May 20, 2011

Forming Wall Cloud--Three Storms, Briefly Supercells Probably

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Thom and I were drawn to the target in the vicinity of Pratt, as explained in our forecast posts.  The first convective initiations produced a discontinuous line of multicells from near Russell to just south of Pratt.  We holed up briefly in Great Bend, trying to see if the northern weak cyclone would develop some backed flow near I70, hoping to pull the 65F dewpoints back west...but that didn't happen.

But the weakly backed flow near Pratt was still ongoing, and we noted some tendency for the linear cells back there to break into more discrete ones.   In fact, we saw three cells there that had supercellular structure characteristics.   Each of them produced a lowering/wall cloud that briefly did not look shelfish...but mostly just looked like outflow features.   But the few minutes for the first three storms that wall clouds developed there was some interesting structure...including inflow tails that extended far north as roll clouds, sculpted updraft towers, and some high-based, perhaps shear funnel clouds.  Each wall cloud or lowering had only weak signs of rotation...and most of the time looked ragged.  But one of those latter cases produced a feathery looking large lowering with blocky outline (but was not solid at all...imagine a bunch of feathers jammed together hanging downward and flaring outward).

We briefly dropped south to watch a fourth storm....but decided it was going to undergo the same fate ultimately.   Actually, it did briefly look good on radar when we got to Hutchinson.  But by that time we had committed to pulling in for the evening.

We weren't expecting much of this day...but frankly it was fun, and we saw some great storms and cloud features.