First storm of the day developing west of Wallace, Nebraska. Beautiful chase country out here!


Wall cloud developing as storm base lowers just north of Herndon, Kansas. Starting to get excited about our possibilities at this point!


Wall cloud still getting organized just north of Herndon, Kansas near the KS/NE border.


Twin funnels! Shortly after the last photo between Herndon, Kansas and Culbertson, Nebraska.


After the twin funnels, the wall cloud remained as we traveled northeast on dirt roads to the southwest of McCook, Nebraska.


Another funnel southwest of McCook, Nebraska as we stair-stepped up to the northeast and followed closely.

Beautiful tornado looking west from McCook, Nebraska! Impressive dirt plume.


Wide shot of the tornado outside of McCook. What a beauty! Wizard of Oz type tornado.


Even wider shot of the whole storm and tornado. Notice that impressive and textbook clear slot to the left of the tornado with the eroded cloud base.


Awesome tightening up and rapidly rotation wall cloud near Farnam, Nebraska. We drove right up to this thing but it did not produce.






A great chase day rewarded by 2 tornadoes (some saw 3) and some adrenaline pumping close encounters! We started the day in North Platte with a general target northeast of the triple point near McCook, NE, with the intent to also keep an eye on storms forming further west along the Nebraska / Colorado border, or potentially needing to drop even further south into Kansas. We initially headed south on Rt. 83 down to McCook, but as storms were already firing west of us, we almost immediately turned around and headed back up to Wellfleet, west on Rt. 20 to Wallace, and then south on Rt. 25. We then stopped about 10 miles south of Wallace to consider our options: there were robust storms to the west coming off the Cheyenne Ridge, but we were concerned they would be high based. Meanwhile to our south there was a storm coming up from Goodland, KS struggling in bad air, but quickly moving into a far better environment. We ultimately decided to target that storm and headed south.

We proceeded down through Hayes Center, then east on Rt. 6 and south at Culbertson onto Rt. 17. As we closed on the Kansas border, the rock-hard eastern wall of the updraft of our rapidly intensifying storm became visible and we knew we’d made the correct choice of storms. We ended up stopping about 2.5 miles from the Kansas border just north of Rt. 704 and could see scud rising into the base of our storm, but as yet it was still fairly disorganized. We stayed with the storm moving back up Rt. 17 and turning off on Rt. 710 to stop and observe again. At this point the storm had a much more defined wall cloud and produced two decent funnels and showed intensifying rotation as the storm got close to us. The storm began to get the look that it could tornado at any time, but soon we were forced to move or risk being cut off by the hail core packing 2-3” hail, so we scooted north to stay ahead. We headed back up 17 and then east on Rt. 713 which unfortunately was dirt, watching behind us as the wall cloud showed more and more rotation. With the storm moving quickly northeast, we blasted east on the dirt road and then north on road 384 and thankfully back onto the pavement into McCook.

As we got to McCook, the tornado sirens were blaring and we decided to head north for a mile or two on Rt. 83 out of town to get a look before heading east. As soon as we turned north, we spotted a large dirt plume, RFD, and then north of that another… with a large funnel extending downward. Tornado! We quickly turned into a nice, empty parking lot near Heritage Hills Golf Course with a clear view to the west and observed the large tilted “Wizard of Oz” tornado churning up dirt about 3 miles west of town. The big white tornado moved northward with a large, dirty debris fan for several minutes, then roped out with a large kink and elongated funnel that stayed in one spot churning as the funnel stretched more and more northward before finally dissipating. We knew the storm was not done yet but now had some catching up to do so we beat feet east!

We now had considerable maneuvering to do in the very poor road network of southwest Nebraska and it would be nearly an hour before we were back in position. We blasted east on Rt. 6 almost all the way to Cambridge, temporarily losing our view of the wall cloud, then turned north on the paved Rt. 73A. We eventually intersected with Rt. 18 to head east…. Only to find that it was not paved!! This slowed our progress dramatically. We slugged our way east about 3.5 miles before turning north onto another dirt road heading towards Eustis. Around this time as we were about 5.5 miles SW of town, we were seeing more tornado reports and heard word of a dusty cone tornado in progress. Our view to the west, when we could see going up and down through little ravines, was of the old meso deteriorating and the new one with a large amount of dirt flying but no clear view of the tornado if it was still there (some guests said they could see it, and later I did see a picture one had taken that made it pretty clear. I did not). Continuing onwards, we descended into a gully, only to hear of another tornado in progress! We quickly turned up a side road and saw an elephant trunk tornado in the distance in the process of roping out for tornado #2 of the day! It only persisted for a minute or two then we were back to our trek in the dirt.

We finally made it to Eustis and back on pavement and quickly blasted west right towards the meso and met it just as it crossed Rt. 23 near Farnam. The wall cloud was spinning like crazy and it appeared that the storm might drop a tornado right in front of it but it never quite focused. We waited until the meso started to fade from view and then blasted east again to keep up. Later, there were several tornado reports from Farnam as the storm must have tornadoed right after it got out of our sight.

We passed through Eustis again and north on Rt. 21 with the wall cloud just to our west churning away. About 15 minutes past as we blasted up towards Cozad, racing the hook echo to town to prevent getting cut off. As we closed on the Interstate and a safe path east, the mesocyclone was quickly closing on our position and soon was almost right over us. In fact, from van 2 I was yelling over the radio that a satellite area of rotation appeared to literally be right over the lead van. The storm just beat us to the highway and soon we were punching the hook from the south with a big block wall cloud just to our northwest and crazy rising motion all around out. As we got to I-80 and started heading east, we were blasted by strong RFD winds that threatened to blow the van right off the left side of the highway with the wall cloud churning seemingly right outside the driver’s side window!

After that adrenaline moment, we headed east down I-80 (and later, there were more tornado reports in Cozad where we’d just had the close encounter) and got off again at road 428, blasting north right back at the mesocyclone we’d just left. We caught up again about 5 miles north of the highway and were once again in the bear’s cage right under the meso, with a huge plume of RFD dirt rising almost surreally to our east, and the wall cloud immediately to our northwest. Suddenly a huge gustnado blew up right to the left of the vans, immediately causing several guests to scream “Tornado!!” I could see the rotating plume of dirt, but not the cloud base, so I could not confirm myself but others could see that there was no connection to cloud base nor was there a funnel, so it was confirmed as a gustnado, not tornado. Still, some anxious, exciting moments! Ultimately, after heading east on road 761 to continue stair-stepping, we stopped the chase about 10 miles from the highway as the mesocyclone was getting away from us and there was no way to keep up with the road network north of the highway. Passing through Lexington back onto the highway, we were less than an hour from our hotel in Kearney and got there early enough to celebrate with a good meal and a beer at Old Chicago.

A really fun chase day! Two tornadoes, maybe 3, and a couple of very up-close moments under the mesocyclone. A pretty solid chase considering the road network. With better roads, I’m certain we could have gotten 4 or 5 tornadoes from the storm.

Miles for the day were 389.2 for a trip total of 1243.1



Storm developing in front of us with initially elevated base near Grant, Nebraska.


Storm continuing to develop near Grant, Nebraska. Rain and hail curtains becoming more prevalent.


Wall cloud starting to develop near Madrid, Nebraska.


Awesome structure and shelf cloud near Paxton, Nebraska!


Another shot of the storm’s shelf cloud near Paxton, Nebraska.


