This section is for storm chases done in the central / Midwestern United States during the year of 2018. This includes all storm chasing activities (including any major chase "expeditions") during the year of 2018 in the central USA (aka "Tornado Alley"). For 2018, all chases in the central USA will be logged in this section, with many of the chases being possible "spot" chases / major severe weather "setups" chased. Here you should find many pictures of lightning, tornadoes, hail, strong winds, along with many severe thunderstorm elements. Keep in mind that this chase log is scientific evidence and portrays my on-going storm chasing research. It has been placed on this page for easy reference and meteorological interests. Please do not plagiarize or copy this document to other sites for distribution.

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STORM CHASING - CENTRAL UNITED STATES - 2018 CHASE LOG

The main chase trip in Spring of 2018, and the month of May itself, starts off with an incredible tornado interception on May 1, 2018 on Ottawa, Kansas along state-road 18 east of Tescott and ironically to the northwest of Bennington / Culver late in the day! Fortunately this tornado, rated high-end EF-3 with winds at least 160 MPH and a path width of 1/2 mile, remained over open rural country and did not hit any populated areas. The entire life-cycle of this tornado was documented, with video of the event fed out shortly after and presented later on network TV.


TABLE OF CONTENTS - CLICK TO GO TO PAGE


ABOUT THIS CHASE LOG FOR THE MIDWEST

This is a chase log for any chases during 2018 in the Midwest and Central United States that were conducted as "spot" chases as well as any dedicated chase trip. Each chase section within this area will have its own details and such for that particular chase. This area was set up in the spring of 2018 and is for any chase that was conducted in the US Plains and Midwest. Equipment use in such chases range from cell phone to HAM radio communications, digital / still cameras, video (SD) and high-definition (HD) camcorders, and data logging / GPS via laptop computer. Storm chasing involved driving in harsh conditions and / or for long periods of time.

All chases and observations are in chronological order and a chase number is assigned to each entry. Please bear in mind that all observations adhere to modern storm analysis standards and do not include all storms that occurred in a given area for a particular chase period.

Any kind of storm such as a thunderstorm, tornado, waterspout, tropical cyclone, and extratropical storm can be chased or observed. I have tried to keep this log of any storms that I have observed as accurate as possible, while using terms and expressions to abide by those used by most meteorologists and storm spotters today.

Storm chasing and observation can be extremely dangerous and may result in serious injury or death. I have received intermediate and advanced training for storm spotting in 1996. I strongly urge anyone who is to try their hand at storm spotting to get training before doing so. You must also have a good understanding of meteorology and storm dynamics. "If you don't know what you're doing, Don't do it!" Contact your local National Weather Service office for information on storm spotting and about training to become a Skywarn storm Spotter.


CHOOSE A VIDEO CLIP BELOW - LINKS TO YOUTUBE

Tornadoes In North-Central Kansas On May 1, 2018
Multiple Landspout Tornadoes In Colorado On May 28, 2018


CHASE MAP FOR MARCH 18-20, 2018

This is a chase map for the chase from March 18 through March 20, 2018. The chase track is in blue (which includes the long "ferry" trip from Florida and to the target areas). The target areas appear as yellow outlines for the main chase days, with storm intercepts denoted by the red "X's". The main chase day was March 19.


CHASE TRIP CHRONOLOGY FOR MARCH 18-20, 2018

This chase trip was a short late-winter setup in the SE United States / deep south. The main chase day was March 19 in Northern Alabama, with the days before and after being travel days. I left my place in Deerfield Beach, Florida during the morning of March 18 via I-95 and the FL Turnpike northward. I passed through Orlando and around traffic in Ocala via 301 and eventually I-75 northward. I continued most of the day on I-75 northward and reached Atlanta, Georgia by late evening. I spent the night in Marietta, Georgia contemplating routes the following chase day to be either in N Alabama or south-central Tennessee.

March 19 was the main chase day of this trip, with the primary target area forecasted to be in north-central Alabama and possible a small portion of south-central Tennessee. The SPC had this area in an enhanced-risk that was later upgraded to a moderate risk on their 1630z outlook. The tornado probabilities were 15% (hatched for significant), along with a 30% (also hatched) hail and 15% wind risk. I left Atlanta back down I-75 and I-85 to avoid traffic and onto I-20 west into Alabama and near Birmingham. I then took I-65 north to near Decatur and the Tennessee River area to wait for storms (and that area was near the warm front). This gave Highway 72 and I-65 / I-565 as directional options.

The SPC (Storm Predictions Center) issued MCD (mesoscale discussion) 146 and subsequent PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch box 13 valid until 11 PM CDT covering much of north-central AL and south-central TN. Another tornado watch (number 14) was also valid in central Tennessee. The first storms developed near and west of Courtland as upper air support glanced the warm front. The storm was followed from near Courtland and north of Decatur, and finally east and northeast to near Huntsville and Meridianville in Madison County where large hail was observed. The second, and main round of storms, then developed later near the MS / AL border, and this area was targeted after abandoning the first round of storms near Huntsville.

I headed back west via Highways 231, then I-565 out of Huntsville, and west on Highway 72 to near Tuscumbia, then south on Highway 34 to Russellville, and west on Highway 24 for the main supercell storm of the day. From there, the storm was followed east and southeast from Franklin county along Highways 24, 157, and 278 to Cullman County near Summitt. A rain wrapped tornado was observed in poor contrast looking west and east of Russellville on Highway 24. The storm was abandoned after dark near Summitt and Blountsville (eventually it split and did more damage in Jacksonville, AL with another tornado at night). I finished the chase by heading back down Highway 231 and southwest on Highways 79 / 75 to I-59 / I-20 in Birmingham. I spend the night just SW of Birmingham near Bessemer.

March 20 was mainly a travel day, with very low chase prospects in the north Florida area - Despite that region being in an enhanced risk as per SPC (wind and hail at 30% and a 10% tornado risk). I left Birmingham / Bessemer via I-59 and I-459 east to I-65 and southeast to Montgomery. From there, I headed south on Highway 231, and eventually east all the way on Highway 82 into Georgia to near Tifton to take I-75 south from there. I continued south on I-75 into north Florida, passing Gainseville and Ocala and the FL Turnpike from there. The SPC issued MCD 157 and tornado watch 17 valid until 7 PM EDT for that area as well (north Florida and SE Georgia). Storms were noted but nothing organized enough to warrant an active chase. The return route pretty much remained behind this convection. After a stop in Orlando, I continued south on the FL Turnpike to Ft Pierce, then I-95 south to Deerfield Beach before midnight. The total mileage for this chase was 2,042 miles.


MARCH 18-20 CHASE MAIN PARTICIPANTS

CHASER NAMEHOME / BASE CITYCALLSIGNCHASE DATESOCCUPATION
CHRIS COLLURADEERFIELD BEACH, FLKG4PJN3-18 TO 3-20IT CONSULTANT


SPC STORM REPORTS FOR MARCH 19 AND 20, 2018

These are two images from the storm Prediction Center (SPC) storm reports for March 19 (left) and 20 (right), 2018. A red dot denotes a tornado report, a blue dot a damaging severe wind report (58 MPH and up), and a green dot a severe hail report (1" and larger). Significant wind (65 knots and up) and significant hail (2" and larger) is denoted by a black square and triangle, respectively. Note the main track of the storms over northern Alabama on March 19.


DETAILED CHASE LOG FOR MARCH 18-20, 2018

1). March 23, 6:30 PM - Interception and observation of a very severe thunderstorm north of Huntsville and near Meridianville in Madison County, Alabama and along Highway 231. The storm was a high precipitation supercell storm, which initiated much farther west earlier near Courtland west of Decatur in Lawrence County and was followed east on Highway 72 and through Huntsville via I-565. The storm was fast moving. The core of the supercell was encountered near Meridianville and contained 60 MPH, frequent lightning, heavy rains, and hail to golfball sized (covering the ground at a gas station off Highway 231). A low area of rotation was also observed with this storm, but no tornadoes developed. Conditions causing the storm were a warm front, surface heating, low pressure trough, and upper trough. Documentation was still photos and digital HD video. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storm. A PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch was also valid for the area until 11 PM CDT.

2). March 24, 8:30 PM - Interception and observation of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm from west and through Russellville in Franklin County Alabama along Highway 24 and east and southeast through Moulton and Cullman along Highway 157 and ultimately near Summit in Cullman County and Highway 231. The storm began as a powerful classic supercell that evolved to HP near Russellville as it turned right (moving ESE). The main core of the storm was not penetrated, but contained hail to at least baseball sized (with record breaking hail sizes exceeding 5" near Cullman). The storm had a striking visual appearance as well, with rapidly rotating wall cloud and striated updraft and vault to the right when viewed west of Russellville. The storm produced a rain wrapped tornado that caused damage in Russellville. This tornado was barely visible from the east on Highway 24 looking towards Russellville. The storm continued rapidly east and southeast and a split occurred near Brooksville and ultimately caused another tornado that hit Jacksonville, AL. Conditions encountered were heavy rains, small hail (main core avoided), frequent lightning with close hits, and winds near 60 MPH (mainly inflow and RFD). This is the same storm that caused extreme hail near Cullman, where a record breaking (AL state record) hailstone of 5.25" fell! Conditions causing the storm were a stationary front / outflow boundary, surface heating, low pressure area, and upper trough. Documentation was still photos and digital HD video. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storm. A PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch was also valid for the area until 11 PM CDT.

This concludes the chase log for the SE USA (including chases in Alabama) chase trip for March 18-20, 2018. The summary includes a total of 2 observations, out of which there were 2 severe thunderstorms. a tornado was observed from one of these severe storms. The main chase vehicle conducting this chase a 2016 Jeep Wrangler. This information was prepared exclusively for the National Weather service and the team of Skywarn storm spotters.


GALLERY FOR MARCH 18, 2018

Non severe storm in central Florida while beginning a long road trip to Georgia and Alabama during the afternoon of March 18, 2018.


GALLERY FOR MARCH 19, 2018

March 19 was the main chase day of this trip. The image above to the left is the tornado outlook as per the SPC for the main target areas. In the middle image, tornado watch 13 is shown. The visible satellite is the image to the right, showing the storms over northern Alabama at about the time the Russellville tornado ocurred. A radar (base reflectivity) image of the Franklin County supercell is in the right inset.

Inside of my chase vehicle (a 2016 Jeep Wrangler) ready to chase on March 19, 2018.
Area of rotation to the southwest of Courtland, Alabama on the first supercell of the day on March 19. This was along the warm front and storm motions were fast and visibility poor.
Hail up to golfball sized affecting Meridianville, Alabama north of Huntsville around 4 PM on March 19.
View of backside of the hail core and area of weak rotation on March 19 near Meridianville, Alabama.
View of impressive anvil blowoff from an intensifying tornadic supercell west of Russellville, Alabama after 6 PM in Franklin County.
Supercell storm (in classic mode) to the west of Russellville, Alabama on Mrch 19. This is an intensifying storm and will produce a weak tornado soon.
Close-up view of rotating wall cloud to the west of Russellville, Alabama.
Intense rain-wrap and hail core while looking west towards Russellville, Alabama. There is a developing rain-wrapped tornado in there, and significant damage was being done in Russellville at the time.
Closer view of rain-wrapped tornado as is was doing damage in Russellville, Alababa. The tornado would be to the lower-left of the center of this picture.


GALLERY FOR MARCH 20, 2018

March 20 was mainly a travel day back into Florida. In the images above, the SPC 12z outlook is shown to the left (enhanced-risk). In the middle is the graphic of tornado watch 17 for that area. In the right, are the disorganized severe storms (base reflectivity radar) over Florida during the afternoon of March 20.

Highway 82 in eastern Alabama extending into a "traffic-less" vanishing point while heading east of Montgomery on March 20, 2018.
Low topped non-severe storm west of Orlando while heading back to south Florida late in the day on March 20.


CHASE MAP FOR CHASE EXPEDITION 2018

The chase map above shows the chase areas and tracks for this chase expedition. The map shows chasing activity from April 28 up until July 8. The blue path is the driving path covered, including the "ferry" to and from South Florida and the Central USA. Storm interceptions are denoted by the red "X"s. Any flights taken appear in green. Please note that the driving paths may be overlapped (same interstate or road traversed more than once), so mileage may appear less by looking at this map!


CHASE TRIP CHRONOLOGY FOR CHASE EXPEDITION 2018

This is the main storm chasing "expedition" for spring of 2018, officially starting on April 28, and continuing on to the end of the tornado season, with breaks in between for any down-time. I left south Florida (Deerfield Beach) early on April 28, heading north on I-95 to near Fort Pierce, then continued NW along the FL Turnpike across Orlando to I-75 near Ocala. From there I headed north to I-10, then west on I-10 reaching Mobile, Alabama by late afternoon to meet up with chase partner (meteorologist) Derek Sibley who might join me chasing later in the season (he could not chase at the time because of classes). After spending the night at Derek's place, I left via I-10 westward across Mississippi and Louisiana on April 29, then I-12 across the Mississippi River to near Lafayette, and I-49 to the northwest into Shreveport, Louisiana. After that, I continued west into Texas to the Dallas area on I-20 and around Dallas on I-635 to I-35 northward. I continued north on I-35 into Oklahoma, reaching Oklahoma City by about 9 PM CDT, and staying at a hotel off I-40 on the SW side of the city for the night.

