The second batch of Virginia Tech meteorology students headed west yesterday on a storm chase trip from Blacksburg, winding up in Columbia MO for the night. I tagged along as an extra driver / mentor for the group which consists of 13 students who are fulfilling their field course requirement for the meteorology degree at VT.
We rolled west from Columbia this morning and wound up in the Salina KS area on I-70 where we stopped to evaluate the conditions. After a couple of stops and starts that served to help us locate the proper conditions we moved back east a bit to await convection. When a nice looking cell went up west of us (near Salina!) we relocated further north to intercept it and wound up with a bonus storm. This low precipitation (LP) storm almost put out a wall cloud but wound up being absorbed into the storm further west:
This cell had an awesome moisture inflow band that stretched to the southeast for several miles. A photo wouldn’t have done it justice so I videoed it, but the editing of that will have to wait a bit.
We also came across some nice mammatus from the cell to the west:
But even with all these wonderful sights there remained a fly in the ointment…the cell near Salina (which was tornadic) stalled and even back-built to the west and north. Thus all our intercept plans were ruined and the roads that led back to where the “business end'” of this storm had parked were blocked by hail or heavy rain or both. We wound up south of this convective complex and witnessed a very low wall cloud but saw no tornado.
We are now in a hotel for the night in McPherson KS which has located us relatively close to where we think tomorrow’s target will be. That target will be refined in tomorrow morning’s planning meeting and we’ll be off again in the hunt!