8-22-07

Geneva, NE Tornadic Storm

2007   |   Episode 01

Chase Outlook

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SPC Tornado Risk

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SPC Hail Risk

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SPC Wind Risk

My first storm chase. A rather marginal chase at that, however, it did offer a cool show.

A belt of west-south-westerlies entered the region, bringing weak to moderate flow with it, just enough for a few super cells. A rather extensive amount of convection had been ongoing throughout the day north of I-80, which put down a nice outflow boundary in southern Nebraska and Iowa. This was the focus for re-development of severe thunderstorms, including a tornadic supercell in the evening.

The Storm Prediction Center had a slight risk out for severe thunderstorms. The tornado risk was 2% per 25 square mile radius in our region.

You can read the 3:00PM CDT SPC outlook and event analysis here.

8-22-07-spc-outlook
8-22-07-spc-tornado-outlook

The Chase

It was around noon and we decided to hit the road from Omaha, NE and heads towards southeast Nebraska. An outflow boundary had passed over us from recent storms and we needed to go south and get ahead of it.

A nice plume of moderate instability (2000 CAPE), and a pocket of wind shear (40knots) had blanked southern Nebraska.

We were expecting new supercell development to form along and ahead of this boundary in southern Nebraska. This would be our chase zone in southeast Nebraska as we set up shop and chased in the Geneva, NE to Fairbury, NE area.

8-22-07-forecast-analysis

So, this is where it all began, chasing wise. We headed down towards Geneva, NE from Omaha, NE. A tornado warning was issued for Filmore County, NE. I was both exited and nervous heading down, as black soupy clouds went in all sorts of directions above us. What the crap was this storm chasing thing I was getting myself into? In 2007, storm chasing was still somewhat perceived as “a little crazy” and wasn’t borderline-mainstream as it is now a days.

I captured some roll clouds that formed along the boundary in southeast Nebraska…

southeast nebraska roll cloud

We finally got to our storm near Filmore County, Nebraska. Below is an image of our storm on radar. I want to say we were near Geneva at this time. Below that is a video of us driving down to the storm and jumping onto the storm. The storm began to gather a good amount of inflow into it…

southeast nebraska roll cloud

At this time, the storm was beasting up. There was a report of 5″ hail somewhere near us. Yikes. Very good rotation with the storm to produce a tornado but the concern of outflow to the north messing with this storm was increasing quick.

In the video below, a tornado was on the ground near Deacon, NE. There was an area of VERY low clouds on the horizon. Derrick ended up yelling “WEDGE!!! THERES A FREAKING WEDGE!!!” like the world was coming to an end.

But…as we crept over the hill it was just a wall cloud in disguise as a wedge tornado as you’ll see in the video and images below…

southeast nebraska roll cloud
southeast nebraska roll cloud

This low cloud, still violently rotating, was well worth chasing some more. We stopped a little further down the road near Fairbury, NE and got a nice view of the storm. Man was this storm DARK. Soupy black skies surrounded us!

Most of the Fairbury, Nebraska storm had a flat lowered base and there weren’t many true lowerings associated with it. Though there was occasionally some impressive lighting strikes within the storm.

Anyways, after our second stop, we drove around Fairbury, NE a little bit waiting on something to develop. A very spooky site of the storm creeping over the city in the picture on the right. Some cloud to ground lightning too.

southeast nebraska roll cloud
southeast nebraska roll cloud

The Fairbury, Nebraska storm began moving south and we made one final quick stop on the Nebraska – Kansas border to see if something would develop but no luck whatsoever so we headed back home.

Overall it was actually a pretty decent chase for a marginal setup and the storms that fired up really gave off that spooky effect and made your adrenaline pump. I’d say it was definitely worth it!

Storm Reports & Lessons Learned

Tornado Reports

Hail Reports

Wind Reports

Overall the setup verified pretty well via the Storm Prediction Center, with mostly scattered reports.

We made the right calls on this chase and our area ended up having the only tornado reports in the country. We made the most of what this marginal chase setup offered. If anything we could have perhaps jumped on the storm and gotten “up in it’s grill” a little quicker, however, I’d say it was a solid chase!

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