2004 June 10
Copyright 2004 Eric Nguyen
 
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Area Chased:  SW NE

Discussion:   Scott Currens and I started out at LBF that morning.  We got data and ate at the Flying J's truck stop in LBF off hwy 80.  We went west towards our target in far southwestern Nebraska.  However, a line of cu rapidly developed in far northeastern CO and quickly developed into two cells.  The first cell quickly moved northeast into the NE panhandle, the second slowed and appeared stationary for a short while.  We blasted towards this cell incase it was going to be the show for the day.  Since no other storms appeared to be developing anywhere in our target, we decided to head for this storm and intercept it on I-80.  We stopped to its northeast and watched as the already rotating storm produced a few funnels.  This quickly developed into a large cigar shaped funnel with a debris cloud underneath.  We watched as this tornado moved closer to I-80 wonder if traffic would realize the approaching tornado.  Luckily, someone was watching and trucks as well as cars stopped just east of us as the tornado began to cross the highway.  It appeared weak and was rapidly organizing.  We moved east and north to get back in position and got a mile or two from the tornado as it appeared to rapidly intensify.  Very strong winds accompanied with rain and hail wrapped around this tornado, so video and stills were difficult as we were not sure if our safety was at risk due to power lines being overhead.  We moved the van off the main N-S road and got west of the power lines.  Luckily, none broke where we were located.   We eventually lost site of this tornado and once again moved east and north to get back in position.  We watched as it roped out at around 424PM CDT and a new wallcloud developed to its immediate southeast.  We would never confirm any tornadic activity with this new circulation due to the lack of roads and HP nature of the storm.  We did catch a glimpse of a tornado roping out north of Ogallala, NE, which was probably on the ground for a while prior to us seeing it.  We decided to leave the storm due to the lack of roads, but not before breaching the hail core to observe any significant hail that we may need to report.  We went south towards the storms in far southeastern NE, however, these storms were too HP and were getting undercut by very cold outflow.   Unfortunately, we blew off the Red Cloud, NE storm during nightfall since we had to work the next day.

Pictures:

040610-1b.jpg (22474 bytes)      A developing supercell looking SW on I-80 north of Julesburg, CO at 338PM CDT.

040610-2b.jpg (21541 bytes)      040610-3b.jpg (20540 bytes)      040610-4b.jpg (23371 bytes)      040610-5b.jpg (22245 bytes)      A debris cloud could be seen at around 345PM CDT along with a cigar shaped funnel.  Just before this crossed I-80, traffic on the highway stopped just to our east.

040610-6b.jpg (20018 bytes)      040610-7b.jpg (20530 bytes)      Nice tornado, looking west.

040610-8b.jpg (21405 bytes)      040610-9b.jpg (19828 bytes)      Amazing condensation funnel with a dusty debris cloud, taken at 355PM CDT, looking north.

040610-10b.jpg (20498 bytes)      040610-11b.jpg (19341 bytes)      040610-12b.jpg (19414 bytes)      We raced east and north to get back in position as this tornado strengthened.  The cloud base rotation was very strong at this time, images looking NNW.

040610-13b.jpg (19329 bytes)      040610-14b.jpg (21393 bytes)      040610-15b.jpg (19649 bytes)      040610-16b.jpg (22180 bytes)      As we continued north to get better contrast, the tornado kept growing in size.  We stopped about a mile or two south of the tornado and encountered strong RFD winds, rain, and hail.  The video of this tornado is amazing!

040610-17b.jpg (22695 bytes)      040610-18b.jpg (22176 bytes)      We dove south to get in position yet again due to the poor road network.  It appeared to dissipate at around 424PM CDT, while another circulation developed to its SE with RFD dust observed on the south side of this new circulation.   A rain wrapped meso and maybe tornado occurred after this but due to the lack of roads I can't confirm what was behind the rain curtains.

040610-19b.jpg (20830 bytes)      040610-20b.jpg (21815 bytes)      We flanked the storm north of Ogallala, NE, and watched the end of a tornado as it roped out and dissipated.  It had just lifted as I came up the hill to take pictures.

040610-21b.jpg (20328 bytes)      040610-22b.jpg (29996 bytes)      040610-23b.jpg (29734 bytes)      After that we saw no more tornadoes due to bad roads and rain as this thing turned into an HP monster.  We went into the southern portion of the rain wrapped meso to see how large the hail was, and we were able to observe baseball hail falling, however, we were not able to obtain the hail until well after the hail stopped falling.  2.25 - 2.5 inch hail was picked up later after significant melting had already occurred.


Copyright 2004 Eric Nguyen
 
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