Quiet Kansas Convection

08 May 2014

The morning car park snooze was rudely and somewhat abruptly interrupted by a loud crash of thunder amidst driving rain that was buffeting the car. It was loud and hectic enough to wake us up from a deep slumber induced by staying up much too late sorting out photos, blog posts and the rest the night before. (It’s sometimes useful that the car’s limited power supply means we can’t carry on editing indefinitely.) I really wanted to watch for lightning but unfortunately tiredness won and we both managed to sleep the rest of the storm off!

The next time we awoke it was surprisingly late and there were already tons of shoppers in Walmart driving themselves around the stores in their electric trolleys for the morbidly obese. We ducked and dived our way through the traffic in the store and managed to fill our arms and make it to the checkout without being run over.

Today’s weather would be the last of a 3 day setup we’d been following through the models and forecasts for a little while and had certainly appeared to have the best potential out of the 3. This was being a little tempered now by the remnants of the previous night’s storms, which had left an ungodly mess behind them which was making things all a little cloudier than we’d like – yep that’s right, we demand bad weather on sunny days. Nevertheless as we drove east we were pleased to break cover from the clouds, while most of the other areas of interesting weather looked to be big rainy monsters – while ours might yet be a little more discrete. Today’s setup involved a cold front progressing slowly across Kansas and Northern Oklahoma intersecting with the dry line(s). (Today had 2 parallel dry lines again - an unusual feature that we’ve had for 2 days now.)

After three hours driving to our chosen target location just south of Wichita, watching the storms we’d decided not to drive 10 hours to, kick off to our north, we were pleased to see some strong updrafts a little to our northeast. Sure enough the SPC liked the look of them too and we again found ourselves in surrounded by a nice big weather watch. We headed off to get in front of the line of updrafts and they certainly looked like they had enough power to make for some interesting weather. The only problem was that they appeared to keep growing but then somehow not get much bigger. It appears it was a trick of the angle we were watching them from, with the wind blowing them away to our north as we looked from the south, but to my eye it appeared as something of a dreamlike illusion. Like someone blowing up a balloon that keeps appearing to grow, but never gets any bigger. Nevertheless they managed to display some decent structure.

Early Weather

Although they did appear somewhat inhibited they were still managing to produce some decent hail and after we spent a while darting from storm to storm in some classic hail-core-is-always-greener-on-the-other-side type manoeuvres we had a couple of opportunities to capture a good precipitation core passing us by.

Precipitation Core

Precipitation Core 2

Finally for the day some nice photos of the outflow boundary features as the day drew to a close. The storms were slow moving and, although they hadn’t been the most epic, it was a lovely scene to eat our (very) late lunch to before it was time to head off to Missouri for what looked like an interesting setup for tomorrow.

End Of Day Outflow Weather

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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Thu May 2014

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Thu May 2014

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