This page provides highlights from the chase seasons so far - currently there are 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 & 2018 season highlights.

Below the chase highlights is a listing of vacation highlights ... what we do when we're waiting for severe weather, or those inevitable days when it's just sunny.

During each season, daily chase accounts are posted on Facebook at StormGroup Chasers.

The Gallery tabs, pages 1 to 19, have selected photos from the seasons from 2017 back to 2011.

Looking forward to the 2019 season!  Cheers, Peter

Experience an actual tour

2018 Chase Season Highlights

2018 was another challenging chasing season – a lack of upper air support meant storms had difficulty in strongly rotating, and tornadoes were few and far between, and were fleeting when they did occur.  2018 was one of the least active tornado years on record for the United States, with no tornadoes rated at either EF-4 or EF-5, the first year since 1950 where no high end tornadoes were recorded.

Despite that, we chased some spectacular severe weather on 28 days out of the 34 days chasing on the Plains.  Despite sighting several vortices, funnels and even a landspout, unfortunately for the first time in eight years we were unable to sight a fully-formed tornado on the ground.

Overall we travelled 17,727 miles over 5 weeks chasing in 2018 <totalling nearly 160,000 miles over 8 years for SGC>, visited 9 states, stayed overnight in 23 different cities, dined in some delicious American restaurants and diners, enjoyed some great tourist sights, and had another fabulous vacation/road trip on the Plains.

However, as Mother Nature would have it, the best tornado outbreak of the season was on June 28th in Montana/South Dakota with some especially photogenic tornadoes, just after the conclusion of the 2018 SGC season on June 16th.

Here are some highlights from our daily chasing accounts on our Facebook page – StormGroup Chasers.

Tour 1 - May 13th

… targeted a slight risk area in the Texas Panhandle <minimal probability for tornadoes> involving storms developing off the dry line, maximised where it intersected with a weak front in the northern Texas Panhandle ... on the way up to Arnett, our first storm of the season fired up to the west in the Texas Panhandle, moving NNE ... passed through Arnett, then west into Texas on US60 into Higgins, TX about 4:15 ... several storms now competing for energy along the dry line to our west ... stopped in a gas station just south of Shattuck to watch the rapidly intensifying cluster of storms to our SW, advancing at about 35 knots - plan was to let them roll over us, taking cover under the gas station canopy from the 3” hail potential in the storms ... watched for some time, lots of lightning, some good CGs, and decent booming rumbles of thunder - lots of mammatus overhead ... two reports of a rotating wall cloud filed by other chasers, too murky from our position to verify ... storms started weakening with loss of daytime heating ... one last look from the vehicle turning through the gas station parking lot, and of course the storm re-intensified, and lightning became frequent again, with some brilliant CG bolts ... decided to approach the storms once more, headed south & west - some great CG & CC & crawler lightning on all sides as we travelled towards the storms ...

Tour 1 - May 14th

... targeted a specific 2% tornado risk area within a small marginal risk area in Colorado, largely based on the HRRR breaking out a couple of supercells SE of Denver, CO by 2pm ... revised target from Kiowa, CO to Limon, CO to intercept the storms on their apparent ESE paths ... a dramatic arcus cloud had advanced towards us from the NW, looking at the radar one storm had become dominant, and bowed out, accelerating its forward speed to 25 knots, heading now ESE … our storm chase became a classic case of “storm fleeing”, heading back east on I70, making stops at Interstate exits, the storm now severe-warned, always just on our tail, hitting us with cold gusty outflow winds minutes after we arrived at each of our stops - dramatic cloud forms as the storm now surged turbulently towards us ... very black under the bases, with distinct green hues where large hail was beginning to fall from the underside of the cloud bases ... lots of CG & CC lightning, and the storm getting really intense, with a sizeable white intense VIL core, and many rotation markers, TVS & ETVS markers, and intense inflow/outflow couplets on the Base Velocity radar ... we watched the storm approach from the NW, very black & intense looking, big whorls of dust being blown up from the fields by outflow winds ... hail size now 4”, with the storm echo top at 45,000ft ... increasing hail sizes beside the road, getting to golf ball size, then bigger, soon hail drifts beside the road, then the road carpeted with several inches of hail, narrow tracks only where vehicles had passed ... back into sunshine, with a beautiful rainbow semi-circle to our east ...