The first in a series of great lightning shots from near Brady, Nebraska! Several to follow below:


Stopped near an irrigation system near Brady, Nebraska to catch some additional lightning shots.





A day that looked like not much was going to happen turned into a fun chase day! Starting in Oklahoma City, we targeted a sagging front in Nebraska, knowing that the target area would be where we wanted to be for the upcoming triple point the next day and we had to get up there anyway. With low expectations because of a lack of sheer and modest dewpoints, we traveled all the way from OKC to Ogallala, NE before stopping to decide what to do. When we got there, there was a severe, anchored storm about two hours to the north near Alliance which was the original plan to target, but as the storm was pulsing down and a new group of storms was forming to our south from Julesburg, CO to Imperial, NE, we waited a bit longer and then proceeded straight south toward a storm that was just getting to Imperial. We headed down Rt. 61 through and to the east of Grant and stopped to observe the first storm coming towards us.  The results however were not impressive as the storm had very little lightning and nothing else to offer. We continued farther south, about half way to Imperial, and watched the storm to our south get a little more intense, and the storm to our west was showing signs of life as well. As the first storm got to us, we headed back east and out onto the dirt county roads north of Madrid. We stopped again as the storm to our west took over the show, with much more lightning and some motion under the updraft. Soon the rain was encroaching on our position and since we were on a dirt road, we had to run to keep from getting stuck in the mud.

As we stair-stepped north and east trying to get to pavement, we observed a good deal of blowing dust from the gust front and outflow, and later as we made it to pavement and headed up the road north to Paxton, observed a gustnado to our east that looked like it could have been a landspout, but had no visible connection to cloud base or funnel.

Up near Paxton, we stopped and watched the now linear storms come at us and produce a really cool shelf cloud, rolling and roiling towards us. We observed the great structure and intensifying lightning for a about 10 minutes before heading east to get to the tail end of the line, blasting down I-80 until we got to Hershey then heading south on Rt. 56C. Now the shelf cloud had taken on an orange tint and was massively electrified as the whoile line was now severe warned. As the cell directly to our south got closer, the storm intensified and soon had maxed out VIL’s, meaning big hail, coming straight at us. We blasted east just in time, catching a little hail but no damage. We continued east on I-80 all the way to Brady, stopping there to watch lightning in all directions, from little popcorn storms north of us, and the more robust line to out south. After about 15 minutes, we called it a day and made the easy trek to North Platte and the hotel.

Miles for the day were 773.1 for a trip total of 853.9


This became an interesting chase day to stay the least. A potent trough was ejecting out of the Plains into the Upper Midwest with a significant speed max through all levels moving into Minnesota during the afternoon and evening. Models were indicating the potential for a broken line of strongly rotating supercells to break out ahead of the triple point and along a northward surging warm front into southern Minnesota by later in the afternoon. My thoughts were to get to southwest Minnesota to get on the initial storms and follow as they matured moving east-northeast towards the south metro of the Twin Cities.

After leaving work at 2 PM, our team consisting of myself, Allan and Allison Persons, and Kyle Magnuson drove down Hwy 169 towards Mankato and then southwest on Hwy 60 towards St. James. Storms had already developed and were surprisingly congealing rather quickly to our west and starting to pick up some speed. We went south on Hwy 4 towards Trimont, Minnesota and waited here for storms to approach. A short while later, we realized the storms were moving at a really fast clip of 40-50 mph and not looking all that interesting, in fact forming more of a line than individual storms. One cell caught our eye to the east by Minnesota Lake that was ahead of all the other storms. We decided to blast east towards this cell to see if we could catch up as the storm intensified and to also stay ahead of the line quickly approaching to our west. We steadily progressed back up Hwy 60 towards Mankato to west of Faribault as the lead storm died and our line to the west started to show signs of rotation within individual inflow notches. We went north and stopped by the northern end of Roberds Lake to watch a mature mesocylone pass to our northwest. This area was later struck by a tornado that led to extreme tree damage and some structural damage to homes/cabins.

The tornado warned part of our storm was quickly approaching at nearly 70 mph, so we did our best to get a few photos and then head down Hwy 21 towards I-35. As we got past the Faribault airport, we encountered very heavy rain and a couple of very strong wind gusts that led to power poles swaying. We slowly crept down to the Hwy 21/I-35 intersection as we became inundated with 80-100 mph winds and blinding rain, so we were forced to stop at this point. Little did we know that a tornado was moving less than 1/2 mile behind us to our north and hitting the Faribault airport which we just drove past! I thought we were being hit by extreme rear-flank-downdraft (RFD) winds but it would have easily been the southern portion of a large tornadic circulation. Obviously we did not want to be in this situation, but it was very difficult to determine which parts of the QLCS line would have tornadic circulations. In fact, the tornadic circulation behind us showed up in a matter of only 2 radar scans after we already left our original spot near Roberds Lake. After waiting this out, we progressed up I-35 only to find out that it was closed due to damage. We then went up Hwy 3 north of Faribault to get home, passing by severe tree damage, some on homes, and lots of power poles and lines down. Near the Hwy 3 and Hwy 29 intersection around 4.5 miles north-northeast of Faribault, there was just under a mile wide path of trees that had bark stripped and looked clearly to be tornado damage. Here is the link to the National Weather Service damage survey for additional information:


What I think was a large and mature mesocyclone looking west-northwest from the intersection of highways 68 and 69 near the northern end of Roberds Lake near Faribault, MN.


Another view of what I believe was a mesocyclone to our northwest within the notch of the storm. Would make sense based on radar imagery. I could not tell if this was rotating. Could have been an intense downburst?


When we were re-positioning on Hwy 21 by the Faribault airport. Got slammed by intense winds ahead of an EF-2 tornado.


Closed in donut hole just north of our location as we had to stop near the intersection of Hwy 21 and I-35. Strongly indicative of a rain-wrapped tornado that passed just to our north through the Faribault airport.


Broad couplet less than 1 mile north of our location and another down by Medford. Circled in black are the likely tornadoes occurring at this point.

Couplet as the tornado was passing to our northeast, just north of Dennison, MN.


Zoomed out view of the quasi-linear convective system that spawned the 16 tornadoes across southeast Minnesota.






  This was Day 7 and last chase day of Silver Lining Tours ( Tour 8.  After chasing some decent storms in the Oklahoma Panhandle the day before, we made our way up to eastern Colorado towards the base city of Denver.  There was not a lot of expectations this day due to a low-moderate instability and dewpoints only in the upper 50's to lower 60's, but deep layer shear was around 45 knots.  But the models continued to break out storms east and southeast of the Palmer Divide and also off the Raton Mesa in northeast New Mexico.  Since we had to be back in Denver that night, we proceeded to chase the northern target but, again, with limited expectations.  To our surprise, a few storms developed along a remnant outflow boundary from the night before and this provided the lift and focus necessary for the storms to intensify and move southeast into better air.  After stopping to take photos of a really cool abandoned farm house between Limon and Hugo, Colorado, we got on the first storm just south of Hugo and chased it south to east of Punkin Center.  The storm actually had some pretty good structure for a while before congealing with other storms.  Nice to have a better than expected chase day to wrap up the tour!


  Creepy abandoned farm house between Limon and Hugo, Colorado.  The dead trees surrounding the house really give it a spooky look.  Thought a guy with a chainsaw was going to come flying out of this place at any moment.


