Target Area: Ponca City/Bartlesville, Oklahoma to Arkansas City, Kansas
Chase Area: South Haven/Winfield, Kansas
Observations: cumulus congestus and cumulonimbus clouds (south end of squall line), pileus cloud, and lightning
Distance: 360 miles
Time: 10 hours
Chase Team: Jeff Makowski, Esther White, and myself
SPC Convective Outlook: Slight Risk (Click to see SPC products, data, and storm reports)
Chase Setup: Supercells expected in eastern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. Large trough situated over Colorado/New Mexico today. Dewpoints along the dryline in central Oklahoma in the mid-60s. CAPE values of over 1000 J kg-1 in north central Oklahoma and south central Kansas. Storm-relative helicity of over 150 to 200 m2 s-2 in northeast Oklahoma and southeast Kansas. If storms remain discrete, large hail and a few tornadoes are possible.
Chase #2 Evaluation (before)
Chase #3 (before)
Chase Log: In contrast to the previous day, instability and wind shear were slightly lower but forcing was better. We had some concerns about this just being a squall line day, and in the end that's all it really was.
We left Norman around 2 pm and again drove north on I-35. Just across the Kansas border, we stopped just outside South Haven. I managed to find a dirt/gravel road to pull off on, affording us a beautiful, panoramic view of the flatlands of Kansas. Here we stayed for the next 2.5 hours or so. A squall line had already formed in eastern Kansas by the time we got here, and we didn't feel like racing to keep up with the southern cell.
We watched cumulus clouds form and bubble along the dryline, to our west and north, but nothing appeared to be low enough based or solid enough for us to want to pull the trigger and go after it. The upper-level winds seemed too strong as the tops of some of the clouds were sheared apart.
Eventually we decided that we wanted to get at least a bit of the action, so we took off after a nice-looking cumulus congestus to our north. We drove north on highway 81, stopping briefly outside of Rome to take some photos of the most beautiful pileus cloud on top of our cumulonimbus cloud.
From Wellington we drove west on highway 160 to Winfield, before we gave up as the storm was racing away and dusk was approaching. Although we never even got rained on, we did see some nice lightning on the way home!