May 23, 2010

May 23: Northwest KS Tornado

Thom and I, with Scott Landolt and Daniel Porter, dropped southwestward from O'Neill, Nebraska to the Oakley, KS area, and were rewarded with an active chase day, culminated by a narrow cone/snake tornado about 20 miles west of Oakley. This was associated with a really nicely structured supercell, that was one of a group of such storms that developed or evolved over northwest KS as the dew point surge at the surface advected under gradually more favorable deep layer shear during the day.

The day ended with all of us trying to get a view of the storm of the day, a cyclic tornadic supercell that nearly clobbered Goodland.

The "trying" part is a bit of a story, particularly for Thom and I. We missed the short cut to the 83 southbound exit in Oakley to get to the first storm, and then when we back tracked down 83 from I70, we missed the Highway 40 west bound that would take us to the storm. As a result, we were nearly late, and it did cost us good photography. However, we did see the tornado and its parent bulbous wall cloud. It was a relatively distant view, but it was beautiful and exciting.

Then, we tried to get north to I70 to perhaps stay with that storm, only to be stopped by a cross-highway accident. Thus, we had to backtrack to H40, then east to H83 before coming up to I70. And, thus, we missed an opportunity to see the wedge and cone tornadoes with the Goodland storm.

It was still a highly successful day....(there was another chase of another briefly supercellular storm before all of this)...and ended with Thom and I iin Goodland as a line of severe storms passed through, with 60-70 mph winds, knocking out power until around 10 minutes ago.

Tomorrow, Thom and I are off to Nebraska, to explore what might be yet another very productive weather pattern during this week.