  The storm getting its act together south of Hugo, Colorado.  


  Mammatus clouds on the developing supercell.


  Storm starting to take on some good structure and a solid base!  Storm was high based so was not really expecting much tornado potential.  2 separate cores opening up in the distance.


  Some of the best structure of the day on this severe warned supercell.  Intense rain foot and hail core down the road.


  Storm still exhibiting some good structure east of Punkin Center, Colorado.  Almost looked like a high based wall cloud trying to form here.

  Another shot of the storm east of Punkin Center towards Aroya, Colorado.


  Final shot of the day of the storms well defined updraft base.  Storm still had really good inflow but soon lost a lot of the good structure.

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  Mesoscale discussion issued at 1:36 PM MDT.  Storms expected to produce large hail and damaging winds on northern end of the instability axis.  Around 45 knots of bulk shear into the area, but not a lot of CAPE.

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  Severe thunderstorm watch issued for the area at 2:20 PM MDT.

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  This mesoscale discussion was issued at 5:37 PM MDT, shortly after we stopped chasing and headed to Denver.  Line of severe storms with damaging winds was expected to continue southeast into the evening.






  Day 6 of chasing as a guide with Silver Lining Tours ( took us to the Oklahoma Panhandle.  There was a stalled front in place reinforced by an outflow boundary from overnight storms.  There was southeast flow at the surface, leading to upslope flow into the Raton Mesa.  Instability built to 2,000-3,000 j/kg into this area during the afternoon with middle 60's dewpoints and bulk shear of 55-60 knots.  A surface low also developed on the Raton Mesa on the tail end of the front.  We initially positioned ourselves near Andrix, Colorado.  It took a while, but cumulus towers kept forming right on the low and on the Raton mesa, while a smaller cumulus field was located to the east along the front.  3 storms finally broke through the cap from Andrix to Springfield, Colorado, while another storm rolled off the Raton Mesa to our south, weakened, and then intensified west of Boise City, Oklahoma.  We chose this southern storm and headed down Hwy 385 to just north of Boise City, just as the storm produced a wall cloud and became tornado warned.  Another storm came up from the south and interfered with our storm, effectively choking off the wall cloud just as it was getting interesting.  I really think this storm would have produced a tornado if the southern storm had not interfered.  We chased the storm east towards Guymon and eventually to Balko where a tornado was reported.  We could not confirm at this point near Balko that it did produce and I seriously question the report as we had a good view of the action area the whole time.  Either way, it was a nice storm but turned into a raging mesoscale convective system (MCS) shortly after Balko as storms congealed and got messy. 


  Mammatus under the anvil of the storm to our south near Utleyville, Colorado.  We eventually went south and chased this storm.


  Cool shear funnel out the back of the developing storm near Utleyville, Colorado.


  Thunderstorms erupting to our northwest as we watched near Utleyville, Colorado.  The furthest west storm had an echo top that exploded over 50,000 feet very quickly.


  Got down to the storm near Boise City, Oklahoma, and this beauty of a wall cloud was there to treat us.  Raging hail core to the right (north) side.

  The storm became tornado warned at this point as the wall cloud began rotating and pulling up focused scud tails into the base.  Rear flank downdraft winds coming around the south side that you can notice by the dirt on to the southwest side of the wall cloud as we look due west.


  Nicely structured wall cloud that continued to have rotation near Boise City, Oklahoma.  This was shortly before the storm to the south came up and interfered.


  View of the storm near Balko.  At first glance, this may look like a shelf cloud and an outflow dominant storm, but there was still inflow into the storm here and it became tornado-warned once again due to signs of rotation on radar.  Focused area of scud rising into the base on the left side of this image.

  Mammatus clouds on the back of the storm near Hardesty, Oklahoma.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 2:52 PM CDT


  Severe thunderstorm watch issued at 3:30 PM CDT.  Big threat for severe wind due to the expectations of a severe MCS to develop and track east along the front.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 5:14 PM CDT.  Bullseye of CAPE increasing to 3,000 j/kg iwth 55-60 knots of bulk shear across the area.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 7:12 PM CDT as storms were congealing and forming a severe MCS.






  The 3rd day chasing as a guide for Silver Lining Tours ( was a great one!  We initially thought that storms would form off the Palmer Divide southeast of Denver and intensify further east towards Last Chance.  Cumulus towers went up and down several times on the Palmer Divide but never could quite get going.  However, storms developed just west and northwest of Denver on the mountains in the upslope flow region of the Denver Cyclone (DCVZ).  3 separate supercells developed and moved off at relatively the same time.  We chose the middle storm as it looked the most intense, and this storm soon became tornado warned very early, shortly after 1:30 PM MDT!  We chased the storm from near Fort Lupton over to Keenesburg where it produced an extremely photogenic tornado in Prospect Valley, Colorado.  After the tornado lifted, the storm cycled a few more times but never could put down another tornado.  We ended up finally leaving this storm and heading south to the tail end storm near Deer Trail.  This storm also became tornado warned and quickly a high precipitation supercell with some impressive structure.  We ended up chasing this storm down to Limon before letting it go as it became outflow dominant.  An awesome chase day!


  Wall cloud on the storm near Fort Lupton as it soon becomes tornado warned shortly after 1:30 PM MDT!  Storm had just moved off the foothills and intensified quickly.


  Massive wall cloud on this storm now just east of Fort Lupton.


  Terrific structure!  The entire storm was rotating.  Backwards C in the wall cloud indicates rear flank downdraft cutting into the back side.  


  A wider view of the storm.


  Wall cloud becomes better organized and the first funnel cloud forms in the middle.  Rain curtains wrapping around the entire wall cloud.


  Wider view of the funnel, wall cloud and the storm.  I love the scenery and how far you can see in eastern Colorado!


  Tornado!  Initially obscured by the rain but it eventually came out for us to get a great view.


  Amazing tornado and structure to the storm!  Near Prospect Valley, Colorado close to Keenesburg.


  Another incredible view of the storm and the tornado as it changes shape.

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  Incredible twisting and turning elephant trunk tornado!  This was from around 2-3 miles away (estimated).


  After producing the tornado, the storm continued to cycle more ragged wall clouds for another few hours.


  This was right when we got on the southern, tail end severe storm down by Deer Trail, Colorado.  The storm was still a bit high based but had great structure.


  A bit more outflowish here, but the storm still had great structure and lighting near Agate, Colorado.


  Loosely organized wall cloud to our north near Agate, Colorado.


  Beast of a tornado-warned, high precipitation supercell near Limon, Colorado.  

  Shelf cloud on the storm as it rages towards us east of Limon.


  View of the shelf cloud, looking northwest.

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  iPhone pano of the storm and shelf cloud.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 11:48 PM MDT, mentioning the threat for a few tornadoes.  Solid 50-55 knots of bulk shear across the area with 1500-2000 j/kg of MLCAPE already.  


  Tornado watch issued at 12:25 PM MDT.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 1:54 PM MDT.





  Day 2 chasing as a guide for Silver Lining Tours:  We stayed in northeast Colorado as supercell thunderstorms developed on the mountains and then rolled off just north of Denver.  We ended up staying close to I-76 and chasing these storms from Fort Lupton to Fort Morgan.  The storms exhibited terrific structure throughout their life cycles!


