Home Up Feedback Contents Video Library

2020 Season

2009 Season 2010 Season 2011 Season 2012 Season 2013 Season 2014 Season 2015 Season 2016 Season 2017 Season 2018 Season 2019 Season 2020 Season


Tornado Visualization and Doppler Radar Analysis Project

May 16 - May 28, 2020

Donald Dolan and Tom Dolan

George Kourounis and Jade Vajna - by web conference


Saturday May 16, 2020 - Rocklin, CA to Elko, NV

Departed Rocklin, CA driving to the Central Plains for this seasons field work.  Plan is to head towards Cheyenne, WY and then position for storm development for the early part of the week.  Original plans were to fly into Denver, CO on Monday May 18th and meet up with the team.  Due to the Canadian Border continued closure the team from Canada will not be able to participate in the field phase this season.

Crossing the Sierra Nevada mountains with the snow still present on the peaks above Donner Lake.








Travel Distance: 405 Miles


Sunday May 17, 2020 - Elko, NV to Cheyenne, WY

Travel day to Cheyenne, WY.












Upcoming weather outlooks.

Hazardous Weather Outlook

National Weather Service Rapid City SD

536 AM MDT Sun May 17 2020


...DAYS TWO THROUGH SEVEN...Monday through Saturday

Beginning late Tuesday, an active pattern will bring a return of thunderstorm chances through much of the week. Some of these storms could be strong to severe, especially late Tuesday and Wednesday.

Travel Distance: 672 Miles


Monday May 18, 2020 - Cheyenne, WY to Hot Springs, SD

Plan is to head up to Hot Springs, South Dakota to stage for Tuesday's Weather.


Warm weather with a some wind along the way.









Travel Distance: 215 Miles



Tuesday May 19, 2020 - Hot Springs, SD to Hill City, SD


We stopped by and visited the old school that was converted to the Pioneer Museum at the top of the hill in Hot Springs, SD.   The building was a school from 1873 to 1961.

Each room has different themes.  Examples shown such as store supplies or medical equipment.















Drove through Wind Cave National Park and local bison were grazing.  Past by a small heard as we were working through the park.
















Above is a view of the Crazy Horse monument that is under construction.  This is a privately funded project.


The storms for today were far south from our location and we were staying in the region for Wednesday's storm setup.













Travel Distance: 53 Miles


Wednesday May 20, 2020 - Hill City, SD to Scottsbluff, NE


We stopped by to take in the view of Mount Rushmore from the upper parking lot.  The site was open for visiting but with no services or fees.













We then drove down the mountain to go through Rapid City, SD to drive up to Sundance, WY Storm Positioning

Severe Thunderstorm intercepted south of Gillette, WY.  Parked on a rise on the highway and observed the thunderstorm as it past by.  Our location had mostly pea size hail with some dime size.



Our location is the white circle to the west of the storm.
















Below is the 3D view of the thunderstorm passing by.  The radar is located in Rapid City, SD and the lowest level visible is at 15,000 feet.  Data is too far from the ground to do further detail work but provided a good chase intercept based on the available roads for the area.














View of the Severe Thunderstorm to the left in screenshot from the dash camera below.





























Travel Distance: 463 Miles


Thursday May 21, 2020 - Scottsbluff, NE to Dodge City, KS

Travel to Kansas.














5:42PM Above
















Tornado warned storm in Texas.





















8:59 PM CDT watching the tornado warned storm at Sublette, Texas above





Our position near Sublette, Texas on the tornado warned storm.  Radar view at 9:10 PM CDT



































Travel Distance: 536 Miles


Friday May 22, 2020 - Dodge City, KS to Childress, TX

Travel to Texas.


















Travel Distance:  579 Miles


Saturday May 23, 2020 - Childress, TX to Liberal, KS














Hail size about 3 1/2 inches.  Quarter for scale.














Rainbow as we travel east on Interstate 40 towards Shamrock, Texas before we continue traveling north to Liberal, Kansas.














Lightning sequence 1 of 5 screenshots.













Lightning sequence 2 of 5 screenshots.












Lightning sequence 3 of 5 screenshots.












Lightning sequence 4 of 5 screenshots.














Lightning sequence 5 of 5 screenshots.

















We moved from Childress, Texas to Silverton, Texas to stage for the days storms.   Storms initiated west of our location which we followed north.  As those storms dissipated we worked south to Plainview, Texas and work the next round of storms and followed the thunderstorm that entered Silverton, Texas.  This was a large hail producing thunderstorm which we found Silverton to have been hit hard by baseball size hail.  One hail was 3-1/2 inches in size and that is after it had already started melting.  We then followed the storm up toward Interstate 40 continuing to Liberal, Kansas for the night.









Travel Distance:  475 Miles


Sunday May 24, 2020 - Liberal, KS to Salina, KS






Driving through thunderstorm with heavy rainfall.

































We left Liberal, Kansas and staged up on Dighton, Kansas to await storm initiation.  Worked towards Ness City and followed and went north up to Interstate 70.  Went east on the Interstate and did work some thunderstorms with us meeting up in Tescott, Kansas with Henry Diehl who was providing spotter reports as well as on air radio reports to the local AM station reporting field weather reports to the area communities.  Henry also calls in his weather spotter reports to the National Weather Service.  We frequently visit with Henry when we are in the area and see at the Annual ChaserCon conventions.




Travel Distance:  369 Miles


Monday May 25, 2020 - Salina, KS to Rawlins, WY







Travel Distance:  682 Miles


Tuesday May 26, 2020 - Rawlins, WY to Rocklin, CA

Traveling from Rawlings, WY Interstate 80 back to Rocklin, CA.  Took pictures of landscape and weather along the way.













Photo of landscape near Green River, Utah.














Cliffs entering Utah.
















Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah.














Snow covered peaks in Eastern, Nevada.
















Rainfall near Winnemucca, Nevada.














Nevada sunset and sun highlighted shower.



Travel Distance:  949 Miles


Trip Details

Information logged on travel miles, fuel expenses, food and lodging for the 2020 research season for reference and planning use.  Base trip costs are two participants.


11 days of travel: 5440 Miles

2 days travel from Rocklin, CA to Cheyenne, WY: 1077 Miles

7 days travel for storms chasing: 2732 Miles

2 days Travel from Salina, KS to Rocklin CA: 1631 Miles


Fuel Expenses

Total gallons of fuel used: 274.78 gallons

Total fuel cost: $557.18

Average miles per gallon: 19.8 miles per gallon

Average price per gallon of fuel: $2.03

Average miles per day: 494.55

Average gallons of fuel per day: 24.98 gallons per day

Rental vehicle used: GMC Yukon


Lodging Costs

Hotel Costs: $1035.80

Hotel Room: 10 Nights

Average Cost per night: $103.58


Vehicle Rental Costs

Base vehicle rental cost: $806.45

Vehicle insurance cost: $601.86

Total vehicle rental cost: $1408.31

Note: Vehicle was picked up two days prior to trip departure for preparation and returned day after return.


Food Costs Estimate

Average $30 day per person for $660.00 for trip

Hotels provided sack breakfast style meals.  Ice chest stocked with food and drinks to reduce cost and need for stops.  Most meals were ordered to go with some limited dining options available.


Total Trip Costs Summary

Rental vehicle and Insurance: $1408.31

Lodging: $1035.80

Fuel: $557.18

Food: $660.00 (Estimate)

Total Cost: $3661.29



Home ] Up ]


For questions or comments about this research.
Copyright 2009-2020 Outdoorstorms
Last modified: 05/18/20