Tuesday, April 19, 2011

2011 - Coming Out Of Mothballs

Stormchasing season is cranking up, and so will this blog. Look for some brief chase reports, photos, video, and later in June my chasecation journal as I pursue and point a lens at some of the most violent weather on earth across Tornado Alley! :-)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 25, 2010 Video - Landspout Tornadoes

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Exit Stage Left

Yesterday was a big disappointment in NE Nebraska. Storms fired, but were lethagic given the instability parameters and soon fizzled. I think aot of that is because the surface convergence was very weak in relation to a emoderate capping inversion. It did't help wither that the boundary layer flow was roughly parallel to the id level flow creating a unidirectional profile. Plus, I don't believe the mid level inpulse advertised by the short fuse models materialized. Even the hatched tornado threat in southern South Dakota fizzled compared to expectations.

So, now it is time to officially close out the season for me...exit stage left. 2010 has been the best chase season for me personally followed closely by 2005. I'm not into tornado counting, but I've seen close to 20 this year. I've seen some incredible structure as well along with an excellent CG lighning barrage a week ago. 2010 is also the first time since about 2005 that I've felt great physically which makes it alot more fun too.

I'm looking forward to getting back home and focusing on my efforts to get some income rolling in and eagerly preparing to pursue my meteorology degree starting this fall. I should know within a month if I am going to be able to stay in Amarillo/Lubbock or not. One of the advantages of my stormchasing excursion was to check out different areas to live in. To be honest, I wouldn't mind Denver, Colorado Springs, North Platte, Omaha, Grand Island, Kansas City, Wichita, and even Oklahoma City metro area. Fort Worth is stil on my list too for the sole reason of remaining in Texas. Dallas is certainly not even in consideration unless it's around Plano/Allen/McKinney with a stupendous job opportunity.

Now to get up and going this morning from Kearney, Nebraska. I've got a 9 hour drive ahead of me today...and if lucky, see a good storm or two down in Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle along the way. It will be good to sleep in my own bed tonight and in general the comforts of home.

I've got some great images to do some HDR processing on as well as video to compile including some timelapse stuff which I'm eager to see how it turns out. That will help pass the dog days of summer. :-)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

June 25, 2010 - Landspout Tornadoes!!!

After a bust day in NE Colorado on the 24th and a down day the day before, I was really needing a good chase. Did I ever!

I caught three landspout tornadoes with some incredible funnels around Thedford, Nebraska. It was a tough forecast with the models really struggling. I finally decided on Thedford after analyzing surface data which were showing strong convergence and high instability around Thedford and ENE to the South Dakota border.

The convergence was strongest near Thedford where light northerly winds convereged with stronger S/SSW winds. The HRRR model FINALLY busted out an isolated cell there with it's early afternoon run. After seeing some towers beginning to go up in that area, the choice was clear. It was also a good setup for landspouts.

I got under the new updraft bases as they grew into storms and quickly produced the first funnel cloud NE of Thedford. It became tornado #1. Off to the west, the other cell produced one of the longest, thinnest funnels protruding out at least a mile from the updraft base. It was stunning as it was white in stark contrast against a blue sky and dark storm base. I had two funnels at the same time from two different cells!

Stayed with the westernmost storm as it produced a couple more landspout tornadoes. It came close to producing a mesocyclone tornado, but just couldn't do it. Not sure why it didn't.

Today, heading to southern South Dakota around Pierre/Murdo as my initial target....adjusting as the day wears on and the surface parameters become more clear.

Pictures!!!! (click on the arrow below to start the slideshow). If you have a problem, check out my gallery directly by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Chasecation Update - 6/25

SBusted in NE Colorado yesterday. Stayed the night in Sidney, Nebraska. After mulling data this morning, combined with driving distance, chose NE Nebraska today...target O'Neill. Hopefully, mother nature will play nice today!!! After 2 days of no storms, I'm jonesing for some scary looking clouds!! LOL!!

Looks one more chase day tomorrow at which point the tornado alley storm generation comes crashing to a close. Exit, stage left. That is my cue to head back home and get to work on finding work.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

June 23 Pics - Down Day - Lake McConaughy

A nice little side trip today driving from North Platte, Nebraska to Fort Morgan, Colorado where I'm staying the night. This is a very comfortable and "cozy" motel and a comfortable bed. It's big change from the previous two nights for about the same price. Looking forward to a great night's sleep! They also have a restaurant here too that is pretty darned good. Fort Morgan is a pretty nice town in of itself. I feel pretty secure here and able to really relax and unwind. This place is in the tops of my preferred places to stay.

Anyway, I checked out Lake McConaughy near Ogallalah Nebraska. This entire area is beautiful with lush, greenery and rolling hills. The weather is pretty nice too which helps. :-) I should also note that North Platte is a pretty nice place overall and would be a good place to live. A very clean town with all of the amenities nestled in some beautiful country. It doesn't hurt that it's well located for a stormchaser. I'm just sayin' ;-)

So, about to hit the sack. Looking forward to a potentially great chase day with good upslope conditions setting up in E and NE CO. Shear shoud be pretty good and this time, the mid level winds look to be more westerly. This on top of low level S to SE flow, the veering profiles should be excellent. The overall preciptable water values in the atmosphere should be low, so I'm hoping this will reduce the HP tendencies and create some impressive structure at the very least. We'll see.

Some pics!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

June 22, 2010 Pics - Incredible Updraft!!

Sitting here in North Platte, Nebraska getting the oil changed and the tires rotated. Today is a sightseeing day as I have no desire to make a marathon drive for a marginal setup in SE Kansas and the Texas Panhandle. Tomorrow is starting to look like a potential classic upslope event in E and NE Colorado.

In fact, I'm kind of excited about it. It's actually a better setup than the past few days as the post frontal return flow is pretty strong with good dewpoints all across the eastern part of Colorado...no more dry air to the south to worry about. Lots of parameters starting to point to a pretty significant event. So, I'll work my way westward today in a tourist sort of fashion. The weather is nice here, so a nice, casual drive with frequent photo stops along the way is the order of the day.

Yesterday, it was a bit frustrating as I got to the cell in NW KS that went tornado warned and even produced a brief tornado. It looked awesome on radar at first. However, I was a bit too far to the west and could never get in front of it. Chased a storm booking north into NE that looked like it had potential on radar. However, west of Norton, I saw a pretty good updraft and cumulonimbus north of Goodland. So, I turned around and intercepted it. I'm glad I did!!!

As it moved north into Nebraska, it started to appear as if it was weakening with a mushy looking updraft. All of the sudden, something happened and it went totally nuts and exploded like the mushroom cloud from a nuclear explosion!! In 15 minutes, it went from a new updraft to an impressive and spectacular LP supercell and showing a TVS in 15 minutes!!! Incredible!!

Although it was tornado warned and a spotter confirmed a funnel cloud, this was about the time I found myself in a river valley full of trees and sand hills blocking my view. A closed road and stalled train really hosed me from getting into prime position. However, the imagery I captured more than made up for that. It's among my best ever storm structure imo.