  Supercell rolling off the mountains northwest of Denver near Erie, Colorado.  This is looking up at the updraft.  We drove through quarter size hail upon having to punch through the core from the north.


  Non-rotating wall cloud on the storm near Erie, Colorado.


  Terrific structure of the storm with wall cloud underneath in Hudson, Colorado.


  Terrific looking storm near Keenesburg, Colorado.

  Incredible storm structure!


  Looking at the south side of the storm with a well defined inflow tail.


  Wall cloud on the storm as we approach Wiggins, Colorado.


  The wall cloud takes on an even better shape a short time later.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 3:06 PM MDT highlighting the area expected to have severe thunderstorms into the afternoon and evening.  Modest instability at this point but decent bulk shear of 45 knots.  Instability did increase through the afternoon.


  Small severe thunderstorm watch issued at 6:35 PM MDT.  Storms were not moving very fast and were not expected to hold together very well further east.  Ended up having some flooding rain along I-76 as a result of training thunderstorms into the evening.






  Day 1 of storm chasing as a guide with Silver Lining Tours (!  We chased a couple of supercells from near Julesburg, Colorado to north of Ogallalla, Nebraska.  Along the way, we saw two tornadoes.  The first was a dirt obscured tornado near Julesburg and the second was near Big Springs, Nebraska and was from a longer distance away.  We did briefly see a third tornado near Ogallalla but did not get a decent shot of it since we were re-positioning ahead of the storm.


  Wall cloud forming on the storm near Julesburg, Colorado.  


  Large wall cloud on the storm near Julesburg, Colorado.  Not rotating at this point but certainly starting to look interesting!


  Wall cloud starting to tighten up as rear flank downdraft comes around the south side of the storm.  Strong inflow winds at this point.


  Rotating wall cloud really tightening up now with strong rear flank downdraft kicking up dirt.

  There's a tornado in there!  That dark area underneath the wall cloud was a confirmed tornado.  Obscured from all of the dirt being blown around here.

  A large, rain-wrapped funnel cloud between Julesburg, Colorado and Big Springs, Nebraska.  Did not know that I captured this until going through the photos later.

  Confirmed tornado in the distance near Big Springs, Nebraska.  Wish we would have been closer to this thing, but we were caught getting out ahead of the storm to avoid being cut off.


  Storm starting to gust out and form a shelf cloud north of Ogallala, Nebraska.


  Terrific structure on this storm as it is transitioning from being a tornado produce, to outflow dominant wind and hail machine.  Still tornado warned at this point with visible mesocyclone on the right side of this image.


  Tour guests enjoying the storm.

  Awesome shelf cloud on the storm, looking south from the previous image.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 1:05 PM MDT shortly before storms initiated.  Area of low pressure slowly moving northeast along a stalled boundary.  Effective bulk shear of 55 knots into the area.


  Tornado watch issued at 1:35 PM MDT as storms have already initiated.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 3:53 PM MDT as severe thunderstorms are set to intensify and continue.  Lower 70's dewpoints now starting to advect into the area with east to southeast winds.


  Another mesoscale discussion issued at 5:47 PM MDT.


  Final mesoscale discussion for the area, issued at 8:27 PM MDT as severe weather threat is starting to decrease.






  Well, this was certainly unexpected.  After chasing a few days before, it was time for family vacation.  I had a great time on Friday and woke up on Saturday, June 9 to enjoy the day at a cabin, do some fishing, and spend time with family.  However, after looking over the observations and models Saturday morning, it soon became apparent that I had to get out northern Iowa to chase a mesoscale low pressure and warm front setup!  I met Wes and Debby Hyduke in Rochester and we went on our way to a target near Mason City.  The HRRR model completely nailed a tornadic storm that occurred in northern Iowa, just northwest of Clear Lake and Mason City.  It was one of the easiest targets that I can remember.  Basically had to find the triple point and park right in front of it.  A storm went up near Forest City, Iowa and produced a tornado just east of town, while another tornado occurred on this storm south of Fertile.  Just south of Fertile, there was a rapidly spinning mesocyclone on a separate wall cloud than the one that produced the tornado soon after.  The storm continued to be tornado warned southeast of Mason City but became a high precipitation supercell and eventually more outflow dominant.  It was a great spur-of-the-moment chase!


  Wall cloud on the storm near Forest City, Iowa.


  Tornado occurring off the right side of the wall cloud with visible debris cloud at the ground.  


  Closer view of the wall cloud and tornado.


  Wall cloud forming on the storm just south of Fertile, Iowa.


  Rapidly rotating wall cloud tightening up and attempting to produce a tornado.  Large condensed inflow tail screaming right to left and around this wall cloud at this point.


  Around the time of the tornado reported southeast of Fertile, Iowa and northwest of Clear Lake.  Could not confirm that it was touching down at this point due to trees, but it was reported so I'm counting it as tornado #2.


  Area of rotation, possible funnel cloud, near Mason City, Iowa.  Storm still tornado warned.


  Severe thunderstorm approaching Charles City, Iowa.  Storm still has a visible wall cloud on the right side, but soon lost this as it became more outflow dominant.


  Another shot of the storm approaching Charles City, Iowa at the end of our chase.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 1:46 PM CDT.  Area of low pressure moving southeast along the warm front.  Isolated supercells expected to develop just ahead of the low.

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  Tornado watch issued at 2:25 PM CDT as storms are erupting right on the triple point.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 3:52 PM CDT, highlighting the continued risk for tornadoes with storms in northeast Iowa.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 6:30 PM CDT indicating a new watch will likely be issued southeast of tornadic storms in northeast Iowa.

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  Severe thunderstorm watch issued at 7:45 PM CDT as storms move downstream and evolve into severe wind and hail producers.






  Took a few days to chase with Rich Hamel, who flew in from Boston.  After a bust in North Dakota the day before, we moved south to Iowa to chase storms along a stalled, outflow enhanced boundary that had dropped to just north of I-80.  There were not a lot of expectations on this day due to weak low and deep layer shear, but there was enough instability of 4,000 j/kg of MLCAPE to lead to severe thunderstorms producing damaging winds and large hail.  We caught the first severe storm just south of Ames, Iowa and then moved back west towards Guthrie Center as new storms developed.  Overall, the chase ended up near expectations considering the environment storms were going up in.


  A old one room schoolhouse that was still in good shape near Slater, Iowa.  New flanking towers of our initial storm are going up behind the schoolhouse to the west.  We ended up chasing back west to these new storms.


  2nd severe storm of the day near Panora, Iowa.  Core moving right to left in this image and new hail core opening up in the distance.


  Closer view of the new hail core opening up near Panora, Iowa.


  View of the updraft and vault region of our storm, about to move overhead.


  Dark, high-based storm approaching us from the north with heavy rain and hail curtain.

  Rich Hamel in his element!

  Severe thunderstorm about to overtake us.  Dark, rolling shelf cloud on the leading edge of the storm.


  Mesoscale Discussion issued at 2:22 PM CDT, highlighting the area that will most likely need a severe thunderstorm watch in 1-2 hours.

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  Severe thunderstorm watch issued at 3:20 PM CDT.  Notice the High Likelihood for severe wind and hail.


  Mesoscale Discussion issued at 6:20 PM CDT as severe thunderstorms are ongoing.  We were on the western end of that line of storms in central Iowa at this point.


   Final Mesoscale Discussion issued at 8:45 PM CDT as thunderstorms are beginning to weaken.





