HokieStorm Chase 2016 Day 6

Posted: May 21, 2016 in Uncategorized

….Pre-Chase Update….                                                               Updated 10 am May 21st, 2016

Tough decision ahead today. Starting the day in Dumas, TX. Right smack dab in the middle of the SPC outlooked “Slight Risk.” The question quickly becomes….North to KS and the shear? or South to TX with the CAPE. Logistically, looking at D2 and our laundry needs, a South trip to the TX dryline would win the battle, but we may be passing up a brief Tornado or two in KS.

SREF MLCAPE 00z ForecastCape values are looking promising throughout our target area today. It should be efficient to bust through the pretty strong CAP, which actually should aid in keeping the cell pops until best heating and could potentially work in our favor in keeping things discrete for an hour or two.

 

SREF 0-6km 00z Forecast

Shear wise, the better low level to deep layer shear is North, however, it is not “great” when it comes to supercell formation to begin with.  The effective shear is a bit better north. While I certainly think a tornado or two are possible in KS…I like the idea of a dryline chase with the better road map in TX.

 

Either way, a better chances of supercells and Tornadoes approach Sun – Tue, and being South of our starting location today (Dumas, TX) will be needed. Interesting to see how things play out in our pre-chase meeting. A quick overview of the 12z soundings:

After a brief debate with the crew, we reverted our original decision to head South in TX panhandle for dryline play. Now heading North to better shear profiles. Long haul ahead for us today.


….Garden City Update….         3pm update

MD out for the area. Likely heading north toward Scott City before blasting West to the CU field. 1-2 hours from forecasted initiation.

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….Update….                                                                                                               10 am May 22nd, 2016

Photo Credit: Alex Thornton

Tornado North of Leoti, KS (via Alex Thornton)

Overall, a fantastic chase day that culminated in our first tornado intercept of the trip. We were in good position well ahead of initiation, and were able to stick with the storm from beginning to end. The storm became TOR warned rather early on in its supercellular stage, and did drop down a tornado just as we started moving to better our point of view. A few were able to snag a quick peak of the funnel as it hit the ground, but most (including me behind the wheel of probe 2) were focused on turning around and heading a bit further north and west toward the storm.

Tornado touchdown was only visible from our location for about 5 seconds or so, with potentially a brief 2nd touchdown soon to follow the first. From there, we opted to head west on the unpaved gridded road network to better position ourselves to view the meso from the back right quadrant of the storm. Once we arrived, the view for the next hour + was spectacular.

A long trip back South into the OK/TX Panhandle with another night at a Super-8! Up bright and early to do it all again tomorrow.

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