StormEffects

 

 

Brian A. Morganti

2019 Chase Summaries

 May 16 - May 28, 2019

May 16, 2019:  Thu Day 1 - Severe Storm - Nebraska Panhandle:   After visiting with family in Colorado for several days, Nancy and I officially started our 2019 chase vacation on this day . We left Castle Rock at 0900 and headed north on I-25, then northeast of highway 85 in Wyoming prior to having lunch in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska.  The Panhandle look good for severe severe storms, and we encountered our first one west of Hemingford.  The storm looked pretty when viewed from its western flank, but went downhill from there.  Only one image was taken (see below), prior to continuing east through the rain core and intercepting a second storm north of Alliance, but this one fizzled as well.   With the rest of the day's potential not looking all that great, we called it a day and headed back to Scottsbluff for dinner and lodging.  A weak storm formed to our west while having a late dinner, so we may have missed a photo op just west of town.  Scotts Bluff, Nebraska - 325 miles for the day.


May 17, 2019:  Fri Day 2 - Tornado - McCook, Nebraska We left Scotts Bluff at 1000 and headed south to Kimball for a lunch and fuel stop.  From there I had to decide between going west for initial storms coming off the Cheyenne Ridge or east towards southwest Nebraska for potential supercells later as shown by all the CAM models.  Decided to head east on I-80 and then south somewhere before North Platte.  Exited at the Sutherland exit (Highway 25) and found Bill and the Tempest Tour 3 gang hanging out at the exit.  It was nice to see old friends and catch up on things before we all headed south towards a severe warned cell located north of Goodland, Kansas.  Although there were better backed winds to our north along the warm front, the storm to our south had a nice radar signature and would make for a fairly easy intercept since it was coming our way.  We cut southeast at Culbertson, then east on highway 34 through McCook.  After making a quick fuel stop we continued east a short distance before stopping to look back to our southwest.  We could see part of the storm base, a wall cloud and even a mid-level funnel or two.

We then moved a couple of more miles east and stopped again, this time to look back to our northwest as the storm was quickly moving off to our north.  We had to run up a steep embankment on the north side of highway 34 in order to see what was really going on.  It didn't take long to find out as a ragged funnel and dust plume soon formed to our northwest before progressing to a 7 minute "ropy" dusty tornado at times.  The tornado was somewhat distant...not sure, maybe 3 or 4 miles or so...and then it was time to reposition to our east and north for a second chance at this storm.

                     

We then had a long way to go for a re-intercept as our first north option wasn't until highway 283 at Arapahoe, and then back west via highway 2 through Eustis where we observed a dark cone tornado off to our west while driving on highway 23.  We stopped west of town to watch a lowered base and persistent wall cloud with strong inflow, but it simply failed to produce another tornado (first image below).  The Tempest group soon took off but I lingered a few more minutes before giving up and heading back north via highway 21 with the storm off to our west.  We made a couple brief photo ops along the way, but no tornado.  The storm was becoming elongated and it was getting dark as we pursued the storm all the way north to Oconto before giving up on the idea that another tornado would form.  We then headed back to Cozad for the night.  After we got settled into the hotel another storm with lots of lightning formed to our southwest.  I grabbed my camera and tripod and quickly headed south of town for a mile or two to set up for some lightning photography.  There sure was plenty of lightning, but it was all embedded in the clouds with only one or two cloud to ground strikes.  I took a bunch of "bulber" shots and included a sample below of what it looked like as the storm was approaching.  Cozad, Nebraska - 520 miles.

           


May 18, 2019:  Sat Day 3 - Strong Storms/Mammatus Show - Dodge City, KS - Woodward, OK:  We left Cozad around 0930/1000 and headed south to Dodge City hoping for an air mass recovery from earlier morning storms.  The area between Dodge City and Woodward would be located right ahead of the dryline, and prime for strong to severe storms later in the day.  From Dodge City we headed to Bucklin, then south on 34 to 160/183 back west to Ashland trying to decide between heading west storms forming along the dryline in southwest Kansas---or continue south for any "tail end" storm activity later in the afternoon/evening farther south.  We chose south via highway 283 into the Oklahoma Panhandle, and then west on 64 through Gate.  We watched two promising updrafts die, and then headed east on 64 to Buffalo, Oklahoma to grab a quick bite to eat. 

