A rainy autumnal day 450 miles away

10 June 2014

The weather today would be defined by a split pattern over the US, meaning the jet stream that drives the region’s weather was splitting into two branches. The southern branch would be causing some severe weather in the far south eastern states. Meanwhile the northern branch was bringing a shortwave trough into the northern high plains. This was yielding a modest setup for severe weather around far north east Wyoming, Southeast Montana and into the western side of the Dakotas. The trough was bringing a cold front into play meanwhile cooler, moister mid-level air was arriving from the south yielding some good lapse rates of 8 to 9C/km. Modest sheer was present but low level moisture was an issue so it seemed questionable whether the storms could become surface based and present a tornado risk.

Although starting the day in the middle of Colorado we were tempted by this setup, albeit only a “see text” from the SPC, and made an early start to try and make the 7 hour drive in time for the storms. On our way up the SPC upgraded the risk to a slight, and we felt lucky we’d made the call to get up and go.

As we arrived in the area a couple of storms had fired which the SPC had issued severe warnings for. We elected the southern storm which looked pretty good on radar. Indeed at one point the SPC issued a mesoscale discussion for this one supercell. They took the unusual position of discussing how this specific cell would have the potential to put down a tornado within a window between 30 and 90 minutes of the discussion. Imagine reading this while stuck waiting for a pilot car to drive you through road works, for 10 minutes, when you’ve been driving for 6.5 hours to get on the storm, and are about an hour from it. Not the easiest situation. Unfortunately on arriving on the storm it wasn’t the most exciting…though we did briefly see some decent structure embedded in it, and some lightning, otherwise the weather just felt like a grim English autumnal day.

Weather Photo Vague Structure In Wyoming

So we drove back to the Nebraska panhandle to rest up and chalk this down as one of those days that make the good days even better.

SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Tue June 2014

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Tue June 2014

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