April 30 was the first main chase day of this extended trip. I was targeting the area from the eastern Texas Panhandle near Shamrock and southward to near Memphis. This was a slight risk and highly marginal chase day, with a lee trough and upper air Pacific trough just making its way over the Rockies and into the US Plains. After forecasting, I left Oklahoma City and headed west on I-40. I stopped in El Reno to pay tributes to the Samaras / Young memorial, then continued west into the TX Panhandle to near Shamrock. The SPC had a large slight risk area, with a low 2% tornado probability, and 15% wind and hail, with the target area within it. During the afternoon, mesoscale discussion (MCD) 296 and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch box 57 valid until 11 PM CDT. I continued west on I-40, then south towards Highway 287 in Clarendon. Storms developed ahead of the dryline in the Memphis and Wellington areas, and back up towards Shamrock, mainly as LP supercells. I continued near Highways 70 and 296 to document these storms. After wrapping up the chase, I continued north and east back on Highway 83 to near Shamrock, then back east on I-40 and back into Oklahoma, spending the night in Elk City.

May 1 was a well executed and highly productive chase day, with extremely large hail and a significant tornado observed late in the day in north-central Kansas. The target area was anywhere from Russell to Salina, and north of and near Great Bend, Kansas. The SPC had this area in a moderate risk outlook as of 1630z, with a 10% tornado and 45% hail (both hatched for significant), and a 30% wind threat offset slightly to the northeast of the area. I forecasted and left Elk City, Oklahoma via Highway 34 north. Took Highway 60 east to 281 north into Kansas, and reaching Great Bend for a late lunch. Met with Reed Timmer and his group as well as several other chasers (Tony Laubach, etc) at a Pizza Hut. Shortly after, SPC issued MCD 304 and subsequent tornado watch box 59 covering a large area and valid until 10 PM CDT. Headed north on 281 to near Russell on I-70 and the first storm was encountered north of there. Later headed back down 281 to a second storm near Hoisington, Kansas, and followed that north and east along Highways 56 and 156 to near I-70 north of Ellsworth. A weak tornado was observed there. I continued east on I-70, then north to Highway 18 east of Trescott where a large tornado was intercepted. Afterwards, I headed east to Highway 81 and then I-135 south to Salina, spending the night there.

May 2 was supposed to be the main chase day of this first segment of this chase trip. The SPC at 1630z had tornado probabilities at 10% (hatched for significant), within a large moderate risk area, with hail and wind also 45% (hatched). The original target was anywhere from a Coldwater / Pratt / Greensburg Kansas triangle, but early and messy convection ruined that target area. The more promising target appeared south into western and SW Oklahoma, so I headed for that eventually, catching storms there. The storms were nowhere as bad as expected, and certainly not as good as the day before. I forecasted and headed out of Salina via I-135 to Wichita, then Highway 400 / 54 west through Pratt to Greensburg for lunch. Seeing how badly the convection was evolving, I headed south via Highway 183 through Coldwater and into Oklahoma, eventually reaching Woodward. Bad data options prevailed in the known "dead zone" near the OK / KS border. During the afternoon, MCD 313 was issued by the SPC, and subsequent tornado watch boxes 61 and 62, valid in Kansas and Oklahoma, respectively, until 10 PM CDT (the box 62 in Oklahoma being in my refined target area). I continued west on Highway 15 to Fargo then south to 60 and west to 283 south out of Arnette, then 47 east to 183 near Putnam. I then headed south on Highway 183 to I-40 east to Weatherford, then south on 54 to 54B / 152 east near Eakly. Tornado warned supercell storms were encountered near Binger and 152 / 37 east to Highway 81 south out of Minco to Chickasha by late evening. The storms evolved to a powerful bow segment by late evening. I wrapped up and headed east on Highways 39 / 62 then northeast to 9, then east to I-35, heading north into Oklahoma city for the night.

May 3 was supposed to be a very marginal day, but actually looked "good" on May 2 on day 2 outlooks, but became highly disrupted due to extensive cloud cover and persistent morning convection from SE Kansas all the way to central Texas. What would have been a 10% tornado probability and enhanced risk was reduced to a mere slight risk with the best target way up in the SE Nebraska / SW Iowa, and NW Missouri area. Ultimately, SPC would outlook this area in one of their three slight risks (the other two in Texas and the NE USA), with my distant target area being in a 15% tornado, and wind / hail both 15% as per their 1630z outlooks. I woke up very early, forecasted, and decided the distant target was the choice, and with little activity expected the next several days, after that I could finish some work in Chicago anyway. I left Oklahoma City via I-35 north, and picked up the Kansas Turnpike in Wichita, and continued to Kansas City via I-35 through Emporia. Looking at more data north of Kansas City, it appeared the best storm prospects would be ahead of a low pressure area south of Omaha, Nebraska over the MO River Valley, and points eastward from the wave apex and along the warm front.

By late afternoon on May 3, the SPC issued MCD 337 for my target area, and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch box 72, valid for the SW portions of the target area, until 8 PM CDT. I continued north out of Kansas City on I-29 to near Craig, Missouri, and took Highway 59 north to 136 near Tarkio, intercepting a supercell storm there, which evolved to a bow segment. I headed East on Highway 136 to SR 71 and 148 north into Iowa through Bedford to near Corning, then Highway 34 east pretty much until I-35, then north to near New Virginia and east on SR 65 / 92 to near Swan. A supercell ahead of the squall line and near the warm front was encountered here, producing a small funnel, and later, a small low contrast tornado. The storm evolved to a bow segment after that. I took country roads east until Highway 63, while trying to stay out of the powerful bow segment, and taking 63 north to I-80. Wrapping up the day, I headed east on I-80 and spent the night in Iowa City, Iowa. This was the last chase day for this first setup. On May 4, I headed east on I-80 to Davenport and across the Mississippi River into Illinois and I-88 east, and eventually Highway 30 into the western Chicago suburbs. Since this was to be a period of down time with a relatively quiet storm period, I decided to stay in the Chicago area and near friends / co-workers near Wheaton to get some work done during the off period from around May 4 to May 8. Chicago is basically the "base city" for this chase expedition.

Some chase prospects increased slightly on and after May 8, but wound up being a waste of time, with a cap bust on May 8 in SW Iowa and marginal storms back east in north central Illinois a day later on May 9. A marginal risk area was issued by the SPC on May 8, including the Kansas City, MO area extending northward into W Iowa and SE South Dakota. In this area, a 2% tornado probability was issued, with 5% for wind and hail. The only MCD issued was 368 for west-central Iowa (no watch expected). Convection wound up struggling during the day with my target of SW Iowa remaining capped. I left the Chicago area early on May 8 via I-88 / Highway 30 west to I-80 across the Mississippi River and through Iowa, past Des Moines, and south on I-35 to Highway 34 west. Took Highway 71 south to SR 2 west, then south again on 59 to 136 west to Rock Port in the extreme NW corner of Missouri to stop and look at data. It became apparent that this area was moisture limited and highly capped. Meanwhile, limited high based storms developed 150 miles to the north near Buena Vista County. Giving up on the day as a "cap bust", I continued north on I-29 back to I-80 east. Storms did develop in the target area, but well after dark as elevated storms. I continued east on I-80 through Des Moines and ultimately in Iowa City for the night.

May 9 was pretty much a marginal chase day while heading back east, with some marginally severe storms intercepted in north central Illinois. I forecasted and left Iowa City during the late morning via I-80 east and back into Illinois. I stopped in Ottawa for late lunch and to look at data. The SPC had a slight risk in place, covering NE Illinois and NW Indiana and near the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Hail and wind probabilities were given at 15%, with a highly conditional 2% for tornadoes. MCDs 371 and 372 were also issued, but no watches. I backed via Highway 6 to SR 23 south to intercept storms that initiated, and those storms were encountered near Dana and SR 17 and 179. I headed to near 251 then back east on SR 116 to Pontiac, taking I-55 north from there. Near Joliet and Plainfield, I took Highway 59 north to Naperville, then returned to Wheaton by late afternoon. This leg of the trip was 1,158 miles for the 2 days, amounting to a total so far of 5,265 miles. The final sting was seeing footage of a weak tornado in Wisconsin, far from the slight risk / target areas, with no one chasing seeing it (video was from a resident in S Wisconsin). The following days there were only marginal chase prospects, mainly out west near Nebraska / Colorado with a slight risk outlook, and I decided to sit out those days owing to the rising costs of fuel as well as high bust potential.

Chase prospects remained highly marginal and with low potential / low predictability until around May 17, where a cutoff upper level low moving across the western USA would provide chase prospects for a few days. This pattern so far was plagued with a massive ridge of high pressure with blocking and split-flow, and the Rex block itself moving east producing the severe weather from May 17 through 19. I left Chicago on May 16 via heading west on Highway 30 / I-88, then I-80 west across Iowa, then into Nebraska, spending the night in North Platte - A distance of about 720 miles. The next day, May 17, was a marginal chase day, with the target areas in NE Colorado, anticipating storms from the approaching upper low (opening into an upper trough) and lee troughing / upslope. This wound up being one of two highly disappointing of three chase days for this second "phase" of the chase expedition of 2018.

On May 17, I continued west out of North Platte, NE on I-80 to I-76, and into NE Colorado stopping in Sterling for lunch. Two slight risk areas were issued by SPC, with my target being on the southern edge of the northern area. Hail and wind probabilities were 15% (hatched on the southern area near Texas on 1630z) and a 2% tornado probability over NE Colorado as well as parts of North Dakota. By late afternoon, MCD 444 was issued and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch 103, valid until 11 PM MDT. I met with Mark Farmer and his girlfriend for lunch in Sterling and visited the western museum there to kill time, before heading SW along I-76 to intercept strong storms near Fort Morgan later on. Storms could not get going, and only strong high based activity was observed. After I wrapped up chasing, I headed back down I-76 to I-270 then I-70 in Denver, and spent the night in the Aurora / Stapelton area.

May 18 turned out to be the main chase day of this second trip, basically the "day before the day" of the more advertised May 19. The target area for the day as per forecasting was from near the west-central Kansas border and eastward, near a Tribune / Syracuse line. This area was in a slight risk (later upgraded to enhanced at 1630z) as per SPC, with hatched hail probabilities of 15%, 30% wind, and only 2% for tornadoes. I left Denver during the late morning via I-70 eastward to Burlington for lunch, then east to Goodland, Kansas, and south on SR 27 out of there. The target areas near Tribune was reached (with a chaser convergence at a fuel storm near SR 96 including Chris Kridler, Jason Persoff, and several others). This area was near the triple point and east of a low pressure area, with a dryline bulging out and outflow boundary oriented east to west, and a stationary front north of there. SPC issued MCD 450 and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch 105, valid until 11 PM CDT. I headed east on SR 96 to near Scott City, then north on Highway 83 for an LP supercell storm over Morgan County. After that, I headed north on 83 to Oakley, Kansas and east on I-70 targeting another supercell near Grainfield. I-70 was blocked for some time, due to massive traffic jam caused by people illegally seeking refuge under and overpass. After wrapping up chasing, I headed east on I-70 all the way to Salina, Kansas for the night.

May 19 was an extremely complicated chase day (both forecasting and logistically) which was supposed to be a great day in NE Kansas east of the surface low and triple point. The windfalls of 2018 reared its ugly head, with persistent overnight and morning convection ruining the main target area, and making a cool pool and second target farther south. I forecasted and headed east on I-70 to Manhattan, Kansas for lunch. Initially, the SPC had the area from near NE Kansas southwestward into Oklahoma in an enhanced risk (13z and 1630z), with both wind and hail at 30% (hail was hatched), and a tornado probability of 5%. By early afternoon it appeared the northern portions of this area east and southeast of Salina, were ruined by a cool pool. A tough decision was made to go south towards better air near the OK / KS border, so a hasty path south was made via SR 177 towards Highway 50. Storms began developing south of the OK / KS border, about 80 miles to the south at the time, and frustratingly early in the day. The northern area, despite being in MCD 463, remained quiet. MCD 461 was in place to the south, with large severe watch box 108 issued thereafter, valid until 10 PM CDT.

Myself, along with probably hundreds of other chasers, went south and southeast. I took Highway 50 to 77 south out of Florence, then east on Highway 400 to Severly, then south on SR 99 to near Moline, picking up Highway 160 east out of there. The storms near the KS / OK border went HP with a possible brief tornado. I just could not get to it in time, and continued east and southeast on Highway 160 as it evolved to a multicell cluster of storms. I continued east into Missouri on Highway 160 / SR 96 to Highway 71, taking that south out of Carthage to I-44. I continued on I-44 from east of Joplin and all the way into the west side of Saint Louis for the night. Driving NE along I-44 was an absolute nightmare with hydroplaning and heavy rains 2/3 of the way due to a forward propagating MCS / bow segment. This MCS, naturally, would ruin any chase prospects in Missouri / Illinois on May 20 (was a slight risk area and downgraded to a marginal on their 13z outlooks). I spent the night near Lambert Airport via I-44 to I-270, then I-70 east on the NW side of town.

May 20 was a travel day. With poor chase prospects and an atmosphere pretty much worked over frm early morning convection, I decided not to chase and headed back up to Chicago. A slight risk area was in place from Missouri, across the Saint Louis area, and into Illinois and Indiana. Sure enough, this area was removed and downgraded to a marginal (5% wind and hail probabilities) by the SPC on their 13z outlook. I left the Saint Louis area by late morning via I-170 to I-270 east, across the Mississippi River and into Illinois, catching I-55 north. I continued north on I-55 to Highway 59 southwest of Chicago near Plainfield, and continued into the Wheaton / Naperville area for the night. The mileage logged on this 5 day stint since the last trip was about 2,624 miles. An extra day chasing a storm in Iowa was on May 25, which was in addition to visiting there for non-chasing purposes for one day with a return to Chicago.

