Still on a high from the Bowdle, SD storm, We woke up to find that our target area of far eastern, SD was virtually missing. SPC's forecast the night earlier placed Sioux Falls, and Watertown, SD within a 30% severe risk. This morning there was only a 'See Text' area that didn't look even THAT promising. SPC is having a bad week we think. The new area of interest appears to be southern Nebraska.
Union Pacific 6922
That's a long way to go. But with an ever-increasing risk of Tornadoes. As we approached Valentine, NE the 5% risk area was expanded. This could be a really good day for tornadoes again, we think to ourselves. Early in the afternoon and, we think, dead center in the action, we Arrive in North Platte. No storms. Clear blue sky again. Nothing around us yet. It's still early though. We spent a few hours checking out the massive Union Pacific railway hub and the downtown park featuring a couple of historic locomotive oddballs. Still no storms. It was getting late in the afternoon. SPC's forecast continues to suggest storm initiation is imminent.. At the same time, the risk areas keep extending south into Kansas and Oklahoma....areas that earlier in the day had no risk at all.
Storm Approaches from the South
Finally a few storms appear in Central and Southern Kansas all the way back to New Mexico. Storms that in fact went Tornado warned in an area that wasn't even under a 'See Text' at that time. We're starting to really doubt SPC's intuition at this point. We are sitting dead-center in a 5% Tornado/15% Severe risk under a clear blue sky, while New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas all have Tornado warnings. and a 2% risk The NWS even seemed reluctant to issue watch areas for them but finally did. The storms to our South were moving nearly due north however. Racing up toward us, gaining speed.
sunset as the storm approached
Since nothing was happening where we were, and storms were racing in our direction, we decided to meet them halfway. They weren't exactly Tornadic, though a few of them did have Tornado warnings on them. We soon found ourselves in McCook realizing that these storms had gained an incredible amount of forward speed, but sunset is also coming upon as well.
Mammatus on the eastern edge
Taking advantage of the good roads we decided to wait for a large supercell to our south to arrive. It didn't take long at all. We drove to the Western edge of the storm along Highway 83 with the intent of getting some great sunset illuminated Anvils. we were rewarded with a beautiful view of the storm.
We found a spot just outside of the rain and began taking photos and video. It was well worth the trip to North Platte. After exhausting available daylight we headed back to find a Hotel in North Platte with more storms on our heals. And these ones were mean. Merely minutes after checking in, The sirens blared. Lucky us, out Hotel room was only about 30 yards away from the siren. That. was. loud.
Beautiful light-show ensues
The next 2 hours consisted of storm after storm with vigorous rotation training in over top us in North Platte. Each one going tornado warned. The entire time we, and more than a hundred others, were kept in the hotel conference room for safety. We momentarily became celebrities. Everybody wanted to hear the opinions from the chasers with the laptops.