|Friday was supposed to be the main show in our two day trip
to the Great Plains. A screaming 500mb jet over a tight dryline with
strong instability laid the ingredients down for a widespread severe weather
outbreak. The veering between the 850mb and 500mb levels was not
great, however, and there was some question about if we would wind up with
supercells or a big squall line. Up in Nebraska where a very deep
surface low was tracking, surface winds were forecasted to back more to the
southeast providing better low level directional shear, but with less
|We got up late and headed down to Concordia for some
breakfast, stopping at Kristy's diner, which featured an amusement
assortment of signs on the front:
|The Optimist Club bench was our good luck charm for this
chase, and we made Chad sit in it.
After breakfast we debated whether to
target Kansas or Nebraska. We settled on the Kansas target as the
helicity was forecast to increase later as the low level jet strengthened.
As we started south toward Salina, we passed Andrew Pritchard heading north
making for the Nebraska target. Who would pick the right target?
In the end... none of us.
|The dryline lit up much earlier than we hoped for, and
filled in to the north looking way too linear. Also, with strong jet
stream overhead, storm speeds were ridiculously fast, approaching 60 mph.
The plan was to intercept the line and drop down from cell to cell or let
them pass us. There was no way we could keep up with them. Some
mammatus as we approaching the north end of the line near Lincoln, KS:
|We stopped for some pictures near Vesper, KS, letting the
line come to us. Our view of the base was shrouded by precipitation so
instead I shot a picture of this cow, and some convection going on the
dryline to our west:
|The College of DuPage team showed up a few minutes later and
setup on the road north of us.
|We all agreed that our viewing from this position was not
the best, so we went back east a bit and dropped south. Looking east
away from the storm with the anvil stretching overhead and mammatus
|Looking west at billowing convection above the storm's
updraft base as it went screaming by us to the north.
|A storm went tornado warned two counties to our south.
I wondered out loud if COD would haul down to that storm, and sure enough,
we saw them fly past us two minutes later. Some unidentifiable
lowerings under the storm's base:
|We eventually let our storm go and dropped down south to the
tornado warned storm as well. Visibility was not the best and we saw a
ragged shelf like lowering ahead of a massive precipitation core:
|Finally, a discrete storm went up ahead of the line well to
our south. Intercepting did not take long due to the storm motions,
but we had to dodge a few severe cores on the way down. The storm was
exhibiting high precipitation qualities and we were unable to discern a good
rain free base. Looking southwest at the most discrete, tornado warned
storm we saw that day:
|We were able to keep up with the storm for a short
ways, while we had a road that paralleled it to the north before we had to
turn east to avoid getting cored. Some ragged lowerings under a very
|We lost the storm and stopped in McPherson for some grub,
hoping to play Tail-End-Charlie of the line after dinner. The line,
however, extended all the way down to Texas and was one gigantic linear mess
by that point. We continued south however to mess around with a severe
warned bow echo. Chad got us worked up for a moment when he spotted
this feature, but it was just scud condensing under a disorganized looking
|After letting the line hit us, and experiencing less than
severe winds, we started heading east for home. We finally broke out
ahead of the line near Emporia, and had to turn off onto highway 136 in
northern MO to keep ahead of it. Along the way we followed a discrete
storm ahead of the line that had a nice RFB and was exhibiting some rotation
on the radar, but it eventually got gobbled up by the line north of St.
Joseph. We stopped in the small town of Unionville, MO where a woman
in a nightrobe and slippers gave us a very large motel room at a very
This was supposed to be the
main event of our trip, and a big high risk outbreak. Instead we wound
up with a gigantic squall line bust. The Nebraska target didn't really
fair any better with rather weak, scattered storm development.
- Extreme shear and instability make for a light speed, linear bust if
there is no directional shear.