August 31, 2014


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Lincoln, NE
Springfield, IL 7:39 AM 8/31/2014
Springfield, IL 6:16 AM 9/1/2014
Cortland, NE
0 mph
Wall Cloud, Lightning


Late summer dryline/cold front play in eastern NE. Targeted Lincoln, NE for afternoon supercells and maybe an evening tornado toward Iowa. Intercepted junky storms south of Lincoln, but one later organized with a wall cloud and lightning. Core punched storm from south noting golfball sized hail before cell fell apart. Left it at the Missouri River as it spun up a nice couplet.

Crew and Equipment

Solo chase. Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon t2i, Canon EFS 10-22, Canon EF 50mm, Sony HDR-xr500v..




Another late season setup in Nebraska. Storms were forecast to fire along a sagging cold front and trailing dryline, with a warm front draped south-southwest across the NE/IA border.. I was hoping to catch a developing supercell near Lincoln and hopefully it would produce as it approached the Missouri River. I headed to Lincoln and west from there where it looked like initation would occur.

Gnarly Wall Cloud
5 miles WSW of Cortland, NE
6:16 PM
A sloppy line of storms went up to my south and I moved in to check them out. They looked junky and were congealing. I got out ahead of the line and kept moving east just to stay in front of them. It looked like the kind of sloppy, watery updrafts you get when the precipitable water values are too high and the lapse rates are weak. One of the cells I just happened to be near rapdily organized to my surprise with a wall cloud. I setup to lapse gnarly looking wall cloud and got a frame wtih a couple of cloud to ground strikes. The grotesque looking lowering looked like Frankenstein's monster storm, sparking like it was shorting out.
It gusted out quickly and and I moved east and then north to hold a position in front of the storm. My north road took me straight into the core. There was a tremendous positively charged CG strike not far off to the northeast that the dome cam captured including the beaded breakup of the channel. The thunder shook the van. It was not unlike the strike that injured a chaser from Iowa, Danny Murphy, on a storm he was chasing on this day up near Sioux City. He had a long and painful recovery in the hospital, but he's very fortunate still. Positive strikes are usually killers when they hit people, but luckily it wasn't a direct hit.

Driving north I hit the hail core and it was surprisingly intense. I had a barrage of golfballs pinging off the van and then buckets and buckets of nickles as I was moving east to get ahead of the storm. The hail barrage put a few new cracks in my already cracked windshield.
The storm seemed to line out afterwards before it reached Nebraska City and the Missouri River so I let it go and started heading for home. Like my original forecast though, it spun up nicely where the effective SRH was sky high east of the river and a couplet developed just east of Nebraska City. I should have stuck around but I'm not sure if I would have seen it. The roads were sparse right by the river there, it was twilight and the storm was borderline HP.


The lightning display, gnarly wall cloud, and severe hail barrage made this chase despite the lack of a tornado, although structure was lacking at the start and end of this chase. Danny Murphy's tale of getting hit by lightning was a terrifying reminder to practice lightning safety while on the chase. Since this log has been written, he's slowly been recovering and is returning to work, but went through a great deal of pain.

Lessons Learned

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