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« Chase Day 9 - Night Time Tornadoes (May 25) | Main | Chase Day 7 - Nebraska Bust (May 23) »

Chase Day 8 - Structure & Lightning (May 24)

Yawn ... Exhausted. We have been doing a TON of driving. 

We started the morning in Salina, Kansas and luckily we were close to our target area so we were able to sleep in a bit longer. We headed for a general target of Garnett, Kansas and waited. Most of the models were hinting at late-day initiation so we knew we had to be patient. The SPC outlined a larger tornado and storm risk in Minnesota and Wisconsin but we didn't want to chase there for several reasons: 

  1. The drive was way too far for us to make it there and back to central Plains for the day after.
  2. The storm motions were going to be very fast (in the 60-70 mph range) so would be very hard to chase.
  3. The terrain in Wisconsin is terrible for chasing: a lot of hills and trees.
  4. The storms would eventually form into a messy line making it, once again, very difficult to chase.

So we hung back and decided to play with our southern target. Sure enough by about 6:00pm we saw "blips" forming on radar. We repositioned to about the Lydon area and watched our cell grow. It wasn't taking on a classic supercell shape (visually or on radar) but was still showing broad signs of rotation. 

We repositioned again to get a better view and by that point the storm had taken on beautiful structure. So we sat and photographed the storm as the sun set and then we shot some lightning as well. We didn't get a tornado today but not every chase has to result in a tornado. Just seeing the incredible structure of the storms is sometimes enough.

We're all exhausted after the past few days of crazy driving so we're going to get to sleep. I'll post one picture below as a "tease" but I'll edit the rest tomorrow. We got some great video as well.


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