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May 26 - Chase Day 11 - The Amazing LP 

Hello from Kearney, Nebraska!

We started the morning off in ... where else ... North Platte, Nebraska. We had a tentative target of McCook, Nebraska but had to refine as the day wore on. We ended up heading back north to North Platte and then continue north toward Arnold, Nebraska.

The cumulus were fading but and the potential for a bust was growing bigger and bigger. Then it happened: a blip on radar near Broken Bow and 95% of the chasers in Nebraska headed for the storm!

As we approached the storm from the northwest the updraft was unbelievable! A beautiful storm to watch grow. As we got closer it became more and more beautiful. A giant, low precipitation supercell with amazing structure and dangerous, but beautiful, lightning. The storm tried to create a few wall clouds but just couldn't get its act together.

That didn't matter because the structure and the lightning were incredible. We got some of the best video and photos we've taken all trip! We sat just west of the town of Arcadia and filmed timelapse and took numerous pictures.

As the light faded and the storm subsided, we made our way south to Kearney, Nebraska where we're spending the night. I don't have time tonight to post pictures and video but here's a sneak peak at the amazing structure and lightning we saw:

This next week looks to be a huge chase week with day after day of big severe risks. Unfortunately yesterday we got to experience some of the most disgusting driving I have ever witnessed. People were driving on the wrong side of the road, cutting people off on dirt roads, pulling off on the small shoulder of the highway and swinging their doors open. It wasn't just out of town chasers though ... We saw a lot of locals out doing the same thing so you can't just blame the chasers. We saw a group of locals try to pass us on a solid line for about a mile UP HILL! We had no idea who was coming down the other side. One of our chaser friends saw this same group purposely try and kill a turkey on the road. Disgusting ... 

Anyway, unfortunately this seems to be the way chasing is going but I hope that changes because someone's going to get injured just by driving.

Off to sleep, another big chase day tomorrow.

 

May 25 - Chase Day 10 - Busting, Carhenge and North Platte ... Again!

BUST! Sigh ... A lovely 470 mile square around Nebraska ... back to where we started ...

We knew today didn't have the greatest potential but when you're out here for a limited time you chase everything you can. We headed north toward Valentine, Nebraska then west toward Gordon. Data was hit of miss so we didn't get a good look at things until we stopped in Gordon.

A nice cell was firing north of Rapid City, South Dakota and there was no way we were venturing up there! We kept tabs on it from radar. We started heading back south toward Alliance, Nebraska and watched some showers develop into ... Nothing. 

We stopped at Carhenge and took some photos like good tourists then got back in the cars with our tails tucked and headed back to North Platte.

We were treated to a beautiful sunset and some pretty low precipitation updrafts but here we are again, same hotel, North Platte, Nebraska.

We chase again tomorrow and then next week looks like some intense chasing in the Plains.

TWO **NEW** videos added to the video page including dust devils on May 22 and standing under a rotating updraft and amazing lightning on May 24 here: 2013 Storm Chase Video. I've added them below but go to that page for full list of videos from this season. 

 

May 24 - Chase Day 9 - Vortices, Updrafts & Lightning in Colorado & Nebraska

A very late hello from North Platte, Nebraska ... again!

We started the day in Liberal, Kansas with Chris Kridler. We had a quick bite to eat at our hotel and left the "Wizard of Oz" town for our target of Burlington, Colorado. The SPC issued a 5% tornado risk for several areas and most chasers were split between two targets: northeast Colorado or southeast Colorado.

Well, as initiation started, cells popped up in both target areas. Our cells weren't looking to hot on radar but visually they were looking good. The southern cells looked great on radar, can't confirm what they looked like visually.

As the day wore on one two cells we were following fizzled and the other took over. Again, the radar returns were fairly weak but they looked great! We followed the storm north of Wray, Colorado to near Holyoke, Colorado. We were pulled off on the side of the road watching the LP (low precipitation) supercell overhead when it started to develop a small lowering right in front of us. This area started to quickly move directly overhead and we were treated to one of the coolest weather phenomenas I have had the opportunity to see! We were starting directly up into a swirling vortex. We were looking directly up into the updraft of an LP supercell. It was unbelievable. The photos and videos depict what was happening but it was like looking up into the sky and seeing a satellite image of a tropical storm ... or a cross section of a cresting wave.

The storm just would not die. We followed it east into Nebrasa and it kept pulsing with these beautiful updrafts and sheer funnels. As the sun began to sank we were wondering if the low level jet would kick this thing up. Well ... the sun set and the lightning sky rocketed and the storm developed a hook and baseball size hail. We were on the western side of the storm so we couldn't get a look at the "business" end but from what chasers in the area were saying, there was no visual.

We stayed on the west side of the storm and slowly followed in behind it stopping on occassion to shoot lightning pictures and videos near Wallace, Nebraska. A local came by to check on us to see if we were okay and he unfortunately had his windshield smashed out by the hail on this storm.

NEW Photos: May 24 Chase Day - Lightning, vortices and updrafts

Once we shot all the lightning we could, we started our dangerous trek back to North Platte. To say there were deer along the highway would be an understatement ... There were deer standing directly on the highway, grazing off to the side. The lightning actually helped us spot deer along the way.

Well, we made it safely back to our hotel ... very late. Time to sleep and chase again tomorrow. Tomorrow's risk isn't very high. The areas with a better risk are way to far north. We'll likely stick to northwestern areas of Nebraska for tomorrow.

May 23 - Chase Day 8 - No Panhandle Magic in the Texas Panhandle

Hello from Liberal, Kansas!

Today was a lackluster chase day, to say the least. The target was the Texas panhandle with the northern part having the better flow and dynamics. We started the day in Amarillo and drifted south toward Clarendon, Texas and waited. Two large supercells fired up down near north of Lubbock and they were tempting. The issue was all forecast models and surface obs were telling us to stick to our guns and stay with our northern target. Even some of the meteorology experts were saying to stick it out. We saw some towers going up on satellite and meandered our way back closer to Amarillo. We waited on a lone road for ... a couple of hours? And just watched ... and watched ... We watched two cells form, merge, the right split died and the left split continued on.

We headed north toward the surviving supercell but it quicly died off and the chase was done. There was quite a bit of action down on the southern storms. The first of two was spitting out landspouts. Then when the second one took over it quickly became wrapped in rain and dust and became an "earth-eater" supercell where it sucked up everything in its path. There were reports of a tornado though I don't know if anyone actually saw it. There was extensive damage reported along with haboobs and very strong winds.

We headed to Liberal, Kansas for the night, home of the Land of Oz tribute to the Wizard of Oz. This puts us in better position for tomorrow's target ... Perhaps in Colorado.

I added a few more photo galleries ... Check them out here: NEW PHOTOS

I also added new videos ... Check tem out here: NEW VIDEOS

May 18 tornado in Kansas:

May 22 - Travel Day - The Big Texan

No storms to chase today ... So we made it our travel/laundry day. We left Wichita Falls closer to noon, had a bite to eat then headed toward The Big Texan in Amarillo, Texas.

We made it to Amarillo in a few hours, did some laundry, then headed over to The Big Texan for some amazing steak and drinks. Of course there were tons of chasers there, some old friends, some new friends, some meeting for the first time. It was a good time!

Target for tomorrow in the Texas panhandle so staying in Amarillo tonight puts us in play for tomorrow. After tomorrow it looks like we could have a couple of more down day before what is looking to be a chase-day-after-chase-day-palooza next week that the long range models are hinting at.

Goodnight from Amarillo!