Chase Date: June 3, 2015
Miles Logged: 208
States Chased: KS
Tornadoes Witnessed: 1
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks
After expecting to be done chasing for awhile, I got a ‘hail mary’ given to me from work in the form of a broken radar truck computer in Hays, KS on the PECAN project. After trying to troubleshoot over email, it was decided I would make the trip to Hays from Norman to fix the computer on the 2nd.
This provided an opportunity to chase on the 3rd. After arriving in Hays on the evening of the 2nd I began to pour over models. The obvious target was CO/WY but that would be somewhat out of play for me considering I had to fix a computer in the morning and didn’t want to drive all the way out there.
The next target that stuck out was in northern Kansas along an outflow boundary. If a storm could go up, it would be in a somewhat favorable environment for supercells and possibly tornadoes with large amounts of CAPE and modest shear overhead.
I spent most of the morning and afternoon working on the radar truck and extracting an image in case we needed to restore or otherwise work on an alternative if the radar truck died. Around 3pm I went to the PECAN briefing and started uploading the image to our vmware cluster in Norman. Upload time would be 5-6 hours, so I hung out around the ops center before leaving to go get some food around 5.
On my “lunch break” I decided to meander south towards a cu field that was starting to show signs of strengthening rapidly on DDC radar down near Rozel, KS. The storm explosively went up as I drove down 183 from Hays towards it.
I headed west on the north side of the storm as I wasn’t sure what direction, if any, it was going. A distinct lack of roads also caused a lot of problems, so getting west of the storm would ensure I had dry dirt roads.
I headed down the back side and stopped for a rainbow shot and admired the updraft structure of the storm.
I spent the next couple of hours on this nearly stationary storm near Hanston, KS as it morphed into an absolutely gorgeous structured supercell with a great meso/updraft structure. I was kicking myself for not having a tripod, but still managed to take almost 500 images.
For a brief while, it appeared a cone tornado touched down back in the rain, but it’s hard to tell. I zoomed in and got some photos and saw a lot of motion, but radar didn’t really support it, and no tornado warning was issued.
I took photos of many angles of the storm before it started to die around sunset. I bailed west towards 283 and Jetmore before heading back to Hays to finish up my work for the evening.