Chasing resumed again on and after May 27, with a long road trip from the Chicago area (regrettingly not just leaving from Iowa 2 days prior) via I-88 / Highway 30 west to I-80, into and across Iowa and into Omaha, Nebraska, and continuing on I-80 past North Platte and ultimately Ogallala for the night. I left Chicago very early, anticipating marginal chase conditions in SW Nebraska by evening as I would be arriving. The SPC had this area in a slight risk (later upgraded to enhanced), with a 2% tornado, 15% wind, and 30% hail probabilities. I decided to target the area in SW Nebraska in case storms do develop, and they did by late afternoon, with a small supercell and multicell severe storm cluster encountered in Kieth County. Ironically a large tornado formed near Cheyenne, well outside the higher probability areas forecasted by SPC, and nearly 200 miles away. Not a good pill to swallow. The SPC also had MCD 540 and 542, and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch box 124 and 125 valid until 8 and 9 PM MDT, respectively. I spent the night in Ogallala, Nebraska off I-80 after I finished chasing for the day.

May 28 was an awesome and well forecasted / verified chase day, one of those ones to remember despite 2018 being a "slow" year storm wise. I forecasted and left Ogallalla during the mid morning, and headed west on I-80 then I-76 to Sterling and Brush, Colorado. The target area would be pretty much north of I-70 and near and around Highway 36 and east of 71. The SPC had an enhanced risk area in place, with a 30% hatched hail, 15% wind (30% east of the target), and a 10% tornado probability. The SPC issued MCD 553 and subsequent tornado watch 127, valid until 9 PM MDT (10 PM CDT). I left Brush by going south on SR 71 to Highway 36 east near Anton and down to I-70 to await initiation, running into Reed Timmer and his group / film crew near Flagler at a fuel stop. The chase led me back north to Highway 36 northwest of Seibert in Kit Carson county, followed by an incredible interception of multiple tornadoes from a supercell / line segment, then wrapped up and headed east on I-70 to Goodland for the night. Storms evolved to an impressive line segment west of Burlington, Colorado during the drive east on I-70.

May 29 was a chase day with a long track supercell observed from northwest to north-central Oklahoma, with brief 2 tornadoes ultimately observed near Waynoka. The SPC had this day in an enhanced risk, with 5% tornado, 30% hatched hail, and 30% wind probabilities. I left Goodland via Highway 25 south, then took 160 east near Ulysses then Highway 83 south, having lunch in liberal. I entered Oklahoma on Highway 83, then Highway 64 east to near Laverne and Rosston (where 283 and 64 meet). This was the target area. The SPC issued MCD 565 and subsequent tornado watch 131 valid until 9PM CDT. Convective initiation was near there, making this a very well verified target. The chase continued east on Highway 64 towards Highway 183 and 34, as the storm underwent HP evolution. I continued east on Highway 64 to SR 14 south to Waynoka, where 2 brief tornadoes were observed, then east on Highway 281 and SR 45 to near Carmen / Helena. I ran into chaser Jeff Piotrowski as well east of Waynoka. Unfortunately a large tornado occurred near Dodge City and the town of Ensign, in an area few chasers forecasted. I wrapped up chasing and headed back west on Highway 412 and into Woodward for the night.

May 30 was a chase day with severe storms ultimately intercepted from west of Boise City, OK and NE New Mexico, and ultimately into the Texas Panhandle. I forecasted and left Woodward, Oklahoma for a rough target of near Boise City, OK and planning to start there and work east. I headed west on Highway 412 through Guymon, having lunch there, and towards Boise City by late afternoon. This was targeting a subtle surface boundary and ejecting shortwave trough. The SPC had these areas in an enhanced risk, with a slight risk extending westward. The tornado probability was 5%, with 15% wind and 30% hatched hail. The enhanced risk was mainly for 30% wind probabilities east of the general target area. By late afternoon, MCD 575 and 578 with subsequent severe thunderstorm watch areas 134 (until 10 PM CDT) and 135 (until 5 AM CDT the next day and farther east), respectively. The chase track went west on SR 325 and E0200 road into New Mexico to SR 18 / 406 and points south and southwest to near Clayton. Storm initiation was near there. The storm was a supercell storm, with a LP split and eventually followed off SR 402 east on SR 102 to Dalhart, Texas, then Highway 385 northward after jogging SE on 87. Cut eastward on ranch road back east to Startford (extreme damaging winds and haboob noted near there), then Highway 54 / SR 15 north then east through Spearman, then ENE towards Perryton and jogging north on N 151 road back to 270 / 412 east to Highway 283, then north on that into Dodge City for the night.

May 31 was a travel day with a long reposition from SW Kansas to north-central Nebraska. I left Dodge City during the mid morning via Highway 83 northward past Garden City and into Nebraska by afternoon. I passed North Platte and took a more scenic route (SR 97) to make it to Valentine, Nebraska - Which would be close to the target area the following day on June 1. Unfortunately I was pulled over a ticketed for speeding in very remote areas of the Nebraska sandhills about 40 miles southwest of Valentine. This was the first such speeding ticket since May 2013. I arrived in Valentine by late afternoon and spent the night there, anticipating a good chase day on June 1. Any storms on May 31 were east of Missouri or confined to extreme North Dakota, so chasing was not attempted.

June 1 was supposed to be a pretty good chase day, but wound up not meeting expectations. The main starting point was Valentine, Nebraska, where I spent the prior night, with points east and southeast along a low pressure trough oriented SE to NW. The storm prediction center had a moderate risk for this area on the 1630z, upgraded from an enhanced outlook. The hail and wind probabilities were both 45% - Warranting the moderate risk. Tornado probabilities were only 5% for the Nebraska target area. Farther NW, a 10% risk for tornadoes was issued in parts of North Dakota. Both these areas failed to produce any major tornadoes - But some did develop well west of these (such as in Wyoming and well removed from the tornado parameters). I left Valentine, Nebraska after lunch and worked my way east and southeast on Highway 20 to Ainsworth and Highway 183 south. The first storms were encountered there. The SPC issued MCD 609 and subsequent tornado watch 147, valid until 11 PM CDT. The chase track continued towards more storms in Taylor via 183 south, then SR 91 and 11 towards Burwell. Met up with storm chasers (Caleb Eliott, Scott Peake, and severl others) in Taylor at a gas station there. I continued east on SR 91 to Highway 281, and took that south and ahead of the storms to spend the night in Grand Island. Most likely, June 1 will be the last chase day in a while - With another quiet pattern expected.

June 2 and June 3 were pretty much travel days, with another extended period of off time expected (on June 2 there were storms in the Missouri / Arkansas area, but not worth an active chase trip for them). I left Grand Island, Nebraska during the late morning via I-80 east through Lincoln and Omaha, Nebraska and into Iowa. Continuing east, I headed through Des Moines, and spent the the night of June 2 in Iowa City. On June 3, I continued east on I-80 out of Iowa City back into Illinois on I-80, then I-88 / Highway 30 back east to Wheaton, Illinois. This area in the Chicago suburbs was basically the "down time" / "Base" city area to wait out a quiet pattern. With slow activity over the next week or so, I also decided to take care of some personal business / medical stuff flying down to Florida during the week of June 5. Chasing would resume with the continued marginal activity on June 11 after returning. Mileage from this 3rd phase of this chasing expedition was 3,816 miles.

June 11 began another trip chasing ongoing, but marginal activity in the Central USA, after returning from medical / personal business in Florida to Chicago on June 10. June 11 was a slight risk chase day, with SPC upgrading to an enhanced risk on their 1630z outlook. Tornado probability was 5%, with 30% wind, and 30% hail (hatched for significant) in an area centered from eastern Nebraska to NE Kansas. I decided to head out and chase this setup early on the 11th, leaving the usual route out of Chicago via I-88 / Highway 30 west to I-80 and into Iowa via I-80 west. Stopping west of Des Moines, the target area looked better towards east-central Nebraska from an Omaha to Norfolk line, with a Pacific cold front and warm front / outflow boundaries under a weak upper air impulse. I continued west via I-80 and I-680 to I-29 and eventually into Nebraska on Highway 30 near Blair. The SPC issued MCD 706 and subsequent tornado watch box 172, valid until 11 PM CDT. Storms initiated to the northwest of Dodge County (between Omaha and Norfolk) and built southeastward and southward. Two tornadic supercells were intercepted, one in Dodge County near Nickerson, and another later to the southeast near Cass County. A brief tornado was observed with the first storm. The chase followed SR 91 / Highways 275 and 77, and south to Highway 31, and east on 370 to Highway 75 south. I wrapped up the chase and continued on Highway 75 south into Kansas, ultimately spending the night in Topeka, Kansas.

June 12 was a highly marginal chase day but with a supercell storm ultimately intercepted just south of the KS / OK border near Laverne late in the day. I forecasted and found that the beast area for the day would be in SW Kansas with a low end slight risk in place as per the SPC, with both wind and hail probabilities at 15% and a small 2% tornado area in SW Kansas as well. I headed out of Topeka via I-70 west to Salina, then south on I-135 to Wichita, checking in early at a hotel there by early afternoon, given storms would form late to the west. Later on, I headed west on Highway 54 / 400 to Greensburg, then south on Highway 183 towards Coldwater, targeting a solitary, slow moving supercell storm near Buffalo, Oklahoma. The SPC had MCD 714, and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch 174 in effect for this area until 11 PM CDT. The storm was intercepted southwest of Buffalo and NW of Laverne near Highway 64 as an outflow boundary drifted slowly westward. After chasing finished, I back-tracked back up the same route (Highways 183 to Greensburg then 54 / 400 east) back to Wichita for the night.

June 13 began a long re-position and marginal chase as well in the NE Colorado area. The SPC had the area in NE Colorado in a slight risk, with a small 2% tornado area and 15% wind and hail probabilities. With a reposition heading through that are anyways, I headed out of Wichita early via I-135 north to I-70, taking that west out of Kansas to Burlington, Colorado, then north on Highway 385 to Holyoke. The SPC issued MCD 727 for the area, but a watch was not warranted. Storms were intercepted to the southwest of that area, but remained severe only with high bases. After the brief chase near Yuma, I continued north on Highway 385 to Julesburg, then into Nebraska and spend the night in Chadron, anticipating a chase day in the central Daktas the following (and far more anticipated) day.

June 14 was a very long range chase day, with the area of interest shifting almost unreachably far north into extreme north-central North Dakota. I woke early and looked at data, and decided a good area would be north of Minot and towards the US / Canada border, but it would take a 8 to 9 hour drive to get there. Ultimately, the SPC would have this area in a moderate risk, with an enhanced risk in a second area over northern South Dakota. To the north, tornado probability was 10% (hatched for significant), 15% wind, and a 45% hatched hail. The southern area was mainly for a wind threat of 30%. I left Chadron, Nebraska and into SW South Dakota via Highway 385 / SR 79 to Rapid City, then north out of there via I-90 east to CR 21 north out of New Underwood to "stair step" north and east via SR 34 / Highway 212 and eventually north on SR 65 and SR 6 into North Dakota and towards Bismarck. The SPC issued mesoscale discussion 732 and subsequent tornado watch 177 valid until 11 PM CDT. I continued northward via 83 towards Minot, then west on SR 52 and then SR 28 to the intercept area, which was mainly near SR 5. I chased storms east until near Towner County and Highway 2. I wrapped up the chase heading southeast along Highway 2 to near Grand Forks, and south on I-29 to Fargo, North Dakota for the night.

The end of this 4th chase "stint" was on June 15, which was both a travel day and a surprise chase in western Wisconsin later in the day. I left Fargo early and headed east on I-94 into Minnesota. I stopped by St Cloud for a late lunch with Doug Kiesling to discuss some business and give him some stock footage. Afterwards, I headed east on I-94 to I-694 north of Minneapolis (traffic was bad there), then into Wisconsin near Hudson. The SPC had this area (NW Wisconsin) in a slight risk outlook as of 1630z, with both wind and hail probabilities at 15%, and a non-zero tornado probability at 2%. Continuing east on I-94, I noticed a tornado warned storm north of Eau Claire near Wheeler. This was a supercell storm with some impressive structure but no tornado was observed. MCD 745 was also issued for this area by the SPC, but no subsequent watch was needed. I continued north then east towards Wheeler on this diversion via SR 64, then east to Highway 53 south to SR 73 east towards Wausau. With the plan to continue eventually towards Chicago, I headed south on I-39 to Highway 10 east, and spend the night in Appleton, Wisconsin (north of Oshkosh) for the night. The following day I headed south on I-41 to I-94 around heavy construction traffic near Milwaukee, then into Illinois via I-94 and eventually I-294 / I-88 back south and west to Naperville and Wheaton. This fourth "phase" of this chase expedition was 3,813 miles.

One and most likely the fifth and final chase trip for this spring season began on June 22 and lasted until June 25. This first day I left Chicago via Highway 30 and I-88 west. I continued into Iowa, through Des Moines via I-80 to I-35 south, reaching Kansas City by the late afternoon. I took I-635 around KC to I-35 south until Emporia, then Highway 50 west to I-135 south, spending the night in Wichita, burning off over 725 miles in that first day of travel. Arriving into Wichita, a line of severe thunderstorms was to the west and northwest, but no chasing was done as this was a travel day. There was an enhanced risk area to the west and severe thunderstorm watch 201 was also in effect until 1 AM CDT the following day. A haboob like feature was also noted north of Wichita from the outflow of the severe storms to the northwest of there.

June 23 was a chase day with the target area in southwestern Oklahoma. A large slight risk area was issued by SPC, with a 2% tornado, 15% hatched hail, and 15% wind probability with the higher probabilities towards SW Oklahoma and NW Texas. I forecasted and left Wichita via I-235 / I-35 south and taking Highway 81 to "stair step" south and west through Oklahoma to near El Reno then Highway 152 west out of Mustang. From there I waited for convection as I was near the outflow boundary that was oriented NW to SE. A strong cap was also in place. I waited pretty much near Highway 183 and Cordell, then headed west on 152 to SR 6 south. The SPC also had MCD 838 and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch 207 in place for this area. Convection struggled near Willow to the south and west, but a more robust storm was able to sustain itself to the east of Altus. I continued south on 6 to SR 62 east towards Snyder, then south on Highway 183 to Frederick, and a bit east on SR 5 to observe the only storm of that day in these target areas. I wrapped up after disk and headed back to 183 north, and took that to Clinton to spend the night there.