While in Buffalo and small line of storms formed to our west, so we again headed west on highway 64 in an attempt to intercept the tail end of this line.  We then stayed ahead of these storms as we cut back east on 64 and north on highway 23 taking several photo ops along the way. 

   

When we got back to Buffalo we headed south on 183 towards Woodward keeping the line of storms to our west, as this line was stretching farther and farther south all the way to Woodward and beyond.  We finished the day a little south of town with one of the most vivid red Mammatus displays I have ever witnessed!  Took loads of photos until these faded into darkness before staying in town for the evening.  Woodward, Oklahoma - maybe 200 or 300 miles for the day.

   


May 19, 2019:  Sun Day 4 - No Storms - Northeast, New Mexico:  Recovery from prior day's convection would limit storm potential across the central and southern plains during the daytime hours.  A trough was forecasted to move through the TX/OK Panhandle region overnight with the threat of numerous storms with large hail.  With that in mind Nancy and decided to take the day off, head west through the scenic Raton Mesa and stay in Raton, NM for the night.  Along the way we made a few stops in the Oklahoma Panhandle to photograph an old farmstead, and again in the mostly ghost town of Grenville New Mexico. An enjoyable day even without the storms...and would be the only day we would not have storms to chase and photograph.  Raton, NM - 329 miles.

                           


May 20, 2019:  Mon Day 5 - High Risk - PDS Day Bust - Texas Panhandle:  Aside from being our 36th wedding anniversary, Nancy and I had good chance of seeing supercells and possible tornadoes on this day.  Heading east from Raton, NM we encountered murky storms early in the northeast Texas Panhandle.  Cold air, low clouds and fog made for miserable conditions and poor visibility with only radar showing the location of fast moving storms heading northeast.  We attempted to get south of the murk into some sunshine and did so between Amarillo and Plainview Texas.  At this time several early afternoon supercells exploded to our southwest, and I knew it would be almost impossible to get into proper position for an intercept.  My hopes for a show along the I-25 corridor quickly faded.  Conditions were still murky as we cut east towards Floydada, and then onto Paducah always staying 30-45 minutes behind these fast moving tornado warned storms.  Other fast moving severe warned storms formed behind us, but these too were moving too fast for an intercept.  We stopped for gas in Paducah then cut north towards Childress.  By the time we reached Childress, the main tornado warned cell had moved well into southwest Oklahoma and after a couple of hours of trying I knew we would never catch up to this storm...which went on to produce a tornado in Mangum, Oklahoma.  We cut back northwest on highway 287 in Childress in hopes of intercepting a severe warned cell located within an almost continuous line of severe storms moving to the northeast.  It was almost certain I would have to cut through these hailers or that they would roll over me.  Near Estelline we stopped to allow the murky severe warned cell approach our position and then let it move off to our north.  I took a series of images of this storm and put together the panorama shown below.  Once this passed, I attempted to thread the needle between the heavy line of storms and managed to only encounter very heavy rain, flooded streets, and some small hail.  Finished the day a little earlier than expected in Amarillo and we then enjoyed a relaxed meal at the Big Texan.  Amarillo, Texas - 545 miles logged for the day.


May 21, 2019:  Tue Day 6 - Strong Storms - West Central Kansas:  A slight risk day that resulted in a severe watch box, but only marginal severe storms were encountered.  We left Amarillo and headed to Greensburg Kansas as scattered storms developed to our north.  After getting fuel in Greensburg we headed north to Kinsley then a little southwest of town to intercept what appeared to be a mini-supercell (first image below) near Offerle.  We then headed southwest to Dodge City via highway 56 to intercept a line of storms west of town.  These weakened upon arrival, and although a few photos were taken they were mostly uninspiring.  Meanwhile, new storms formed back towards Kinsley in a broken fashion along highway 56.  We headed back in that direction and stopped along the way to photograph some old and interesting grain elevators.  No storm seemed to become dominant, so we continued northeast to Larned and Great Bend.  Plenty of storms were encountered along the way but nothing interesting enough to stop and photograph...and none ever reached severe status.  By the time we reached Great Bend the storms died out locally as severe warned cells remained much farther to our north across northern Kansas, but these were too far away to reach in the remaining light and were moving away from our location.  Great Bend, KS - 450 miles. 

