Severe Storms in Kansas and Nebraska

posted in: Storm Chasing | 0
Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: May 27, 2012
Chase Partners:
Ashley Poling

Chasers Encountered:
Scott Bennett, JR Hehnly, Sean Casey, Brandon Ivey, Steve Polley, Corey Sloan, Kenzie Sloan, Jesse Risley, Aaron Pippin

Miles Logged: 729
States Chased: KS, NE
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:

After a bust in North Central Nebraska the previous day, we held out some hope the 27th would be a decent day. Unfortunately that wouldn’t ever really come to fruition as the day was extremely frustrating and I found myself stranded for the first time chasing.

I wasn’t very much sold on this day for quite a few days leading up to it, but we were already in Nebraska and it was Ashley’s last day to chase. It looked like a linear event as the cold front crashed south and east.

The low in Kansas seemed to be the place to be if we wanted to find anything remotely super cellular, so we decided to head down to Phillipsburg before settling down near Gaylord, KS and waiting on initiation.

As expected, storms fired from north to south in Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota. There was even a tornado warning and apparently a tornado report or two in Nebraska, although I am still somewhat skeptical on those reports. We waited patiently as more storms fired southwest and then more to our east.

I became impatient and ended up going to Smith Center to fill up with gas then headed east towards those cells that had fired. Meanwhile, storms were firing to the southwest of where I had been sitting, so we turned around about 20 miles down the road.

We got on our only real storm of the day near Smith Center and followed it north observing a nice shear funnel along the updraft. The bases were high as expected and the road deteriorated in quality the further north we headed.

Eventually it became a very bumpy road and with storm motions of 45+ MPH we were hauling to keep up. Near the NE/KS border I heard something fall off my truck and hit the bottom making the general ‘thunk’ sound we’d been hearing all weekend with mud falling off my truck. I didn’t think much of it until we went to stop. The brakes did some weird things and some awful sounds came from the outside and we didn’t much stop. I couldn’t figure out what the heck was going on so I kept going.

We headed east to get in a prime position to intercept the line of storms that had now developed. Unfortunately we wouldn’t get to do that. As we were driving east I saw fellow chaser Scott McPartland who I had been wanting to meet. I went to hit the brakes then and realized they were fully out and had to stop using the transmission and emergency brake. Something was seriously wrong!

By the time I stopped and turned around Scott had left and I realized I wouldn’t be able to drive home in this condition nor would I really be able to drive at all.

I decided to try and limp to Hastings where I could possibly find an auto parts store open the next day. Luckily I ran into Steve Polley, Jesse Risley, Scott Bennett, Corey Sloan and Aaron Pippin and we were able to at least to band-aid my truck by moving the top caliper bolt to the bottom and rigging up some cables to help hold the caliper down so it didn’t chunk up into the wheel like it had been.

It would work, and we all headed to Buffalo Wild Wings in Grand Island. We stayed in Grand Island and got one of the bolts the next day and drove home. Unfortunately it was still rigged together pretty badly, but we did make it home and I was able to get the bolt I needed from a Ford Dealership on Tuesday.

Special thanks to Steve Polley and Scott Bennett for your help. I appreciated it and hated to be the one who needed help as opposed to the one helping like I was used to doing in the past.