June 24 was to be the main reason for this final chase trip, HOWEVER, a messy and expansive MCS that persisted overnight and into SW Kansas and NW Oklahoma effectively - and frustratingly - ruined this chase day. On most of the earlier outlooks (day 1), the SPC had much of south-central and SW Kansas / NW Oklahoma was in a moderate risk. As the day went on, this was removed, and ultimately wound up being a slight risk with just a 2% tornado probability. I forecasted and left Clinton early via Highway 183 north, targeting the NW Oklahoma area and with hopes the MCS would weaken and provide an outflow boundary to help the setup later. By the time I passed Taloga, I was blasted with strong outflow and heavy rains. I headed west on 60, planning to change gears and target the area in the Texas Panhandle (near Pampa and points westward). I wound up heading into Amarillo and waited there. Seeing the outflow had kept going and was in New Mexico, and a strong capping inversion developed behind the former MCS, it became apparent I was NOT going to see anything in that area (or at all). I headed north out of Amarillo, and northwest on Highway 87 then 287 to Boise City. The only viable chase area would be distant in SE Colorado or NE New Mexico, and the SPC had MCD 860 and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch 212 for those areas. I decided it wasn't worth it, and only a weak HP storm did form in the extreme southern portions of that area. Defeated and angry, I hastily left Boise City, OK via Highway 56 north and east to Hugoton, then east to Highway 54 (via SR 51 / Highways 160 and 83). I took Highway 54 to stay alead of another late evening MCS - All the way to Wichita, Kansas, and spent the night there. A strong to severe thunderstorm also passed over my location in Wichita during the night (but was not chased).

June 25 was a long drive and fortunately with chase prospects along the way. I found out that a target area would be good near the Iowa / Missouri border mainly in SW Iowa. This area was along a warm front, and ahead of a cold frontal occlusion east of a low pressure area and upper level low (almost resembling a cold core setup). The SPC had the area in a slight risk, with a 5% tornado probability, and wind / hail probabilities both at 15% for much of their outlooks. I left Wichita early via I-35 (Kansas Turnpike) through Emporia and west of Kansas City via I-435 to I-29 to Platte City for lunch. I bumped east on SR 92 to Highway 169 north. I worked my way north - East or along 169, then east on Highway 136 then near Highway 69 north to Eagleville off I-35. I chased a storm near there, and into Iowa east of I-35 and Highway 69 to near Leon. Two supercells of the day developed in this area (one I was on and another 25 miles west). After chasing, I wrapped up and took I-35 north to I-80 east through Des Moines, and eventually across the Mississippi River and Illinois to take I-88 east. From Rock Springs, I took Highway 30 back to Aurora, and made it back to Wheaton, Illinois after midnight. Basically 4 days, 2715 miles, a ton of receipts - AND NO tornadoes. A day later (June 26), with me traveling to Florida, there were tornadoes in northern Illinois a stone's throw from where I was staying there. Go figure.

The period from June 26 through July 8 was spent either in Florida (June 26-28 to take care of pressing medical issues) or the Chicago suburbs up until July 7, passing the 4th of July holiday there as well as attending a skydiving event. More large tornadoes occurred near the Montana / South Dakota border on June 28 - And there was no way I could have chased those days (and wouldn't because of the horrible track record - Plagued by capping and morning MCS activity ruining setups for almost a month - Had me discouraged). On July 7, I began the long drive back to south Florida from the Chicago area via I-65 south to I-24 / I-75 through Atlanta and into Florida via I-75 and the Florida Turnpike / I-95, and eventually back to my residence in Deerfield Beach (arriving there late on July 8). This season was far below normal - and I am lucky to have caught ANY tornadoes! The total mileage on the vehicle from April 28 through July 8 was 19,644 miles.


CHASE EXPEDITION 2018 MAIN PARTICIPANTS

CHASER NAMEHOME / BASE CITYCALLSIGNCHASE DATESOCCUPATION
CHRIS COLLURADEERFIELD BEACH, FLKG4PJN4-28 TO 7-8IT CONSULTANT


DETAILED CHASE LOG FOR CHASE EXPEDITION 2018

1). April 30, 6:15 PM - Interception and penetration of a severe thunderstorm from near Memphis and Wellington, in Collingsworth County, Texas and along Highway 287 and SR 256 and northward on Highway 83 to near Shamrock. The storm was a multicell storm that evolved to a supercell, which ultimately split. The right split weakened with the left split becoming a sculpted LP (low precipitation) supercell that raced northeastward to near Shamrock, Texas, where it weakened via down-scaling Conditions encountered were heavy rains, 50 MPH winds, 1" hail, and frequent lightning. The storms were caused by a dryline, surface heating, low pressure trough, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and audio. A severe thunderstorm watch was also valid for the area until 11 PM CDT.

2). May 1, 5:00 PM - Interception and observation of a very severe and later tornadic thunderstorm north of Russell, Kansas in Russell County, from along Highway 281 and to south of SR 18 near Waldo. The storm was a classic to HP supercell storm. A rotating wall cloud was observed with this storm, but it was abandoned for a better second supercell to the south. Eventually this storm will move NE and produce a large tornado near Concordia. The core was not penetrated, but contained hail at least golfball sized and 60 MPH winds. Heavy rain, small hail, and frequent lightning was encountered. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, dryline / stationary front interactions, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was HD video and digital stills. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 10 PM CDT.

3). May 1, 7:30 PM - Interception, observation, and direct penetration of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm from near NW 150 Road and Highway 281 in Hoisington, Kansas in Barton County and northeastward to Ellsworth near I-70 and Highway 14, and eventually into Ottawa County east of Tescott and south of Minneapolis near SR 18 and Highway 81. This storm was a powerful cyclic supercell, mostly classic mode. The storm was first encountered around 6:15 PM near Hoisington and east of Otis, Kansas, and 60 MPH winds, frequent lightning, moderate rain, and extremely large hail between baseball and grapefruit sized (at least 3") were observed. The large hail damaged the HAM antenna on the chase vehicle, bending it almost in a loop and breaking the base (the hail guards protected the windows as intended). The storm also had a rotating wall cloud and a funnel was observed near Hoisington. The storm cycled down and was tracked to the north of Ellsworth, where a small tornado (rated EF-0) was observed near SR 14 and just south of I-70 at about 7:00 PM. Continuing east on I-70 and north to SR 18 to the east of Tescott, and very large and dangerous tornado was observed over open country between 7:30 and 8 PM CDT. This tornado was rated EF-3, with a maximum width of 1/2 a mile. The entire life cycle of this wedge tornado was documented at close range, until occlusion and demise to the SW of Minneapolis, KS and NW of Bennington. Within this tornadic environment, some light debris was noted falling from the sky, with hail bouncing by exceeding 2" and 70+ MPH winds (inflow jet and RFD) with eventual heavy rain wrap. The storm also had frequent lightning and a striking visual appearance, with an appearance of an "upside down wedding cake" or "stack of plates", inflow beavers tail, and with full RFD cut with the wedge tornado beneath it. Fortunately this tornado remained over rural country. Power poles along SR 18 were snapped, and ground scouring was also noted. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, dryline / stationary front interactions, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was HD video and digital stills. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 10 PM CDT.

4). May 2, 7:00 PM - Interception and penetration of a very severe and possibly tornadic thunderstorm from east of Cordell, Oklahoma and Highway 183, and eastward along Highway 152 through Binger in Caddo County and southeastward to NW of Chickasha and south of Minco along Highway 81. The storm was an HP supercell storm, and produced only some brief tornadoes (and / or gustnadoes). The storm was penetrated, and small hail (penny sized), 60 to 70 MPH winds, frequent lightning, and heavy rains were observed. The storm eventually split and evolved to a damaging bow segment with wind over 70 MPH during the late evening after passing Chickasha and eventually south of the Oklahoma City area well after dark. Flooding and tress down was observed with this storm. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, dryline, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was HD video and digital stills. A tornado watch was also valid for the area until 10 PM CDT.

5). May 3, 5:30 PM - Interception and observation of a severe thunderstorm from near Tarkio, Missouri in Atchinson County near Highways 59 and 136 and eastward to near Bedford in Taylor County, Iowa near SR 148. The storm was a small supercell storm, starting out in classic mode with a wall cloud and weak rotation, evolving to HP, then a bow segment. The core of this storm was not directly penetrated and 50 MPH winds, frequent lightning, small hail, and heavy rains were encountered. An area of rotation was noted, with an RFD slot and wall cloud, but did not last long. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, wave apex of cold and warm front, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was also valid for the area until 8 PM CDT.

6). May 3, 7:00 PM - Interception and penetration of a severe and tornadic thunderstorm from near New Virginia east of I-35 in Warren County, Iowa and northeastward to Marion County near Swan and Pleasantville and SR 5. The storm began as a classic supercell, with striking visual appearance, RFD cut, rotating wall cloud, and funnels in Warren County. Later the storm changed from classic to HP mode, and eventually to a bow / line segment as the squall line from the west caught up with it. A possible brief low contrast tornado was observed with this storm northwest of Pleasantville and SR 5 (later confirmed) with a wall cloud. The bow segment of this storm had an impressive looking multi-tiered shelf cloud. During penetration, 60 MPH winds, hail to 1", frequent lightning, and very heavy rains were observed. The storm continued eastward and evolved to a line segment. Some flooding and tree damage was observed as well. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, warm front, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was audio and digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was also valid for the area until 8 PM CDT.

7). May 9, 4:30 PM - Interception and penetration of strong to possibly severe thunderstorms in Livingston and La Salle Counties, Illinois and near SR 23 and 179 from SW of Streator and west of Dana. The storm was a multicell cluster of strong to marginally severe thunderstorms. Frequent lightning, heavy rains, small hail (less than pea sized), and winds gusting near 60 MPH were observed. The storm also kicked up dust with passage of the gust front. The storm continued east and northeast, eventually forming a line, and causing minor wind damage in the Chicago area (I did not, and it's basically impossible to, follow the storm into the metro areas during rush hour). The storm was caused by surface heading, a weak cold front, low pressure trough, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills.

8). May 17, 5:30 PM - Observation of strong thunderstorms to the west and northwest of Fort Morgan, Colorado near I-76 and SR 144 near Morgan County. The storms were high based multicell storms. Light rain, frequent lightning, and winds near 50 MPH kicking up dust was observed. The main cores were not penetrated directly. Some gustnadoes were also observed. The storms were caused by surface heating, upslope wind flow, convergence (associated with the DCVZ / Denver cyclone and lee trough), and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was valid just north of this area until 11 PM MDT.

9). May 18, 7:30 PM - Observation of a very severe thunderstorm to the northwest of Scott City over Logan County, Kansas near Russell Springs and west of Highway 83. The storm was an LP supercell storm that evolved to a classic supercell and finally a line segment as other storm cells to the south cutoff the inflow to it. The core was not penetrated (had 2 hail). The storm had a striking visual appearance with striations and inflow tails. From my vantage point, 40 MPH winds, light rain, and frequent lightning was observed. The storm remained over open country during much of its life. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, dryline, stationary front (triple point), and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was HD video and digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was valid just north of this area until 11 PM CDT.

10). May 18, 9:00 PM - Interception and penetration of a very severe thunderstorm near Gove and Sheridan Counties, Kansas along I-70 east of Oakley and west of Grainfield. The storm was a powerful supercell that evolved from classic to HP mode. The storm was very difficult to reach on time due to a massive traffic jam on I-70 thanks to dozens of foolish drivers seeking shelter under the Gove 24 overpass and blocking all lanes illegally. Large hail to 2 was observed in this area, with 60 MPH winds, extremely heavy rains, and frequent lightning with some close hits. A rotating area was encountered near Grainfield with a low base and wall cloud / small funnels in twilight. Gusty shifting winds were encountered in this region. The storm had a striking visual appearance as an HP storm when viewed from the east near Quinter. Baseball sized hail was also reported (2.75) with this storm. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, retreating dryline, stationary front / outflow boundary, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was HD video, audio, and digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was valid just north of this area until 11 PM CDT.

11). May 19, 4:30 PM - Interception and indirect penetration of severe thunderstorms from near Independence, Kansas through Oswego in Montgomery and Labette Counties along Highway 160 and farther east into Missouri. The storm began as a supercell storm near Washington County, Oklahoma, with a possible tornado (not observed), before moving northeastward into Kansas. The storm was not observed at that point, and this was a long range intercept. The storm evolved to a multicell cluster and when it was reached, had 60 MPH winds, small hail, frequent lightning with close hits, and very heavy rains. The storms evolved to a loosely organized MCS that moved across much of Missouri and making the drive along I-44 (from near Springfield, Missouri to Sullivan) very unpleasant. The storms were caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, prefrontal convergence, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was valid just north of this area until 10 PM CDT.

12). May 25, 4:30 PM - Interception and indirect penetration of strong to severe thunderstorms near Tama, Iowa in Tama County and near Highways 30 and 63. The storm was a weakening multicell cluster of strong and severe thunderstorms. The weakening core was penetrated before having a flat tire and having to change it at a gas station south of Tama off 63. Small hail, 50 MPH winds, frequent lightning, and heavy rains were observed. The storms were caused by surface heating, a low pressure trough, and a weak upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was valid just north of this area until 10 PM CDT.