       


May 22, 2019:  Wed Day 7 - Moderate Risk - Road Flooding - SE Kansas / NW-C Oklahoma:  Another day with great promise but little payoff.  We left Great Bend under bright sunny skies and headed east and then south to Newton Kansas for lunch.  I was originally thinking somewhere in southeast Kansas, possibly near Yates Center based on the location of the warm frontal boundary, SPC graphics, and the CAMS models.  This area remained under cloud cover and it wasn't long before the HRRR model switched storm initiation farther south to northeast Oklahoma in the Ponca City to Bartlesville area.  Not an area I have any desire to chase due to poor road network and lots of hills and trees.  I met up with the Tempest gang along the way and they were thinking as far south as Oklahoma City.  We met up at Exit 146 on I-35 north of OKC and quickly targeted a storm to our west that was moving to the northeast.  We raced north on I-35 to Guthrie, then headed west to highway 77 north for a perfect intercept.  Big Problem as 77 was immediately blocked off and closed due to flooding...a major issue for almost all roads in KS/OK due to days of heavy storms moving through the area.  We went a little west of town to take a peek at the updraft towers, then headed back north on I-35 before heading east again for another look at this storm, which by now was weakening.

We then targeted a new cell coming up from the southwest, exited at 170 and then west to Mulhall and stopped a couple of times for photo ops to our west, but only a shallow wall cloud was observed. 

We then returned to I-35 and headed south after new storms developing southwest of OKC.  We gave up south of town and then jumped back on I-40 and headed west to El Reno for a final look at storms coming up from the south.  These also weakened as the sun set and only gave us an enemic Mammatus show overhead.  El Reno Oklahoma - 457 miles.


May 23, 2019:  Thu Day 8 - Severe Storms - Texas Panhandle:  Yet another day with a moderate risk in parts of the southern plains.  We left El Reno at 1000 and headed west on I-40.  By chance Tempest Tours was exiting onto I-40 as Nancy and I were passing the Clinton Exit.  A stationary boundary extended southwest to northeast across the north Texas Panhandle from north of Amarillo to near Canadian.  One play would be along this boundary, but any storms had the potential to move quickly into the cooler air north of the boundary---but tornado potential also existed.  Decided instead to play any tail end storms ahead of the Dryline southwest of Lubbock.  We wound up chasing two storms just west of Brownfield, with the first one having some nice stormy base structure with an occasional wall cloud, a wet microburst (2nd photo below) and some close and intense lightning strikes!

   

We then did some bouncing around...first followed this storm north of Brownfield, then back south to another storm and then back north to the original storm for awhile before deciding that the southern cell was the true tail end storm with the most potential.  Later near Lubbock we encountered a fabulous updraft on the southern flank of this storm, but lots of blowing dust partially obscured our view. To our north a large Beaver's Tail was feeding the northeast part of the storm. A little farther north near Lorenzo we encountered a large wall cloud, but this never came close to producing a tornado. We ended the chase near Lorenzo, where Nancy and I said our goodbyes to the Tempest Tour Group.  We took a few photos of the setting sun and then headed to Lubbock for the night.  After sunset a second and third supercell skirted to the north of town.  Lubbock, Texas - 556 miles.

           


May 24, 2019:  Fri Day 9 - Severe Storms - Texas Panhandle - Lubbock Area:  We left Lubbock at 1100, stopped for fuel and then went to a nearby park to spend some time before lunch.  Within 30 minutes it started to rain and thunder could be heard nearby.  Radar was showing a thunderstorm had initiated to our southwest and was coming our way.  We decided to kill some time and play with this storm, so we headed south of town for an intercept.  Even though nothing exceptional, this early storm turned out to be the most interesting of the day for us! 

