Thursday, 12 March 2009

Storm chase review - 29th May 2008 - Nebraska

I thought I'd post a video of the intense supercell which affected portions of south-central Nebraska on May 29th 2008. We started our chase day in Salina, Kansas. The SPC had issued a high risk of severe thunderstorms for parts of Nebraska and Iowa, mentioning the risk of strong, long track tornadoes. Our initial target was Red Cloud, Nebraska. I wanted to pick up the southernmost storm (the 'tail-end Charlie'), as this would have the best moisture amd would be unaffected by other storms.

However, once in Red Cloud, we noted a storm developing to our west, near McCook, Nebraska. We headed west and then north, and made our intercept to the west of Kearney. We had to punch northwards through the RFD, and encountered severe winds south of Odessa. We made it through the RFD and headed eastwards, observing a tornado to the SW of Kearney. We were behind it, and crossed the damage path, noting a house which had been severely damaged. The tornado was still causing damage and power flashes in Kearney.

We got ahead of the storm, but it began to weaken somewhat as it got near Grand Island. However, a new cell/mesocyclone quickly developed to the south of the initial storm, and quickly wound up into a beast. We remained ahead of it, and stopped just south of Aurora to observe it. The RFD rapidly approached us from the west - we saw what we thought might be a tornado at the north end of the RFD, and subsequently we've found out that it probably was, as a tornado caused damage just to the north of our location. The RFD also caused severe damage to the garage, with several UK and US chasers in it at the time - their vehicles were damaged too. Thankfully they escaped major injury.

We hurriedly left just before the RFD hit, and thankfully made the decision to head east (if we'd gone north, we'd have had a very close experience with the tornado).

The video below shows the storm approaching the petrol station.

We remained ahead of the storm, although had a pretty close call with the RFD as we headed north to the east of Aurora. We had to take a dirt road north, and this meant we couldn't travel at normal highway speeds. It was a pretty nerve-racking drive, but James kept us on the road, and we beat the RFD.

Matt took a great video of the RFD as we blasted north - see below.

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