April 2nd 2014 Storm Chase – Severe Warned Storms.

Apr 04, 2014

Summary:

Played storms that developed north of triple point boundary getting some brief bouts of hail, elevated structure and blowing RFD dust.

Stats:

Tornadoes: 0
Wind: n/a
Hail : 1.00″ (quarter – officially severe.)

The Forecast:

Another marginal day. Similar setup to day before, but with sharpening dryline now forecast to move east instead of retreat back west as low began to deepen and eject northeast. Rich, deep moisture was in place allowing for strong CAPE, but the best shear was lacking, and once again forcing along the boundary was weak at best. The triple point once again held the best hope to provide enough forcing to get a storm to pop and once again, if that were to occur in the rich warm sector, slow moving, isolated, chaseable supercells with possible tornadoes would be likely. SPC bumped up tornado probs due to an increase in confidence for at least storm initiation.

Detailed Account:

After the previous days bust, this day probably appeared better than it actually was on the models, but the plan was in motion and we would chase it as we made our way back home. I awoke at Stephen Jones’ place, who graciously let us stay there after the fiasco at Ben’s.  Joe and Danny chose to stay in a hotel due to cat allergies, and once again there was much confusion and chaos involved in getting everyone to meet up again. I was ready to beat my head into the steering wheel at this point, but once we were all together again we set sail for the target, which looked best to be along the KS/OK border as the warm front was lifting north.

We made good time in catching the boundary where we stopped several times to watch the aggitated cumulus along it try and develop, similar to yesterday. Lack of real good forcing was the main problem. We spent the next few hours slowly following this boundary north as it lifted towards Kansas, eventually crossing the state line near 5pm. Storms finally started to initiate, only they were north of, and moving away from this boundary. North of the warm front boundary is a bad place for storms as they stand little chance at tornado production due to cooler, stable air. We let the first couple storms go until finally, a storm went up close enough to the boundary I began getting excited thinking it had a chance to root onto it and tap into the warm, moist, juicy air south of it.

A look at the developing storm.

The storm developed a hail core and went severe warned so we decided to go after it while keeping an eye on other storms developing to the southwest. We brushed the hail core a few times getting pelted with hail up to quarter size. The storm was out-running the boundary though, and could never tap into the warm moist air and become surface based. This was the case with all the storms in the area, so we just kept with it. At times it was obvious this high based storm was rotating, and occasionaly displayed nice structure which Danny was able to better capture on his camera.

We followed the storm until dark and let it go, but as night fell it appeared the storm was finally able to catch the boundary and we decided to catch back up to it. Through flashes of lightning we could now see a pronounced lowering and a good funnel-lookalike.

The storm started to pull away once again, and we felt it wasn’t really worth pursuing in the dark for a very slim chance at producing a tornado. We stayed in Wellington, KS for the night to prepare for the next day, which was supposed to be the “big day” in this series of chase days.

Conclusion:

The day fell below expectations, but at least offered something to chase. The hail and mediocre structure at least gave some sort of consolation prize for our efforts. It felt good to actively pursue a storm again. Some better storms went up in southeast Kansas fully entrenched in the warm sector, but those failed to produce tornadoes as well. The day as a whole fell short, but it wasn’t a surprise. Feeling the excitement level when the storm initially went up close enough to the boundary to make me think it had a chance was a feeling I’ve definitely missed having, too bad it didn’t pan out.

Map:
 

SPC Storm Reports:
 

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