La Grange/Goshen County Wyoming Tornado

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Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: June 5, 2009
Chase Partners:
Scott Bennett

Chasers Encountered:
Adam Lucio, Danny Neal, Randy Cooper, Steve Polley, Jesse Risley, Mike Brady, Skip Talbot, Chris Rice

Miles Logged: 1386
States Chased: NE
Tornadoes Witnessed: 1
Largest Hail Encountered: 1.5"
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:

I started this weekend out in Michigan, working 7 days straight since last week’s trip to Holiday World. I originally had the 4-7 off, but managed to get the 8th off as well for my return home.

I left around 8am on Thursday the 4th and headed out to Omaha, NE where I arrived sometime during the early evening and stayed at Scott Bennett’s house. Thanks go out to Scott and his wife for putting up with me! I really appreciated it!

Scott and I left in his Bravada around 9 am and headed out to an initial target of Sterling, CO. The target was refined while driving, with a target of Sidney, NE. We arrived in Sidney, NE and got some Mexican food at a really tasty Mexican place in town. Chris Rice, Steve Polley, Randy Cooper and Jesse Risley, Brandon Sullivan and Mike Brady all showed up in the parking lot and we hung out for awhile. The cells started going up north of Cheyenne and they eventually all left, leaving Scott and me as the only ones left.

We should have left with them, but I was convinced things were going to blow up further south. I decided we should move a bit further west at least, and get into position for the stuff further south.

As we headed west, the cell went Tornado Warned and then I started hearing about a live tornado on the weather channel. That was heartbreaking to say the least. We kept driving, and got off at Kimball, NE going north and then west on gravel roads before coming upon the cell.

We managed to catch the last few minutes of the tornado and stopped. I was able to get this amazing video tripodded of the Tornado from approximately 20 miles away. It barely looks like it’s moving, and is one of my better video catches to date.

After the tornado lifted, we observed the cell and then decided to drive a bit closer. We got into a good position for the supercell to go north of us, while we observed beautiful structure and more cells popping up. None of them really ended up going, though, and we watched the cell move from northwest to northeast of us, dropping another beautiful funnel fairly close to us. That one didn’t manage to touch down, though.

Now for the bad part of the entire trip – I had left my brand new HTC Touch Pro sitting on top of Scotts car, and we drove off to go after the cell, and it flew off about a mile down the road. I came to the realization I had left it about 3-4 miles down the road, so naturally we turned around and went back. After about 30-45 minutes of searching, we were able to find it. It was beat up a bit, but it still works. No insurance on it though!

After that, we returned back to the cell and came into the rear area of the cell. We watched some rotation on the cell from far, and then approached from Dalton, NE. We went by Josh Wurman’s DOW crew, which Bluestein was standing outside of the truck in the road and a Discovery Channel camera guy was laying on the ground next to him – Great way to get runover dude.

Scott and I stopped a bit up the road and observed the clouds – It looked turbulent and much like you’d see in the wake of a large ship – Clouds spinning and going every which way. It was very impressive in person, not so much on video.

Scott and I continued heading east, and what appeared to be a tornado appeared. The video isn’t very focused, and it’s bumpy, but it’s in the video below.

After that, we ended up on some really messy Nebraska gravel/dirt roads, and decided to call it a night as Scotts Bravada was running low on Fuel. We ended up in Lodgepole, and then went to Sidney, NE where we celebrated our catch with Filet Mignion. We were joined by Skip Talbot, Adam Lucio, Danny Neal, Jesse Risley, Brandon Sullivan and Mike Brady. A great time was had by all.

We ended up booking a room at the Motel 6 in North Platte, and drove to there for the night.