March 23, 2017 – Southwest Nebraska

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TORNADOES HAIL WIND MILES

March 23rd was the first local opportunity for a chase since my move to Nebraska last October. The SPC had outlined a slight risk area encompassing the dryline from Texas to Nebraska and a bit along the warm front in Nebraska. This was accompanied by a 2% tornado risk, so definitely not a guarantee, but it’d been a long time since I chase (June 25, 2016) and I was anxious to just get out.

1630z SPC Day 1 Outlook

I took the afternoon off work to head out towards my initial target of McCook. I was interested in the warm front where it intersected the nose of the weak surface low. Surface dewpoints were only forecast to be in the mid-50s, but I felt that was enough in Southwestern Nebraska to warrant the drive. I left Grand Island around 1930z and drove west on I-80 to Lexington where I sat to watch data and see what could percolate on the visible satellite. On my way to Lexington, SPC issued a mesoscale discussion for the area shortly before 21z highlighting an area along I-80 where brief tornadoes were possible.

Mesoscale discussion indicating brief tornado potential

Between 22z and 23z an area of robust cumulus started to develop north of McCook and eventually the first storm would fire from this area.

Visible satellite at 23z with location marked

Hastings radar at 23z with location marked

Shot of the storm at 23z

Unfortunately, this is about as good as the storm would look. It would continue on to the northeast for the next hour or so and did drop some golf ball sized hail as it approached Broken Bow before other storms exploded around it after dusk that would congeal into an overnight MCS.

With that, my first chase as a Nebraskan was in the books and I made my way back home!


Chase Recap

START END DURATION INTERCEPTS CHASER ENCOUNTERS
Grand Island, NE @ 23/1924Z Grand Island, NE @ 24/0202Z 06:37 None None
  • June 9, 2017 – North Dakota
    June 9, 2017 – North Dakota
  • May 26, 2017 – Eastern Colorado
    May 26, 2017 – Eastern Colorado
  • May 18, 2017 – High Risk Bust in Kansas
    May 18, 2017 – High Risk Bust in Kansas
  • May 16, 2017 – Susank, Kansas Tornado
    May 16, 2017 – Susank, Kansas Tornado