18 March 2012
Western Kansas LP Supercell

Photos 2012 Scott F. Blair

Due to work obligations, I departed in the early afternoon for western Kansas, which was the only logistical target due to the distance. My Dad accompanied me on the chase, with the expectations set to show him his first Great Plains supercell. We stopped south of Dodge City near Fowler, KS and observed a line of shallow cumulus along the dryline. One particular cluster of cu looked marginally promising, and with the quick storm motion, we elected to follow it northward in case it evolved into something more interesting. As we arrived at the wind farms of Montezuma, KS, the storm underwent a split near Sublette.

As luck would have it, this storm was essentially the only organized convection in Kansas during the daylight hours. We followed it for just under 3 hours, from Sublette to Garden City to Gove. It was consistently a text-book, low-precipitation supercell, with good storm-scale rotation through its narrow updraft structure. It became highly photogenic towards sunset, and we drove closer to capture a few finer details in the structure. We stopped in Amy, KS and shot these images as the sun lowered. It was also here that we encountered the only hail we observed, with pea- to dime-sized hail on the edge of the core (likely a little bigger just to our west).

As sunset approached, the LP supercell was quite majestic. The storm and sky were mixed in pastel colors, with spring-laced green fields, and no other nearby vehicles or human-made sounds. The updraft gradually tilted and shrank with time, signaling the beginning of the end for the persistent LP.

Twilight with a touch of pink color illuminated the dissipating updraft. The storm mustered a few cloud-to-cloud lightning strikes as we enjoyed the smell of a recently watered landscape courtesy of our storm. Officially, the storm was never under a warning and no severe reports were documented; in weather terms it never existed. But sharing the experience with family and the beautiful photogenic opportunities made for an unforgettable day.

All photographs and images on this and associated pages are Copyrighted by Scott F. Blair. Any reproduction either electronic or otherwise without written permission and consent from Scott F. Blair is strictly prohibited by Federal Law. Please direct all inquiries or comments to: Scott F. Blair

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