Saturday, March 30, 2013

3/29/13 Nebraska Supercell

Well, it started as a drive to dinner in Paxton, NE turned much more eventful than we thought. We were watching a weak supercell pulse in strength (hours after watching it develop from nothing) and slowly drift to the east/northeast and decided to check it out before grabbing some food. We headed east on Highway 30 out of North Platte and saw a fairly impressive base and rainshaft with the now severe warned storm. I was shooting towards the downdraft trying to get a lightning shot.

The storm definitely was getting its act together as the downdraft became more robust.

Getting bored with the cell of interest, I shot northeast for a bit and got a glimpse of some leaders emerging from the clouds.

Sitting just north of Hershey, NE, looking in the opposite direction, the storm was developing a prominent rear flank downdraft. This image is looking west into the hook of the supercell with the RFD to the left and the forward flank downdraft to the right. This image was taken at 1802 CDT, the exact time of a confirmed tornado. Cloud bases are way to high here for a tornado so it must've been a gustnado or something of the such.

Sitting in the same location, looking south-southwest, this is the view of the RFD cutting through the base of the storm. There are a few lowerings as the RFD begins to turn back to the north and in our direction, but no defined meso was able to develop.

Looking back to the northwest, we could hear a roar and a clear defined forward flank was coming in our direction as the storm had turned to the south. The roar was nickel to dime size hail hitting the ground.

The storm finally moved over us and dropped a good amount of hail on us and pushed off to the east/southeast. We moved a bit farther south to avoid any large hail and decided the storm wasn't worth pursing to the east. This is the view to the east as the FFD had moved off. A few hailstones are still falling in the foreground.

A great little impromptu chase! Definitely didn't expect anything today and was just looking for a few lightning strikes. Still not to sure about a tornado as cloud bases were quite high. Winds weren't very strong either. Even being hit by the RFD, winds weren't gusty, so the chances of a gustnado don't seem likely either. Anywho, there were multiple people claiming to see a tornado. People always see what they want to. I wouldn't of minded a weak tornado and guess I was just in the wrong place (in perfect position though!).

Great start to the season and my expectations are definitely raised for the season!