Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Summer is slipping by!

Well, we've passed the middle of summer and now starting to quietly slip towards the darkness of winter. Of course, this doesn't mean that summer is over - in fact, quite often we get a nice spell of weather in late summer/early autumn. At the moment, we're going to be stuck in a general west of north-westerly flow for sometime. It'll remain mainly dry across southern parts of the UK, but fronts will drift down from the NW at times to bring some rain, mostly to northern and north-western parts.

There are occasional hints of a burst of warmth around the first 10 days of August, but I'm yet to be convinced of this!

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Bren's update

Bren's updated his blog with the last couple of days - http://www.eots.co.uk/chaseplains2010.htm

Friday, 4 June 2010

Back home - and tornado account!

Well, we're back home now - and our last day was amazing!

This was our last chase day of our 2 week chasecation. Helen Rossington, Brendan Jones, Matt Clark, and me had seen several supercells and other great storms, but a definitive tornado had eluded us thus far this year. We couldn’t have dreamed what the last day would bring us!

We began the day in Garden City, KS, and left the hotel at around 1200pm CDT. Our initial target was Springfield, CO, and we headed there in time for lunch. En route, we noticed some early convection developing to the west of town and by the time we reached there (1.10pm MDT) thunder was grumbling overhead. We ate lunch at Subway listening to this, before heading to the west of town for a better look at the updraught.

By the time we got into position, there was a decent base to the west (10-15 miles west). We decided to hold back in order to appreciate the structure although before long a couple of brief funnels developed. We headed west to Pritchett, but decided against going to the south because of the approaching hail core. A cell merger seemed to occur as a cell to the south moved in. Shortly after we observed a funnel/tornado to the SW, although it was partially hidden by precip from our angle. We then headed back east to Springfield, and then dropped south towards Campo, stopping about 7 miles to the north. We then spent over an hour watching the cell go through various stages, including at least one stout funnel, which I think may have been a tornado, having read other reports. We also saw frequent, multiple CGs close to our location, one of which started a grass fire a few hundred metres to our north. Our UK phones didn’t work, so we decided (after some debate) to report it on SN, via the ‘other’ section. It seems that this may have lead to the local fire department arriving, although perhaps someone else reported it too.

Once it began to rain/hail, we headed south to Campo. By now, the storm seemed slightly outflow dominant, but there was still a lot of motion in the updraught/wall cloud area, which was close to being overhead. We then continued to the south of Campo, stopping at am intersection with a few dirt roads, where other chasers were too. We were also there when a small dust whirl passed right across us! A few stray hailstones dropped occasionally. Then, Matt suddenly pointed out a new funnel (we’d already seen one just to the north a few mins earlier) just to our south. Of course, as many others observed, this quickly developed into the most amazing tornado I’ve ever seen! We headed south once the large hail began to drop, and stopped several times to observe the tornado, complete with rainbow! Eventually, we headed as far south as Boise City, OK, and could still see a tornado to the north – whether this was the same one or a different one I’m not sure.

We then headed east towards Guymon, observing some great structure, but no more tornadoes. We ended up staying in Guymon, before heading to Denver, and ultimately the UK on Tuesday!

Helen has posted many pics on Facebook here: http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=218236&id=675845395&l=c0fea5e8e5

Brendan has a blog of all our chases here: http://www.eots.co.uk/chaseplains2010.htm

Finally, I have some raw YouTube HD footage here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VJrECx38AY

Amazing stuff!

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

The long trip home

Just packing the case in Guymon, Oklahoma. Now got a 350+ mile drive to Denver for this evening's flight!


Footage now on YouTube!


Phew! After seeing several funnels and a rather rain-wrapped tornado to the west of Springfield, Colorado (where, incidentally, we ate lunch under the developing thunderstorm's anvil!), we headed south to near Campo. The storm appeared to become somewhat outflow dominated for a time, but after a while, a funnel suddenly developed just south of where we'd parked. Within a minute or so, the most amazing and beautiful tornado developed just to our south or south-east! We had a grandstand view, as can be seen from this video grab!


Wow! Just seen the most amazing tornado, 1/2 mile to our SE!

Monday, 31 May 2010

Funnel cloud

Brief funnel cloud to the west of Springfield - 10-15 miles


A cell to our west at present - some lightning detected...will decide in Springfield whether to grab a quick lunch.