        

More storms formed to the southwest of this one and began training directly over Lubbock one after another.  Flash Flooding rapidly occurred throughout the city as we navigated streets with several inches of water...some barely passable, as we looked for a place to have lunch.  More storms soon back-built to the southwest and we played with these as well, but nothing of real interest occurred. We then headed west to the back side of these storms via highway 385 when a new isolated severe warned storm formed to our southwest near Littlefield. 

We continued north to Earth for a few photos, and then back east via highway 70 towards Plainview, Texas.  Along the way we stopped to photograph the approach of this storm as well as some cloud structure and colorful Mammatus clouds.  This storm had plenty of large hail reports, but fortunately later turned right and went south of Plainview.  Plainview, Texas 294 miles.

               


May 25, 2019:  Sat Day 10 - Severe & Tornado Warned Storms - Central-Southern Texas Panhandle:  We left Plainview at 1000 and drove west through Earth and then onto Muleshoe Texas for lunch and fuel. We stopped briefly in Earth to photograph an interesting old truck with some vivid colors.

       

Once again storms formed early and at noon we already had storms to pursue.  Problem was too many storms went up along the dryline to our west, so we dropped to what appeared to be a tail end cell in Yoakum County.  This one was bigger and had no competition to its south.  We went southeast on highway 84 through Littlefield, then south to Levelland , then west on 114, then north on 303 a mile or two in order to intercept the southern end of this storm.  While not tornadic, it exhibited a very chaotic "Whale's Mouth" under the storm base structure! 

   

We followed this storm for the next couple hours hoping for something more, but we had already seen the best it had to offer even though it remained severe and even tornado warned at times.  We finally let it go near Silverton, then dove southwest after three new storm cells and eventually targeted the southern (tail end) cell as it became tornado warned.  Radar was showing a nice hook as we neared the town of Spade, and visually the storm was taking on a nice "flying saucer" shape with lowered base structure. 

We continued east and then north with this storm through Cotton Center when a report of a "confirmed" tornado was reported.  We were "right there" at the action area as shown in the following photo but can't honestly confirm seeing a tornado reaching the ground.

Biblical-like stormy skies were then observed near Hale Center with strong "wrap around" winds!  We continued back east following this storm as it gradually weakened, but still exhibiting interesting cloud features.  We left the storm go somewhere south of Plainview and then once again headed to Lubbock for the night.  Storms to our north then got messy in a line that stretched all the way north into Kansas.  Lubbock, Texas - 462 miles.

   


May 26, 2019:  Sun Day 11 - Severe & Tornado Warned Storms - Oklahoma Panhandle/Colorado/Kansas:  We left Lubbock at 0900 and headed north towards the Oklahoma Panhandle.  A lone severe warned storm went up in the northwest Texas Panhandle that was moving to the northeast.  We continued north for an attempted intercept as the storm continued to move north of Boise City in the Oklahoma Panhandle, but it was becoming apparent we simply could not catch up to this storm. We cut east at Springfield Colorado and headed to Johnson in Kansas with the storm still to our north, but finally gave up as this storm began to weaken.  We then headed north on Highway 27 towards Syracuse in hopes of catching some storms up that way, but they too were moving away to our north.  We were about to give up, but it was still early---only 3pm local.  Radar was indicating a new tornado warned tail-end storm cell going up well to our west-southwest near Lamar, Colorado.  We headed west on 50/400 and then took a shortcut to Wiley north of Lamar in order to avoid the lights/traffic in town.  This put us right onto Highway 287 north which would lead us directly to the storm's base which was now just to our WNW.  Unfortunately in less than a mile we suddenly came to a complete stop as a "conga-line" of storm chasers also had the same idea...a slow rolling grid lock in front of us, and traffic was now fast backing up behind us.  I was trapped and had little choice but to continue moving forward with everyone else.  Meanwhile the base of the storm came into view and had some conical white lowerings and looked close to a tornado at times.  I would have liked to have stopped to get photos of this feature but no way was I going to risk getting stuck by the side of the road and having an awful time pulling back into that traffic rolling north.  The traffic lessoned some as folks started to pull over to take photos as we cut east on Route 96 towards Sheridan Lake.  It was along this stretch of road that we observed numerous accidents...no doubt caused by chasers paying more attention to the storm and not enough to the road ahead.  There were a couple of cars that nose-dived into ditches, and others rear-ended with significant damage.  Emergency vehicles were on the scene for some of these...I was no longer interested in watching the storm at this point and just wanted to get ahead of this nightmarish traffic.  Later we observed some decent structure to the west of 385/40 near Cheyenne Wells as the chaser herds thinned out.