Tour 1 - May 15th

... targeted a 2% tornado risk area within a marginal severe risk area <later upgraded by the SPC to a slight risk> ... storms had fired in NE New Mexico, and were intensifying, becoming briefly severe-warned ... a storm near Boise City, OK was strengthening, and after some discussion, decided to head north towards Boise City to see what developed ... lots of repeated CG lightning in the rain shafts to our west as we drove towards Boise City, but the line of storms to our east now was the focus of interest as it continued to strengthen, with the SE-most storm in the line developing an intense VIL core ...... plan now was to drop south on SR136 back into Texas, getting in front of the main storm to our SSW, by heading to Spearman, TX ... heavy rain now, visibility poor, slowed up the pace, and storm started accelerating to the SE, cutting us off from our intended path ... started running into hail drifts on the side of the road, surface flooding, then hail in sheets across the road, all the while strobe-like lightning everywhere in our field of view ... near Morse, TX came across a debris field of small branches & litter on the road, right where a report had been filed just 35 minutes earlier of a rotating wall cloud with brief funnels on the main storm just to our SE now ... stopped again about 3 miles north of Stinnett, TX to stand together in the dark and watch the incredibly beautiful lightning display on the line of storms to our east, gorgeous!! ... howling coyotes provided the only sounds in an otherwise peaceful landscape, counterpointed by the distant rumbles of thunder ...

Tour 1 – May 17th

... targeted a 2% tornado risk area in NE Colorado, overlapping into the Nebraska Panhandle, target was Fort Morgan, CO, slightly upstream of likely initiation point ... watching on RadarScope, there was a very obvious DCVZ <Denver Convergence Vorticity Zone> swirling to our SW, with a clear convergence line to our west ... came outside to find some congested cumulus with dark bases to our west ... a storm fired up, reaching a 45,000 ft echo top quickly, with lightning and a 1/4” hail marker ... large anvil overspread us, and swept away to the NE ... saw a couple of transient vortices in the clouds to our north ... drove east on US30 towards Sunol, NE as the sun dropped down below the anvil to our west, throwing a beautiful soft yellow light across fields, buildings and the back of the line of storms heading eastwards - photo opportunity, but it started to rain heavily, then hail from a new storm just to the south of Sidney, so retreated back along US30, then north on US385 for a better viewpoint out of the rain & hail ... stopped just as the sun was setting, a stunning yellow/orange light on the storm clouds surrounding us, highlighted with a rainbow, and constant CG & CC lightning - one of those special moments chasing ...

Tour 1 – May 18th

... targeted a 2% tornado risk area in western Kansas along a dryline ... an agitated cumulus field developed east of Leoti, so headed east, which was also along the now warm front boundary lifting north ... a storm we’d been watching near Quinter, KS really intensified - a rotating wall cloud, and a landspout tornado were reported, so we launched off to see this storm ... arrived at Exit 99 south of Park, KS to huge curtains of rain & hail obscuring our view under the base, and the storm sitting right over I-70 blocking our exit east in front of a now developing line of storms ... the storm, now tornado-warned, had nearly 4” hail markers, reports of 3” hail on the ground, and an intense VIL core which meant we couldn’t go that way, and we were in danger of being cutoff by further severe storms approaching from the west ... escaped up SR23 from Grainfield, KS - heavy rain & hail, and intense lightning & strong outflow winds - into Hoxie, KS and tried to flee east, but beaten back by heavy blinding rain, high winds, and bigger hail starting to bounce off the vehicle, with an intense white VIL about to cross the road in front of us, threatening even larger hail ... decided to retreat to Hoxie, and wait for a gap in the line, with a tornado-warned storm now closing from our NW ... eventually a gap opened up in the line, and we escaped to Hill City, KS - during all this time the lightning was incredible, another strobe-like experience ... turned south at Hill City to get back on I-70 to run east to our hotel in Salina, KS ... driving down US283 there were miles of hail sheets & drifts on the sides of the road ... for the last hour into Salina the rain got less heavy, and we were treated to periodic lightning bolts looping across our entire field of view, incredibly bright at times, with brilliant CGs stabbing the landscape from time to time ...

