Begin: Phillipsburg, KS
Lunch: Kearney (The Egg and I)
End: Norton, KS
We awoke in north-central Kansas, inside of SPC’s narrow slight risk area which stretched from Amarillo to International Falls. Tornado prospects again appeared bleak, due to Tropical Storm Cindy in the gulf. We need high-quality low-level moisture for a shot at tornadoes! This spring chase season seemed to be a broken record of marginal moisture, day-after-day. There didn’t appear to be a good reason to drive all day to an area with a slightly better severe weather or tornado chance. I figured we needed to be just an hour or two to the north, into southern Nebraska. We had lunch and then an extended Dairy Queen break in Kearney. It was hot and muggy, and the cap was pretty strong. CAPE values were high and shear wasn’t too shabby. We just needed something to pop!
Moisture convergence began to tighten up to our west and southwest, and we headed over to Cozad. It was hot — around 100F! A high-based storm or two went up nearby, but fizzled. Another one looked good briefly closer to Arapahoe, to the south. We latched onto another cell southeast of Arapahoe, I think, and this one finally was worthwhile. The storm and its long precip shaft looked quite nice against the setting sun. It started to spit out a lot of CGs as sunset approached, but these were difficult to catch with the camera.
We were just east of this CG-spitting cell. The light was nice, but there was little interesting storm structure. Chris suggested that we take a look behind the storm, so we headed west from Stamford, went beneath the storm and hit a little rain, and came out on the west side before we got to Beaver City. This view to the east was splendid! We had the tripods up and enjoyed at least an hour of storm updraft and lightning photography. From here we headed south to Norton, Kansas, for the night, and we stopped short of Norton to check out the dark night sky —- see the other entry for this date for those images.