At this point we broke off the chase and headed east on Highway 40 to Sharon Springs in Kansas, and finally got away from all the other chasers.  At Highway 27 we headed north towards Goodland and had the road completely to ourselves.  About half way to Goodland we encountered a small storm off to our northeast with a beautiful "feeder" cloud coming off a heavy precipitation shaft to our north.  We grabbed a few photos of this interesting feature and finished the day in Goodland for the night.  594 miles

   


May 27, 2019:  Mon Day 12 - Supercells - Northeast Colorado:  The target for today would be a narrow corridor in northeast Colorado, primarily along the I-76 corridor from about Fort Morgan to Sterling to Ogallala, Nebraska.  SPC had an enhanced risk of severe for this region, and the HRRR model depicted one or two supercells tracking along I-76 by late afternoon, early evening. We headed west from Goodland into Colorado, then north on 385 and briefly met up with the Tempest gang in Wray as they were loading up with a film crew in tow.  Nancy and I then headed west towards Fort Morgan and had lunch in Brush along the way.  We were just about to stop at a park to kill some time and look at data when radar indicated an early storm going up in the DCVZ near Denver.  We fueled up in Fort Morgan and hastily plotted a course towards this storm to our southwest.  We could go as far a Hoyt where the roads turned to gravel and get us a little closer to the storm.  From just west of Hoyt we watched this storm to our southwest grow and move slowly to the northeast as it became severe warned, and it was starting to exhibit some nice LP storm structure.

   

During this time Tempest Tours showed up and we all headed a little farther west on the gravel roads to get a little closer to the storm, but it wasn't long before the storm started dissipating.  

We then headed north as a new cell formed to the north of this old one...or it could have actually been a regeneration of the older updraft.  We basically followed this storm cell for the rest of the day and it was performing pretty much on track as the HRRR model forecasted.  We then headed east with the storm which was located to our north as we paralleled I-76.  During this time we observed several dusty spin ups to our north and east.

   

We then jumped on I-76 to follow this intensifying storm to the northeast, which was now becoming a prolific hail producer.  We stopped a few times to marvel at the awesome structure and colors of this storm, but it was now picking up speed and the hail was becoming a constant concern.  Near Proctor we finally gained enough distance ahead of the storm and stopped to look back and take some photos.  It was at this point that a fast moving tight area of circulation moved rapidly east a couple miles to our north, unfortunately an intervening hill blocked our view to ground level.

       

We continued east a couple more miles and again stopped along I-76 to look at the storm structure and wall cloud off to our north.

   

Again we had to keep moving in order to stay ahead of the approaching hail core.  We continued on I-76 and then east on Highway 30 towards Ogallala, Nebraska.  We stopped along 30 near Big Springs at the Nebraska border to look back at the storm that was now chasing us.

   

Nancy and I continued to Ogallala and found a WalMart gas station with a low canopy in which to ride out the approaching hailstorm.  It didn't take long for other chasers and travelers to do the same.  I grabbed a photo as the hail core was entering the parking lot and again after it had passed.  The intense hail core lasted about 10 minutes and consisted of dime to half-dollar size hail.  At one point visibility was reduced to zero.  After the storm had passed hotels started filling up fast as many folks were caught with no protection on the interstate and had received broken windshields or rear windows.  Ogallala, Nebraska 395 miles.

