May 12th 2011 Weak Landspout in Nebraska

Feb 26, 2012

Fish Poop.

Gambled with cold core setup before heading home and was rewarded with photogenic structure and a weak landspout tornado.
Tornadoes: 1
Hail: .50″ [dime]
Wind: est 40mph thunderstorm gust.
State tornado drought broken: NE
How pathetic the tornado was: Very.
Detailed Account:
Originally I had not considered chasing this day. I kept in the back of my mind as one of those setups I would chase through MO or IA on the way home from the previous days chase. We awoke however and found some decent cold core parameters in NC KS and NE, not far from where we were so we made that our plan. This would be a similar setup to the day before but one thing this day had going for it was earlier initiation and crystal clear skies with no early morning convection to mess with it. We made our target city York, NE and set off from Salina, on way the cu started to form.
We gassed up in York with storms rapidly developing and instantly went into chase mode. It felt good to have the day progress as a chase normally should. Target selected and verified with bubbling storms going up right where we forecasted them to. I got Phil to a spot he was happy time lapsing as we watched the cold core storms develop over head. We noticed in the distance a small nub funnel but quickly wrote it off as such. Reports of funnels began pouring in through spotter network. We were on the wrong side of the storm with a large precip shield in between us and the area of interest. I didn’t want to interrupt Phil and Jons shooting but explained we should probably move south to get on the other side of the storm.
We emerged to see a long rope funnel in progress and quickly pulled over to film it for about a minute before it finally dissipated. It turns out this was the same funnel that we noticed earlier which actually became a weak tornado. Finally some success on the trip, but it wasn’t much to brag about. Still though, it was nice to get the skunk off my back for the entire 5 day marathon and I wouldn’t be going home tornado-less. This was also my first Nebraska tornado so I can add another state to my tally.
Behold, the BEAST!!
It is amazing to think this little guy made it to the ground, but other chaser video confirms it. This seemed to be the trend with this system from day one though. Every tornado it put down was a short lived, skinny rope.
Here is a radar image I saved just before we made our move to the other side of the cell and got our view. Cold core storms are tough to pick out on radar as to which will be the one to produce, it really is just a gamble and luck.
I felt really good after this though, being able to forecast the spot, watch storms go up as baby cu to producing at least a weak tornado. By now storms were going up everywhere and we meandered about picking out views of different ones. None of them would go on to produce anything tornadic but they were really pretty to look at.
I really need a wide angle camera/lens. I am laying on my back in a ditch trying to get the whole storm to fit into the shot and this is the best I could get.
More pretty high based structure. Phil and Jon got some awesome time lapse shots of these.
Awesome colors.
As night fell the instability dropped and the storms faded away. We met up with Ben and Jari and had a celebratory dinner in York before heading to Lincoln where we stayed the night. It was the best day in our multi day run to the plains and we went to bed happy.
Here is Jons video of the tornado.

For a day I almost didn’t chase I am certainly glad I did. We got a weak tornado and the best structure shots of the trip. While it wasn’t much and certainly not what we were hoping to catch during the trip, it was a solid victory from every aspect. Being able to forecast the target, drive to it and watch the storms from birth through tornado time and then death is how every chase day should be!
Map with zoomed in area of where tornado was observed.
SPC storm reports:

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