Tuesday, April 17, 2012

4/14/12 Nebraska Chase

A tornado on a high risk day is something I just can't seem to come by. NAM was consistent with storms not firing off the dryline in KS/OK all day and that initiation would occur in central-sw NE in the early afternoon. We decided for not only a closer target to home and to avoid chaser convergence, but mostly to target the triple point that would trek northeast across the state. Sure enough the NAM was wrong and the dryline lit up with convection very early. Though I was looking at other models, I felt this was the best handling of them. It appears I was quite wrong. I should've stuck with the HRRR as it did a good job representing the days weather. This unexpected convection would greatly impact our target area as they moved to the east of our initial target of North Platte, NE (and then Lexington). Long story short, the storms stabilized the airmass east of our target area and ruined our tornado chances greatly.

Initiation trying to occur along the dryline in NE

Initiation finally occured near the triple point by mid-afternoon and since that was our intent to get on those storms we bit and headed towards them. A brief, weak, isolated cell that eventually became an outflow mess.

Sadly, once convection got going nothing could stay discrete and textbook. It was a mess of convection. With little hope we changed our pace and headed back toward Lexington (where we had spent several hours already that day) as a storm had fired just southwest of the city. The storm was in a recovered environment and went supercellular quickly. A glimpse of the base that was just begging for an RFD cut into it. Forward flank visible on the right side.

It went tornado warned and dropped a brief tornado while we were still a few miles north of it and didn't have a view of the base yet. We got into some hail, probably around 1" or so and finally got south of the core in time to view a massive ground scraping wall cloud.

The storms movement wasn't in our favor though, as it shifted northeast into stable air and quickly fell apart. That pretty much concluded the chase as all the storms moving into the region didn't have enough elements to favor storm growth and maturity. A very disappointing day to say the least.

Last shot of the outflow dominant cell around sunset.

One of the more frustrating things of the chase was two kids, I would say probably college age, that started following us while we chased. We stopped to watch the wall cloud and they got out and started asking us tons of questions about the storm and radar. They had an ipad and thought it was ok to start tagging along without asking consent. I have never actually had this happen to me before but it was just very irritating. If you don't know what you are doing, you shouldn't even be out on the storm. Don't just start tagging behind what you believe to be chasers. If you want to do it, learn about it on your own or with a chaser without piggybacking on others.

It was a long frustrating day, but it was good to get out for the first time this year. Ready for systems to shift northward as the season continues so I can chase more without having to do long drives!