   


May 28, 2019:  Tue Day 13 - Tornado - Waldo, Kansas:  I was pretty sure today would be the last day of our chase vacation as the prospects for severe on the plains would be limited for the next few days.  But today still looked good for supercell thunderstorms across a good portion of central and eastern Kansas.  We left Ogallala thinking that somewhere near a northward moving frontal boundary in north central Kansas would be a good place to chase.  An even greater risk of severe storms and tornadoes seemed likely farther east towards Kansas City, but I had no desire to get too far east of the high plains and find myself possibly having to chase a tornadic storm into a metro area.  My first plan was to head to Hays, Kansas...have lunch and figure out a target from there.  After lunch we went to a local park to relax and look at data and the sky.  Some perky cumulus clouds were bubbling just to my south and in the days before having access to data I would have likely just waited for the storms to form.  But SPC had an MD quickly followed by a tornado watch box issued to our east.  Salina was in the northern part of the box, so we started heading east on I-70.  Along the way a few turkey towers were rising to our east, but the CAP looked to be holding things back at this point.  As we were getting closer to Salina I got a call from Bill Reid who was sitting with the Tempest group in Beloit, back to my northwest.  He said they were seeing some nice towers going up to his southwest, but these were hidden from view as they were located directly behind me.  I figured I better take the next exit and drive north to a high spot to at least have a look, we exited at 233 towards Westfall.  From a high point on a gravel road I could see the tops of some robust towers well back to my west, an area we just came from!  I then checked radar and sure enough there was a storm right over Hays...ugh, and worse it had a tornado warning!  The storm was rather small, but the "tornado" was confirmed as a "land spout" by a local resident.  Well, this was pretty hard to ignore and it was time to plot an intercept course to this northeastward moving storm.  The cell was isolated and appeared to be moving along the boundary...so it certainly had a lot going for it.  I plotted an intercept course first west through Westfall and then north on Route 14 to Lincoln, where we made a needed fuel and pit stop.  From there we headed west on highway 18 which would take us through Lucas, and then to Luray (east of Waldo) where we would have a north option via 281.  It appeared the timing would be just about right to intercept the rear of the storm at the intersection of 18 & 281, but there was no time to waste.  The growing towers looked great along the way and Nancy did an excellent job of getting us to where we needed to be as fast as safely possible. 

Between Lucas and Luray we could finally see the base of the storm come into view, and there appeared to be a large dark lowering beneath that base.  The winding road, small hills, and intervening trees made it rather difficult to say for sure what this feature was, but it sure looked like a large wall cloud.  After another mile or two it became apparent that what we were seeing was actually a large wedge-like tornado that extended from the base of the cloud towards the ground...but we could not yet see ground level from our distance.  As we raced west the tornado came more and more into view and I started taking as many photos as possible in case this tornado suddenly lifted and be gone by the time we reached our north option and for that we only needed to go another 3-4 miles, but it seemed like 50 miles at the time.  The following series of images were taken from highway 18 between Lucas and Luray looking primarily to the west.  This stretch of highway cuts northwest which was fortunately the direction we needed it to go!

                   

Nancy kept asking me if I wanted to stop, but I wanted to get closer...to a high spot where we could see the tornado fully reaching ground level and figured that would best happen once we turned north on Highway 281.  When we first turned onto 281 we could clearly see the tornado off to our west, it appeared to be getting taller but we could only see about half the funnel.  We were in a low spot with a hill to our west, but once on 281 we could see that the highway quickly gained elevation a mile to our north.  Finally we got to a high point with a fabulous view of the entire tornado and sweeping valley landscape view off to our west...just perfect!  The first image is a wide angle view showing the overall vista...the tornado looks much farther away in this image than it actually was.