One more day!

In Garden City, KS - one more day of chasing before heading home...I think we'll try SE Colorado


The latest pics and news from Bren's blog:

Sunday, 30 May 2010


Just stopped at our favourite McDonald's, in McCook, Nebraska, for a coffee - then on south to Garden City, Kansas

Heading south

About to leave Valentine, Nebraska, for Garden City, Kansas.


Intercepted a fairly powerful cell SW of Valentine - mid-level inflow band from the NE, and then very powerful outflow winds as it passed over. To finish, frequent (at least 1 per 10 secs) CGs within a couple of miles.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Towards Valentine

Had lunch in Mission, South Dakota. Stopped for a while to the south of Mission to do timelapse on the towering cumulus to our south, which are developing along the cold front.

Dropping south towards Valentine at the moment.

Heading east and south

Heading east on I90 in S Dakota, on our way to Valentine, and perhaps further south, depending on the cold front's position.


Latest pics and news from Bren's blog here:

Heading from Rapid City down into Nebraska today - reasonable chance of storms, a few severe.

Rapid City - Mount Rushmore

Now in Rapid City, S Dakota - stopped for a couple of hours on the way here at Mount Rushmore, to do the tourist bit! Very impressive nonetheless! Shorts split on way to motel though - too many burgers perhaps!

Friday, 28 May 2010

Black Hills

Currently passing through the Black Hills in S Dakota - beautiful!
Rather a marginal set-up for today's chasing - I think we'll probably head north or north-west of Rapid City, South Dakota. A slow-moving cold front may well have a wave develop on it, and with backed surface flow in the area, deep-layer shear may be sufficient for supercells to develop, if the cap can be broken.

Chadron, Nebraska

Drove from Limon, Colorado, to Chadron, Nebraska today ready for possible supercells tomorrow to our NW...ate dinner at a very nice place called The Heritage Grill - anyone staying in Chadron in the future should check it out.

It's very windy outside at the moment (11pm) - winds gusting over 40mph and yet it's 24-25C!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Nice supercell near Limon

Drove from Amarillo to Limon today - a cell popped up near Springfield, CO, but soon died. A new cell developed to the west of Limon and become supercellular. We parked up to the north of Limon with a fantastic view to the west and saw several wall clouds develop. Very nice!

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


In Springfield, Colorado - a few storms to the west. Wondering whether to head west or continue towards Limon/Denver.

Heading NW

Heading to Colorado today - probably around or just north of the Palmer Divide.


Just arriving in Amarillo for the night after a great supercell!


Just seen a fantastic supercell south of Amarillo - wall cloud; striations; CG; corkscrewed appearance - lovely!

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Garden City

Approaching Garden City, Kansas, and continuing southbound towards the OK Panhandle.

Bren's pics/blog

Bren got some great shots today!

More storms

Eventually got some storms close to McCook, NE, and then dropped south towards Colby, KS. Got a tornado-warned cell en route near Danbury, NE - got a wall cloud/RFD rain curtains just to our SW for a short time but soon lost it's structure - gave us a great display of mammatus and sunset colours though! Absolutely beautiful.

Now in Colby, KS - again! Heading south tomorrow for more storms towards SW KS or the TX/OK Panhandles.

Monday, 24 May 2010


Cells have fizzled - shear ripping them apart. Heading east to McCook for some late lunch and to await the dryline.


Heading towards Benkleman, NE, to intercept a severe warned cell which is racing up from the south.

Southbound - and a few pics from yesterday

Heading south back towards McCook - tornado watch for this area already.

Meanwhile, some pics from yesterday from Bren's blog:

MD issued

MD issued for E Colorado/W Kansas, and SW Nebraska - early show possible today!

In North Platte

In North Platte for the night after another long day! Some great lightning, a raging gust front, a tornado-warned cell (but no tornado), and spectacular mammatus!


Nice lightning from a tornado warned cell near Max, NE ATTM

Storm erupting

Heading south towards a large thunderstorm in Kansas

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Southbound again

Leaving McCook for Oberlin, KS - warm front is moving NW with storms firing to SSW.


Currently in McCook, Nebraska - supercell risk should expand northwards into this area towards late afternoon/evening.

