Day 1 of my chase-cation provided a reasonably easy forecast and the SPC started the day with a moderate risk for hail and wind in central Kansas up in to Nebraska. The models showed storms firing in central KS on the dry line where they might stay discrete for an hour or so before lining out. Our plan was to get whatever we could on first initiation but to then also be located near the southern end of the eventual line out. It pretty much played out just like that…
I met Christa and Kendell at the super top secret confidential meeting rendezvous point (overkill?) at 7am and we set off targeting Hays, KS. Again, this wasn’t a very difficult forecast; find dry line, find where cap weakens, and there ya have it. We reached Hays right around lunch time without too much of a problem. This was my first chase out in my new car and after some tweaking with the laptop stand which was a little wobbly, we were good to go. We stopped at Wendy’s for a bite and were joined by Jason Burns and Julie Fort and chatted with them for awhile. I had heard through the grapevine that the ROTATE crew were also in Hays and my friend Alycia was travelling and working with them this year. I sent her a text and she said that they were indeed in Hays and that we should all stop by and say hello.
We went up to the Wal-Mart parking lot and found Alycia and all of the Doppler On Wheel’s (DOWs) trucks and the whole ROTATE crew that were sitting around waiting for storms as well. Alycia gave us a great tour and let me get all fanboy by letting me sit in one of the DOW’s. Haha, it was so cool!
As we were looking around, all of a sudden one of the ROTATE crew yelled “oh gross!” A bunch of people ran to the front of one of the DOW’s to look at what she was talking about…
It was a dead bat stuck in the grill! Haha, I hit a lot of bugs while on the road but I’ve never seen a bat whiz by my windshield before.
Eric Treece and Carol Kohn had made their way to Hays as well and they stopped by where we were all able to get a picture together. It was cool and thanks to Herb Stein for taking the shot!
Turkey towers were starting to form pretty rapidly in the area so we knew storms weren’t far off. One cell formed just south of town and took off up to the north at about 55kts. No catching that one. We decided to get south of Hays so we could watch other storms that had started firing and were making their way up to us.
If any one of those really stood out, we could latch on and follow. Finally, one got our attention but was coming toward us so there wasn’t really a need to move. As each came north, they started to get more robust and better looking on radar…
The bases were pretty high, so we knew tornado potential was pretty low. There was some better EHI forecast to come in later in the afternoon which we were hoping would enhance tornado potential so we tried to be patient. A new cell exploded further down south near Dodge City and was also coming up to us. This time we weren’t going to wait around for it to come to us. We took off south and then went back west where we met it not too far from Ness City. It was an awesome LP supercell with great structure!
It eventually started sucking some scud up in to the base and formed a lowering. We all thought that maybe we could get a miracle tornado for a few minutes, but the reality was there was no rotation at all. Still, some nice photo’s were had.
This cell went north and eventually died and we noticed one last cell was coming up behind it. The sun was just setting and the photo op was right in front of us. It was excellent! Here is a 5 shot panorama of the last storm…
After this, we refueled and ate in Ellis before heading back home. It was an awesome day and I had a blast seeing and hanging out with everyone.
2012 Chase Statistics:
Total Mileage This Chase: 744
Total 2012 Mileage: 6,225
Tornadoes This Chase: 0
Total 2012 Tornadoes: 6
Milestones This Chase: First chase in my new car
Album of the Day: Greg Giraldo – “Good Day To Cross a River”