  There were two targets today, one in Nebraska and another in North Dakota.  Decided on the northern target and took the long drive with Wes Hyduke out to western North Dakota to chase a triple point setup that offered decent tornado potential.  Shear and instability were maximized right on the triple point and warm front, so we had an initial target in the vicinity of New Town to Makoti.  Unfortunately, this was right on the north side of large reservoir Lake Sakakawea.  The front ended up not lifting as fast as forecast, so we set up shop on I-94 near Glen Ullin, watching towers go up and down during the mid-afternoon hours.  Storms finally went up right on the low and triple point along Hwy 85 to your northwest.  We headed up Hwy 8 towards Halliday as the storm became tornado warned, and ended up seeing a confirmed tornado from 19 miles away that was near the town of Medicine Hole.  Since the storms were moving northeast, we could not get across the reservoir due to being cut off, so proceeded up towards Two Buttes on a hill with a great view off Hwy 22.  Here is where we saw 4 separate tornado warned storms, each with wall clouds moving south to north right in front of us.  A few of these wall clouds had solid rotation and attempted to wrap up, but these eventually occluded before dropping a tornado.  After about 1 good hour of chasing, the storms became a severe cluster of storms producing wind and hail.


  Looking to the southwest of Glen Ullin, North Dakota as updrafts were attempting to break the cap on the warm front as it was lifting north.  This area later had a storm that produced a brief tornado, close to where we were at this point!


  Tornado from 19 miles away that was near Medicine Hole, North Dakota.  We were viewing from north of Halliday and trying to stair step northwest to get ahead of the storm at this point.


  Closer view of the tornado near Medicine Hole, taken from a distance.


  Set up shop east of Two Buttes on a large hill that had a great view to our west.  We could see 3 supercells at once from this spot, all that were tornado warned at some point.  Here is the 2nd supercell in the line coming up from the south with a visible wall cloud under the updraft.


  Visible rotating wall cloud on a tornado warned storm looking to our west-northwest.


  Wall cloud still present on the storm as it continued to slide off to the north.


  The 3rd storm in the line that came up from the south.  Another lowering on this storm as well.


  A 4th supercell getting its act together and moving up from the south.  I was just blown away by the view from this location.


  Storm becomes tornado warned as a wall cloud forms on the northeast side of the base.  


  Wall cloud becomes better organized here, with upward condensating motion into it.  Visible rotation at this time as well.


  Closer shot of the wall cloud from the previous photo.


  The closest that this storm came to producing a tornado.  Could not tell if there was a big cone funnel or tornado tucked away back there, surrounded by heavy rain and hail. 


  Twin mesocyclones northeast of Two Buttes, North Dakota.  Great structure and foreground.


  The 4th tornado warned storm of the day occurred as we headed east on Hwy 22 to keep ahead of the storms.  This was the last wall cloud we saw as the storms were really congealing into a severe cluster at this point.  


  Closer shot of our last wall cloud of the day.  This one was on the messy side but was still tornado warned with some slower rotation.


  Nice mammatus display covering the sky on the back side of the storms as we got back down to I-94 near Glen Ullin, North Dakota.


  Punched through the squall line through North Dakota and got ahead near Jamestown.  It was completely dark at this point, but I caught a decent view of the storm with an 8 second shutter speed.


  Looking to the south at the shelf cloud overtaking Jamestown, North Dakota.  The chase vehicle G6 is on the left with Wes in the passenger seat.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 2:13 PM CDT highlighting the severe weather potential with all hazards possible.  3,000 j/kg of MUCAPE nosing up into the area with 50 kts of effective bulk shear.


  Tornado watch issued at 3:20 PM CDT!


  Another mesoscale discussion issued at 6:02 PM CDT, highlighting the greatest short term risk for tornadoes.  The tornado threat was quickly diminishing at this point as storms congealed, even in the presence of strong deep layer shear and moderate instability.


  Yet another mesoscale discussion issued at 8:30 PM CDT highlighting the area of greatest severe weather risk.  This was as we were core punching through the storm to get ahead near Jamestown.






  Had a somewhat surprisingly good chase out to eastern Wyoming and western Nebraska.  2018 has been a big time down year for good storms and tornadoes, but we managed to get everything from great structure, big hail, a landspout tornado and a heck of a lightning show this day.  I probably would not have chased if my friends Kevin and Kate were not out on their chasecation and I could meet up with them in Wyoming.  I left the day before and drove out to Rapid City, South Dakota, then down to the target area near Cheyenne, Wyoming the next day.  We watched a short-lived supercell with terrific structure go up on the Laramie Range north of Cheyenne, but this storm quickly went outflow dominant with a surging boundary and cold front undercutting all the storms.  This was obviously the end to any decent thunderstorm threat that we had, so the decision was made to book it to the east towards storms developing in northeast Colorado and moving up towards Sydney, Nebraska.  Storms went to the north into an area of bad roads and into more stable air, but one storm caught our eye southwest of Ogallala, Nebraska.  We got ahead of this storm and almost decided to bail and head north to get on a storm approaching Arthur, Nebraska, but the storm to our southwest strengthened and started to look much better as it got into higher dewpoints and better CAPE.  Ended up chasing this storm from Ogallala to Wallace, Nebraska, seeing some good structure, a wall cloud, funnel, rainbow with lightning, a landspout tornado and an incredible lightning show to end the day.  Definitely worth the 1800+ miles that I drove on this trip, even for 1 day!  Drove back home the day after as the setup for the next few days did not look appealing to chase.


  Beautiful supercell with foot shaped lowering and great structure moving off the Laramie Range to the north of Cheyenne, Wyoming.


  Wide angle, zoomed out view of the entire rotating supercell moving off the Laramie Range into the high plains of Wyoming.  You can really see the inflow being pulled in with the bands from left to right and rising, corkscrew motion into the storm updraft.


  Caught a photo of a train going by while watching the storm east of Ogallala, Nebraska.  Thought it was kind of a cool photo, especially since you can see the storm in the background through the train.  


  Kevin and Kate enjoying the chase and watching the mesocyclone directly ahead of us north of Madrid, Nebraska.


  Short lived funnel cloud on the storm north of Elsie, Nebraska.  


  Wall cloud north of Elsie, Nebraska.  View from the east as the mesocyclone was moving towards us down the road.


  Got into some big hail north of Elsie, Nebraska!  This was after 15 minutes of melting.  Around golf ball size hail initially.


  Awesome shot of a rainbow and lightning in nearly the same orientation northwest of Wallace, Nebraska!  This was looking to the east at the back side of the storm.


  Landspout tornado!  We came around a bend in the road and saw a large dirt plume.  No condensation funnel above but was rapidly rotating and swirling with dirt directly underneath the mesocyclone.  Very cool site to an already good chase day.


  Another shot of the landspout tornado with lightning.  Lots of dirt being kicked up at this point.  Last moments of daylight here, or we would have never been able to see it clearly.


  Time for lightning shots.  I really like how these bolts took on a similar shape, north of Wallace, Nebraska.


  Bolts, bolts, bolts, everywhere!  This was on a 30 second exposure.  Lots of cloud to ground lightning as the storm remained severe.


  Lightning snaking across the sky.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 12:56 PM MDT, highlighting the need for a watch box to be issued soon.  Storms expected to develop quickly in an environment characterized by 40 knots of effective bulk shear and 1,000 j/kg of MUCAPE.


