4/14/98 Chase Summary by Mike Umscheid and Jon Smith

From: Mike Umscheid 

Chase Acccount:  April 14, 1998 -- "I-35 Bust!" East Central Kansas
by Mike Umscheid, mscheid@sound.net and Jon Smith, mthom@swbell.net

. . .Atmospheric Setup. . .
Tuesday appeared to be an interesting day for severe weather across
areas of the central plains.  On the wakes of a rather potent upper
storm, which produced a tornado in the STL area, there was a very
strong storm taking shape across the intermountain west.  Monday
night's (00Z/14) ETA progged a 155 knot max across New Mexico for
Tues. afternoon.  Surface cyclogenesis was taking shape early Tues.
morning over s/e CO, and with a 60-65 surface dewpoint pool over
central TX, southerly surface winds would result in impressive low
level moisture advection through OK and east KS.  SB CAPE values were
progged to be around 1500 J/kg and possibly AOA 2000 with a 78/60
surface parcel.  As I checked surface data at school, surface moisture
appeared to be advecting slower than progged.  Upper dynamics would
overcome this hopefully.  The 00Z/14 ETA prog had and EHI max of
around 4.0 over Topeka and Lawrence.

. . .Out for the Chase. . .
My chase partner, Jon Smith, luckily got the evening off work for the
chase (so did I for that matter!).  At around 3:30p CDT, towering Cu
were developing along, what appeared to be an area of surface moisture
convergence in eastern KS, where southeast winds in e/c and s/e KS
were meeting up with due south winds in s/c KS around ICT.  The Cu
field was growing rapidly shortly before 4:00p.  The chase is on!
After topping off the gas tank, we were on the road and heading
southwest about 4:30p on I-35.  We immediately noticed blowoff of the
growing storms in the EMP area.  This seemed very quick to me and
confused me a bit... then again we are dealing with a mach speed type
upper jet!  No later than a half hour after we departed, there was a
TOR issued for southern Coffey Co., about forty miles or so to the
southwest of us.  Still on I-35 just southwest of Ottawa, we saw the
cirrus blowoff of the storm, but that was it.  We were northeast of
the storm, and we needed to get west of the primary core.

We kept trekking west along the interstate until we got to K-31 when
we had a few options.  We could go after the storm producing the TOR,
which was south of us, or we could follow several other well developed
towers that were north of us which, could very easily go tornadic if
they developed.  We decided to go for what was out there already,
which was the tornadic cell south of us.  We went south towards the
storm from the north end... time about 5:15p.  About 3 miles south of
Waverly in Coffey Co., we stopped to monitor the progress of the storm
and to go over a few options.  The core was only a couple miles due
south of us which produced quarter size hail in LeRoy, which was about
10 miles to our due south.  We were on the wrong side of the storm to
witness any updraft activity, but we did monitor some trailing updraft
bases to the west.  We headed west along a county road in Coffey Co.
west of John Redmond Res.  We now decided not to follow that storm.
In the meantime, we were under developing bases and ran across some
pea-sized hail just west of the reservoir.

Frustration was setting in, none of the storms were going up very
fast, if at all, after the initial storm in Coffey Co.  It was clearly
apparent that our moisture supply was lacking big time.  There was
clearly not enough instability to sustain "long lived supercells" if
even supercells at all.  We headed back to I-35 and continued west.
We were about 15 miles west of Emporia and noticed growing congestus
towers with a decent base this time, just south of us.  We went south
on K-130 towards Neosho Rapids in pursuit.  We sat along side a county
road to watch the progress of the storm between Lebo and Neosho
Rapids.  The cauliflower congestus was pretty nice, but the associated
base and motion underneath was not.  Ugh.  We followed this all the
way home along I-35.  As the sun was falling, now about 7:15p, some of
the underneath of the bases were showing rather decent upward motion,
but nothing too impressive.  We did get some good lightning shots
coming home in Johnson Co., but that was about it.

That evening, those pulse storm pretty much dwindled, and the dryline
was now firing in central KS after sunset.  As the storms approached
my house, about 10:00p, I took some lightning video outside my house.
The electricity in these storms was rather impressive.  I took some
stills of the video using Snappy on the computer and got some pretty
impressive results from the nighttime lightning.  (see

John Moser, I noticed that beast supercell outside STJ when I got
home, how did that go?!

*Snappy video still JPEGs of chase and nighttime lightning found in
www.sound.net/~mscheid/chase98/apr14 directory
Mike Umscheid <> 'Meso300' on IRC #weather
mscheid@sound.net <> www.sound.net/~mscheid/wallcloud.htm
'One Who Chases Storms' ~\_/~ Overland Park, KS

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