Tour 2 – May 21st

... targeted a 2% tornado risk area straddling the New Mexico/Texas border SW of Carlsbad, NM ... HRRR showed discrete cells firing off very late afternoon south of the New Mexico border ... drove past Roswell about 6:30pm MDT, then west on US70, as a severe-warned storm had fired near Glencoe, NM moving NE at 7 kts ...  stopped at an overlook about 5 miles east of Sunset, NM to get our first good visuals on the storm, looked elevated, but was rapidly intensifying with an echo top of 50,000 ft, and gave us a brilliant CG about 5 miles away, directly in front of us ... headed west through Picacho, NM, then Hondo, NM to Lincoln, NM, stopping a few times to get under the base ... radar showing good rotation, and a short-lived funnel cloud was reported... some nice curved structure at times, and a slowly rotating ragged wall cloud, punctuated by bright flashes of lightning ... turned around in Lincoln, NM about 7:50pm MDT as getting dark, storm was weakening, and the road back is “an active deer crossing area” ... arrived back in Roswell about 9pm MDT, a line of storms rolled over Roswell with heavy rain lashing the hotel, cold gusty outflow winds driving clouds of spray across the parking lot, and frequent lightning & thunder ... big CG just next to the hotel with a cannot shot bang of thunder ... many chasers congregating at this hotel tonight, trading stories about the chase today, and their plans for tomorrow.

Tour 2 – May 22nd 

... forecast today a little tricky with little focused severe weather risk ... models seemed to indicate convection forming off the mountains in NM with moist southeasterly winds feeding into a convergence line, but the HRRR indicated scattered convection only, moving off the mountains late in the day on a path back to Amarillo, our projected hotel for the night ... drove to the outlook about 25 miles west of Roswell ... chaser convergence here, and we were all treated to a LP supercell moving by right in front of us ... after watching the storm go through several cycles of intensification, reaching a 52,000 ft echo top, with a 1 1/2” hail marker, decided to move east to track the storm ... the updraft soon evolved into a beautifully sculpted updraft, so stopped again to admire the storm ... moved north on US70, stopped again as the setting sun dropped below the cloud bases ... treated to some beautiful sights as the sun lit up the clouds arching over our heads with various colours, and silhouetted the updraft base and wall cloud to our west, on yet another storm near Pikachu, NM ... as we drove NE towards Elida, NM the underside of the anvil and softly billowing clouds dropping from its edge were painted in soft hues of various shades of orange - gorgeous!! ...

Tour 2 – May 23rd

... targeted the south end of a 2% tornado risk, within a larger slight risk area for severe weather - parameters looked good in the Nebraska Panhandle, with storms initiating in NE Colorado, then moving into the Nebraska Panhandle ... stopped north of Benkelman about 4:30pm MDT to watch some nearby cumulus towers go up & down on the dryline/convergence zone ... a storm near Sidney, NE showed signs of intensifying, so decided to head directly for Ogallala, NE to target the storm ... storm rapidly intensifying, and looking great on radar, with an aggressive updraft lifting pileus clouds over the updraft top, with a large anvil developing ... as we drove towards Lewellen, came across drifts of small hail alongside the road .. hail cores clearly visible just to our north ... took SR92 north towards Arthur, NE stopping a couple of times to admire the boiling updrafts to our east, the frequent lightning, and the last rays of the sun streaming out from cumulus clouds to our west ... as we approached Arthur it was getting darker, so the lightning now was visible as incessant flashes across the clouds to our NE, with occasional bright CGs ... turning east from Arthur stopped again to watch the lightning bolts looping across our field of view, with the dark clouds to our east illuminated from within by amazingly frequent flashes ... just to our east was an intense VIL core with over 3” hail markers ... we started our way carefully east, deciding to run the now line of storms through an apparent gap on the radar ... couldn’t return back the way we had come as an intense new storm had cut off our exit ... travelled through some blindingly intense rain at times, with one mile long section of road almost completely carpeted by several inches of hail, except for narrow vehicle tracks marking where to go - all the while brilliant lightning flashed either side of the vehicle, and looped over our heads ...  very dramatic!! ...

