Friday, 20 May 2011

Salina for the night - chase summary

We've checked in to the Sleep Inn in Salina, Kansas. We've been out to dinner at Applebees and now back in the room.

Today was a fun chase day. We started in Blackwell, Oklahoma and headed to Pratt, Kansas for lunch. The target was always going to be the warm front close to the I-70 corridor in north central Kansas. However, I was concerned this morning about the depiction on several models of something of a dry slot moving in from the SW through the afternoon, which suggested that storms might form quite close to the warm front (as the convergence from the dry surge helped to initiate convection) and not have a great deal of time to get organised before crossing the warm front into cooler air. The warm sector was very narrow and so it was going to be touch and go as to whether supercells could form before reaching the warm front. One did organise and apparently produced a tornado just north of I-70, near Dorrance/Wilson. We entered the storm from the west and encountered very heavy rain and strong north-west winds. These shifted abruptly to the south as the rain stopped, and were very strong. This was possibly the developing circulation of the tornado crossing the road although we'll have to go back through the video to cross-reference the time the tornado was spotted and when we were passing to see if this encounter was prior to the report.

The rest of the afternoon and early evening was spent attempting to get ahead of the HP RFD to look back into the notch, but this is tricky with NNE'ward moving storms and only a handful of N-S roads!

We saw plenty of close CG lightning and some further pretty strong winds. No tornadoes today for us though.

We then headed east and south to Salina.

Tomorrow will be complicated by what happens tonight. Suggestions are anywhere from SW/Cent Oklahoma up into this area! Thus, up early in the morning for a quick swim and then it'll be analysis and model scrutiny!

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