13). May 27, 6:00 PM - Interception and indirect penetration of severe thunderstorms near and south of Roscoe and Ogallala, Nebraska in Kieth County and near Highway 30 / SR 61 and south of I-80. The storm was a cluster of severe thunderstorms, with a supercell storm for a short while. Hail to 3/4", 60 MPH winds, frequent lightning, and heavy rains were observed. The storms were caused by surface heating, a low pressure trough, and a weak upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was valid just north of this area until 9 PM CDT.

14). May 28, 6:00 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of extremely severe thunderstorms in Kit Carson County, Colorado between I-70 and Highway 36 and north of Seibert. The storms were a complex interaction of a supercell storm and flanking line extending along a surface boundary, with at least a dozen tornadoes produced during a period of less than 2 hours! The entire life cycle of these storms were documented, from initiation to weakening / evolution to a squall line. These tornadoes were landspout type tornadoes, however, some were quite large with stove pipe dimensions, similar to that seen in Wray, CO in May 2016. The tornadoes at one point were multiple, with two (or even three) on the ground at the same time. Two large stove-pipe landspouts (highly visible and photogenic) were observed north of Seibert, with one rotating counter clockwise and the other anti-cyclonic and rotating clockwise, with intermittent quarter to golfball sized hail falling in a near rain free environment. Besides the tornadoes, hail up to golfball sized was observed, along with frequent lightning, heavy rains, and 60 MPH winds. The supercell storm also had a striking visual appearance and complex structure. The only damage observed was downed powerlines along a farm road from one of the tornadoes. Farther east, the storms were sampled again as a squall line west of Burlington, Colorado. Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, upslope wind flow, a low pressure area, upper trough, and complex surface boundary interactions. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was also valid until 9 PM MDT (10 PM CDT) for the area.

15). May 29, 5:30 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of an extremely severe and tornadic thunderstorm from Highway 64 and Highways 183 / 34 in Selman, Oklahoma in Harper County and eastwards to near Waynoka and Highway 281 in Woods County, Oklahoma. The storm was a long track supercell storm, and most of its life cycle was documented from point of initiation and eventually down-scaling eastward. It started out as classic then evolved to an HP supercell. The mail core (with tennis to baseball sized hail) was not penetrated during its intense phases. As the storm weakened, 1" to 1.5" hail was noted with frequent lightning, 60 MPH winds, and very heavy rains. Two brief tornadoes were observed with this storm near Waynoka, Oklahoma. One was a thin brief rope, with a brief cone tornado to its southwest as the storm cycled. During the earlier stages of the storm, a striking visual appearance was presented, with rapidly rotating wall cloud and funnels, and intense stream-wise vorticity issuing into the NE side of the storm updraft. Damage from this storm was minimal in Waknoka from the small tornadoes there. Conditions causing this storm were a triple point (dryline and outflow boundary interaction), a low pressure area, surface heating, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was HD video, audio, and digital stills. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 9 PM CDT.

16). May 29, 9:30 PM - Penetration of a severe thunderstorm along Highway 412 in Woodward County, OK and near Mooreland. The storm was a weakening severe storm on the backside of a cluster of strong and severe thunderstorms. Conditions encountered while passing through the storm were very heavy rain, frequent lightning, 1" hail, and 60 MPH wind gusts. Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, a low pressure trough, low level convergence / retreating dryline, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms.

17). May 30, 7:30 PM - Interception and penetration of extremely severe thunderstorms from near Clayton and Sedan in northeastern New Mexico by SR 102 and 402 in Union County and ultimately through Spearman, Texas in Hansford County near SR 15. The storm was a combination of a line segment with an LP storm on its southern side, which split and down scaled. The left split evolved to a powerful HP supercell storm and moved east into the Texas Panhandle, then evolved to a destructive wind event / bow segment. This supercell storm had hail at least tennis ball sized, and was noted along side of Highway 54 northeast of Startford with a semi truck overturned. As the storm moved east and evolved to an HP storm / line segment, winds eventually gusted near 80 MPH with power out and poles down across SR 15. The storm also contained extremely frequent lightning and torrential rains. The storm also caused wind and hail damage. The storms were caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, dryline / boundary interactions, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. Two severe thunderstorm watches were valid for these areas, one until 10 PM CDT and the other farther east until 5 AM CDT the following day.

18). June 1, 5:30 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of severe thunderstorms from near Wood Lake to Ainsworth in Brown County, Nebraska and near Highway 20 and 183. The storm was a supercell storm that evolved to HP, then a line segment / cluster of severe thunderstorms. A large wall cloud was noted on the HP storm before it became rain hidden. The core (with hail up to 2.5") was not directly penetrated, but hail up to 1.5" was noted with frequent lightning, heavy rains, and 50 MPH winds. The storms were caused by surface heating, a low pressure area / trough, Pacific cold front / boundary interactions, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 11 PM CDT.

19). June 1, 8:00 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of severe thunderstorms from near Taylor and points eastward towards Burwell in Loup and Wheeler Counties, Nebraska and east of 183 and near SR 91 / 11. The storm was an LP supercell storm that down-scaled then cycled back up to an HP storm, and ultimately a line segment. The storm spawned a couple of funnels, plus a possible brief tornado viewed from the east later on near Highway 281 (probably looking towards Ord, Nebraska). During the indirect brush with the storm core, 1" hail, frequent lightning, 50 MPH winds, and moderate rains were encountered. The storms were caused by surface heating, a low pressure trough, Pacific cold front, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 11 PM CDT.

20). June 11, 5:00 PM - Interception, observation, and indirect penetration of a very severe and possibly tornadic thunderstorm near Highways 77 and 275 in Dodge County, Kansas near Nickerson and from Snyder to Fremont. The storm was a supercell storm that was observed from initiation and evolved from classic to HP before being undercut by a surging cold front. The storm developed along a SE to NW oriented boundary / confluence axis. A possible brief tornado was observed before rain wrap and an rapidly rotating wall cloud to the northwest of Fremont, Nebraska. This storm had a striking "stacked plates" visual appearance. The storm also contained very large hail, 60 MPH winds, heavy rains, and frequent lightning with some close hits. Hail from 1" to 1.5" was noted north of Fremont during the tornadic phase of the storm before it was undercut. The storms were caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, Pacific cold front / boundary interactions, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills, audio, and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 11 PM CDT.

21). June 11, 7:00 PM - Interception and indirect penetration of a very severe and tornadic thunderstorm in Cass County, Nebraska along Highway 75 near Murray. I arrived late on this storm during its HP phase, and observed a large wall cloud north of Murray before it became undercut by the surging cold front and evolved to an intense line segment. The storm produced a brief tornado earlier, which quite possibly was noted while 20 miles away from the storm looking towards the SSE from southwest of Omaha. The storm was penetrated from the northeast side, and small hail, 60 to 70 MPH wind gusts, heavy rains, and frequent lightning was noted. The storm evolved to a line segment / cluster and had a striking visual appearance, even after it became undercut with strong outflow. The storms were caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, Pacific cold front / boundary interactions, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills, audio, and HD video. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 11 PM CDT.

22). June 12, 7:30 PM - Interception, observation, and penetration of a severe thunderstorms near Laverne and Buffalo, Oklahoma west of Highway 183 and along Highway 64 in Harper County. The storm was an HP supercell storm. Some rotation was noted on the south / inflow side of the storm, with some small funnels observed. The storm also contained large hail (with pieces 1.25" observed), very heavy rains, frequent lightning, and 60 to 70 MPH winds. Some tree damage and power poles were blown down, blocking a portion of Highway 64. The storms were caused by surface heating, a low pressure trough, outflow boundary / stationary front interactions, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was also in effect for the area until 11 PM CDT.

23). June 13, 7:30 PM - Interception and penetration of a severe thunderstorm near Yuma, Colorado in Yuma County near SR 59 and Highway 34. The storm was a transient supercell storm / multicell cluster with a high base. Large hail to 1" or 1.25" was noted east of Yuma on Highway 34. The storm also had 60 MPH winds, heavy rains, and occasional lightning. The storms were caused by surface heating, upslope wind flow, a low pressure trough, stationary front, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills.

24). June 14, 7:30 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of a very severe and possibly tornadic thunderstorm from near Tolley in Renville County, North Dakota and eastward along SR 5 and 17 to near Cando in Towner County. The storm was a long track supercell storm that developed on the southern tip of a severe thunderstorm complex moving across southern Canada and near the US / Canadian border. The storm was HP / classic at times, and a powerful area of rotation and possible brief tornado was observed with this storm northwest of Willow City. The storm also contained very large hail, but the core was not directly penetrated. Hail up to 2" was observed, along with heavy rains, frequent lightning with close hits, and 60+ MPH winds. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, approaching Pacific cold front (prefrontal), and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was HD video, audio, and digital stills. A tornado watch was also in effect for the area until 11 PM CDT.

25). June 15, 4:30 PM - Interception and observation of a strong to severe thunderstorm near Wheeler, Wisconsin and over Dunn / Chippewa Counties to the north of I-94 and west of Highway 53 near SR 64. The storm was a classic to even LP supercell storm, with a moderately high base but striking visual appearance (stacked plates or "mothership" effect). The storm was tornado warned but did not produce and confirmed tornadoes. The base was rather high but an RFD clear slot was noted and small wall cloud briefly formed. The storm core was not directly penetrated, and winds near 40 MPH, lightning, moderate to heavy rain, and small hail was encountered. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure trough, warm front, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills.

26). June 23, 8:30 PM - Interception and observation of a severe thunderstorm near and southeast of Snyder and Frederick, Oklahoma east of Highway 183 and north of SR 5, mainly in Kiowa County. The storm was a supercell storm (LP to classic) with a powerful updraft region viewed from the rear flank. The core of the storm was not penetrated, but contained 60 MPH winds, golfball sized hail, lightning, and moderate rains. Frequent lightning was also observed with this storm, which was part of a small severe thunderstorm cluster. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure trough, outflow boundary, and an upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills. A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

27). June 25, 6:00 PM - Observation and penetration of a strong to severe and possibly tornadic thunderstorm near Davis City and Leon, Iowa in Decatur County near Highway 69 and SR 2. The storm was a small classic supercell storm, low topped, and at one point had a rapidly rotating wall cloud and funnels. I was not able to confirm any ground circulation. The storm also contained heavy rains, small hail, and winds gusting 50 to 60 MPH. The storm formed earlier near Bethany in Harrison County, Missouri before intensifying and moving to the NNE. The storm was caused by surface heating, a low pressure area, warm front, and an upper level low. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was in effect for the area until 9 PM CDT.

This concludes the chase log for the central US Plains for the main chase "expedition" of 2018 starting April 28 and ending on June 25. The summary includes a total of 27 observations, out of which there were 26 severe thunderstorms and 1 strong thunderstorm. Out of these thunderstorms, at least 20 tornadoes were observed, with many of them during the landspout outbreak on Memorial Day (May 28). The main chase vehicle conducting this chase was a 2016 Jeep Wrangler. All entries for the logs above are for the local time zone unless otherwise noted. This information was prepared exclusively for the National Weather service and the team of Skywarn storm spotters.


GALLERY FOR APRIL 28, 2018

Myself beginning the long drive out of Florida, and to the first stop for the night at chase partner / meteorologist Derek Sibley's place in Mobile, Alabama during the day of April 28, 2018.


GALLERY FOR APRIL 29, 2018

Entering Texas late in the day of April 29, 2018.
Another shot of myself driving, with the front and side hail grills conveniently stowed via packing straps in the Jeep's ceiling.
Rather benign looking sunset looking west from south-central Oklahoma late in the day on April 29. The first signs of the long awaited Pacific trough are denoted by distant high clouds appearing above the western sky as the sun sets.


GALLERY FOR APRIL 30, 2018

April 30 was a chase day for marginal chase prospects in the western Oklahoma and more so in the eastern Texas Panhandle. In the images above, the SPC 1630z outlook shows a very large slight risk area extending from SE North Dakota through my target area, and almost to the Mexican border in southern Texas! In this slight risk area, a 2% tornado and 15% wind probability were given, with 15% hail (in which there were 3 hatched areas for significant with one over my target area). In the middle and right images show mesoscale discussion MCD 296 and subsequent severe thunderstorm watch box 57 valid until 11 PM CDT, respectively.

Visiting the Tim / Paul Samaras and Carl Young memorial near El Reno Oklahoma and by Radio / Reuter Roads during the morning of April 30, 2018.
View of sky looking west on I-40 near the western OK / Texas border. Bizarre looking low clouds marks the low level moisture return (low level jet). The higher ACCAS (altocumulus castellanous) and other clouds denote the lead impulse / top of the EML (elevated mixed layer) and is typical of an early part of a chase day in the central USA.
First small LP (low precipitation) supercell storm fires along the dryline over Collingsworth County, Texas by late afternoon.
Another LP supercell storm trying to form near Memphis / Wellingon, Texas late on April 30.
Another multicell cluster / supercell storm develops near Wellington, Texas. This storm split with the left mover becoming the more persistent storm as a fast moving LP. In this picture we see the left split (right) coming off the main storm.
A wider view (to the NW) of the same storm above, with the right split raining out as a multicell line segment, and the left split (lower right portion of the photo) moving NNE.
Fast moving left split LP storm nearing Shamrock, Texas, viewed from about 20 miles away as other chasers race north on Highway 83.
The LP supercell storm undergoes downscale progression and basically shrinks to nothing north of Shamrock, Texas. Note the small high base funnel on the highly sheared supercell tower just above the roadway.
The "day before the day" chase day ends with this beautiful sunset as viewed from near Elk City, Oklahoma.