Tour 2 – May 25th

... targeted a slight severe risk area in NW Oklahoma, setting Woodward as the initial staging point to assess storm potential - combination of a dryline, outflow boundary, backed surface winds and ample CAPE promised good storms to chase ... SPC had upgraded the risk in our target area to a 2% tornado risk, with a risk for significant hail ... SPC mesoanalysis showed a cluster of storms moving SSE from Kansas into the tornado risk box in 4-6 hrs - I made the assumption that storm initiation/motion should move progressively SSE through the tornado risk/significant hail boxes as the late afternoon/evening progressed, so was comfortable with the targeting ... stopped in Roll, OK to watch what was now an impressive LP storm with a sculptured updraft and huge spreading anvil ... saw some lightning, and mammatus underneath the anvil ... moving south slowly, the storm now began to intensify rapidly as we continued south on US283 ... cut west from Cheyenne, OK to get under the storm through Sweetwater, OK and then Wheeler, TX ... another storm fired up under the anvil just SE of Cheyenne, with a really turbulent wall of updrafts, and we sighted a brief gray vortice in the clouds ... radar showing some rotation, with the storm echo top at 53,000 ft ... skirted the rain & hail core at Wheeler, and stopped about 5 miles south of Wheeler to watch the storm, after Katie spotted a white funnel dropping down from the edge of the updraft base ... the white vortice didn’t last long, but the updraft had an impressive corkscrewing motion upwards, boiling upwards into the huge anvil overhead ... prior to Wheeler we had seen some CGs, which had started a couple of fires in the scrub/grassland, one of which very quickly had a smoke column billowing upwards into the SEly winds feeding the storm ...

Tour 2 – May 27th

… targeted the NE corner of Colorado, within a 2% tornado risk zone from the SPC, setting a target of Fort Morgan, CO ... convective towers went up in eastern Colorado, so headed straight for Fort Morgan ... at Hudson, CO a gorgeous cell conveniently blew up right beside us, and became our focus immediately ... drove east on SR52 towards Prospect Valley, CO, stopping several times to observe the storm steadily intensify, then get tornado-warned ... updrafts kept building back down the dryline, threatening to cut us off from going east, so cut through the line, and turned the corner north to Wiggins, CO ... storm became tornado-warned a second time, but soon weakened, apparently undercut by drier cooler air from the northwest ... a line of severe-warned storms was rapidly approaching from the south, so decided to leave this small storm - as soon as we did it became tornado-warned as well ... waited in Yuma, CO, for the line to cross us - some rain, lightning & thunder ... new line of severe-warmed storms was forming to the west of US385 south from Wray, CO ... decided to cut down in front of this line to experience some severe weather … on the way down US385 we were assaulted by heavy rain, some hail, and furious outflow winds crossing our path from right to left ... as we neared the intersection with US36, we had multiple brilliant CGs strike either side of the road in front of us, with some booming thunder from the close ones ... eventually broke into the clear south of US36, to find a “tail end Charlie” severe-warned storm approaching Burlington, CO from the southwest ... stopped south of Burlington to watch as the storm intensified, developed a curving sculpted base, then a full-blown mesocyclone structure - gorgeous! ... this storm was soon tornado-warned, and we spotted several suction vortices in the dust being lifted up into a slowly rotating wall cloud above ... despite no tornado, observing the beautifully sculpted spaceship structure of a rotating supercell was ample reward ... the inflow at the mid levels into the storm was a sight to behold, clouds streaming into the storm from the southeast, and the storm developed some beautiful curved lines, with the feathery mesocyclone structure clouds curving around the storm ...

