Home Storm Chasing 2008 06-05-2008-Central KS to northern OK

06-05-2008-Central KS to northern OK Print E-mail
Friday, 30 July 2010 23:57

Total Distance: 400 miles
Target Area: Ill-defined
Chase Area: Ellsworth, KS, to Blackwell, OK
Maximum SPC Risk category: High

We "intercepted" severe embedded HP supercells and assorted thunderstorms from NE of Great Bend to S of Wichita between 1 pm and 7:30 pm, hoping southward for the next storm as we watched the nearest one fly by at speeds that would be fast for March and April.

The first storm we intercepted was between Ellsworth and Great Bend, KS, not too long after 12:30 pm. This supercell had some decent structure, with striations evident and even a wall cloud for a brief period. From our first view of it, it looked a HP (lots of precip wrapping behind the updraft). This storm flew by us, and we waited for the next one to come up from the GBD area. This 2nd storm was outflow-dominant trash. Oy. So, we dropped south towards Bushton (NE of GBD) to watch the 3rd storm come by. This one had a nice shelf cloud and outflow, but never looked close to being tornadic.

On to the 4th storm... We dropped S towards Lyons and watched a big, wet RFD pass just to our west as a meso wrapped up. There was a weak vortex signature in the W-band data we collected, but it was not terribly impressive (visually or in data). In keeping with the plan of the day, we then dropped south to the next cell that was intensifying near Pratt. We didn't see much in the cloud-base motion, but we did drive through a very serious "appendage" that jutted E from the primary core (IIRC -- only glanced at DDC data at this time). We experienced very strong southerly winds in visibility that couldn't have been more than 10-20 feet in very dark lighting. After we drove through this, it was on to the 6th storm that was approaching Hutchinson. We tried to deploy NW of HUT, but it was approaching too quickly and looked, again, very HP (although the cloud base was very low). We ended up driving E through HUT on the north side of the updraft, where we experienced many golfballs and a few hailstones as large as tennis ball. I submitted this via SN to ICT, though the submission had to wait ~5-10 minutes and about 3-5 miles until we cleared the hail zone (I may send this update to ICT, but it appears that they did an LSR for Blair's report of tennis ball to baseball sized hail just S of HUT). At any rate, we gave a brief thought to try to keep up with it, but quickly realized such an effort would be fruitless.

We drove towards ICT and noticed a very impressive LEWP developing near the OK/KS border, with a velocity couplet evident shortly thereafter. A lowering passed by just to our W while we were just N of Wellington on I35, but it too quickly passed by. We ended up driving through very strong winds and heavy rain for the next ~20 miles until we got into OK. We still held out a bit of hope that cells near I40 would break away from the line, but that was not to be. Had dinner in Guthrie, then headed home.

This day went somewhat as planned, but I was surprised to see that so few storms were ever able to break away from the NE-SW or NNE-SSW line. Some of the storms we saw were outflow dominant, and the others looked to be big, wet HPs. It is certainly very, very rare to see such an intense trough come so far south this late in the season (80kts near 500mb in OK in JUNE?!).

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