April 7, 2013


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Medicine Lodge, KS
Springfield, IL 6:04 PM 4/6/2013
Wichita, KS 10:58 PM 4/7/2013
Great Bend, KS
0 mph
Updraft Base


Modest dryline play across southern Kansas. Targeted top of dryline bulge by Medicine Lodge but cloud cover stifled instability and initiation so retargeted Tail-End-Charlie of moisture starved storms to the north by Great Bend. Intercepted elongated updraft base with lowered gust front, but little other structure was apparent. Called it a chase at sunset heading for Wichita for the night.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl. Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon t2i, Canon EFS 10-22, Canon EF 50mm.




Sunday, April 7 looked like it would be the first real chase of 2013 and would kick off what looked to be four consecutive days of chasing as a trough moved through the Great Plains and Midwest. Jennifer Brindley Ubl and I were making plans for a multi-day run when we got a request from Sean and Jennifer Casey to drive as a support vehicle for their Tornado Intercept Vehicle’s team. We jumped on the opportunity, which didn’t start until Monday. Sunday, however, looked like a modest dryline play across Kansas and Oklahoma, so we decided to get out there a day early. Jenn took the train down to Springfield, and after a lengthy delay getting the van ready followed by several stops at various stores, we were finally rolling at 6pm Saturday the night before the event. We were treated to photogenic sunset skies on 72 as we entered Missouri and had a smooth ride into Kansas, stopping in Emporia for the night. We targeted the top of a dryline bulge which featured the best moisture convergence and shear profiles near Medicine Lodge, KS. We were on the road again the next morning making for our target and arriving in Medicine Lodge by noon, Nick Nolte and Brad Goddard waiting for us at the Subway. We were soon joined by Adam Lucio, Jonathan Williamson, Alec Scholten, Scott Bennett, Mike Brady, and several other chasers. I started to feel a sunburn coming on as I swapped the van’s skylight out for the dome camera enclosure and worked on the van outside, so I borrowed some of Jenn’s sunscreen. The move jinxed our target and the warm sector quickly became socked in with clouds. We waited for a couple hours to see if the clouds would clear, but alas things started looking bleak for our target as temperatures dropped from the 70’s in the 60’s with cool, misting skies. To our north, skies were sunny and the atmosphere was destabilizing. A small line of storms started to initiate from the Nebraska border down toward central Kansas. The moisture was lacking to the north, however, with dewpoint temperatures only in the 40’s to low 50’s. Despite the lackluster moisture, it became apparent after a while that this was going to be the only show. We rolled out of Medicine Lodge heading north toward Great Bend to intercept Tail-End-Charlie, which we hoped would mature into something decent by the time we got there.

Under The Gust Front
2 miles NNW of Albert, KS
7:03 PM
We wanted to make sure we were at full tanks before intercepting, so we made a quick pit stop in Great Bend before intercepting. As it turned out, the storm was peaking then, with reports of a wall cloud and even a “bird fart” dust whirl tornado. We came in from the east on a gravel road under the anvil and rainy forward flank with Nick Nolte behind us. As we approached the storm we could see a lowered base and I was hoping for our first decent wall cloud of the year. We cut south to get out of the rain, but it soon became apparent that we were looking at more of a shelfy gust front.

Elongated Updraft Base
6 miles SSE of Olmitz, KS
7:17 PM
The rear flanking core started to move in on us, which was just thin blast of rain with the sun behind it. We dropped a couple miles south to a highway heading back to Great Bend and ran east to get ahead of the storm, which was an elongated, featureless updraft base. The highway was thick with chasers, driving and pulled off on the shoulders. It was the largest convergence I had seen in a while, all the chasers no doubt converging to play the one decent storm in the region. We stopped again briefly to watch the featureless base before moving again after we noticed the RFD was scooting past us to the east.

Ellinwood, KS
7:51 PM
The storm started to fall apart on the radar as we drove through Great Bend. We stopped east of town to get some sunset shots and figure out where we were going to stay for the night. James Seitz, Nick Scherber, Rob Hurkes, John Allen, and his girlfriend stopped to say hi and we had a mini Stormtrack chat reunion before the sun went down and we went on our separate ways.
We headed for Wichita and met up with Sean and Jennifer Casey at an Applebee’s for dinner, and were soon joined by Brandon Ivey, Adam, Jon, Alec, several other chasers, and a journalist who would be tagging along with us. It was fun to catch up and kick back after the chase, and everyone was excited for the coming days.


With the lack of supercell structure, this chase was a bust. The cloud cover killed the opportunities at our initial target, but we were able to still salvage the chase with a storm intercept to the north. We missed the storm's peak display, a possible wall cloud and brief dust whirl tornado, but weren't too bummed about missing the modest display. We were just happy to be out again, and the chase turned out to be a valuable practice run for our coming days chasing with Team TIV. it was also great catching up with a lot of old and new friends.

Lessons Learned

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