               

After a few minutes the tornado gradually became narrower and taller, with the first image below showing a classic "drill bit" configuration, and the second image shows the beginning of the rope out stage.  This image also shows a second tornado beginning to form in the far right side of the photo.  This would have been to the northeast of the slowly weakening original tornado. The third image shows the new tornado extending partially to the ground to the west side of Highway 281.  At this point I considered blasting north after new tornadic development that would likely occur off to my northeast, but was fully captivated by the rope out stage of this beautiful tornado.

       

The following images showcase the beautiful rope out stage which became quite serpentine at times!

                       

Once the hail core cleared 281 to our north we headed north and then east and north via a series of gravel roads in an attempt to catch up with this northeast moving supercell.  Along the way we stopped briefly to capture a few photos of brief funnels and structure.

     

South of Tipton we caught the tail end of a white tornado to our north...we later found out that this was likely the remnants of a larger tornado that formed out of our view as we were trying to catch up from southwest of the storm.

           

Trying to keep up with this storm was proving difficult and we were losing the battle as it raced off to our northeast.  We continued on gravel roads east and then cut north on Highway 14 towards the town of Beloit, which can be seen in the second image.

   

At Beloit it became obvious that we could no longer stay up with this storm, and ended our chase and headed east to Concordia.  From there we headed south on Highway 81 towards Salina and marveled at the huge cumulonimbus clouds off to our east.  We took some side roads east of 81 and stopped to photograph these in the fading light before heading to Salina for the night.  I can't imagine a better way to have ended our final chase day on the plains...simply an awesome day and one that will be long remembered!  Salina, Kansas 580 miles.

       


 

A brief YouTube Video of  the Waldo Tornado and Rope Out Stage:    https://youtu.be/IltIemUr0MU

Link to chase account and photos from William Reid's May 28, 2019 Waldo to Tipton Kansas.

 


 

The following text and graphics are from the NWS Hastings, Nebraska:

On Tuesday May 28th, an intense supercell storm developed along a sharp warm front in north central KS. One of these storms produced the most intense tornado out of a series of tornadoes during the past three days for our local area, an EF-2 that first touched down in extreme northern Russell County (near Waldo) before tracking northeast for 22 miles across rural portions of southeastern Osborne and southwestern Mitchell counties before lifting near Tipton. The tornado was witnessed by several storm chasers, county officials and local residents. It caused damage at primarily three farmsteads, including: destroying a grain bin and several outbuildings.  Please refer to the track maps below for more information.

   


The 1630 UTC Day 1 convective outlook graphic and 0323 Mesoscale Discussion for eastern Colorado and northwestern Kansas is shown below.  The 10% tornado risk pulled many chasers into far northeastern Kansas where tornadoes did occur closer to the metro areas.  Only a 2% tornado risk extended back into parts of northwestern Kansas with this update, but maintained an enhanced risk for severe storms.  Tornadoes would certainly be possible in this area, but likely isolated at best. The Mesoscale discussion at 0323 shows the low positioned about a county west of where the "Waldo" tornado formed, and would ultimately move more or less northeast along the warm frontal boundary as it lifted to the north.  Tornadoes were not mentioned with this discussion, but isolated supercells were and they are never to be ignored from a photographic and/or tornadic potential.  

   


The first graphic below shows the position of the tornado producing supercell in southwest Osborne County and the location of the severe watch boxes farther east.  By this time I had become aware of this isolated supercell and abandoned my eastward heading on I-70 when I was just inside the severe box (dotted red lines) and started heading back to my west-northwest.  The second graphic below shows Tornado Watch 281 valid from 5:35pm CDT, with the "Waldo Supercell" shown in the southwestern portion of the watch box. This would have been about the time we were approaching the tornado from the east along highway 18 near Luray and when we started getting our first look (and photographs) of a wide tornado hanging from the base of the storm to our west. 

    


May 29 & 30, 2019:  Wed & Thu - Travel Home Days:  Drove from Salina to Zanesville, Ohio on Wednesday.  No storms were encountered, but storms did remain ahead of us from about St. Louis to Pennsylvania.  935 miles driven.  On Thursday we drove from Zanesville to home...370 miles.