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Saturday, May 09, 2009

More 5/6 Photos & 5/7 Chase Account

I finally got around to processing a few more photos from Wednesday and Thursday's chases. Wednesday ended up being the better day, but Thursday produced decent LP, low-topped structure (again) and a nonstop lightning barrage for nearly 2 hours.

Below is a photo of the western updraft on Wednesday (there's one outside of the photo to the left). It was about 20 minutes after the first tiny reflectivity return that showed up on radar.


We move south and east from Paola while these two cells begin to finally strengthen! We watch it for a bit then reposition south again while looking back to the northwest at this (below).


At first, it looked kind of elongated, high-based and a little outflow-ish, but we noticed an inflow band forming and feeding in from the southeast. The sun is just enough in the way to make the dynamic range, to shoot photos, a real bitch at this point. About 10 minutes later the base begins to look a little more round (below).


In the photo above you can barely make out that inflow band located at the top right of the photo, which is always a good sign!

We drop south to get out of the precip and about 15 minutes later we pull off on some county road to get a closer look. There are a LOT of trees in Linn County, KS, and the roads/hills are nearly as bad as Missouri, which of course is only 20-30 miles to our east :).


The horses paid no attention to the oncoming storm and were more concerned with us than it. In the photo above, you can see the ghosting (green/red flare) in the picture from having to aim near the sun.

The lighting is pretty much spectacular at this point, displaying a full spectrum of colors. About 10 minutes later, to the right of the image (above), is a huge tree row which we can barely see above, (looking north) but notice what looks like RFD cutting in slowly and a lot of scud being pulled up into the updraft.


Notice the blue skies behind the updraft/precip core. Behind us, thousands...millions of bright red raindrops are gently falling from the sky, making the scene very surreal. All of these shots, BTW are at 10 mm, so we're a lot closer than it appears.

About 3 minutes later, the photo I posted in my previous blog post of the wall cloud is now visible. There's hardly any rotation at this point, just a lot of scud being pulled in rapidly to our we head east. Below, I snapped this photo while driving, a few moments later.


We pretty much drove underneath it (we wouldn't have, had we not felt it was safe to) continuing east as it moves southeast. We're getting into heavy rain east of the developing wall cloud and were surrounded (a full 360 degrees) by a mesmerizing, deep reddish hue of everything...trees, rain, grass, etc. Thanks to that, we lost focus of our road options and missed our south road option. We had just started to turn back around and noticed these, once harmless, rain curtains being forced 180 degrees rapidly back to the west. It was making me nervous because our view of the wall cloud was now obstructed by them. But luckily, we made it south out of the rain and noticed that the wall cloud was now rotating fairly decent and tightened up a couple of times.

We continued to trail it to the south avoiding the rain which eventually wrapped around it, obscuring our view. Our south road also turned back west away from the storm but thankfully the storm weakened, so we shifted our focus over to photographing the structure. My previous blog entry was the first structure shot I took and below is the second a little later on and slightly west.


Even though the storm weakened a lot within 30 minutes, it continued to display great structure. We continued south and then east to Prescott, Kansas where we would shoot our last photos of the night.


The next day, Thursday, wasn't as cool as the night before. We intercepted a storm near St. Joseph, Missouri that had serious problems sustaining itself and noticed numerous pileus clouds above the updrafts. Below is a photo of where it finally starts to sustain itself near Cameron, Missouri.


Trying to shoot bright white cloud tops with a pitch black base is nearly impossible without either: blowing the whites out on the updrafts, or underexposing the foreground and the base. I had to meter the scene using my XSI's live view and it still didn't help much.

We continued to chase this storm-turned-supercell all the way to Marshall, Missouri till about 11 p.m., trying to get some lightning photos with the low topped structure and an emerging full moon. You can see the rays of the moonlight in the photo below.


It went on to produce baseball-sized hail as it made its way into the Ozarks.

Not much to look at for chasing prospects in the immediate future thanks to zonal flow in place for nearly a week now, with no signs of life even on the extended models. It could be a slow May!


Chad Cowan said...

that horse picture is pretty stellar

Dewdrop said...

Stunning... all of them.

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