GALLERY FOR MAY 1, 2018

May 1 was a very productive chase day with expectations similar to what was expected on May 2. The target area was basically in north-central Kansas, with areas from Russell to Salina as a start. To the left is the SPC tornado probabilities for their 1630z convective outlook, which was a moderate risk overall, and shows a large 10% area (hatched for significant) for my general target area. Hail probabilities were also 45% significant (hatched) with a 30% wind threat offset slightly to the northeast of the area. In the middle image, mesoscale discussion MCD 304 is shown (my target area being just above the center of it and leftward). Subsequent tornado watch box 59 covering a very large area and valid until 10 PM CDT is shown to the right.

Preparing my vehicle, a 2016 Jeep Wrangler, for what is to be a major chase day near the target area on May 1, 2018 in Great Bend, Kansas.
Convective initiation just west of Hays and Russell, Kansas. This is the start of what will be the first major tornadic supercell in the northern portions of the target area.
The storm north of Russell, Kansas develops a wall cloud.
Large wall cloud on the storm north of Russell, Kansas.
Rotating wall cloud crossing highway 281 north of Russell, Kansas. At this point, I decided to leave this storm as it was not looking very good after this "cycle". Attention turned to another supercell to the south near Otis, Kansas to the south. This original storm did later produce a large tornado near Concordia, Kansas.
Rotating wall cloud and funnel (lower right side of photo). This is NW of Hoisington, Kansas along Highway 281 looking south and southeast. Extremely large hail, wrapping from left to right around the northern side of the wall cloud can also be seen in this picture. This will be a long-track cyclic supercell that later will produce multiple tornadoes.
This is a broken hailstone picked up from the ground near a grain silo off NW 150 Road north of Hoisington, Kansas. The stone here is nearly 3 inches in diameter, and since it's fractured, the growth rings are prominent in this specimen. Each ring denotes a "roller coaster" ride up and down the supercell core, with vertical displacements exceeding 20,000 feet (until the updraft cannot keep it aloft anymore). Some stones exceeded 3 inches, approaching grapefruit sized. One stone hit the vehicle HAM radio antenna, mangling it and breaking the magnet mount base. Other stones hit with ear-ringing impacts. Fortunately, the hail guards obviously did their job and no windows were lost.
View of same cyclic supercell storm later on to the west of Ellsworth, Kansas. The storm weakened / cycled down, but still presented this beautiful view from 20 miles or so out. The storm will re-intensify as the low level jet increases in the evening.
A weak tornado (rated EF-0) was spawned by the supercell storm as it began re-intensifying near the intersection of I-70 and SR 14 north of Ellsworth. This tornado was brief with a barely noticeable dust cloud beneath it, and did not last long.
As the supercell moves north of I-70 and intensifies as the low level jet ramps up in the evening, a large "beaver's tail" can be seen extending eastward away from the storm updraft and along the FFD (forward flank downdraft) area. This is looking ENE along I-70 near Beverly, Kansas. The inflow band ("beaver's tail") is associated with the supercell interacting with a wind shear axis (stationary / warm front or outflow boundary) east of it. This "rotor" like area feeding into the storm is also known as the SCV (stream-wise vorticity current).
While stopped on the north side of Highway 18 and east of Tescott, Kansas and NW of Culver, tagging rain curtains give way to rotating dust and a lowered base to the south. This is the start of rapid tornado genesis.
View of developing condensation funnel / internal vortex. Note the circulation, denoted by lots of dust, is far wider than the visible "funnel" extending down from the cloud base!
Wide view of developing tornado east and southeast of Tescott, Kansas. Note the RFD and circulation has worked its way completely around the tornadic circulation.
Cone tornado and expansive dust / debris cloud.
Closer view of the cone tornado and debris area. Note the cows in the foreground!
Tornado intensifying and widening to wedge phase (where it at least as wide as it is tall).
Myself taking a selfie and giving a thumbs up for a Facebook post as the tornado rages a mile or two to my south.
View of tornado in its wedge phase, and approaching my location before backing away a bit west on Highway 18.
Tornado now less than a mile away, and approaching Highway 18. Loud roar was audible the entire time these pictures were taken.
Wedge tornado now just about to cross Highway 18. Lour roar audible. Most of the power poles were taken down and some ground scouring. This tornado was rated EF-3 (with winds probably over 160 MPH), but fortunately did not hit any homes or structures.
Tornado became highly rain wrapped and barely visible once north of Highway 18 and accelerating to the north SW of Minneapolis, KS as the storm occludes. Note the white color with brown dust suspended in the air. This is reminiscent of the end stages of the Stanton, NE tornado in June 2014.
This is a view looking east from Highway 81 near Bennington. The storm is weakening but still has a rain-free base as it evolves to a bow segment.
One "dent" in the front hail guard meshing after the May 1 storms. Had this not been on the vehicle, the windshield most likely would have been destroyed.


GALLERY FOR MAY 2, 2018

May 2 was another chase day, but with expectations exceeding the day prior that didn't materialize as expected. The chase target area would be anywhere from near Coldwater / Greensburg, Kansas or down as far as SW Oklahoma depending on convective trends, with the latter being the refined target area. Storms wound up forming too early in the day, ruining the Kansas target areas while remaining more discrete in SW Oklahoma. To the left is the SPC tornado probabilities, also 10% and hatched for significant, within a large moderate risk area. Hail and wind were also 45% and hatched as well, but with the wind more in NE Kansas due to expectations of a squall line there. In the middle image, MCD 313 is shown. To the right, the subsequent tornado watch boxes 61 and 62, valid in Kansas and Oklahoma, respectively, until 10 PM CDT (the box 62 in Oklahoma is in my refined target area).

Heading down famous Highway 183 through Coldwater, Kansas and to the target area in western to SW Oklahoma on May 2, 2018. Storms to the north in Kansas remained rather messy (disorganized) with more cellular storms farther to the south.
View of one of two supercells forming over SW Oklahoma near I-40 to the south as I was southwest of Woodward, Oklahoma and headed south on Highway 283. The plan was to dive south and come in from behind these storms after a data loss and navigation problems.
Rotating wall cloud and funnel above the hilly areas of the Canadian River valley along Highway 152 near Binger, Oklahoma.
Another view of the HP storm and wall cloud as it was splitting near Binger, Oklahoma.
Southern split of the Binger, Oklahoma HP storm nearing Minco. The view is WSW but the storm is ingesting cooler air at the time. The wall cloud (lower left side of photo) is about to be undercut by the storm outflow to the right of it.
The HP storms undergo upscale progression and form a bowing line segment, which races east through Chickasha, Oklahoma and eventually through the south side of the Oklahoma City area. The view is to the north.
Heavy rain and strong winds strike the south side of Oklahoma City near Moore and Norman as the severe storms form a potent squall line.


GALLERY FOR MAY 3, 2018

May 3 looked great "on paper" and on previous outlooks a day prior, but was severely disrupted by extensive morning convection and a potent squall line that swept through Oklahoma and Texas. The original target was to be in Oklahoma, with an enhanced risk, but wound up being far north to get near the surface low and "better" air in the SW Iowa area after looking at data. During the day, the 1630z SPC outlook showed three slight risk areas, one in the NE USA, one down in southern Texas, and another in my target area near the Missouri River and into SW Iowa. Tornado probability in my target area was 5%, with wind and hail probabilities both at 15%. In the middle image, MCD 337 is shown for the target area for the day, and the position of the surface low near the Missouri River would be in the NW portion of this region. To the right is severe thunderstorm watch box 72, valid for the SW portions of the target area until 8 PM CDT.

Storms initiating and agitated cumulus late in the day on May 3, 2018 near Craig, Missouri. This was just east of a surface low, where the warm front was the area of interest and target area.
A small supercell forms along the apex of the warm / cold fonts and surface low near Tarkio, Missouri. This gently rotating storm produced this nice little wall cloud before evolving to a bow segment.
View of gust front and shelf cloud of an approaching line segment / bow near Bedford, Iowa.
Another supercell storm develops near the warm front and ahead of the developing line segment to its west near New Virginia, Iowa looking north from I-35 and Highway 34.
A funnel cloud develops under the storm updraft near New Virginia in this view looking to the NE. Ironically, this storm will produce a small tornado and be one of the only ones to be reported that day.
View of storm as it was tornado reported near Pleasantville, Iowa and south of Swan near SR 5. The wall cloud is associated with part of an HP storm along a line segment. The tornado, highly wrapped in rain, is barely visible just right of the center of the picture above the leftmost stand of trees.
Beautiful multi-tiered shelf cloud pushing past Swan, Iowa and starting its long race eastward across most of the state over the next few hours.


GALLERY FOR MAY 4-7, 2018

The period from May 4 through May 7 was off-time and was spent in the "base" city of Chicago.

During off time in the Chicago area, a weak cumulonimbus cloud looms over the skyline as seen from a CTA train.


GALLERY FOR MAY 8, 2018

May 8 was a marginal chase day that ended up pretty much as a "bust" due to capping in the SW Iowa area, torn between two targets, one south near Kansas City (which remained capped), and another to the north near an outflow boundary in NW Iowa which really wasn't worth going up there for. In the images above, the 2% tornado probabilities issued by the SPC are shown to the left. The only tornado report for May 8 (a weak tornado in SD, and well outside any forecast areas) appears as the black "X". Mesoscale Discussion (MCD) 368 is shown in the middle image. To the right is a base reflectivity radar image showing weak (non severe) high-based storms firing in north-central Iowa as I wait under capping well to the southwest (white circle).

View of the shortwave trough axis passing over western Iowa late in the day on May 8, 2018 as the low levels remain capped.


GALLERY FOR MAY 9, 2018

May 9 was a marginal chase day and a return to central to northern Illinois, and foregoing any possible target areas farther west (SW Nebraska / NE Colorado on May 10 for example) due to poor chase prospects and rising fuel costs. In the images above, the SPC tornado outlook is 2% in a highly condition format, with an area in far SE Wisconsin due to a warm front. The only two tornado reports for May 9 are shown by the black "X"s. In the middle image, MCD 372 is shown, with consideration of a watch area, which was never issued. To the right is the base reflectivity radar area for storms I intercepted near Dana in north-central Illinois.

Approaching strong to severe thundrstorms near Streator, Illinois during the afternoon of May 9, 2018.
Strong winds blowing across SR 23 south of Streator, Illinois and dust across farmland.
View of dust being kicked up by the leading edge of thunderstorm outflow from a storm near Dana, Illinois.


GALLERY FOR MAY 10-15, 2018

The period from May 10 through May 15 was off-time and was spent in the "base" city of Chicago.

Making repairs to damage on top of the chase vehicle from the May 1 hailstorm north of Hoisington, Kansas. Here the roof is being sealed with epoxy and the damage will be smoothed over and re-painted. The antenna (hit by the 4" piece of hail and knocked into the Jeep top doing the damage) was also repaired. This was done during off time between chase trips in the Chicago suburbs.


GALLERY FOR MAY 16, 2018

May 16 was a travel day with a long drive from the Chicago area to North Platte, Nebraska anticipating the next round of storm chases due to an upper level low moving in from the west.

Distant non severe storms looming over the horizon while driving west on I-80 in central Nebraska on May 16, 2018. The view is to the north.


GALLERY FOR MAY 17, 2018

May 17 was a highly conditional chase day east of the Colorado front range and into northeastern Colorado from near Sterling and points southwestward. In the images above, the target areas pretty much match the SPC outlooks. To the left is the two slight risk areas, with the northern one being targeted on its southern portion. The left inset shows the 2% tornado probability (in addition to another 2% in North Dakota and not shown) for the area for the southern portion of the northern slight risk area. The middle image is the SPC mesoscale discussion 442 issued for the area. To the right, is subsequent severe thunderstorm watch box 103 north and near of the target area, valid until 11 PM MDT. Storms this day tended to be high based and only strong / marginally severe.

Mark Farmer showing hail damage to his windshield in Sterling, Colorado before chasing on May 17, 2018.
High based convection developing east of the front range in upslope wind flow late on May 17.
Strong dry microburst winds create some blowing dust under the high-based storms as well as small gustnadoes.


GALLERY FOR MAY 18, 2018

May 18 was a pretty good chase day in an area from the west central Kansas (CO and KS border) with targets starting out near Tribune / Syracuse, and east and northeast from there. The SPC enhanced risk as of 1630z is shown in the left image above. In the middle image is the mesoscale discussion 450 as well as subsequent severe watch 105 valid until 11 PM CDT (10 PM MDT) to the right.

Chaser convergence near Tribune, Kansas on May 18, 2018 while waiting for storms to develop. Jason Persoff, Rocky Rascovich, and Chris Kridler were among those at this gas station.
Convective initiation near the outflow boundary / dryline "triple point" to the northwest of Scott City, Kansas late in the day on May 18.
Same view as above, about 30 minutes later, and explosive development of an LP supercell storm. Note the crepuscular rays!
Another view of the LP storm northwest of Scott City, Kansas and south of Russell Springs showing the rain free base and updraft structure.
View of rotating portion of the LP supercell west of Highway 83 and south of Russell Springs, Kansas. After this, the storm encountered less favorable inflow from other storms developing to the southeast.
Mammatus clouds south of Oakley, Kansas with crepuscular rays.
View of another supercell storm looking eastward on I-70 east of Oakley, Kansas as it was evolving to HP mode. Note the flaking line from right to left, and hail region on the left portion of the photo.
A massive traffic jam nearly a mile long was created by many people parking under an overpass near the storm, seeking refuge from hail (up to baseball sized) between Oakley and Grainfield / Quinter. This is very foolish blocking the ENTIRE roadway because it hampers emergency vehicles. In this picture, hail is falling with 60 MPH winds, and an eerie hail fog blows by.
This is the view of the updraft region of the HP supercell storm, with a powerful low level mesocyclone, illuminated by lightning. The view is looking WNW from near Collyer, Kansas just off I-70.