  Severe thunderstorm watch issued at 1:40 PM MDT by SPC for southeast Wyoming and western Nebraska, mainly for the risk of large hail and damaging winds.


  A new mesoscale discussion issued at 5:10 PM MDT, highlighting the continued severe weather threat.  Effective bulk shear has now increased to around 50 knots with 2,000 j/kg of MUCAPE into western Nebraska.


  Mesoscale discussion issued at 7:39 PM CDT highlighting the need for another watch box soon, especially for damaging winds.  Effective bulk shear continues to increase to 55-65 knots into the area.


  New severe thunderstorm watch issued at 8:00 PM CDT for severe storms with damaging wind potential into the evening.






  Chased a beast of a tornadic supercell out of eastern North Dakota into northwest Minnesota.  Witnessed a multiple vortex tornado between Hatton and Buxton, North Dakota before it wrapped back into the core and was not in view.  Thereafter, I stayed in or near the notch and thankfully had a good road network to do so as I stayed with the storm southeast into Minnesota, ending the chase near Ada.  The storm exhibited terrific supercell structure throughout its entire life cycle!  A textbook mothership.

Tornado!  Multiple vortex tornado between Hatton and Buxton, North Dakota.  Had to be right in the notch to view this as the tornado formed on the north side of the core as the wall cloud was wrapping back in.  This photo is out of sequence with the others below.  Wanted to show this first.

Storm starting to get organized with a lowering already forming near Northwood, North Dakota.

Supercell forming with wall cloud and inflow tail right to left into the base near Northwood, North Dakota.

Wall cloud tightening up with structure taking mothership appearance north of Hatton, North Dakota.

Beautiful supercell with tornado in progress on the right side of the core and terrific structure west of Buxton, North Dakota.

Multiple vortex tornado tucked away in there!  Roughly 1.5 miles west of my location between Hatton and Buxton, North Dakota.

Intense core approaching me from this mothership supercell.  Inflow tail present as moisture is being focused and drawn into the storm.

Another shot of the intense supercell approaching me near Buxton, North Dakota.  Tornado is occurring at this time but cannot see it due to being shielded by the rain and hail core.

Textbook supercell here with big wall cloud on the right side of the core underneath the updraft vault.

All you can say is WOW!

Multiple inflow bands as rich moisture in the low and mid levels is being drawn into this storm near Shelly, Minnesota.

Looks like the mothership is coming in for a landing!

Awesome storm near Shelly, Minnesota as I got 5 miles out ahead to get a better shot of the structure.

Intense mothership supercell after producing a tornado near Buxton, North Dakota.  This was as the storm was nearing the river crossing into Minnesota near Shelly.

A mean looking storm, still tornado warned near Ada, Minnesota.

Storm starting to become more outflow dominant with wicked shelf cloud near Ada, Minnesota at the end of the chase.  Chased this storm for 5 hours!


Mesoscale Discussion issued at 3:48 PM showing favored areas for initiation of thunderstorms between 21-23Z (4-6 PM).


Tornado watch issued at 4:40 PM for eastern North Dakota and northwest Minnesota.  Valid until 11:00 PM.

New mesoscale discussion issued at 7:09 PM showing the area of greatest tornado risk along the warm front and old stationary boundary near Grand Forks and areas south to Fargo, North Dakota, right where the supercell I was one was tracking and producing tornadoes.

Severe thunderstorm watch issued at 10:00 PM for all of central Minnesota as the thunderstorms formed an intense cluster moving southeast and producing damaging winds.

Mesoscale discussion issued at 1:49 AM as the thunderstorms continued to progress southeast and produce damaging winds, eventually reaching my house near the Twin Cities and moving east.



  Chased a supercell thunderstorm out of northeast Nebraska through Sioux City, Iowa where it produced baseball size hail, and into northwest portions of Iowa.  This storm was tornado warned near Sioux City before becoming outflow dominant and producing a spectacular shelf cloud near Mapleton, Iowa.  The storm had some really good structure for a while (see photos below).  The video is primarily a time-lapse from two different segments of the storm.

Terrific storm structure near Mapleton, Iowa at the end of the chase.  This photo is out of sequence with the others below.

Storm was tornado warned at this point, directly over Sioux City, Iowa.  This area in the center of the image was the action area where there was notable rotation and a ragged, somewhat high-based wall cloud.

Another shot of the wall cloud only a few miles south of Sioux City, Iowa.  This was taken looking northeast.  I quickly had to drive back into the core on the left side of this image to get across the Missouri River to get ahead of the storm into Iowa.  I encountered quarter-size hail and thankfully missed the baseball hail that was reported in Sioux City.

Wall cloud on the tornado warned storm near Owego, Iowa.  This was as close as this storm came to producing from my vantage point.

Storm now becoming outflow dominant and forming a shelf cloud near Smithland, Iowa.  Lots of mid-level inflow bands still occurring into this storm here.

Another shot of the storm east of Smithland, Iowa as the shelf cloud became more prounounced.

Short time later as the shelf cloud approached.

Was interesting how a part of this shelf started to take on a different shape here.  There was solid inflow occurring on the right side into this base...almost looked like a wall cloud attempting to form.  Indicated storm may not be true outflow dominant here and was trying to focus an area of rotation with this lowering.

Southern end of the shelf cloud, but still can see a few locations where inflow may be occurring in the notches.

Shelf cloud approaching.  Like that wavy appearance to the striations above the shelf.


Mesoscale Discussion issued at 2:26 PM CT highlighting a likely severe thunderstorm watch upcoming.  Storm I chased was on the warm front ahead of the triple point.

Severe thunderstorm watch issued at 3:40 PM CT until 11:00 PM CT across eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.



  Took a trip down to Iowa with my wife, MaryLynn, to see the Bridges of Madison County, see other sites, and then chase some storms.  There was not a lot of expectations on this day with limited deep layer shear and instability, but storms were likely to form on and ahead of the cold front in an environment that had been worked over some by rain and storms early in the day.  A storm that did form in northern Iowa somewhat surprisingly became a supercell and took on terrific structure during the early to middle part of its life cycle.  This was the one good storm of the whole event and one of the few that became severe thunderstorm warned, as it formed and tracked along a remnant outflow boundary and cold front intersection.  There was never a severe thunderstorm or tornado watch issued for the area as any severe storms were limited in coverage.

My favorite shot of the day of the incredible storm structure and striations with fully established shelf cloud near Hansell, Iowa.  Photo out of sequence from the others below.


Multiple inflow tails to the base as we approached from the north near Meservey, Iowa.

Got a little closer and I was surprised at the well developed wall cloud that had formed on the southeast side!  Clearly can see the multiple inflow bands and I think the band of clouds right in front of us in this image is the actual outflow boundary the storm was rooted on.

Extremely low cloud base on this storm.  Looking west from near I-35 southeast of Meservey, Iowa.  The storm lost the wall cloud here but was still showing signs of strong inflow and rotation in a few spots.

Intense rain and hail core between Meservey and Chapin, Iowa.  Storm is severe thunderstorm warned at this point.

Awesome shelf cloud on the storm near Chapin, Iowa.

Looking the other direction from the previous image, to the north as the core of the storm was approaching.  Still some inflow into this storm as you can see from the bands on the left side.

