Friday 5 June 2015

Day 9 - Kansas

THU 04 JUNE 2015

Wrong decision today - we started at Castle Rock (CO) next to the Palmer Divide where a couple of supercells were likely to develop in the afternoon/evening with perhaps a tornado. However, conditions looked much more favourable for tornadoes in northern Kansas/southern Nebraska with better backed surface winds and an old boundary; so we drove for hours eastwards to get into Kansas. En-route a couple of supercells developed in eastern Colorado, both became tornado warned and the southern one, just southwest of Limon, produced 8 spectacular tornadoes, including an anticyclonic one.

However, these were a good 3 hour drive back to the west and all we could do is sit in the sunny skies in Kansas (the atmosphere was very capped despite there being 4,000 J/kg CAPE) and hope something might develop (while feeling increasingly disappointed that we'd missed out on some spectacular tornadoes not far from where we had stayed the previous night).

This is what 4,000 J/kg CAPE (convective available potential energy) looks like when capped, and 2 hours later with the cap eroded = explosive development!

Stopping in Hoxie (KS) a nice cumulus tower started going up to our south, and very quickly become a significant thunderstorm. Since it looked nice visibly, we decided we'd commit to this one, and drove south to get closer. It became tornado-warned, and had a very high-based wall cloud at times, but sadly never produced a tornado. Meanwhile another discrete low-precipitation (LP) supercell to our northwest had some stunning structure, was also tornado-warned but to my knowledge also failed to produce.
Severe thunderstorm (became tornado-warned) near Utica (KS)
Mesocyclone visible associated with the Utica (KS) severe thunderstorm
Yes we saw some nice thunderstorms, and a lot of lightning come the evening hours, but couldn't help feeling disappointed and kicking myself for not staying in eastern Colorado and missing out on those tornadoes - still, you live and learn! Tomorrow (Friday) the tornado risk is mainly in eastern Colorado again, and chances are every chaser and their cat will be there so fully expect the roads to be very busy with chasers in the Palmer Divide vicinity...
04 June 2015 GPS Tracker Route Map
2015 STORM CHASE stats thus far:
McDonald's tally: 10
Applebee's tally: 8
Distance driven: 3,882 miles
States visited: 8

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