Friday, June 15, 2007

Broken Bow stormchase

Been a while since I've posted -- I've been a busy bee! Here are photos from a recent storm chase just north of Broken Bow, Nebraska, on June 6th.

I took the day off work and zipped over to Kearney to pick up my friend, Darren. We waited around for a bit looking at data, then decided to go north to Broken Bow. The cap was a serious issue that day -- I was pretty pessimistic about it breaking, really. We settled down at an awesome soda shop in 'downtown' Broken Bow -- and they weren't kidding about the soda shop thing, either; they had every soda concoction known to man.

After a while, a couple of guys who were sitting in the corner came up and said hi -- they turned out to be storm chasers too. Data starved chasers, at that; they'd driven all the way from Salt Lake City when their laptop gave out on them, and all they had for data was some nowcaster in California that kept calling them. Eventually the cap DID break; it was rather spectacular, too, as an outflow boundary from Colorado smashed into the retreating dryline and literally sent up a 200 mile long severe squall line in less than 15 minutes. This happened in a clear blue sky, mind you. On initiation, we drove east a bit and then north to try to keep up with a storm out ahead of the line. This was a bit of a task, as they were zipping to the northeast at 45 knots.

So, we got to Sargent, NE, and paused in the parking lot of a gas station to behold the insane squall that had formed. It was getting quite dark, and we tried to watching among the lightning flickers for any signs of a lowering. You don't usually get tornadoes in a squall line, but there actually was an embedded supercell to our southwest putting a brief tornado down near Broken Bow (DOH!).

Eventually, the squall started to catch up with us and we zotted east. As we were going east, the gust front caught us. We pulled over and got out as a rather large, rotating gustnado formed about 200 yards to our south. (No photos -- way too dark.) This actually startled me a bit; as I hadn't noticed it until Darren (who was driving) pointed it out. Right behind that was what the dark had hidden -- a haboob. Talk about getting dirt blasted -- I literally had dirt in my teeth when I got back into the car.

We moved on a bit more, then stopped when we got near another clearing. This is how dusty it is in the wake of a haboob!

In summary, no tornadoes seen, but all in all a very fun chase. I'm still hoping to see a great supercell this season, though time is starting to run out. Here's to hoping that I can get Darren a glimpse of his mothership before the year is out!

BTW, this picture was begging for this:


CheekyGeek said...

Was wondering what your shots of this looked like! Cool stuff. It amazes me what you can get in the dark. (And the internets IS serious stuff).
: )

Michael said...

great shots!

We prefer to call it the interweb around here.

KaTiE said...

New fark cliche?