Green Sky Chaser

30 May 2010 Chase Log


Target Area: Medicine Lodge, Kansas to Enid, Oklahoma

Chase Area: Anthony, Kansas to Medford/Cimarron City, Oklahoma

Observations: three or four wall clouds, one or two supercells, squall line, and lightning

Distance: 440 miles

Time: 10 hours

Chase Team: Dean Narramore, Willoughby Owen, Rob Warren, Rob Lee, and myself

SPC Convective Outlook: Slight Risk (Click to see SPC products, data, and storm reports)

Chase Setup: Another cold front day across northwest Oklahoma into south central Kansas and further northeast. With the upper-level low farther north, above southern Canada and the northern Rockies, there was not much in the way of upper-level support (a small, weak shortwave trough had the potential to move into southwest Kansas / northwest Oklahoma, though). Dewpoints ahead of the front were in the 60s in south central Kansas and Oklahoma, where MLCAPE values were around 2000 J kg-1 and mid-level lapse rates were at about 7 °C km-1. Southeast surface winds of 5 to 10 knots ahead of the front veered to southwest at about 30 knots aloft. Primary storm mode was expected to be multicells congealing into a squall line, with possibly some large hail and strong winds.

Chase Log: We started off the day in Hays, Kansas, and drove southeast in the hopes of catching a strong multicell or possibly even supercell before the cold front forced a squall line.

We took a brief detour through the streets of Greensburg, to check out how the rebuilding was going three years after an EF5 tornado destroyed 95% of the town. I had seen the city twice before, once when the tornado was ongoing and the other time a year after the tornado. I was impressed by how nice Greensburg looked, and by how quickly it was able to come back. We saw many solar panels and wind turbines in and around the city, providing clean energy to the residents as a result of government funding.

Just southeast of Greensburg, we started to see some towers go up to our east. By the time we got to Anthony, there was a line of several thunderstorms extending to near the Oklahoma border.

We got on one of the storms, which looked fairly nice early on and had a tornado warning on it. However, the storm quickly got messy and we headed south along the line into Oklahoma, going for tail-end charlies that kept forming farther and farther south.

A few miles west of Medford, Oklahoma, near where I witnessed two tornadoes on May 10, we saw a wall cloud or two to our west. Nothing came of it, though, and we continued driving south.

We stopped when we got to Cimarron City, as there was a strong-looking storm headed for us and we hoped it would arrive with some hail. However, the storm barely moved, so we eventually gave up and drove back north to Enid for the night after sitting at the gas station for over an hour or two.

We did see what appeared to be a wall cloud just as the sun was setting, but the storm did not seem to be rotating. We also saw some pretty nice lightning this day, including a lot of cloud-to-ground strikes near our location in Cimarron City (a few knocked out the nearby power and were a little too close for comfort, especially considering our proximity to the gas station!).