GALLERY FOR MAY 19, 2018

May 19 was a highly complicated chase day. This involved an original target in NE Kansas, but that shifted hastily southward as a cool pool remained over the former target area. In the images above, a large enhanced risk area is shown as of 1630z (the actual 5% tornado probability is from NE Kansas and southward towards the OK / KS border). In the middle and right images, mesoscale discussions 462 and 461, respectively, are shown. The middle one is for the original target area - and did not do much in terms of storms. The right one is the southern option, based on cool outflow ruining the former options to the north.

Anvil and blowoff extending to the northeast out of a powerful supercell storm (evolving to an MCS) near Sedan, Kansas on May 19, 2018. Storms developed early in the day in less than favorable conditions.
View of forward propagating MSC pushing eastward over southwestern Missouri late in the day on May 19. The gust front and "arcus" cloud extends out of the thunderstorm complex to the left.
View of hail shaft with the multicell storms racing eastward over SW Missouri.


GALLERY FOR MAY 20, 2018

May 20 was a day with poor chase prospects, and included a drive from the Saint Louis area and back to the Chicago area.

View of Mississippi River from the Chain of Rocks Bridge (I-270) looking south towards Saint Louis while making the trip back to Chicago on May 20, 2018.


GALLERY FOR MAY 21-26, 2018

The period from May 21 through May 26 was off-time with slow storm activity in the central USA and was spent mostly in the "base" city of Chicago. On May 25, I made a quit trip and intercepted some marginally severe storms in east-central Iowa near Merengo, which was a day trip before heading out a couple of days later.

Some marginally severe storms to the northeast of Des Moines and east of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The intense storm with a supercell structure shows up on the base reflectivity (note hail core) and slight velocity in the inset to the lower right. This was during the evening of May 25, 2018.
Visual appearance of the supercell storm approaching Tama, Iowa from near Merengo. Note the hail core to the right. The view is to the west.
Huge piece of metal pulled out of my tire after turning around on a small road near Tama, Iowa. This emptied the tire flat in seconds. In the picture I have put a large plug in the tire and the metal piece is shown after taking it out.


GALLERY FOR MAY 27, 2018

May 27 was both a travel day and marginal chase day with arrival into an area of storms late in the day in Western Nebraska. In the images above, an enhanced risk outlook (issued at 20z and mainly for wind) was in place in western Kansas and a large slight risk extending northwestward out of there. Maximum tornado probability was set at 2%. There were large tornadoes reported north of Cheyenne, Wyoming. This target was not feasible as I was driving from the Chicago area to SW Nebraska. In the middle and right images, mesoscale discussion (MCD) 542 and severe thunderstorm watch 125 (valid until 9 PM MDT), respectively.

Heading west on I-80 and into Nebraska while on a long road trip from the Chicago suburbs to southwestern Nebraska on May 27, 2018. Note the clear sky giving way to high clouds in the western sky as the next round of upper level support reaches the western USA from the Pacific.
A small supercell storm south of Ogallala, Nebraska with striations and rain free base. This was a far cry from tornadic storms that unexpectedly developed farther away near Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Mammatus on the backside of the storms near Ogallala, Nebraska during the early evening.


GALLERY FOR MAY 28, 2018

May 28 (Memorial Day) was a very good chase day in central to eastern Colorado with multiple tornadoes observed. To the left is the SPC tornado probabilities, with a 10% area in Colorado surrounded by a larger 5% (off the 1630z enhanced outlook). The middle image is MCD 553 with subsequent tornado watch box 127 valid for the target area until 9 PM MDT (10 PM CDT).

Myself and Reed Timmer (left) at a chaser convergence before convective initiation near Flagler, Colorado during the afternoon of May 28, 2018.
Storms initiating along a confluence boundary and north of Flagler, Colorado during the afternoon. This will become a supercell storm.
Supercell storm in Kit Carson County, Colorado near Highway 36 and north of Seibert.
One of the first of many landspout tornadoes developing north of Seibert, Colorado in Kit Carson County.
Closer view of one of the first landspout tornadoes.
Twin landspouts developing north of Seibert, Colorado in Kit Carson County.
Close up of one of the twin landspouts north of Seibert, Colorado in Kit Carson County.
Another view of the two landspout tornadoes a bit later north of Seibert, Colorado in Kit Carson County.
Close range shot of northern landspout tornado core region. This was anticyclonic, rotating clockwise, and rare for the northern hemisphere.
In addition to the two large landspout / stove pipe tornadoes ... Yet a third one forms south of them! In this view, looking south, a weaker third landspout can be seen distant and just above and slightly left of the roadway, with the "twins" still on-going to the left!
Close range shot of northern landspout tornado core region. This was anti-cyclonic, rotating clockwise.
Southern landspout tornado over an field, weakening, with cows in the foreground.
A final brief tornado, barely visble as a white cone through the RFD precipitation and near the center of this picture, is produced by a supercell storm the developed at the southern end of the complex of severe storms (formerly the ones that produced the multiple landspouts).
Linear MCS of strong and severe storms developing west of Burlington, Colorado. The view is looking west on I-70. Note the green hue as well as scud tags to the left.
Marble sized hail in the parking lot at a hotel in Goodland, Kansas as the linear MCS of strong and severe storms pushes through.


GALLERY FOR MAY 29, 2018

May 29 was a chase day from northwestern Oklahoma and across the north-central part of that state with a long track supercell storm followed from initiation near a dryline / boundary triple point and eastward to its demise and brief tornadoes observed near Waynoka. In the images above, we see the 1630z SPC outlook to the left, with an enhanced risk outlook (mainly for hail) that included a 5% tornado probability. The middle and right images are mesoscale discussion 565 and tornado watch box 131 (valid until 9 PM CDT), respectively. In addition to the tornadic storm near Waynoka, tornadoes occurred well northwest of the primary targets most chasers were on (near Ensigh southwest of Dodge City, Kansas).

Convective initiation near the surface "triple point" in northwestern Oklahoma near Laverne. This area will develop into a long track supercell storm during the afternoon of May 29, 2018.
Rapidly intensifying supercell storm between Laverne and Buffalo, Oklahoma as the storm moves to the east.
Wall cloud developing on the supercell storm as it passes southwest of Buffalo, Oklahoma.
Maturing supercell with well developed RFD and wall cloud south of Buffalo, Oklahoma.
Rapidly rotating wall cloud and influx of streamwise vorticity current (SVC). The horizontal "rotor" is being lifted by the leading edge of the supercell updraft and tilted into the vertical axis.
Wall cloud as the HP storm occludes near Buffalo, Oklahoma.
The supercell storm intensifies and produces a brief thin rope tornado near Waynoka, Oklahoma near dusk.
Brief cone tornado develops over Waynoka, Oklahoma slightly southwest to where the weak rope tornado lifted.
Hail and strong winds with very heavy rains to the northwest of Enid, Oklahoma as the supercell storm winds down and evolves to a line segment after dark.


GALLERY FOR MAY 30, 2018

May 30 was a chase day from the western Oklahoma Panhandles area and eastward into the Texas Panhandle, with initial storms in extreme eastern New Mexico. In the images above, to the left, is an enhanced risk is in place for wind and hail on the 20z SPC outlook, with a large slight risk extending west and northwest of it. In the middle image is one of the analysis MCDs, showing the surface "triple point" on their mesoscale discussion 579. Severe thunderstorm watch box 135 is shown over the panhandles region in the right image, valid until 5 AM CDT the following day. This was east of severe thunderstorm watch 134, which was valid until 10 PM CDT.

One of the first storms of the day developing in eastern New Mexico near Clayton. This is an LP storm during the afternoon of May 30, 2018.
The LP supercell storm above undergone down-scaling and basically shriveled up into this high-based corkscrewed cumulus tower before evaporating as the northern split moves into better moisture in Texas.
Rapidly developing HP supercell (the view is to the northeast) west of Stratford, Texas.
Interesting split from the main tower and rotating portion of the developing HP supercell storm. This area will detach and weaken as moisture is limited behind the moisture axis and main storm. Note the prominent hail shaft (center of picture)!
Another view of the split and backside of the main HP supercell storm. Interesting cloud formations overhead caused by turbulence on the backside of the storm complex.
View looking north at an intense HP supercell storm near Stratford, Texas. Note the hail shaft to the left (hail up to tennis ball sized) and rainbow.
Truck / trailer overturned from powerful RFD (rear flank downdraft) winds on Highway 54 northeast of Stratford, Texas. The driver was OK. Note the melting tennis ball sized hail on the ground to the right.
Flanking line and inflow banding to the southeast of the HP supercell storm. The RFD is also kicking up a large dust plume / gustnado.
HP supercell becoming outflow dominant with extreme damaging winds northwest of Spearman, Texas. Note the reddish "haboob" as the winds pick up the Texas dust.
Powerful outflow winds / augmented RFD surging across SR 15 northeast of Spearman, Texas.
Downed powerlines to the northeast of Spearman, Texas off SR 15.
Impressive "whales mouth" and gust front as the HP storm evolves to a powerful MCS, with some wind gusts near 80 MPH.
Nice lightning bolt near Gate, Oklahoma as storms approach from the west.


GALLERY FOR MAY 31, 2018

May 31 was a re-position day and no chasing was done (storms were in Missouri or extreme northern North Dakota / Montana). This included a long drive from near Dodge City, Kansas to north-central Nebraska, targeting Valentine, Nebraska for the following chase day. Unfortunately I wound up with a speeding ticket while driving north on ST 97 and about 40 minutes away from Valentine when a state tropper got my speed at the bottom of a hill.

Driving through the Nebraska Sandhills late in the day on May 31, 2018. My good luck charm to the lower left (my grandparents) and remembering Tim and Paul Samaras with Carl Young (the cheesburger to the right) who were killed 5 years prior on May 31, 2013 in the El Reno Oklahoma tornado. In my other hand was a speeding ticket :(


GALLERY FOR JUNE 1, 2018

June 1 was pretty much the final chase day of the third "phase" of this chase "expedition" series. This day had high expectations but wound up producing supercells in the target area, but with quick evolution to a multicell / line mode. In the image to the left, a moderate risk outlook was issued by the SPC at 1630z. The hail and wind probabilities were set at 45% (both hatched for significant), but the tornado probability was only 5% (but 10% in the more distant "second" enhanced risk target in northwestern North Dakota). Most chasers played the Nebraska targets. Tornadoes, if any, were brief in both of these areas, with a large tornado in north-central Wyoming and far away from any chasers! In the middle image, MCD 609 is shown, with extreme instability bullseye over central Nebraska and a CAPE gradient depicting the trough and boundary to its east. To the right is tornado watch box 147 valid until 11 PM CDT.

First supercell storm near Wood Lake, Nebraska after initiation and before evolving to a multicell / outflow dominant complex of storms during the afternoon of June 1, 2018.
Storm chaser Scott Peake at a gas station in Taylor, Nebraska.
Storm chasers / scientists testing an interesting new prototype for a lightning detector while stopped in Taylor, Nebraska.
Wall cloud on supercell storm northeast of Taylor, Nebraska.
Funnel cloud on supercell storm northeast of Taylor, Nebraska.
Looking west from Highway 281 at a funnel cloud (about the time a weak tornado was reported near Ord, Nebraska).
Looking west at the "tail end" supercell storm of the line of severe thunderstorms after dark, with mammatus overhead and lightning.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 2-10, 2018

June 2 and after was off time with storms in the Missouri / Arkansas areas and little or marginal chase prospects expected over the next week or so. I headed back to the Chicago area and back to Florida for several days to take care of appointments there.

Crossing a cold front and some non-severe convection on June 2, 2018 and heading east on I-80 across central / eastern Iowa.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 11, 2018

June 11 was a chase day with target area(s) from east-central to southeastern Nebraska. In the image above, the SPC 1630z outlook is shown to the left, with a large enhanced risk area stretching from Iowa and Nebraska and into much of eastern Kansas. Since the southern area of this outlook was capped (warm layer of air aloft suppressing convection), I chose the northern target owing to more low-level dynamic forcing from boundaries / warm front and convergence ahead of the advancing Pacific cold front - Which is depicted in SPC mesoscale discussion (MCD) 706 in the middle image. To the right is tornado watch 172, valid for the same target area(s) until 11 PM CDT.

Crossing Missouri river and into the target area near Blair, Nebraska during the afternoon of June 11, 2018 after a long drive from Chicago to start this "phase" of the main chase operations.
First supercell storm developing near Nickerson, Nebraska on June 11. The view is to the WSW.
Supercell storm moving to the southeast and rapidly intensifying and becoming tornadic near Snyder / Fremont, Nebraska. Note the hail falling in the foreground. The view is southwest.
Weak tornado (tagging rain and dust) under the low level mesocyclone of the supercell storm near Fremont, Nebraska.
HP supercell storm in Cass County in SE Nebraska late on June 11. This is looking towards the west and into the HP inflow "notch" of the storm.
Low level mesocyclone passing just south of me along Highway 75 in Cass County, as it is undercut by the surging Pacific cold front.
View of gust front and multi-tiered shelf clouds as the storm push southward towards the Kansas line in SE Nebraska. This was late evening on June 11, as storms evolved to a line segment with strong winds. The view is to the west.
View of my chase vehicle with outflow dominant severe storm in the background at dusk on June 11.
Coming across the College of Du Page (COD) chase group during a fuel stop near the Nebraska / Kansas border off Highway 75.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 12, 2018

June 12 was a marginal chase day with chase prospects farther southwest into the SW Kansas and NW Oklahoma areas. In the image above, the SPC 1630z outlook to the left shows the slight-risk areas issued, with the one over the target area for the day over the Texas / Oklahoma panhandles area. The middle image is MCD 714 and shows the surface setup, with a weak area of low pressure near Guymon, Oklahoma and trough extending out of that as well as a stationary front. Meanwhile an outflow boundary is pushing slowly westward from Oklahoma and enhancing surface convergence, with eventual storms being very slow moving. To the right is severe thunderstorm watch 174 valid until 11 PM CDT.

