Saturday, August 13, 2011

Severe Thunderstorm Warning

I'm setting here with the windows open.  With 40 days over 100 streak this has been a pleasure with 60 degree temperatures outside.  A handful of weak cold fronts came through in the last week, one causing the storms I posted last week.  This one set up a slight squall line that gave the dramatic orange atmosphere that always makes one think of bad weather.

This was a two part line, the first one missed Wichita from the west with the second only barely touching the eastern corner of Sedgwick Co.

 Wind hit about 30MPH but it barely rained and the lightning moved off to the east.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Severe Thunderstorm Warning August 9, 2011

A large group of storms invaded Kansas and brought some much needed rain.  They also brought damaging winds that caused damage in Burton and Hutchinson.  They also flipped a semi on K-96.  I watched the storms moving in from Great Bend which also caused a brief tornado warning in Ellis country around 9:00.  As the storms neared Hutchinson I grabbed my gear and went out.

When I got a little bit out of the city, I kept looking to the northwest wondering what exactly I was looking at.  There is always a few moment after leaving the house and looking at RADAR you're left with that feeling of the unknown.

Lightning illuminated the smooth sides of the rotating storm.  The storm itself, when at it's most powerful looked like three plates staked upon each other.

Winds were very steady at 30mph.  There was a slight gust that almost took the camera and tripod but luckily the remote sensor was connected and I used it like keeping a dog at bay.

lighting up the shelf as it almost passed overhead.

Sorry, shameless self promotion

 The storm moved near and I went a little further north to look at some of the scary looking clouds (SCUD) hanging from the bottom.  As I went to the clearing most of the clouds had died off and the storm lost its structure.  Lightning struck overhead and just to the north.  I decided it was time to go home.

Severe Thunderstorm Warning August 9, 2011

This Storm Tracker is going to bed, pics tomorrow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I have a great network of family and friends.

When napping they are some of the first to shake me and ask what do I think I'm doing.  I hate to say it, sometimes I get caught unaware.  Last night, I was with a group of people unaware of what the atmosphere was doing, when I got a couple texts.  Severe thunderstorm warning in Kingman Co (county to the west), and are you out taking pictures.  The last one woke me up.  A quick look at the radar and I realized we were in for a good storm.

After discussing it, one of my friends looked at me and said "I just checked Facebook for your storm update and realized you're right there."

I made it about half way home when it hit.  70ish MPH winds and rain bad enough that it went to zero visibility.    Cloud to ground and cloud to cloud lightning was almost like a strobe light.

The car slightly hydroplaned and I felt myself drifting on the street with the wind.  I moved into a large parking lot and pointed my car into it (Rule: ever stuck in high wind? Your front and rear windshields are stronger than your sides, steer into the wind).  I sat in the parking lot watching power flashes all over making sure I was away from the light poles.  Luckily, I knew this wasn't a tornadic storm or that would have inspired some panic.

By the end of it, 10,000 were without power and a lot of drought plagued trees gave up the ghost.  We've had 39 days in Wichita, Kansas at or above 100 degrees and really lack rain.  Last nights 2.5 inches that fell in an hour helped some, but with the speed of rain and the dry crust of earth, more ran off than was absorbed.

There was a lot of street flooding on the way home.  A couple places the water reached to the curbs and across the road.

That's the lovely Chevy POS in the background.
Then when I got home I saw the last Bradford Pear in the front yard gave up the ghost.  This morning, I saw the crack went down to ground and the tree had to be removed.  Now, a naked front yard.  We lost the other Bradford Pear over three years ago after an ice storm.  The tree hit the Chevy POS, but at this point anything to it isn't damage, it's character.

Uprooted tree at work.
Sad thing is, a combination of this years drought and occasional strong pop up storms have made trees very fragile.
storm reports courtesy of NOAA.