10:56 am

Began the day in Norman with a short drive to set up in Clinton, OK. Met up with Scott Blair and Amos Magliocco and we targeted a storm that developed along the outflow boundary near Leedey, OK. As we approached the storm on SR 34, a laminar funnel began to develop beneath a clean, rain-free base.  The funnel tightened and a tornado soon developed, persisting for about 5 minutes with debris being briefly observed at one point. Scott and I moved east to observe the new meso but soon had to move north due to poor road options through the Canadian river valley. After a 10 minute delay due to an overturned semi, we proceeded north then east to Taloga. We eventually made it south again via Hwy 270 to Oakwood where we observed very low cloud bases and briefly wrapping rain curtains to out east. We moved east to Eagle City through poor dirt roads, nearly getting stuck several times. After a few failed attempts to stay ahead of the storm, we decided to reposition well ahead of it, taking Hwy 33 and 81 to Dover. There we observed a cone, rain-wrapped tornado a few miles west of Dover. This tornado was persisted for several minutes with multiple vortices, before lifting and becoming obscured by rain. We then headed east to Cresent then south on Hwy 74 to Cimarron City. Near the intersection of Hwys 73 and 33, we observed a well-defined funnel that persisted for several minutes but didn’t touchdown. We moved east to Guthrie, encountering traffic congestion through the town. After witnessing a few more attempts at more defined low level organization, we called it a day and headed into Edmond for dinner.

April, 29, 2010 Washington, KS

By , April 29, 2010 11:12 pm

Katie Burtis and I got a late start on the day and missed the initial convection that developed. Heading north out of Junction City, we intercepted the second cell near Washington, KS observing a heavily tilted updraft with ragged, blocky wall cloud from Hwy 148. The storm became better organized as it approached Steel City/Hollenberg with a long tail off to the northeast and increased visual mid level rotation. The wall cloud became conical shaped at times as the vertical motion increased on the along the edges and several rounds of scud were ingested. This storm soon weakened as it moved north with the next storm intensifying to the southwest. We made a long round about move and caught up with this cell again near Washington/Hanover. By this time, we were losing light and ended the day following the storm to Hwy 77 east of Odell. We missed the tornado, probably repositioning during the time it developed. All in all a decent day with some visually appealing structure.

April 23, 2010 Tecumseh, NE

By , April 23, 2010 11:22 pm

Low expectation day as axis of higher theta e air mass streamed into portions of NE KS/SE NE/NW MO. Initially set up near Auburn, NE as healthier CU developed during the late afternoon. Met up unexpectedly with Jared Leighton there and we perused data while waiting. Expected convective initiation along moisture discontinuity/pseudo dryline arc across NE KS. Convection finally initiated near Beatrice near 00Z taking on supercell characteristics as it moved northeast with robust striated updraft tower and decent back-sheared anvil.  Occasional lowerings were observed as it passed my location near Tecumseh. Losing light, I observed some vivid lightning as the storm moved away from my position and into the Omaha metro area.

March 10, 2010 Northern OK/Southern KS

By , March 14, 2010 9:23 am

Low expectation day with low topped convection progged to develop near the KS/OK border during the afternoon hours. Met up with Scott Blair and Jared Leighton in Ottawa, KS before heading down to Chanute, KS for a data stop. We continued south and intercepted the ongoing convection west of Pawhuska, OK, which was developing just north and east of the slowly advancing surface low. This activity initially appeared to be fairly robust along the southeastern flank where new updrafts continued to develop. However, the low level features remained fairly benign as we observed along Hwy 60 between Pawhuska and Burbank.

We allowed the convection to pass ahead of us, then followed it north on Co Rd 4551 to Foraker then took Hwy. 18 to Grainola. During this time, the convection likely interacted with the associated east-west oriented warm front just north of the OK/KS border. Convection become more robust at this time and a thin funnel cloud was observed for approximately 1 minute near Cedar Vale, KS.

We continued to follow the storm northward, driving through several areas of small hail deposited across the road. The day ended near Sedan, KS with a few photos of the convection near sunset.