June 22nd 2013 Nebraska Storm Chase Bust

Nov 26, 2013

Summary:

Drove around most of the day, re-adjusting target for miniscule parameters in hopes of initiation before catching a brief glimpse of a dying, non severe storm as the sun set.

Stats:

Tornadoes: 0

Hail: .00″

Wind: n/a

The Forecast:

Large expansive warm sector ahead of slow moving trough. Ample instability under modest flow along with favorable directional shear for slow moving supercells. Cap was also forecast to be quite strong, but if it were able to be overcome, the favorable direcational shear could promote slow moving storms capable of all severe modes. Main surface features lagged to the west, offering potential upslope play as well. SPC went with modest tornado probabilities, due to the uncertainty for initiation and expected low storm coverage.

Detailed Account:

2013 has been a good year to me, but June, typically my favorite month had been painfully slow. This system did not appear great on the models, but it was favorably timed to be on a weekend, and this time of year when setups move into the high plains, marginal setups can yeild fantastic surprises so I decided to bite on the next couple setups as potentially the last of the year. Afterall, typically after the 3rd week of June, the jet stream setups in Canada and the chase season begins its yearly hiatus, so it felt foolish not to try.

Upon completing my post work powernap, we set sail for the target area, which was rather difficult to discern. I liked as far west as possible for potential upslope flow, but feared we wouldn’t make it so we opted for warm front/outflow boundary action further north and east with an initial target of Sioux Falls, SD. We arrived and did the usual wait and monitor dance. It appeared outflow from overnight convection was re-enforcing the boundary further south into Nebraska so we re-adjusted south, more than once. Things started to look up when an MD came out mentioning a possible tornado watch as a couple blips went up on radar. The blips were nice and isolated as expected and we made our move to intercept, but the cap won out and the storms quickly fizzled away, barely reaching severe limits, and being almost completely dead by the time we arrived. All I managed was a crappy cell phone picture of a dying updraft base. The chase was a bust.

Other storms went up further west closer to the WY border, one of which produced a really nice looking and photogenic landspout. We had no chance to catch the storm before dark though, so we called the chase and met up with a fun sized group for dinner in Kearney. We roomed up at a hotel where a large biker group had also gathered in the parking lot and was throwing a party. It was a typical fun night with chasers friends after a dismal chase.

Conclusion:

I go back and forth with whether or not I count landspouts in my official tornado tally. They are technically tornadoes by definition, but something about them just doesn’t give me the same level of satisfaction as nabbing a true bonafide mesocylonic tornado. I generally don’t get upset about missing them, but this one was pretty photogenic and would have been a nice catch as opposed to our shrivled up non severe storm. Partying with everyone after a day like this eases the pain of busting since we don’t get too many chances to hang out throughout the year.

Map:

SPC Reports (many of these coming either early in the morning or after dark after the cap cooled off)

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