Day 17 - A Hard Day's Night

20 June 2010

Today started with a Walmart car park, a slightly surprised feeling you get when you realise you're in the car still. Then the good feeling you get when you realise there's a shop over there that sells food and has toilets. Then the slightly awkward feeling of washing your teeth in a supermarket toilet. Well, the sink near the toilet. Then it's time for a quick breaky while getting online and into the models to choose a target.In many cases the initial targets are fairly easy to ascertain, then you hone it down and work out the best position not just in terms of your forecast, but in terms of road networks. The forecasting isn't an exact enough science to know exactly where you'll land up, so you want to pick somewhere near where you think it's going to happen, that has the best road options for when you find out where it actually is going to happen.Today's set up wasn't easy though. We had excellent indicators in one area, and ok indicators in a couple of others. But many of the models were expecting far more heating from the sun than was actually happening, so some aspects of the models couldn't really be trusted. We weren't the only chasers in this conundrum. The forums were full of people not being sure where to go. This was reassuring - we thought the set up for the day looked complicated, and so did seasoned chasers. We were in a town in between the various targets, so waited for a while to make up our minds.We ended up spending so long making a decision that by the time the action was kicking off, it was all too far away. We had 3 options of action to go for, so we chose the 4th option, an area that showed signs that it could fire later on...At around 6pm local time our gamble paid off and some supercells formed near us. They weren't great to chase as there was lots of stratus (low level sheets of cloud that we see a lot in the uk) but dark bases in some areas gave us some idea of where they were.To cut a short story shorter, we drove into them, got rained and hailed on a bit, watched one produce a bit of a lowering and a funnel cloud or two, and a couple of bolts of lightning, then we went to get a motel. Not our most exciting chase, but not fruitless either.We found a good little motel in a random little town in Central Nebraska, had a beer and hit the hay......and both awoke, very suddenly. That's no mean feat, we are both deep sleepers. There was a very bright flash and within about a third of a second the ground tremored and windows rattled with thunder. As our ears adjusted from the rude awakening to reality, that haunting noise became audible. The whine of a tornado siren.I got up quickly and fired up the laptop. The thunder and lightning were violent and all around us. I couldn't hear police sirens and it seemed hard to conceive that a system strong enough to produce tornadoes could have fired up over night. The laptop took an age, it seemed, to get online and get data. Bleary eyed but full of adreneliene I found the right radar station. No tornado warnings. Just severe thunderstorms. Further analysis - no rotation, or particular shear, no signatures of tornadoes. I think someone got scared and hit the siren button. We got back to bed and let the fading rumbles of thunder calm us back to sleep again...Was a good reminder of how scary these situations must be for the locals. Glad we had the kit to know what was going on in just a couple of moments. There must have been some residents of that town cowering in the strongest parts of their homes. Better safe than sorry I guess.

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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Sun June 2010

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Sun June 2010

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