Sandhills Sunsets and Shelf Clouds

23 May 2018

The day started having to wake super early for a planned conference call with the guys we are working with in the UK on our burger project. As we were up early we headed out for a run after the call. From our favourite motel in Wyoming we weren’t far from where we thought the day’s best risk area to be, so after a quick stop at Safeways to pick up bits, we headed out of town and caught a storm already rolling off the mountains. It was only just midday!

We headed north with it for a bit up to the Travel Stop in Guernsey - the rest place where I had previously seriously stabbed my hand with a knife trying to extract a stone from an avocado late in 2015: Avocados and storms

The memories of the place gave me chills. After taking another call (part two of the conference call we started earlier), we got back onto the storm but after looking promising for a bit, unfortunately it just couldn’t get going.

Storm At Its Best

Storm Decay

We waited around for a bit, passing the time eating crisps, snoozing and skipping (a skipping rope happens to be a useful way of getting a bit of exercise without having to go too far.) After not much happening we ventured a bit further east to Scottsbluff, where we waited about with not much happening for a while longer.

Legs 2

By about 5:30 there a couple of cells worth noting coming north across the Colorado / Nebraska border so we ventured down to have a look. One pooped a number of rainbows and made for quite a pleasant scene.


The latter however had much more going for it and before long became the dominant cell in the area. However, rather than heading south in an attempt to get behind it, we decided to head north and east and try to intercept it in the sandhills.

This didn’t quite go to plan as the storm veered east from it’s more northerly path. But it did propagate north and the part closest to us gained in strength significantly just as we were under it. This gave us some pretty cool weather to drive through, which we did to Captain Flatcap blaring, which we’ve found to be awesome hectic weather music!

Owl Pilks

Emerging from the storm on its east side, usually the best side, the sight was incredible. A menacing yet beautiful scene with a low hanging angry shelf cloud illuminated by the evening light. We were on a road through the gently rolling sandhills of middle Nebraska, without another soul in sight. It’s evenings like this that we remember, away from the other chasers and hence with an increased feeling of vulnerability, out in the force and beauty of nature.






Timbo Cloud

We chose the nearby town of Mullen to stay the night. A charming little place with a population of less than 500. It has a small single story motel, a liquor store and a canoe hire company - all you ever need right? We watched from outside our room as the storm we had just driven through proceeded to strengthen and batter us and the other guests - a crew of local workman - with a barrage of lightning strikes and ground rumbling thunder that had us all running inside. Some of the closet strikes this year and, eventually, one of the best chases too.


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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Wed May 2018

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Wed May 2018

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