Shot of the storm between Chapin and Hansell, Iowa with grain bins in the foreground and shelf cloud about to overtake.

Unreal structure near Hansell, Iowa!

Looking northeast at the vault region of the storm and shelf cloud at the base.

Storm looking mean as it gets near.


Mesoscale Discussion issued by SPC at 9:09 PM CDT as isolated severe thunderstorms were ongoing along the front.  They did not analyze the outflow boundary through north-central and northeast Iowa, but there appeared to be one there.  Never did issue a severe thunderstorm watch since the storm coverage was low.



  Chased as a guide with Silver Lining Tours ( on this trip.  Got on a developing storm from the first updraft and followed it throughout its maturation cycle  from near Hays, Kansas southeast to near Newton.  The storm was tornado warned much of the time and exhibited terrific structure initially, producing baseball size hail in Hays, and morphed into a dangerous squall line producing damaging winds near 70 mph later in its life cycle.  The video shows a few time lapse segments from this storm, followed by our core punch through the squall line at the end of the chase.

Focused gustnado on the leading edge of the outflow and shelf cloud.  This was called in as a tornado by other chasers but appeared to be a gustnado over a tornado from our vantage point.  Gustnadoes are much weaker and produced differently than tornadoes, but can still kick up a lot of dirt!  This photo is out of sequence with the others below.

Supercell in early stages south of Hays, Kansas.  Lowering and brief funnel cloud in this image formed on the left side of the core.

Zoomed out view of the previous image, showing the brief funnel left of the core and supercell taking on very good structure.

Awesome structure with intense core/microburst occurring, and storm starting to go outflow dominant in central Kansas.

Right side of the core as supercell is going outflow dominant.  We are positioned southeast of the storm with storm motion being to the southeast towards us.

Group of Silver Lining Tours guests enjoying the view of an intense supercell storm near Hoisington, Kansas.

Still some inflow occurring on the northeast side of the intense rain & hail core over the open prairie of central Kansas.

Just another shot of the previous gustnado image a few moments later.

Gustnado washing out here but can still see the debris plume on the leading edge of the outflow winds on the left side where the gustnado was focused.

Severe thunderstorm moving towards us.  Stopped to get a shot of the storm as a backdrop to the limestone fence posts.  As you can imagine, there were not a lot of trees on the prairies of Kansas so, when these fences were built, they used limestone rock for posts since this was more readily available.  Cool to see these scattered about the countryside.

Mammatus clouds ahead of the storm to the east of Great Bend, Kansas.

Looking northwest at the approaching storm over a Kansas wheat field.


Mesoscale Discussion issued by the Storm Prediction Center at 12:49 PM CDT, outlying the risk area for an upcoming Severe Thunderstorm Watch.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued for central and eastern Kansas at 1:25 PM CDT.  This is the area highlighted for expected wind gusts of 60-80 mph.  You can see our storm just getting going southwest of Hays, Kansas.

Another Mesoscale Discussion issued at 3:29 PM CDT, highlighting the environment our storm was moving into and the possibility of 60-80 mph winds as the storm started to bow out into an intense line.

Another Mesoscale Discussion is issued at 5:58 PM CDT as the threat of damaging winds continues with the storms forming a bowing line.

A new Severe Thunderstorm Watch issued at 7:05 PM CDT ahead of the bowing line forming a severe MCS (mesoscale convective system).



  This was the third day of chasing as a guide for Silver Lining Tours (  The day before, we caught 3 brief tornadoes and a beast of a storm in Wyoming and Nebraska.  We got ahead of this same system near the South Dakota/Nebraska border area on this day.  The thought was storms would form off the cold front/dryline and be rotating supercells with a decent chance to produce a tornado, although temperature/dewpoints spreads were fairly large.  A second target existed on the warm front across northeast South Dakota into west-central Minnesota but we thought the storms here would be too messy and congeal too quickly to stray from our closer target.  There did end up being a nice tornado in that second target area across west-central Minnesota.  We managed to catch a few severe and tornado warned supercells, as well as several gustnadoes on our storms.  There were a few tornado reports from the storms we were on, but we could not confirm that these were tornadoes over gustnadoes. 

First arriving on the supercell with a wall cloud near Bonesteel, South Dakota.  Storm had some decent structure at this point.

  Looking at the northern side of the base and updraft with the core of the storm on the right and wall cloud on the left.

  Cool shot of the approaching storm and a grain silo in the foreground.  

Looking west towards the approaching supercell near Pickstown, South Dakota.  This is the spot where I shot the time-lapse video above.

Gustnado occurring down the road from our location on the bottom right of the image.  Storm core coming in from right to left along with the shelf cloud.

Another shot of the storm and gustnado that is was producing near Wagner, South Dakota.  This was called in as a tornado by multiple sources but appeared to be a gustnado to me due to outflow of the storm and no condensation funnel above.

Looking at a tornado warned storm to the west, while the tour group enjoys the spectacle.

Rainbow on the backside of a different storm as we were getting close to sunset.  A few of the guests caught lightning and this rainbow in their shots.

At sunset on the back of the storm, looking southwest.  Cool looking sky with good color, mammatus clouds and the shot of an anvil from another storm in the distance.  

Terrific looking sky at sunset looking west in northeast Nebraska.


Mesoscale Discussion issued by SPC at 2:32 PM CDT, highlighting the threat for storms to develop by 21Z with primary threats being wind damage and hail, along with some tornado threat.

Tornado Watch issued at 3:15 PM CDT for the area, valid until 10:00 PM CDT.

Another Mesoscale Discussion issued at 3:46 PM CDT from eastern Nebraska into southeast South Dakota and northwest Iowa.  Additional storms expected to form ahead of the initial storms that we were chasing along the South Dakota/Nebraska border.

A Mesoscale Discussion issued at 5:43 PM CDT as intense storms were maturing and new storms started to fire on the warm front and ahead of the low on the triple point.

Mesoscale Discussion issued at 8:34 PM CDT for the storms that were congealing and becoming less discrete across the eastern Dakotas into eastern Nebraska and western Minnesota.



  I was chasing as a guide for Silver Lining Tours ( for this one.  We had high hopes that this would be the best chase of the tour as conditions were ripe for rotating supercells and tornadoes.  A trough was ejecting out of the Rockies and into the northern High Plains, with more than sufficient low and deep layer wind shear.  Bulk shear as in the area of 65 knots.  A nose of 3,000-4,000 J/KG of MLCAPE developed into western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming, allowing for a very unstable airmass.  Shear, lift, instability and moisture appeared sufficient for a tornado outbreak to occur.  We ended up seeing 3 brief tornadoes on the day, only one shown below and in the video from a distance.  I was driving during the other 2 tornadoes.  The first supercell that we chased was from near Chugwater, Wyoming to Torrington, Wyoming.  The second supercell became large, photogenic and very intense.  We chased this storm from near Bayard to Alliance, Nebraska.  

Storm looking even more amazing as it approached our location.  Love those stack of plates!  This photo is out of sequence with the others.

First storm of the day exploding on the mountains to the west of Chugwater, Wyoming.  Wall cloud already developing on the left side of the core.

Wall cloud trying to organize to the east of Slater, Wyoming.  Moderately fast inflow occurring from right to left into this base.

Another wall cloud in the foreground trying to organize.  Large, low-hanging rising scud bomb in the distance being pulled into the base and around the wall cloud.  This was near Rockeagle, Wyoming.