Tour 2 – May 29th

... a fabulous chasing day, with a classic rotating mothership Plains supercell to cap off Tour 2 ... targeted an area between Perryton, TX and Beaver, OK as the place where parameters looked good, and the HRRR initiated convection by about 3pm ... after completing our “grand circle tour” of Liberal, headed south on US83 about 2:45pm CDT into the Oklahoma Panhandle ... numerous convective towers starting to appear, a line of congested updrafts appearing on a convergence line on the the eastern edge of the Oklahoma Panhandle ... drove east on US64 to intercept, with the first storm of the day firing, storm headed NNE at 30 kts ... new storms were firing near Miami, TX, in much better conditions, and moving into rich dewpoints in Western Oklahoma, so decided to make the long drive south to intercept ... storms continued to intensify as we drove south, and one storm visually had a stout vertical updraft, with a backsheared anvil, so decided to target this storm - it rapidly intensified on radar NW of Wheeler, TX, became a right-mover, and the chase was on, altering our path south several times so as not to get cutoff from getting under the storm ... just east of Shamrock, TX - greeted by a jaw-dropping rotating mothership Plains supercell - radar presentation of the hook echo was one of the most intense I’ve seen chasing ... the obvious tornado-warned status of the storm followed shortly after from the SPC ... an amazing sight to stand there and watch this storm move slowly towards us and east along the Interstate ...gusty inflow winds at our backs, lots of rotation visible in the wall cloud, a massive curving mesocyclone structure curving over our heads, lots of lightning & thunder, some brief transient funnel structures, but no tornado ... into Shamrock to get closer to a new updraft’s base as the original mesocyclone structure weakened ... RFD now visible in the backside clouds, and walls of blowing dust coming at us - soon buffeted by gusty cool winds and dust/debris ... headed east again, intense VIL core now going to cross I-40, so headed south on SR30 to cut around the storm ... the two original storms were now merging into one mesocyclone structure, curving across the sky, with repeated tornado-warnings being issued ...getting near sunset now, so stopped again north of Mangum, OK - there was beauty all around us as the sun dropped below the anvil to our west - hard to take it all in - violent storm structures in front of us, beautifully lit mammatus to our right & behind, and gorgeous streaming rays of light from the setting sun shining through cumulus to our west - unforgettable! ... getting dark as we continued east on SR9 through Hobart, OK, so the intense lightning display became very visible ... stopped at Gotebo, OK for some time to watch - all forms of lightning - brilliant CGs, looping bolts across the sky, clouds/rain/hail illuminated from within, and anvil crawlers spreading across the sky - fantastic!! ...

Tour 3 – June 1st

... targeted a 5% tornado risk area within an Enhanced Risk area, later upgraded by the SPC to a Moderate Risk - mostly for very large hail, up to baseballs, and extreme winds, up to hurricane force ... thought an area around Bartlett, NE looked like the right spot as a target, based on the HRRR indicative radar, the North Platte local forecaster comments, and the various severe weather parameters - intended to play the southern end of the line for potentially discrete, tornadic supercells ... despite 6,000 surface-based CAPE, the temps at 700mb just to our south at 15C to 18C meant the atmosphere was strongly capped, and needed a push from the incoming weather system to create lift and convection ... decided to target one discrete storm near Callaway, NE as the last chance for visible tornadic storms for the day … stopped just short of Loup City, NE to watch an impressive display of lightning - then had to go as the line was redeveloping towards us, obscuring the lightning with a boiling line of cumulus over an active gust front racing towards us ... now getting into “storm fleeing” mode, just keeping ahead of a now tornado-warned set of storms, while keeping a wary eye on another line of storms slipping down from the north, threatening to cutoff our path to Columbus ... thus began a somewhat hairy drive to our hotel, radar being an indispensable tool for staying safe ... as we headed up US30 all the while lightning was flashing continuously to our left ... as we entered the storms, we encountered heavy rain, some hail, and very strong winds rocked the vehicle from the right front quarter <reported 60-80 mph winds>, and now lightning was flashing all around us with some brilliant nearby CGs ... the police had blocked the road, due to a semi blown across the road into the opposite ditch, sending us on a detour down a country road, thankfully not muddy but gravelly - about 1/2 way to the turn onto blacktop, a brilliant white flash filled our front windscreen, followed by a huge boom from just behind the vehicle, the shock wave from which noticeably moved the vehicle - a powerful CG had struck just behind us ...

