Monday, June 22, 2020

June 21st, 2020 Severe Thunderstorm

It's been an unbelievably quiet season this year.  We've seen the summer weather pattern (Omega Block Pattern) come in bringing the temperature up and essentially stopping the chance of severe weather in the plains.
A cold front draped north of the Kansas/Nebraska line and a dry line came in from the Kansas/Colorado border.  This gave us an avocado shaped convective outlook with a moderate risk which I think was the first moderate risk for Kansas this year.  I also believe we have not had any tornado watches in Kansas this year as well.  Due to the moderate risk we were eyeing Dodge City but as we left noticed a tornado warning up north caused by a landspout near Hoxie, Kansas.  

We were unaware of it just being a landspout and were drawn to this warning area.  We left heading up to the McPherson area before any storms had formed on the dryline.  For some reason, I have always been drawn to cold fronts although they tend to have low outcomes for tornadoes.  Plus, I figured we could shoot west quickly if needed.

We got into cloud cover quickly and found some Mammatus clouds

We finally made it to the storm we wanted.  The storms along the dryline had started to fire.
 The entire storm rotated as seen in the youtube video
We had a family stop us and ask if it was coming toward us.  At the time it was mostly stationary but I mentioned that can change quickly, and it did,  The storm started moving south as the cold front moved.
 We did have to change location as a hail core was evident on radar.  They had reports of 3.5 inch hail from the storm but I did not see any.  The storm itself started falling apart but continued the hailcore and we decided to go west to catch the dryline.  After seeing reports that it wasn't doing anything and seeing that it was becoming a squall line, we decided to head home.
 Quick panoramic grab with my phone.

We made it home about an hour before the storm hit.  It seemed to slow down and reorganized.  We were briefly under a severe thunderstorm warning in Sedgwick County, but that was canceled as the southern parts of the squall powered up and had a brief tornado warning in Oklahoma  We ended with a fairly gentle rain and thunder.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Slow beginning to the season

It's been slow which seems to be a more common post I make every April and May.  There have been no confirmed tornados this year in the state of Kansas as of May 10, 2020 but that may change in the coming week.  We've had nice weather, but the jetstream hasn't been in it's normal form, where it generally dives over Kansas, allowing gulf moisture in.  This year it's blocked it from Kansas and we've been rather cold.  Most storm this year have been in Texas, Louisiana, and the rest of Dixie Alley.  A surprise shift may change that for next week as local severe storms have been forecast Wednesday into Saturday.

On Thursday this last week, a group of storms moved through the area.  These were below severe limits but produces a nice shelf cloud and lots of instant cloud to ground lightning.  

I also created a video of slow-motion video lightning strikes.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

April 11th, 2020 severe storms

It's been a slow strange year.  We had early storms form in March with tornado outbreaks in Tennessee, the emergence of the Covid 19 pandemic, and just all the weirdness of the world we are in.  I figured we would have an earlyorm season emerging and I could go chase to my heart's content.  Then the state shut down, we entered the world of online working, teaching, and learning.
I started a project documenting how the shutdown is affecting Wichita, shooting some of the businesses that have succumbed to closing due to the stay at home orders.

Storm chasing has been a little questionable with local sheriffs requesting people from heavily affected areas not coming to the area for fear that someone could spread the virus.  The two main population centers in Kansas, Wichita, and Kansas City have around 1000 cases.  The fear is that many cases are not being tested or being known.

In this time of shutdown, I am teaching, some days a lot.  I'm also trying to keep busy and get creative with my drone, photography, videography, and I recently started my third novel.  I will be starting a section called #Covidcoverage where I document what's going on.

As of what happened yesterday, simple term, cold front.  Yesterday we made it to 83 degrees, today its 36 degrees with winds gusting to 60mph.  As I write this, there is a tornado outbreak in Dixie Alley.  We are under a high wind warning and freeze warning for April 12th, but at least there are no tornado emergencies.

Yesterday, we had a slight chance of severe weather with some pop-ups along the cold front/dry line mix that came down from the north.  I didn't have much hope that we would have much but the HRRR was looking promising to the north and east of Wichita.  Around 5pm a pop up grew and I wanted a chase.  We went north out to Newton, Kansas and recorded a supercell while it was producing  above quarter-sized hail in Walton.

This storm was gorgeous, bright white, and rotating like a skater.  I didn't have all my gear with me but attempted to do a time-lapse.  Needless to say, heavy wind made it difficult.  This is something I've seen done before, most notibly by Stephen Locke when he chased.  The wind was to heavy for drone or tri-pod so I did what I could with handheld and this was the outcome:

Here were some of the photos

This was an odd storm that fell apart to the east. I love the ribbon of cloud left of center.

Radar Loop from storm from the National Weather Service

Satellite loop from the storm from the National Weather Service
3D image of storm showing core extending above 40,000 feet

Friday, March 27, 2020

Sun halo and brilliant sunset

It's been a strange journey as of late.  I've transitioned to an online teacher, everyone is home, and we are on a strange lockdown where we still see a lot of traffic outside and everyone seems outside walking their dogs.  It's been nice except for burning in the Flint Hills where a front brought smoke fully into town.  It was bad enough that last night while placing a screen protector on a new phone, I kept having specks of ash get underneath the cover.

I've been flying the drone while trying to keep a respectable distance from people.

On March 21st, high-level cirrus clouds caused a halo around the sun.
 With the aforementioned smoke in the air and a front coming into town gave a fairly intense sunset.  Smoke laid a haze off to the west of town.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

sun pillar

Sun pillars are caused by high-level ice crystals reflecting light from a bright source like the sun or city lights.  On the morning of a winter storm that was coming in, I caught this at sunrise.  That evening about 2.5 inches of snow fell for one slick morning.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

This is the Beachner Grain elevator at 519 E. 20th St in Wichita, Kansas and very visible from I-135 near the 21at street exit.  This World Record sized mural is the work of the Horizontes project in Wichita.  They are a local community engagement group that made the over 50,000 foot mural.

For more information on the project:

For more information on Horizontes: