Tornado Alley 2004 Chase Trip
DAY 3 - JUNE 13TH, 2004 - NEBRASKA CHASE
By Martin Kucera - FloridaLightning.com
At 11am we left Kansas City for St. Joseph. Arrived at St. Joseph at noon and realized the SPC downgraded
the moderate risk for the area to a slight risk. At 1:45pm crossed Nebraska state line going west.
Beautiful day, clear blue sky. No Internet coverage.
tornado alley
That`s when you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere.
At 3 pm we arrived at Beatrice, NE.  What a beautiful place. Distant cells start to go up.
At 3:40 pm just got a tornado warning for Buttler Co., NE -  about 1hr. away.
supercell
At about 4 pm we notice a strong looking tower just ahead.
supercell thunderstorm
super cell
supercell tornado alley
supercell hail tornado
At about 5:15 pm things start looking really interesting. These cells were tornado warned at this time. The chase was on.
wall cloud severe storm tornado supercell
wall cloud tornado supercell
5:20 pm. Tornado reports were now coming from everywhere.
Not sure if this was a tornado just before we arrived here.
classic supercell tornado alley wall cloud
It was a nice
classic looking  
supercell structure
and the sky looked
quite disrupted.  
Talk about
learning new
things or just being
confused by
everything in the
sky you look at.
Every meaningless
lowering seems
like a wall cloud to
you but you feel
like you are
learning by the
minute. One of the
best days this
season.
supercell tornado
supercell hail tornado
supercell tornado hail wall cloud severe storm
5:40 pm. Can not keep up with the storm. But the views are
incredible. At this time I talked to a friendly local who told me
he just got news from his friends this storm caused some
major hail damage several miles ahead. You would just want
to stay at this spot with your jaw dropped and just keep
watching. But you know you have to go for there may be
even better views somewhere farther along the way....
Same storm but a different angle using my medium
format camera. Sky to the right appeared nearly pitch
black. One of the best views so far on this day.
severe thunder hail tornado supercell
5:45 pm.  What I remember the most is how much I enjoyed
the structure of thunderstorms. 2004 was a record year that
everyone wishes would happened again. Even more so with
lame seasons such as 2006 and 2007 when compared to 2004.
rainbow
tornado alley rainbow
It took a short drive and almost an hour for the supercell ahead of us to get going again. Also the view where you are directly
under the flanking line does not allow you to observe the features you`d like to see. But the rainbow was a spectacular sight.
tornado alley supercellular rainbow hail tornado
flanking line supercell tornado hail severe storm
nebraska supercell tornado hail severe weather
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
So after driving for about an hour and when it seemed to be all for the day I look behind us and spot a brand new cell in the
distance. It formed literally within minutes. The hard part was to find the road option that would allow us to follow the
storm. Notice the environment. Blue sky, not a tiny cloud in the sky, only the developing supercell on the horizon. This
storm was rolling into Iowa from Nebraska. Photos taken somewhere along the I-29 going south, looking to our east.
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
Later in the afternoon I decided to follow the storm just a little closer.  The road followed the cell exactly how I needed it. I
guess if this is your one of the first chases the main trouble is not knowing the storm structure. I think I did not even know
a storm would have a very specific structure like I would later learned. Thus we stayed quite far away which was not bad for
structure shots but won't help you much learning more about a storm. Later on we cautiously started approaching storms
more closely and experience grew rapidly from then on. But even today I still enjoy staying farther away for better views.
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
supercell tornado severe weather hail lightning
The supercell really got going a short while later. It was late afternoon and this is the ultimate
success to me when you are alone with a storm like this with a perfect view... all you have to do is
to catch up with it and enjoy it. Some people judge their success by seeing a tornado or not...
To me, it might be a bit different of what I consider a good chase. I enjoy a structure like the above
and will be perfectly content. What more could you ask for... just you and a supercell. Amazing.
Almost a sunset time and the supercell is rotating wildly by now. Constant rumble of thunder can be heard. But I still have
this newly discovered respect for what is in the sky just ahead of us. We are not going to get any closer to this supercell today.
(c) 2004

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