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6th Chase Day - Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Current time: 12z (7:00am CDT) (Thursday)

Location: Salina, Kansas.
14z (9am CDT) – Weather Discussion
14:20z(9:20am CDT) we leave our Sleep Inn in Salina, KS heading south on I-135
14:49z(9:49am CDT) we head south west onto 81 which becomes 61.
15:09z(10:09am CDT) we enter Hutchinson, KS.
16:10z(11:10am CDT) We turn west onto 400
16:15z (11:15am CDT) We gas up in Pratt, KS
16:25z (11:25am CDT) We briefly stop at Walmart. Skies are completely clear and it is hot outside.
16:37z(11:37am CDT) SPC lowers our tornado risk from 5% to 2%.  Isolated supercell activity remains possible.
16:40z(11:40pm CDT) We leave Walmart and continue west towards Greensburg, KS.
17:10z(12:10pm CDT) We stop for lunch at Pueblo Nuevo in Greensburg, KS.
Appox. 17z(1pm CDT) We leave lunch and head a few blocks down 400 to the Big Well Museum.

19:55z(2:55pm CDT) We leave the Big Well Museum in Greensburg and head for Colorado.
20:00z(3:00pm  CDT).  Observation of 94/71 on our trip just outside of Greensburg.
20z outlook for SPC, no changes from earlier today.
22:00z(5:00pm CDT) Altitude of 5,000 feet in Ramana (our current location).
22:18z(5:18pm CDT) We return to mountain time with one county left before we enter Colorado.
Approx 22:30z(4:30pm MDT) We enter Colorado.
23:10z(5:10pm MDT) We enter Lamar, CO.
0:30z(6:30pm MDT) We leave Sonic in Lamar and head north to Cheyenne Wells since the storms west of Denver are starting to show signs of strengthening. Because of this, they may start to turn right (heading south) putting us closer to them.
0:51z(6:51pm MDT) We head north onto 385.
0:52z(6:52pm MDT) A weak meso-cyclone is seen in the cell south of Anton, Colorado, which we are hoping will make a sharp right-hand turn, giving us a better view of it without traveling too far north.
 We are not expecting storms to fire up south of this cell closer to our location in Lamar before sunset since it is already getting dark. There are some echo tops on radar south of these storms and we can visually see midlevel clouds in that direction so things are beginning to bubble up. At the 11 o’clock direction, we can see our target storm 100 miles to our north. The VIL was 39 at 00:52z and is going down, indicating the possibility that the storm may be weakening, or at least cycling – both are bad since we are losing daylight. 
1z (7:00pm MDT) – Observation of 77/58. The LCL is estimated at about 1260m from our elevation.
1:15z (7:15pm MDT)-The VIL on our cell has now dropped to only 17.
1:20z (7:20pm MDT)- The storms to our north appear to be dissipating so we can make a turn at Cheyenne Wells back to the hotel if nothing improves by the time we get to Cheyenne Wells. A low level jet will establish tonight and more moisture will be available for storms to develop after sunset.
1:24z (7:24pm MDT)- The storm over Deer Trail is severe warned with a VIL of 50 and echo tops of 39,000. Our initial target cell to the east of this cell is falling apart visually and on radar. The cell in Deer Park is too far for us to drive to before sunset.
1:29z (7:29pm MDT) - Vil is 47, echo top is 31,000 ft
1:39z (7:39pm MDT) - cell near Deer Trail is tornado warned! It's 90 miles away so we will not make it in time
            1:40z (7:40pm MDT) – We make a right on 40 in Cheyenne Wells, heading west to give us a better view of the cells.
1:48z (7:48pm MDT) hail is up to 1.5 inches in diameter in Deer Park cell. VIL is 51, echo top is 33,000ft.
1:58z (7:58pm MDT) Deer park cell has couplet 70 miles away from our current location (just a bit east of Kit Carson). We are heading west hoping for some pics.
2:34z (8:34pm MDT) 70/56 with 20 mph wind gusts
53 VIL, broad rotation, echo top 41 thousand. Tornado warning still in effect. We view the storm.
2:46z (8:46pm MDT) We decide given the lack of daylight to head back to our hotel in Lamar, Colorado for the night.

Watching an MCS close to our hotel! 

6:30z (12:30am MDT) We see distant lightening from an approaching storm at the hotel and go outside to observe it.
6:40z (12:40am MDT) A cop cars pulls up to as we are outside watching lightening. We tell him we are taking pictures of lightening and he starts talking to us about the weather.
6:42z (12:42am MDT) 2 more cop cars pull up as “backup”. They were all really friendly and told us they have no problem with us waking even into the park that is usually off limits to the public at this hour for a better view.
7:00z (1:00am MDT) Back in my room for the night. It looks like the impressive MCS has narrowly missed us making for just some light rain, distant lightening, and maybe a bit of wind for a Lamar over the next hour.

Today was a long day filled with a lot of exciting things. If you told me a few years ago that I would be visiting Greensburg at 19 years old, I would be really excited because when I used to really follow the progress of Greensburg after the tornado after I watched a TV special in 2008 about how they were building the town to be more environmentally friendly. The town is definitely built back up, but it is still pretty clear that a tornado leveled it just a few years ago since all the trees are young and the buildings are new construction. The Big Well Museum really impressed me because it was very state of the art and it told the story of the town very well. It was nice to have the museum mostly to ourselves so we could take a lot of pictures. The storm chasing today was sort of an added bonus although a bit disappointing since we chased for a few hours without seeing anything too promising (despite the fact that the storms were pretty strong!). Perhaps the most exciting thing for me today happened when we returned to the hotel. The storms we were chasing merged into one monstrous MCS and it looked like the tail end of it would at least come pretty close to our hotel in Lamar! I was excited at the opportunity to see a nice storm without leaving the hotel. Even if we didn’t get hit with the storm I would have been happy with some pics of lightening. After spending about 10 minutes outside, the cops came! They were very nice, and I thought the situation was a really interesting one. Not too often that 3 cop cars come to check out 4 people taking photographs of lightening in a hotel parking lot (and have the time to have a half hour conversation).

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