Target Area: Colby, Kansas (Click on city names for Yahoo! maps links)
Observations: at least one supercell, hail, a shelf cloud, a squall line, lightning, a green sky, and two jackrabbits
Distance: 1000 miles
Time: 19 hours
Chase Team: Jeff Makowski, Dean Narramore, and myself
SPC Convective Outlook: Slight Risk (Click to see SPC products, data, and storm reports)
Chase Setup: A shortwave trough was moving southeastward through Wyoming. A surface pressure trough developed downwind from the Rockies. Surface winds were southerly across the western High Plains with dewpoints in the mid-60s. MLCAPE ranged from 1500 to 3000 J kg-1 in northwest Kansas, where 0 to 6 km bulk shear was around 40 knots.
Chase #21 (before)
Chase #23 - Northwest Kansas (after)
Chase Log: We set out for Colby, Kansas, where we saw a couple of storms form to our west. We meandered westward a bit and then sat just north of Goodland for a little while to watch the lightning on about three storms as they merged to our southwest.
Worried that the day was getting on and we might not get much action, we decided to head south and drive through the storm cluster. The storms were pretty weak, so we were not too concerned about hail, but we did pull off the road when the hail grew to penny-size.
After the hail let up, we continued south and saw a few inches of quarter- and ping pong ball-size hail piled up by the sides of the road.
About this time, a few more storms popped up around us, including a beefier cell to our south. This storm eventually became tornado-warned (though it never did produce), but we had difficulty getting around to the south side of the supercell. By the time we finally did get south of the storm, a solid squall line had formed and chased us south to Garden City, where we stopped for dinner and saw some amazing lightning and shelf cloud structure.
This was the first July chase for all of us, and we considered it quite successful. It was also fun to just be out on some storms without any other visible chasers around.