Saturday, June 11, 2005

June 9 log

We started the day in North Platte, NE. We decided that the best storms would be to the south in far SW Nebraska or NW Kansas. So we went to McCook, NE and looked at data while having lunch. Then we saw that storms were developing very near us and also in KS. Then we made the decision to see what the storms near us were doing- we went east and saw a supercell to the west near Indianola, but it did not look all that great, despite having a tornado warning. So we dropped south to near Norton, KS, and saw a flat base to the west, which was also tornado warned, and supposedly had a tornado sighted. So we went west to view it, but again were not overly impressed. By now we were hearing the reports of the tornadoes with the storm to the south, so we bagged the Norton storm and blasted south to HLC- but by now we were missing the REALLY big shoe to our east, so we made the decision to not try and get around the beast, and drop south to a newly tornado warned storm in Trego county. When we got to the Interstate, we immediately viewed great structure just to the west, with one rotating wall cloud a couple of miles due west. We stopped (but Jim L kept going- I would have also if we had not been on the interstate, I was afraid of getting trapped and nor being able to turn around). Right after we halted, a small nub funnel developed to the left of the wall cloud and soon after an elephant trunk tornado formed. The contrast was only fair, but I did get tripoded video of its entire life cycle- and we did see a debris cloud. After about 9 minutes the tornado wrapped in rain and weakened, but it did cross the interstate, knocking semis off the road- OF Jim Leonard actually drove right through the F0 vortex getting great video. In hindsight I wish I had gotten up the road a piece, the contrast was much better a mile or two down the road, and there was no hail as I had feared.

Next we played hopscotch with the rotating wall cloud to the NE of the old meso, but it never produced anything more that a few dusty weak spin ups, and we blew it off after about another half an hour, We then headed south towards DDC, stopping to get a few nice sunset/mammatus pics.

I am disappointed we missed probably the show of the year, but at least we were not completely skunked, and this is now officially the only time I have seen good tornadoes three out of four days.

Photos here


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