June 20, 2012: Northeast Colorado Hail Storm

June 20 turned out to be a fun day with hail covered roads in Colorado. With most of the focus for severe weather in the Great Lakes region out of our reach, we ran to the high plains and caught a supercell that developed in moist southeasterly upslope flow beneath a northwesterly flow in the mid and upper levels.

We intercepted three supercells, including a beautiful low-precipitation supercell after dark that was fun to photograph due to the insane amounts of sheet lightning within it.

June 18, 2012: Manley, Minnesota Supercell Lightning

We spent the day driving from Oklahoma City to South Dakota with an expectation of a chase in the northern plains on June 19th.

We were settled into our hotel rooms when Tony Laubach checked the radar. He noticed a developing storm about 15 miles northeast of Watertown, SD.

As the sun went down that evening, a low-level jet strengthened. As it did, it carried a moist current of air. A cold front provided enough lift to create an unexpected supercell.

We couldn’t resist, we quickly got everyone together and hit the road in hopes of obtaining some good lightning photos.

May 21, 2012: Adrian, Texas Tornadic Supercell

This was one of those days where a storm chaser can do pretty much everything right, get within a mile of a tornado and still not be able to see it due to the rain under the base and the terrible road network.

We started the day in Salina, Kansas and made the long journey to the Texas Panhandle. The day had tremendous potential.

A warm front lay across the Texas Panhandle with a dryline intersecting it southwest of Adrian. By late afternoon, a supercell formed and moved along the warm front.

It quickly became severe and tornado warned. Although reports of a tornado came in, we were directly under the circulation and only experienced rear-flank downdraft with a large amount of dirt being kicked up.

It’s quite likely that someone mistook the dirt being lifted by the RFD as a tornado and called in an erroneous report.

The storm moved northeast and became very high based and eventually died. By this time, we saw the tail end storm rapidly intensify and nearly anchor, so we blasted back southwest and arrived as the tail end supercell became intensely tornadic.

The supercell was well matured and the updraft base was completely wrapped with heavy rain. Unfortunately, the road network wasn’t in our favor and it was impossible for us to safely get a look into the notch of this incredible storm.