4/29/97 KS chase by Al Pietrycha

From: Albert Pietrycha (pietrych@RAP.UCAR.EDU):

Northwest Kansas proved to be an interesting area on Tuesday.
Omitting all the little details of the chase, my friend Scott
Landolt and I left Boulder that morning to set up south of a frontal
boundary that ran from northeast Colorado east into Nebraska.  While
driving out there sfc conditions were upper 70's/upper 30's with a
25 mph SW wind.  Once we drove into Brewster, KS (17 miles west of GLD)
we crossed the dryline.

Conditions in Brewster at 3:15 CDT were 81/51 with a SE 30 mph wind gusting
to 39mph.  Small, soft towers on a developing line were going up directly
to our north.  At 4:00pm CDT a tornado watch was issued for this region.
We waited for the cells to become better defined as we drove to Colby.  The
NWS in GLD issued a severe warning on a cell over Atwood, KS so we decided
to drive up there to get a better look.

The storm reminded me of a typical looking cell you would see between
DEN and LIC.  It was very high based, with low prcp and lacking in
organization.  What turned out to be a pleasant discovery was that the line
was only moving NE at 15 mph.  For an April storm I certainly was not
complaining on the forward speed.

With time the cell became better defined to the point were there was a
15 min. window were we could see organized low level cyclonic rotation.
Along the outflow/inflow interface (shear zone) well-pronounced gustanadoes
were spinning up.  We stopped counting them after 15 or so but there were many
more.  At 5:15 CDT in Rexford a landspout developed to our west behind the shear
zone and directly underneath the main updraft.  The vortex was well defined and
visible 1/3 of the way up to the cloud base.  This lasted for 1:50 mins and
then dissipated.  Shortly there after the storm occluded and the day was over.

This was not a big day out (Congrats Gilbert on yesterday) but it sure was
better than not going out at all.


Albert Pietrycha                        President,
NCAR/RAP                                Student Chapter of the
P.O. Box 3000                           American Meteorological Society
Boulder, CO 80307-3000                  Metropolitan State College
(303) 497-8382                          Denver
My opinions only                    Wall Cloud?  That's not a wall Cloud!

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