Saturday, May 15, 2010

Exploring Kansas and Hail Storm

May 6, 2010

Today was possibly going to be a chase day finally. I was starting to go nuts from the ridged out weather. I am very glad I decided to take three weeks this year, since there was nothing during the first week.

A triple point low was developing over Colorado and western Kansas. There was also a dryline bulge, however there were a couple things that were a down side to today's setup... a lack of moisture and the chance that any storm that goes up will be after sunset. It was fairly hot out again today, but it was a dry heat. The skies remained bright blue with not a cloud in sight.

SPC had issued a slight risk with a 2% chance of tornadoes over northwest Kansas. We decided to hang around western Kansas, waiting for the warm front to move north. By mid afternoon, the SPC upgraded the risk of tornadoes to 5%. A boundary was setting up north of us.

To kill some time, the gang decided to visit Monument Rocks, which is located south of Oakley. The rock formations were something to see... from years and years of winds tunneling through this area, carving and shaping these rocks.

After that, we decided to book our rooms in Oakley for the night and go eat dinner at a Pizza Hut. By now, a stratus cloud deck was forming and the temperature was dropping. We went back to our motel rooms to wait for anything to fire.

It was now dark out. I checked my GR Level 3 radar and saw that there were a couple storms to our north, and another one forming just west of Oakley. A few scans later showed the storm rapidly intensifying right over town. I heard distant thunder and went out on the balcony to watch the storm come in. The winds picked up and marble sized hailstones were beginning to fall. I knocked on Scott's door and asked him if he wanted to watch the storm. Ben was out now, putting it all on video. The hail sounded very loud and it was increasing in size. I picked up a one inch stone and was happy to be holding some hail for the first time this year. My SDS was so bad that I rubbed the stone on the side of my face, to cuddle it... Yes folks, breaking news! I am very weird!

Ron told me he was gonna take off to core punch it soon. A few minutes went by, and I couldn't find David nor Ron! The hail must have been so loud I could not hear them call me telling they were leaving. Ben and I went to the first level to take some more video. A car alarm that sounded like Scott's was going off because of the hail. It was starting to cover the ground. Scott checked his van to make sure it was okay. Apparently one of the hailstones cracked the passenger side mirror down the middle.

As fast as it came, it went. The storm poofed on radar just east of Oakley. I never got to chase anything but at least it was entertaining to see a brief hailstorm right at the motel.

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