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May 20 - 31, 2010 Field Weather Observation

Covering the States of Colorado, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska,

North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming

Matt, Kathy and Tom Dolan


Thursday May 20, 2010 - California to Utah

The trip started in Rocklin, CA traveling through the snow covered Sierras with us stopping for the night at in Wendover, Utah.

Our target area for our initial storms for Friday was in the area of Eastern Wyoming and Nebraska




Friday May 21, 2010 - Utah to Wyoming

Our target area is the Eastern side of Wyoming starting in Cheyenne.  We arrived as the storms were initiated in the North.

The entire area both north and south of this location were Tornado Warned from 2:25 PM MDT to 10:00 PM MDT.






We fueled up in Cheyenne, WY and started heading north on Hwy 25 when the first Tornado was spotted before we could arrive.













We followed this storm north and concluded the day watching the lightening in Douglas WY.










Saturday May 22, 2010 - Wyoming to South Dakota


We worked our way into South Dakota heading through Mount Rushmore to take in the view.







We then headed towards the center of the State of South Dakota.












We could see Cumulus clouds forming far to the north which soon developed into tornados west of Aberdeen. 

Our position was too far south to reach the strongest thunderstorms developing up near Bowdle, South Dakota.  The Bowdle Tornado was an EF4 from later surveys. 

Included in this website is a study of this storm.






We drove up to Gettysburg SD and stopped at Lebanon to reset our GPS unit and allow the Tornado warned storm in our path to clear to the North.



















We had great views of the lower clouds racing towards the storm and the clouds above moving north. We had a storm chaser stop by and chat with us while we were observing filling us in on the tales from the Tornado to the north. We were also greeted by some towns folks from Lebanon who drove up behind us and greeted us to their community.














The town Tornado Siren went off while we were observing but most of the activity was about 15 miles to the east of us.














View of the Tornado warned storm above just to our east from our viewing point by Lebanon SD.  The tornado would have been located in the base of the hook area.  We were positioned on the northwest side of the storm with our view blocked by rain.













View above of the storm winds where red is winds moving away from the Doppler Radar and green is towards as seen in the base of the view. This storm is moving towards Faukton SD. The winds appear to be nearly vertical in this view where the tornado was located.















The view above is the rotation seen in the Doppler image. The updated Tornado Warning on this storm had a Storm Spotter reporting a funnel cloud from the view from the Faulkton side. Ours was obscured by the rain falling with this storm.

Once the storm passed we continued our way to Faulkton. We were treated to a lightening show that went on for as far as you can see for our drive to the Aberdeen, SD.  The Tornado from this storm was an EF-1 and killed 18 cattle and destroyed 12 large grain bins.

Plans for Sunday will likely have us head toward the southern part of South Dakota.

Team Twistex research vehicle was located in the motel parking lot in Aberdeen, SD.  Used by Tim Samaras during production of Storm Chasers on the Discovery Channel.











Sunday May 23, 2010 - South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas

We headed south from Aberdeen, SD to work our way to the northern area of the Tornado Forecast area. Our target for today was having us start in McCook, NE.

We arrived in the area with storms initiating deeper down in Kansas. The area was in a tornado warning.












We continued south to target the first storm south of us with plans to move east to allow it to travel by us. We traveled between the two storms to avoid any hail damage.
















Monday May 24, 2010 - Colby Kansas to Larned Kansas

After watching the lightening show last night and waiting for the tornado warned storms to past to our north we decided to navigate south instead. We located a town and pulled in to the targeted motel. Weather vehicles were everywhere and they asked if we had reservations. Seems we picked the town Vortex 2 was based in and all the rooms were booked. We found a nice room at the motel next door. This morning went around and toured the various vehicles.












Stopped and briefly chatted with Josh Wurman as they were preparing the equipment and was given a brief tour inside DOW 7.  The Dow's were part of the Vortex2 project that toured the plains tracking down thunderstorms that both produced or fail to create tornadoes.

Radar equipment being prepared for the days operation by Karen Kosiba.





















DOW 6 and DOW 7


We headed west and targeted some rapidly developing storms south of Goodland Kansas.















Storm Setup south west of Goodland Kansas


The wall cloud below the thunderstorm is visible.












The view inside the storm to the left is showing the internal rotation of the thunderstorm.








Tuesday May 25, 2010 - Learned, KS to Kansas City MO


Travel today was towards Kansas City MO. We were able to intercept a thunderstorm south of Iola, KS touring the areas around the structure. This one went up about 35,000 feet and was producing rain.









Wednesday May 26, 2010 - Kansas City, MO to Denver, CO

Thunderstorm south of the Denver International Airport.
















Wall Cloud below and trailing the thunderstorm. The above lowering to the right started with a cone shape then thickened up prior to dissolving.










Base Reflectivity View within the storm with a lowered wall cloud visible in the radar data.  View on the right is the rotation within the wall cloud in area of lowering funnel.

Thunderstorm nearing Denver





























Base of Thunderstorm

Moonrise to the south of the Denver Airport. No plane activity for a while.















Awesome lightening show and hail storm hitting north of Denver.


Thursday May 27, 2010 - Denver CO to Casper, SD


Travel day to position for Friday storms in North Dakota. No storm activity on today's forecast.


Friday May 28, 2010 - Casper, SD to Bowman, ND then Glendive WY


We visited Mount Rushmore and then to Rapid City before heading to North Dakota. The storms initiated west of us and we drove to intersect them in Wyoming. We ran into a highway closure forcing us to route north.


We stopped for the evening in Glendive WY. We ended up being in the path a several large thunderstorms so move the car to under a gas station shelter as the hail, heavy winds and downpours went by.






To continue... Rapid City SD on Saturday then...








Copyright 2009-2017 by Tom Dolan. All rights reserved. Federal copyright law prohibits unauthorized reproduction.


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Last modified: 05/10/19