South to McCook, NE

Dropping south to McCook from North Platte. Keeping the surface low in sight, and positioning just to its north-east.

Heading south

Heading south towards North Platte - looking to target just NE of the surface low which is currently in N Cent Kansas, but which is progged to roll WNW or NW this afternoon/evening.


We're currently in Valentine, Nebraska - shortly we will head south towards NW or N Cent Kansas - a warm front lifting northwards should set the scene for thunderstorm development later this afternoon and especially this evening. Supercells are possible, with a small risk of tornadoes. The storms may grow upscale after dark as a strong low-level jet impinges on the frontal zone.

A long day!

Enjoyable chase with plenty of lightning and some reasonable structure for a time - now in Valentine, Nebraska - it's 2.20am - we did 638.9 miles today!. Up and out by 10am in the morning to head to N Kansas.

We missed a big tornado in N South Dakota (just too far away), but we still ended up with some decent storms in S Cent S Dakota. One attempted to form into a high based supercell but couldn't quite do it - some nice structure for a time. We also met up with Pete (Scott), Steve, and Simon for a time.

As it just about got dark we headed east to get ahead of the line of storms, and one to the south was tornado warned. We found a great scenic overlook just off of Interstate 90, at Chamberlain. At this stage we were back in the warm inflow air, which was about 29-30C, with a 25-30mph SE'erly wind! This was at around 9pm or so!! We let the storms roll over us just to the east, in Kimball, when it became clear that the circulation had weakened alot. Plenty of CGs, including several very close ones.

All in all an enjoyable chase - we got storms in our target area, and so can't complain about that! It was always apparent that the northern area would be in line for tornadic storms, but it was just too far for us to reach.

Tomorrow, it looks like the cold front will stall somewhere in N Cent KS, and then start to return northwards. A dry line will be out in eastern Colorado/perhaps western Kansas. Storms should form close to the front and perhaps the dryline, and with good moisture, instability, and directional shear, supercells are possible.

Severe thunderstorm

Currently in a severe warned cell in Kimball, SD - plenty of wind, rain, and lightning!

Active cell

Skirting the top of a tornado warned cell in S Cent S Dakota - CGs hammering out of it like crazy!

Saturday, 22 May 2010


A cell has developed close to Pierre, SD - we're heading E and then N to try to intercept.

S Dakota

Heading north in S Dakota at present - CAPEs close to 5000J/Kg - initiation far to our north, but cumulus getting deeper around this area too now


Rolling north through the Nebraska Sandhills


Passed through McCook and continuing northwards towards South Dakota...blazing sunshine, 29C, and a 30mph southerly wind.

Heading north

In Colby, KS, to start the day - soon heading north through Nebraska into S Dakota - possible severe storms later on.

In the meantime, have a look at Bren's blog for stories/pictures:


Bust in Colorado today - it was a marginal call to be honest, but we gave it a shot.

Friday, 21 May 2010


Currently in Brush, Colorado - hoping that the towering cumulus to the SW continue to develop.


Just met the most fantastic character who is controlling the road works! Pics will follow later!

Onwards towards Wray

Heading north from Burlington in Colorado towards Wray - just found some road construction on 385, with one-way traffic controlled by a pilot car - one to avoid perhaps!

Colorado today

Will be heading out from Colby soon into eastern Colorado - wonder whether to head further N towards I-76 or to see if anything develops over the Palmer Divide and moves ENE.

Montana Mike's!

We've just got back to the motel after a nice dinner at Montana Mike's, here in Colby. This motel has a nice lounge area complete with leather comfy chairs/sofas, so I've headed down here for a decaf evening coffee to do a bit of surfing ahead of tomorrow's possible storms. Bren and Matt have joined me.

We've been chatting about some of the driving we witnessed yesterday in Oklahoma: much of it was absolutely fine, but a few chasers seem to think that possessing light bars and, in one case, a siren, allows traffic laws to be violated.

Anyway, that's all behind us now, and we're looking forward to attempting to intercept some storms in the more open terrain of the High Plains. I don't think we'll be alone, though, as there are other chasers about in the motel we're in. However, I think there will be many fewer than down in OK yesterday!

