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Day 1 - Dive Bomb At The Deep End

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Owen

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I've been putting off writting this blog entry for as long as possible - simply because I don't know where to begin and feel unable to do justice to what was an incredible introduction to the world of storm chasing in Kansas. Meteorology glossary at the ready...

After a quick visit to Walmart we headed East into Kansas towards the cold front advancing Southeastward. We stopped for a typical stormchaser lunch at Burger King in Burlington before moving in on the towering cumulus and developing cells. The radar was looking very messy to our North and so we drove East with a cell to our North and South. We stopped for a quick photo opportunity of the developing cell to our NW after noticing that the cloud base had lowered. This cell had a spectacular Rain Foot and provided our first CG (Cloud-to-ground ligtning strike) of the day. The hail roar was phenomenal - a constant rumbling from large hail bumping into one another and easily mistaken for a jet passing overhead.

With photos taken, we continued Eastward. The in-car weather tracking software called Baron lost it's connection which lost us 10 minutes and resulted in us core punching a HP (High Precipitation) supercell. The green tint in the clouds was a beautiful site. The core punch was mental - ridiculously poor visibility, hail fog, golf ball sized hail banging against the roof of the car (dints to prove it!) and trees down on the road. We took shelter in Norton, Kansas where SPC (Storm Prediction Centre) reported "PARTS OF ROOFING RIPPED OFF BUILDING. TWO BRANCHES OVER 4 INCHES IN DIAMETER BLOWN DOWN ONTO ROAD."

As cells were merging in to one messy MCS (Mesoscale Convective System), we sat out the worst in Noron, KS.

Driving through Hill City, we witnessed fire started by a CG, drove through Gust Fronts and dust storms and saw Gustnadoes and the odd funnel cloud. WHAT A DAY!

We stopped for a bite to eat at Pizza Hut in Osbourne, KS and once again the portion size defeated me. Before eating, we advanced ahead of the storm line and watched it pass through from the shelter of a car wash.

During the meal we were treated to a spectacle of anvil crawlers (lightning that appears to crawl along the underside of the anvil) and CGs.

The drive up to Grand Island, Nebraska for our night stopover gave us an awesome lightning show, although the action-packed day started to takes it's toll and I did nod off a coupe of times - disgraceful! The other highlight of the drive North was stopping for a freight train that went on for miles and miles and was occasionally lit up by the incredible lightning show.

All in all, an incredible first day of chasing and one that will take alot to top (tornado perhaps? :-) ) My only regret on the tour so far is that I have not yet got to grips with my DSLR and feel clueless at capturing such stunning conditions.

The baron display at the end of the evening was a sight to behold - a squall line spanning from Canada all the way down to Mexico!

Change of plan for today due to model shift in the risk area - NE Colorado way instead of South Dakota (I think?)



[img]http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/day1otlk_1300.gif[/img]
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