June 14, 2014


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Norfolk, NE
Kadoka, SD 10:57 AM 6/14/2014
West Point, NE 9:48 PM 6/14/2014
Norfolk, NE
0 mph
Wall Cloud, Gust Front


Warm front/dryline setup in northeast Nebraska. Targeted Norfolk, NE area for afternoon tornadic supercells. Intercepted pair of tornado warned supercells north of Norfolk, noting classic wall clouds on each, visible at the same time. Both storms gusted out before producing, froming a large outflow dominant line. Called it a chase at a dusk heading to West Point for the night.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl, Phil Bates. Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon t2i, Canon EFS 10-22, Canon EF 50mm, Sony HDR-xr500v..




June 14 was originally supposed to be the big day of an extended chase trip with Jennifer Brindley Ubl and Phil Bates. The forecast models had been advertising a big trough digging into a strongly unstable airmass in the central plains. The day featured a slow moving, nearly stationary cold front coming out of the Dakotas, with a trailing dryline down through Kansas and a warm frnot bowing up into Iowa. We decided to target the northern end of the setup where the surface winds were better backed, the cap was more open, and LCL heights would favor tornadoes. Our initial target was Norfolk, NE. We had some fun departing Kadoka, SD on a half tank of gas, not realizing that there is practically no civilization along the way and no place to refuel. We made it to a small town with gas on the NE border with a few miles to spare. We stopped shy of Norfolk to get some Subway and await initiation under soupy, overcast skies.
Cells fired to our northeast and we scrambled to go after them, not wanting to fall behind. They rapidily organized into supercells in the favorably sheared environment. We divereted around Norfolk and went north for the intercept. Two mature looking, severe warned storms were moving east, one right after the other. We had a visual on the southwest cell first, a line of scud being ingested into the updraft base marking the start of a wall cloud.
The northeast most cell came into view next with a gnarly looking, mature wall cloud. We had a clear visual on both cells and were impressed that we could see concurrent wall clouds on two different supercells. The double feature would pale in comparison to the one we'd see two days later, but the sight made the chase for us.

Wall Cloud
8 miles NE of Pierce, NE
6:27 PM
The northern cell's wall cloud started to fall apart as rain fell through the updraft base. It looked like a cell merger was underway so we decided to focus on the wall cloud to our southwest. We got into the inflow notch of the supercell as it picked up a tornado warning. The backlighting was great, and would have been perfect for a tornado show.
But the storm remained quiet, the wall cloud eventually falling apart and gusting out. We let the RFD clear slot get almost overhead before moving east.

Lining Out
6 miles W of Wayne, NE
7:12 PM
A line of cells was erupting down the length of the stationary front, forming a solid complex with a gust front that was fanning out. We had a visual on a rain free base for awhile, hoping that it would cycle.

Gust Front
6 miles W of Wayne, NE
7:15 PM
We were blasted by outflow before anything could happen though. Scud swirled overhead, tendrils of cloud fragment ominously dancing and reaching toward the ground. A panoramic of the gust front as it moved overhead:
Dusk set it in and our immediate targets were all lining out and going outflow dominant, so we decided to call it a chase and get some dinner and room. We wound up in West Point, NE and had a small Mexican feast.


Witnessing two wall clouds at the same time was a great catch for us, and made our day, even though we were hoping that this would be our big tornado day of the trip. The catch of the day wound up being a photogenic landspout in south central Nebraska that few chasers were on. Several other tornado reports came in from the south as well, but they weren't nearly as photogenic or were after dark. We could have gone after the nocturnal play, but we didn't expect much of a tornado show as the cap was forecast to return with the cooling boundary layer.

Lessons Learned

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