Will obviously refine the target in the morning but right now, I quite like the look of eastern Colorado, around the I-70 corridor. I think the area further NW towards the Cheyenne Ridge may be pretty good, but I wonder whether to try for a less obvious target, so we can get a nice, quiet chase in!

NW Kansas

Arrived in Colby, NW Kansas - looking to do some high Plains chasing tomorrow.

It was a long drive today from Oklahoma City to NW Kansas...we headed north to Salina, and then west to Colby. The weather today was rather familiar, being rather UK-ish: stratocumulus clouds with temperatures of around 17-18C. Tomorrow it should get much warmer, and there is a risk of severe thunderstorms to our west and north-west.

Thursday, 20 May 2010

A driving day ahead

We'll be heading NW today, to somewhere in N or NW KS. Meanwhile, please check out Bren's blog + pics here

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Continuing east

Just passing Sayre on I-40, in western Oklahoma. Triple point is to our NW, and towering cumulus has already been observed by us in its vicinity. This may evolve into thunderstorms over the next couple of hours, and will be in a very favourable environment for severe storms, and perhaps tornadoes.


Just passing Shamrock, TX, heading to Weatherford - re-assessing once there, but possibly heading towards Watonga.

Heading to central Oklahoma

We've left Amarillo and are currently heading eastwards on I-40. Looking to stop in Clinton or Weatherford I think - there is a remnant outflow boundary in the area and with the approach of an upper system, along with surface heating, the dry-line will mix eastwards towards that area. Strong low-level shear along with ample deep-layer shear brings the risk of tornadoes, some strong - the SPC has issued a high risk of severe thunderstorms for this afternoon/evening.

Sleep time!

Arrived in Amarillo - 2.35am local time!

Hail in Dumas

Just got under an awning in Dumas, TX, and filmed some heavy hail to 1.50 inches, perhaps the odd 1.75 inch. Very hard hail, and it made quite a din on the awning roof.

Off to Amarillo

Heading to Amarillo now after not seeing an awful lot in Colorado - some nice structure for a time and some lightning, but extensive high cloud scuppered it a bit - should have gone with my initial instinct of the OK Panhandle/NW TX Panhandle.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Just south of Limon

Watching a nicely cell just S of Limon - nice updraught base on it ATTM.

Dropping south

Just heading south from Limon - a cell to the south looks OK but there are also some developing towers closer to us.


We're now at Limon, Colorado, for lunch. We'll sit here for a while and see what happens.

Track us!

Track us on SpotterNetwork - http://www.spotternetwork.org/google.php

On the road!

OK, so we've got everything set-up in the car - Baron system, DeLorme, GRLevel3, etc. Took a little while but now it's working. Just off to (hopefully) get a Kestrel wind device, and then to Limon, Colorado, where we'll re-assess. The moderate risk area has been extended northwards - the S/W trough appears to be a little to the north of earlier progs.


Hello! Well, we got here OK yesterday evening, and had a good night's sleep in the Sleep Inn at Denver. Just activated the Baron System (always seems to confuse them!!) and am now about to turn my thoughts to today, which looks like somewhere from SE Colorado into the TX Panhandle. A moderate risk for severe storms exists including supercells with large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

USA severe storms

After a very quiet start to the severe weather season in the USA, due to the cold winter and frequent cold frontal incursions into the Gulf of Mexico, severe thunderstorms have been widespread across portions of the Plains and south over the last few days.

Yesterday (Sat) in particular was very nasty, as a deep, moist and unstable airmass spread north from the Gulf into the Mississippi Delta region and surrounding area. A potent upper trough and approaching cold front provided the lift for numerous severe thunderstorms including tornadic supercells. One particularly nasty supercell moved across all of Mississippi, and produced a long-track, strong (possibly violent) tornado. Sadly, at least 10 people have been reported as being killed.

The storms were moving fast (50-60mph) and so are quickly upon communities, despite excellent warnings from the NWS.

The risk has shifted further east today, and over the next couple of days, the weather will calm down stateside. However, later in the coming week, another major upper trough looks like moving in from the Pacific, and looks likely to set the stage for a multi-day severe weather event across the central and southern USA.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

Long time, no blog!

A very busy winter roads forecasting season and a lack of being bothered with this blog means I've not put any new posts on for ages. I will be starting to again now, especially as we go into the summer convective season. I'll also be putting this year's USA storm chasing blogs on here.