Tour 3 – June 3rd

... targeted a 2% tornado risk area in New Mexico, forecast to have two rounds of storms, an earlier weaker set, then a major round later in the afternoon initiating in Central New Mexico south of Albuquerque, NM ... parameters for tornadic storms later looked the best between Clovis, NM & Dora, NM ... stopped in Melrose, NM to watch the last of the early intense cells, watching from under a gas station awning as a CG barrage peppered the landscape around us - some VERY close brilliant flashes & booming thunder ... another more intense storm to the SW, with an intense VIL core, and the “tail-end Charlie” on the line, was moving too close for us to run by, so took the road east from Corona, SR247 ... as we turned, our storm started to go outflow, and generated some dramatic cloud forms, which we stopped several times going east to admire & photograph ... now into another episode of “storm fleeing” as we started to get assaulted by intense outflow winds picking up dust in huge billows ... lots of lightning, although somewhat obscured by dust, rain & hail from the core, now rapidly advancing to the SE towards Roswell, NM ... made the run down US285 towards Roswell, being pursued at almost the same speed, 70mph, as the outflow - eerily quiet at times as the outside wind matched our forward speed ... into Roswell just ahead of two rapidly converging lines of storms - just time to check in and then some “portico storm chasing” ... watched from the relatively safe & sheltered portico of the hotel, on the lee side of the building, as near hurricane force outflow winds swept by the hotel, with heavy rain, and intense lightning, some CGs VERY close, with loud bangs and long loud rumbles of thunder ...

Tour 3 – June 6th

... targeted the Big Horn Basin, west of Buffalo & Sheridan, WY - SPC had a 2% tornado risk and slight severe around this area, the local forecaster was bullish on severe storms, the parameters looked supportive, and the HRRR broke out storms around 3pm, moving northeastwards towards Sheridan in the evening ... new chasing territory for me, the Big Horn Basin ... more convection on the Rockies testing the cap as we drove towards Buffalo, then one cell, probably aided by orographic lift from the easterly winds blowing up a mountain valley, exploded upwards in front of us - a gorgeous skinny updraft, billowing anvil, and a small feeder band feeding into a subtly rotating base ... stopped right underneath it just west of Buffalo, beautiful sights looking straight up ... off west to bigger storms about 2:30pm MDT ... to our west a substantial thunderstorm was visible in the distance ... arrived in Worland, WY about 4pm MDT to find a major thunderstorm just to our west, with a stout updraft and huge anvil - very black to the west ... shortly after we arrived the storm was tornado-warned ... headed west on SR431 to get under the storm moving slowly east ... treated to this gorgeous rotating sculptured updraft, wall cloud and surrounding feathery mesocyclone structure - a funnel was reported to the west prior to our arrival, but no tornado eventuated ...