Wall cloud tightening up and spinning near Rockeagle, Wyoming, shortly after the previous image.

Had a bad road network here, so only could capture this tornado from a distance as we looked west from near Lingle, Wyoming.

Multiple low inflow bands pulling in rich moisture with the second supercell we chased near Bayard, Nebraska.  A short time before, this the storm developed two brief tornadoes.  I was driving the van at that point and not able to capture a photo.

Awesome mothership structure, stacked plates, and shelf cloud on the storm as it became high precipitation (HP) near Angora, Nebraska.

Mothership about to engulf a train between Angora and Alliance, Nebraska.

Storm spitting out lightning left and right as it was about to overtake us.  Had to get out of the way shortly after this as the storm had huge hail within the core.

Another shot of the lightning and mothership supercell south of Alliance, Nebraska towards sunset.

Plenty of cloud-to-ground lightning to go around!  Was popping lightning all over the place and the storm was very intense at this point.  Tornado warned with a considerable couplet on radar embedded in the high precipitation monster.

Another shot of the lightning at dark.  Had to get out of the way shortly after this photo as it was a very dangerous, intense supercell.


Mesoscale Discussion issued at 11:29 AM MDT, already talking about issuing a tornado watch as thunderstorms develop over the next few hours.

Tornado Watch issued at 1:10 PM MDT, valid until 8:00 PM MDT.

New mesoscale discussion issued at 5:05 PM MDT for the area with greatest risk for strong tornadoes and all severe weather hazards.

Mesoscale discussion issued at 8:02 PM MDT as dangerous supercell thunderstorms continued to move northeast through Nebraska, western South Dakota and northeast Wyoming.



  This was the day we had been waiting for and the reason for the whole trip.  An upper trough was ejecting out into the Plains with strong 55-65 knot winds at 500 mb, amble moisture, instability and strong wind shear to allow for rotating supercells and tornadoes.  Wes Hyduke and I left Garden City, Kansas late morning and made our way down to west of McLean, Texas off I-40 to get in position.  We encountered 3 separate supercell storms, starting near McLean, Texas and ending near Sentinel, Oklahoma.  The McLean storm produced a photogenic tornado, while the storm near Sayre, Oklahoma had a tornado debris spin-up underneath the bowl lowering and mesocyclone.  This second storm is the one that brought the big rain-wrapped tornado that led to extensive damage in Elk City, Oklahoma.  This was followed by a spectacular cloud-to-ground lightning show near Gotebo, Oklahoma.  A great chase day!

Awesome elephant trunk tornado near McLean, Texas.  We stopped next to a Doppler on Wheels truck to view the tornado in the distance as it was churning away.  This photo is out of sequence with the others below.

Wall cloud on the first tornado warned storm of the day near the Gray County Rest Area, to the west of Alanreed, Texas.

Wall cloud on a second tornado warned storm east of Howardwick and south of Alanreed.  Taking on terrific structure at this point with inflow tail on the right into the base and condensating wall cloud.  This was the storm that produced the tornado near McLean a short while later.

WE'VE GOT COWS!  Had to evade a herd of cattle on dirt road 20 south of Alanreed and northeast of Clarendon, Texas.  Was a funny moment when we were trying to get in position to intercept a tornado warned storm heading towards McLean.

Approaching the tornado warned storm southwest of McLean, Texas on highway 273.  Wall cloud with large inflow tail right to left into the storm.  

Radar grab showing our location close to the time the previous photo was taken.

TORNADO!  Beautiful elephant trunk to rope tornado south of McLean, Texas as we were driving north on highway 273.

We drove up highway 273 towards McLean and looked off to the left to see the tornado still going strong!  I am still not sure if this was a second tornado or in the roping out stage of the first tornado.  Could have rotated around the mesocyclone and back west.  Appeared to me to be a 2nd tornado on a new updraft off the dryline well to the west of the first tornado, but cannot be sure.

A zoomed in view at the base of the tornado south of McLean, Texas.  There was decent rotation at the base of the tornado towards the end of its life cycle but it did not appear to be violent.

Tornado in roping out stage towards the end of its life-cycle.

Rainbow below and exploding supercell updraft as we approached a new storm northeast of Vinson, Oklahoma.

One of the best inflow tails that I have ever seen.  This thing was like a conveyor belt of warm, moist air into the storm base and shooting directly into the updraft.  Near Sayre, Oklahoma.

Another tornado spinning up dirt directly underneath a fast spinning mesocyclone near Sayre, Oklahoma.  A beautiful storm at this point!  Thought this was going to drop a big multiple vortex tornado right in front of us, but it never grew beyond this.

Awesome storm structure with beaver tail, wall cloud, quickly rotating mesocyclone and dusty tornado underneath near Sayre, Oklahoma.

Had to get a photo in front of this storm!  It had everything.

A short while later as the mesocyclone was approaching.  Still a fast rotating wall cloud, somewhat rain-wrapped, and producing funnel after funnel.

Meso really getting close at this point.  Strong rotation and funnel very close to the ground.  May have touched down again here but not for certain.  Still southeast of Sayre and west of Carter, Oklahoma.

Very close to producing a tornado here.  Strongly rotating wall cloud and funnel.  This is looking directly into the notch from the northeast side near the forward flank core.  Had to get out of here shortly after this photo was taken.  The storm later went on to produce a large tornado that hit Elk City, Oklahoma.

Ended the day with a terrific cloud to ground lightning show near Gotebo, Oklahoma.

UNREAL lightning strike that occurred directly in front of our car and right in the middle of my camera frame!  Probably will never get a lightning shot even comparable again in my lifetime.  Fortunately, I was in the car and had a remote trigger for my camera, which was outside on a tripod.  Camera settings were ISO 100, f/22, and 20 second exposure.


Mesoscale discussion issued at 1:19 PM making note of the tornado watch that will be issued shortly.

Particularly Dangerous Situation (PDS) tornado watch issues at 1:50 PM until 10:00 PM CDT.  Note the high likelihoods for tornadoes, wind and hail.  

New mesoscale discussion issued at 4:56 PM, highlighting the small area where tornado risk would be greatest as well as extremely large hail.  This area highlighted was where the 2 storms in which we saw tornadoes were located.

Another mesoscale discussion issued at 7:29 PM, highlighting a continued tornado risk east of where the current tornado watch was in place.



  Wes Hyduke and I left Minnesota on this morning and drove to northwest Kansas where we intercepted a couple of photogenic supercell thunderstorms.  This chase was primarily by chance as we were on our way to chase in the Texas Panhandle the next day.  We decided to take a detour to view the storms in northwest Kansas and glad that we did.

Captured a cloud-to-ground lightning strike out of the storm as we watched from the southeast side.  This photo is out of sequence with the others below.

Terrific mammatus display on the storm as we approached near Hill City, Kansas.

Looking directly upwards at the mammatus clouds under the anvil on the storm west of Hill City, Kansas.

The storm started to get some decent structure near Hoxie, Kansas.  I love chasing in the wide open Plains!

Looking at the storm updraft and inflow bands feeding into it near Hoxie, Kansas.  Severe thunderstorm at this point.

Great structure on the storm at this point but storm starting to congeal and become more of a cluster.

A left-moving low precipitation supercell north of Garden City, Kansas at the end of the day.



Severe Thunderstorm Watch Issued at 3:40 PM