En-route to intercept a developing supercell storm between Coldwater, Kansas and Buffalo, Oklahoma during the late afternoon / early evening of June 12, 2018. The view is looking west (with anvil blowoff overhead) along Highway 54 / 400 near Greensburg, Kansas.
Impressive rows of mammatus clouds on the anvil from a supercell storm over NW Oklahoma as I pass near Coldwater, Kansas during the evening of June 12.
Inflow and updraft region of supercell storm to the west of Buffalo, Oklahoma as the storm follows a boundary and moves slowly to the west on June 12. The view is WSW.
Brief funnel on the updraft side of the supercell storm to the west of Buffalo, Oklahoma as Highway 64 is blocked by wind damage and powerlines. The view is to the SW.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 13, 2018

June 13 was another marginal chase day, with the main conditional chase target in northeastern Colorado. This area was in an area of upslope wind flow and noted for producing tornadic supercells on such setups, but not much today. The left image above shows the 1630z SPC convective outlook, with two slight risk areas, one over Nebraska, and one near my target area in NE Colorado. In the middle image, a 2% tornado probability was predicted for this area. No watches were issued, but MCD 727 is shown to the right image, with upslope wind flow and a stationary front. Unfortunately the winds remained a bit too veered and a capping inversion was present to the northeast of the target area, rendering only high based transient supercell structures producing large hail.

Linear mesoscale convective system while passing near Wakeeney, Kansas during the late moring of June 13, 2018. These are not the target storms, and are caused by warm advection that normally wanes by early afternoon.
Highly sheared cumulus and small LP supercell updraft to the north of Holyoke, Colorado on June 13.
Developing high based supercell storm near Yuma, Colorado on June 13. This storm would mainly produce large hail.
Hail up to 1" is falling near Yuma, Colorado during the evening of June 13. One piece strikes the windshield as this picture was taken.
View of sun at low angle late in the day while heading north towards Julesburg, Colorado on June 13. Smoke from a forest / brush fire at mid levels and temperature inversion (cap!) gives the sun an interesting look.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 14, 2018

June 14 was a very interesting and unique chase day, but required a very long drive to the target areas that were close to the US / Canadian international border in extreme northern North Dakota. In the left image above, a moderate risk was issued straddling the US / Canadian border, which included a 10% (hatched for significant) tornado threat. The middle image is MCD 732 and subsequent tornado watch 177, valid until 11 PM CDT to the right. The enhanced risk in South Dakota was mainly for wind and hail threats and was not of any interest for chasing this day.

The first supercell storm of the day looms over the distant horizon as I pass near Bismark, North Dakota during the afternoon of June 14, 2018. This storm is 100 miles away or so, but is not the main target storm. The view is NNE.
Agitated cumulus and horseshoe vortex as I pass north of Bismark later in the day on June 14.
View of intense storm (and anvil) associated with main trough / front moving along the Canadian border from near Minot, North Dakota. This area will later produce the target supercells of the day.
Supercell storm developing near Tolley, North Dakota. This will be the main target storm of the day (June 14). Note the little needle funnel on the wall cloud. The view is WNW.
Looking at the supercell storm and updraft region over Towner County, North Dakota. The striking appearance of the hail core, with green glow, is prominent to the right in this picture, as the view is to the WSW. Crops were damaged from this storm, with hail between tennis ball and baseball sized.
Rapidly rotating wall cloud / supercell "notch" and possible brief tornado over Towner County while heading east of the storm. The view is to the NNW.
Inflow bands into the supercell storm near Towner County, North Dakota. The view is to the NNE.
Diverting off the main state routes proved to be a dangerous and foolish mistake - With a gravel road giving way to a dirt road and then literally NO ROAD - Dumping me into a muddy corn field with no choice to keep going (with a developing tornado and hail up to tennis ball sized pelting me)! Having a 4x4 Jeep handled this well.
Beautiful view of supercell storm to the west of Cando, North Dakota. The sun is still out but its nearly 10 PM CDT!
Loud and close cloud to ground lightning strike to the west of Cando, North Dakota near sunset on June 14.
Final attempt of the supercell and low level mesocyclone wrapping up before being undercut again at dusk on June 14.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 15, 2018

June 15 was a travel day back east from Fargo, ND to Wisconsin with a stop in Saint Cloud around lunch time. To the left is the SPC outlook issued at 1630z, with two slight risks, one over NE Wyoming and another over western Wisconsin. The latter would become significant with a surprise supercell encountered north of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. These slight risk areas also had a 2% tornado probability, shown in the middle image. No watches were issued for Wisconsin, but MCD 745 is shown to the right for the activity expected in Wisconsin.

Myself and chaser Doug Kiesling (BNVN / StormChasing Videos) during lunch break in Saint Cloud, Minnesota on June 15, 2018.
Approaching small supercell storm near Wheeler, Wisconsin from west of Eau Claire during the late afternoon of June 15. This storm was tornado warned (radar indicated) at the time. The view is to the north.
RFD clear slot in supercell updraft base near Wheeler, Wisconsin.
Visual appearance of the supercell near Wheeler, Wisconsin with a "mothership" appearance before it weakened via down-scaling late on June 15.
Gust front from elevated storms slowly pushing south out of northern Wisconsin late in the day on June 15.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 16, 2018

This period of chasing ended on June 16, with a continued drive from Wisconsin and back into Chicago. Activity after this period remained poor for chasing with either failed storm verification or poor chase prospects.

Driving back from Wisconsin to Chicago via I-94 south on June 16 was not a fun trip, with road construction and major traffic delays. Of course, late in the day, a brief and weak tornado would form in Wisconsin, the only tornado to develop in the USA that day in an area not even outlooked!
These are NOT the kind of "cones" a storm chaser wants to see! Once we move into June, road construction becomes a nightmare up north.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 17-22, 2018

June 22 was a travel day with a long drive from the Chicago area, through Kansas City, and ultimately into Wichita for the night. Some storms were seen rolling through north of Wichita and a severe thunderstorm watch was in place for that area.

While arriving in Wichita, Kansas ... Strong outflow kicks up dust (a haboob) looking northward during the evening of June 22, 2018 after a long drive from Illinois.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 23, 2018

June 23 was a marginal chase day with chase possibilities farther southwest into SW Oklahoma. In the image above, a large slight risk is in place as per the 20z outlook is to the left (with a 2% tornado, and 15% wind and hail, with the hail hatched). The main target area is near SW Oklahoma in the left portion of that large slight risk area. In the middle image is MCD 838 issued by the SPC. To the right is severe thunderstorm watch 201 valid for the target area until 1 AM the following day, among several other areal watches.

My vehicle with hair guards in place waiting for the capping inversion to erode on June 23, 2018 in SW Oklahoma.
Small supercell storm developing late in the day on June 23 as the cap begins to erode. This was looking SW towards Willow, Oklahoma.
A supercell storm develops farther southeast near Frederick and Altus, Oklahoma.
Small wall cloud on flanking line of storm southeast of Altus.
Looking up at the powerful updraft of the supercell storm between Snyder and Frederick.
Laminar base of supercell updraft east of Frederick at dusk.
View of Frederick supercell downscaling with updraft, flanking line, and moon after dark.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 24, 2018

June 24 was a chase day that was whittled down to a nothing by a morning MCS and expansive cool pool that stabilized and "capped" the atmosphere. In the image above, a moderate risk - with staggering 45% probabilities - Appears on the day 2 outlook over much of south-central and SW Kansas, and into NW Oklahoma. In the middle image, the 20z SPC outlook is a low-end slight risk - Obviously realized by the effects of the cool pool and subsidence caused by the morning MCS. To the right is MCD 868 issued for the target area - Which remained convection free until well after dark (MCD 860 and a severe thunderstorm watch 213 was also valid for SE Colorado much farther northwest and out of my area for chase plans). This day was the main reason why I went on this chase trip for a few days - So seeing this change in the atmosphere was not a very pleasant experience for me.

Gust front and outflow associated with expansive MCS (mesoscale convective system) early on June 24, 2018. This will essentially create a cool pool and cancel any chase prospects for the day.
Capped atmosphere looking NW out of the northern Texas panhandle. Basically you get a sunburn instead of storms. The high clouds in the far horizon are from storms in south-central Colorado.
Interesting cloud formations associated with upper level ascent and increasing low level jet (prior to severe MCS development) over south-central Kansas at dusk on June 24.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 25, 2018

June 25 was a long travel day from Wichita to Chicago, and storms chased in SW Iowa near the IA / MO border around I-35. To the left, a small 5% tornado probability appears on the 20z outlook (slight risk) by the SPC. Hail and wind probabilities were also both 15%. In the middle image is MCD 876 issued for the target area. To the right is a small tornado watch box (watch 219), valid until 9 PM CDT.

Small supercell storm developing along warm front and east of occluding surface low in NW Missouri and towards SW Iowa on June 25, 2018. These are low topped storms.
Intensifying storm northeast of Eagleville, Missouri with rotating wall cloud. Note the RFD cut to the left, and small funnel to the right.
Large funnel (or possible weak tornado) during the late afternoon southeast of Leon, Iowa. The view is to the east and southeast.


GALLERY FOR JUNE 26 - JULY 8, 2018

The period from June 26 to July 8 was the official end of the chase trips in 2018 for the main season. Burned out - and frustrated after trip 5, I decided to call it quits. I spent the remainder of the time in the Chicago area, with a quick trip to Florida on June 26-28 to take care of important medical issues - With the final blow of the year being June 26 and 28 and large tornadoes (in Kansas and MT / SD, respectively) on those days (and when I could NOT chase). I threw in the towel for the spring season and spent the July 4th holiday in Chicago, and drove back to south Florida on July 7, arriving there late on the 8th.

Some time was spend after chasing in the Chicago area, including the Independence Skydiving "Boogie" (event) at Rochelle, Illinois. Here a jumper flies the American flag on July 4 at Skydive CSC.
A marginally severe storm looms over the Chicago suburbs on July 5, 2018. Two people were struck by lightning in Illinois from these storms.
Crossing one of many bridges during the trip back to Florida on July 7-8. This is the old southbound bridge across the Ohio River and into Louisville.


OTHER CHASES IN 2018 IN THE MIDWEST

This section is for any other chases and / or storm pictures taken in the central United States / Midwestern areas during 2018. These include any chases or observations of storms that were local chases (or trips lasting a single day), but not part of a dedicated / longer chase trip. In the image above, an interesting severe weather setup is shown on the visible (GOES 16) satellite of the continental USA. A strong area of low pressure is making its way across the central USA and Midwest. Isolated tornadoes and severe weather was produced by this system from Kansas to Wisconsin during the period from August 18 to 20, 2018. On August 20, two areas for tornadoes and severe weather are shown, with me targeting the one in north-central Illinois. Also note how the smoke (dull gray shades), from the wildfires in California, has made it into the mid / upper level flow, and at least 2/3 way across the country!


DETAILED CHASE LOG FOR THIS SECTION (OTHER CHASES)

1). Aug 20, 5:30 PM - Interception and penetration of a strong to possibly severe thunderstorm in La Salle and Kendall Counties near Serena and Lisbon, Illinois and near Highways 71 and 52. The storm was a small supercell storm that developed in a cluster of strong thunderstorms, and evolved to HP and up scaled to a bow / line segment that pushed into Kane and Dupage Counties farther east. A rotating area with wall cloud and RFD clear slot was noted southeast of Newark. The wet RFD "hook" of this storm briefly produced 60 MPH winds and tree damage was noted on highway 52. The storm had a funnel cloud on its northern side that reached half way to the ground. The storm also contained lightning, small hail, and very heavy rains, in addition to winds over 50 MPH. A distinct wind shift (from SW to ENE) was noted penetrating the storm from SE to NW denoting a rain wrapped mesocyclone during its HP stages. The storm also had a striking visual appearance in its supercell mode. Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, a warm front, low pressure area, and upper trough. Documentation was HD video and digital stills. A friend accompanied me on this chase as an observer. A 2006 Scion was used to chase the storms.

This concludes the chase log for the central United States and Midwest for ANY OTHER chases in 2018 not part of a special section (especially those for single-day "spot" chase trips). The summary includes a total of 1 observation. Out of the observation, there was 1 severe thunderstorm. The main chase vehicle conducting these chases was a 2006 Scion. This information was prepared exclusively for the National Weather service and the team of Skywarn storm spotters.


GALLERY FOR AUGUST 20 (OTHER CHASES)

View of sky and highly sheared cumulus tower looking towards the SW on I-88 and west of Aurora, Illinois on August 20, 2018.
Anvil of target storm looking south towards Sandwich, IL on August 20 on Highway 23. The area of interest is just to the right of the road.
Interesting area of rotation associated with the shear axis of a NW to SE oriented warm frontal boundary and the northwest side of a small supercell storm west of Somonauk, IL on August 20.
Close up of brief funnel cloud on the NW side of the storm complex west of Somonauk on August 20.
View of wall cloud and developing new low level mesocyclone near Newark, IL while looking SE on August 20.
Rotating wall cloud southeast of Newark, IL on August 20.
View of rear flank downdraft southeast of Newark, IL on August 20 near Highway 52. The view is to the south with the rotating portion of the storm in the upper left and RFD / descending precipitation "blob" to the lower right.
View of HP supercell storm undergoing upscale evolution to a bow / line segment near Yorkville, IL on August 20. The view is to the north.
Backside view of gust front and "whale's mouth" as the line segment pushes east into the western Chicago suburbs near Aurora, IL late on August 20.


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