CHASING HAIL-PRODUCING SUPERCELLS IN NORTH KANSAS
Date: 24 April 2016
- Chaser: David Reimer
- Location: in and just east of Salina, KS
Solo chase for me on a marginal risk day. Cap strength increased with southward extent along the dryline. My target was about 30 miles west of Wichita, Kansas. I left Norman around 11:15 AM and made it to my target area west of Wichita by 2:30 PM. Not long after we had thunderstorm initiation west of Pratt, Kansas. I made my way over to a developing supercell which by the time I arrived had split into a left-split and right-split supercell. The right-split actually didn’t look that bad visually. It was shooting out cloud to ground lightning and was becoming more developed visually… for all of 15 minutes. After that, both storms literally evaporated over the course of 30-45 minutes as they smashed into the cap. It goes without saying that the cap won. The only other option at that point was in Salina, Kansas about 70 miles to my north/northeast or an 80-minute drive. I almost just called it quits to head home but decided since it was only 5 PM I might as well try and salvage the day. After an annoying drive through Hutchinson where I hit every traffic signal, I finally arrived at the storm around 6 PM. It was actually a new storm that had formed on the southern periphery of the old storm’s outflow. It became tornado-warned on my arrival with a high-based wall cloud visible about 10 miles out. The storm arrived in Salina at the same time as I. The wall cloud became more organized as it moved over town and produced one or two funnels but no tornadoes. I zig-zagged on the southeast side of Salina until I ended up east of town. The storm became high-based east of town and after doing some film work I elected to call it quits. I made my way to Interstate 70 in Soloman, Kansas to begin my journey home (west on 70 to 135 S). A new storm got my attention as I could see a wall cloud developing to my northwest. Seeing as the sunset was 45 minutes away I decided to take a small detour north of Interstate 70. I ended up about 10 miles east of Bennington, KS on Highway 18. The wall cloud certainly was rotating but never did produce a tornado. I didn’t expect it to since I anticipated the storm was outflow dominant, but surprisingly it was more organized than radar indicated. I filmed the rotating wall cloud for a couple of minutes before the hail core began approaching my location. I punched west on Highway 18 barely skirting the south side of the storm’s hail core. At that point, my chase was over and I began the journey home. I got the DSLR out on Highway 81 just south of Bennington for some sunset/storm photography and again while filling up the gas tank in McPherson with lightning. For what looked to be a bust earlier in the day this chase end too badly. I ended up with a couple rotating wall clouds, a funnel cloud, and some of the most amazing mammatus I’ve seen to date.
The map will display the approximate location of this chase (town). It should not be used for specific location information.