Tour 3 – June 8th

... SPC had a 2% tornado risk in two small targets - the Black Hills and along a warm front in Minnesota … the late morning update from the SPC widened the 2% tornado risk area, and upgraded the portion surrounding the Black Hills to a 5% risk, with an earlier forecasted initiation ... a big supercell had initiated on the northwest part of the Black Hills, towering over our line of sight to the NW ... after two hours of patiently tracking the storm south, the organisation of the base and updraft deteriorated, so decided to give up on this storm, and head east towards a potent cluster of storms NW of Valentine, with tops nearing 60,000 ft ... thus began a two & a half hour drive to intercept these storms ... really black to the east, with frequent lightning, and all sorts of low hanging cloud forms under the base ... managed to get right below what was now a significant severe-warned storm, showing good rotation on the base velocity radar ... intense lightning now lighting up the clouds, looked like a good wall cloud, before a rain & hail curtain obscured our view under the base - very turbulent overhead ... a line of severe storms had formed and intensified to our north, with 3” hail markers bracketing us ... quickly decided to make a strategic retreat back to Merriman, then south about 15 miles on SR61 to get out of hail danger - spectacular lightning all around us as we made our retreat ... drove back to Merriman, through a strong gust front from cold outflow from the line of storms ... now on the back side of the line of storms, we could make our way carefully east towards Valentine, NE to our hotel ... started towards Valentine about 9:30pm CDT for a one hour drive through a fantastic lightning display - incessant lightning flashing everywhere behind clouds, rain & hail curtains, as well as visible bolts looping through the sky, and brilliant CGs stabbing the landscape on all sides ... at one point we spotted a small funnel cloud visible in the dark, only as lightning illuminated it from the front & the back ...

Tour 4 – June 11th

... targeted a 5% tornado risk area in SE Nebraska & NW Kansas … break in Beatrice ... to our east, cumulus starting packing together, and a second storm, which had now dropped down to Lincoln, NE, began backbuilding to the southwest ... decided to head east and get in position to observe further development ... drove about 10 miles north of Tecumseh, NE, stopping a couple of times, and the backbuilding line continued to intensify ... impressively black to the north, with CG lightning, and some huge updrafts to our west/northwest ... as we watched from north of Cook, NE a tornado warning was issued just to our north ... then another was issued further south, as we started a managed retreat back south on SR50 towards Tecumseh ... the line continued to intensify, continually backbuilding to the southwest, with echo tops now reaching 64,000 ft - impressive storms, showing nearby rotation on Base Velocity scans, and large hail markers, all the while starting to surge towards us as we continued south ... now began a bit of careful “storm fleeing” through Pawnee City, NE then into Seneca, KS as the sun was setting in the west ... lots of stops to view the impressive curving storm structures as each new storm developed, then undercut by strong outflow, creating dramatic arcus clouds ... got into Seneca as a particularly intense storm approached from our northwest ... beautiful sculpted shapes and curved lines started to appear on the storm to our north, as strong inflow sculpted the clouds ... decided to shelter in a car wash to let the 64,000 ft supercell coming from the northwest roll over us ... intense VIL core with over 3” hail markers, and some rotation on the Base Velocity scans ... waited for 1/2 hr or so as the storm approached with CGs and booming thunder getting closer ... meanwhile a tornado warning box had been issued just to our north, then a second tornado warning box was issued just to our south, and shortly after the tornado sirens went off - first time this season, certainly gets your attention  ... had already scanned the base velocity radar, and determined we weren’t at risk, so safe to stay in the car wash ... cool outflow winds swept over us, started to rain, then heavier, then hail started falling, getting up to half dollar size, making a huge racket as it pounded on the tin roof of the car wash ... the combination of all these effects made for an exciting time! …

