Monday, May 27, 2013

Chase day #7

Day #7 (chase day): May 26, 2013
Starting Point: Laramie, Wyoming 
Ending Point: Hays, Kansas 
Mileage Traveled: 661 (Trip Total: 3747)

NOTE: Sorry for the delay in posting yesterdays recap. We did not get to our hotel until after 2 am. We set ourselves up good for a chase on Monday, May 27. We will be hanging out in Hays, Kansas for now monitoring the situation to determine if we need to move.

Today we headed east towards North Platte, Nebraska area because it had a large amount of CAPE and vorticity (spinning motion in the atmosphere) which is key to strong supercell thunderstorms capable of producing tornadoes. Once arriving in North Platte, we decided to drive about 30 minutes south where we waited for the cap (e.g., negative buoyancy which prevents warm, moist from the surface to rise) to break and thunderstorms start to develop. The cap finally broke as the dry line moved into the area. The dry line is a boundary between moist air to the east and dry air to the west; the clash of these different types of air creates additional rising motion which today was instrumental to breaking the cap. The original storm proceeded to gain strength and another large supercell developed to the north west of the cell that we were chasing. As we came up on the back side of the storm near Arcadia, Nebraska we ran into many other spotters trying to capture video and pictures of the storm. Multiple times we pulled over at safe locations to get out of the car and took pictures from a safe distance off of the road. Not long after, rotation was indicated on the radar and a tornado warning was issued by the National Weather Service. Additionally, spotters reported a funnel cloud. We drove a little further east where we witnessed a funnel cloud coming out of the bottom of the supercell. The funnel cloud is the beginning stages of tornado development but to be considered a tornado the rotating winds must extended from the cloud all the way to the ground. Since it was hilly in our area we could not see the ground below where the funnel formed and thus could not confirm a tornado. The sun had set so it was no longer safe to chase the storm so we stopped one last time for the night and did some lightning photography. After getting some lightning pictures we drove south to Hays, Kansas to set ourselves up for Monday's chase. According to one student Ashley Vedvig, "Today was by far the best day we have had! It was amazing!"

Like they say pictures are worth a thousand words. These pictures were taken by various members of the chase team of the storm mentioned above. Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. kids loved seeing the pictures....and are excited to share with their friends at school tomorrow.