Storm intercept in western Kansas with two gustnadoes and intense outflow.

The storm chase crew intercepted an intense precipitation core collapse in Decatur County in NW Kansas today.  Departing from York Nebraska, we traveled westward along I-80 reaching North Platte in the afternoon.  Monitoring the visible satellite during a quick lunch stop we could clearly see a cumulus field developing along the CO/KS border.  Diving south on Rt. 83 we crossed into Kansas and pulled off the road near Oberlin to view the storm and an increasingly intense show of CG’s.  Aiming for the most intense cell in the area, we drove southward and intercepted the cell in the southern portion of the county.  This was a very rare intercept as we watched the storm from the roadside undergo a precip core collapse, driving strong outflow winds and driving dust and debris ahead of the expanding wind field.  One rather large gustnado appeared west of Rt. 83, the dark gray cylinder visible in the curtain of rain and wind-driven Kansas soil.  A second vortex spun up briefly after the first in nearly the same location.  The crew was able to experience the sustained straight-line winds in excess of 60mph from the collapsing core, and enjoy taste and texture of the western Kansas soil.  A great intercept with accurate forecasting and navigation that put us in perfect position to experience the best storm experience the day had to offer.  Night finds us in WaKeeney, a place we know very well, and a classic stop-over location for the Virginia Tech crews.  Many memorable storm experiences have taken place in this area over the years, and there is a certain comfort among our crew members to be staying in a place that figures so prominently in our many years out here.  Most likely sticking close by for Friday.   -Dave

(PS: we are indeed in Kansas…the GPS tracker is working but unable to ping a repeater here.  It will update automatically as soon as we come in range of a repeater)


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