Tour 4 – June 12th

... targeted a small 2% tornado risk area centred around Medicine Lodge, KS, where an outflow boundary, pushing westward from an overnight MCS in southern Kansas/Oklahoma and a stationary cold front intersected ... forecast for a few supercells to initiate in late afternoon, then potentially back build towards Dodge City ... as we approached Greensburg, several towers were testing the cap NW of us, but suddenly a storm blew up to the south of us near Protection, KS, reaching 40,000 ft echo top in short order ... decided to target this storm, and headed south on US183 ... continued on SR1 into Oklahoma, then stopped to watch the storm continue to intensify ... it slowly moved south, eventually reaching a 64,000 ft echo top, then started backbuilding to the west ... as the storm organised, we ran west to Buffalo, OK, then north on US183 to get under the storm and watch ... good rotation on the base velocity, and some interesting lowerings, but no tornado - sporadic CG lightning ... storm started going outflow, surging towards us, then developing a series of new updrafts to the west, they rapidly intensified, reached over 60,000 ft echo tops, and were successively severe-warned ... our route back to Garden City, KS was rapidly being cutoff, and it was getting late, 6:45pm CDT, with still three hours to our hotel, so decided to escape and run west on US64, just below the intense hail cores ... we were treated to an intense lightning show, with some incredibly bright and VERY close CGs with cannon shot thunder, as we drove west ... the westernmost storm soon organised into this sculpted curved spaceship shape, clearly rotating, with some prominent lowerings beneath the base ... despite some clear rotation couplets on the Base Velocity just north of the road, there were no tornadoes, nor was the storm tornado-warned ... as we continued west past the rotating structure, we were pummelled by intense outflow winds across our path, blowing curtains of heavy rain across us, and the occasional thunk of hail, debris being blown across the road, scores of tumbleweeds crossing our path, all the while incessant lightning just to our right, partially obscured by all the precipitation ... despite heading west at 65mph, we could barely keep ahead of redeveloping storms on the western end of the line ... stopped for a minute to look back, the storm clouds surging towards us, and were again blasted by cold outflow winds ... behind us in Gate & Rosston, reports were coming in of power poles down, a roof ripped off a house with structural damage, and considerable debris on the roads, all the result of reported 90mph straight line winds ... we got out of there just in the nick of time ...

Tour 4 – June 14th

... targeted an area of slight & enhanced severe risk east of the Black Hills in South Dakota ... the moderate risk area along the North Dakota border with Canada, along with a 10% tornado risk, was just too far away for us to reach ... off up US385, then SR79 towards Rapid City, SD with storms initiating to our SW in Wyoming, and high-based convection over the Black Hills ... meso discussion issued, and a severe thunderstorm watch shortly thereafter ... as we drove towards Dupree, storms started to develop along a boundary, gradually intensifying and their bases lowering - dramatic downdrafts under some of the bases/updrafts ... closer to Dupree, the updrafts exploded upwards beside us, as they encountered the higher dewpoints, 66F at Depree ... going east to Eagle Butte, SD, we cut under the storm then stopped to watch - some lightning & thunder, very turbulent clouds with lots of downdrafts falling from the anvil - spinups of dust on the ground, then lifted up into the updraft ... just east of Eagle Butte sighted a brief funnel with dust spinning on the ground underneath the funnel - reported it as a brief landspout ... headed back to Eagle Butte, and south on SR63 into another storm intensifying to the south ... very pretty hail shafts lit up by the setting sun, punctuated by frequent CG lightning, and bracketed by a double rainbow - 3/4” hail marker, 52,000 ft echo top ... after we passed by the back of the storm, stopped for some sunset photos - very pretty updrafts and the anvil over our heads, lit up by the setting sun ...

2018 Sightseeing Highlights

Here's some sightseeing highlights from those inevitable times when it's just sunny, we're waiting for something to happen, or celebrating a great day:

  • Big Van Gogh - Goodand, KS
  • Buffalo Soldier Memorial - Junction City, KS
  • Captain Meriwether Lewis Steamboat - Brownville, NE
  • Capulin Volcano - NM
  • Carlsbad Caverns - NM
  • Custer State Park - SD
  • Dry Creek Petrified Forest - Buffalo, WY
  • Evel Knievel Museum - Topeka, KS
  • Fort Morgan Museum - CO
  • Guadalupe Mountains National Park - TX
  • International UFO Museum & Research Center - Roswell, NM
  • Keeper of the Plains Sculpture - Wichita, KS
  • Keystone Gallery - KS
  • Monument Rocks - KS
  • Mount Rushmore - SD
  • Mt Evans Summit Road - CO
  • Odessa Meteor Crater - TX
  • Route 66 Buildings - McLean, TX
  • Rush County Historical Museums - La Crosse, KS
  • Shattuck Windmill Museum - Shattuck, OK
  • Union Pacific Bailey Yard - North Platte, NE
  • Yellow Brick Road/Dorothy's House - Liberal, KS