Last Wednesday, several of us drove up to central Kansas after lunch to go storm chasing. We targeted the southern edge of an enhanced risk across north-central Kansas, aiming for a remnant outflow boundary left over from convection the day before. Initially, we drove toward Salina, KS, but opted to head towards the west to meet up with our other chase partners, who had gotten ahead of us. We met in Great Bend, KS, just as a storm was impressively building to our west, exactly along the remnant outflow boundary we had noticed earlier. Surprised at our good luck, we headed southwest to near Kinsley, KS, as the storm intensified into a well-organized, low-precipitation supercell to our north-northwest! As we headed closer, we saw some incredible mammatus clouds on the eastern side of the anvil.
We watched as the storm sat nearly stationary in the Kansas plains, slowly spinning, with the sunset in the background. Lightning flashed up in the anvil to our north, occasionally wrapping around the mesocyclone. A warm breeze flowed from our south directly toward the storm ten miles away, rustling across the fields where we were watching the supercell. Back within the storm, we could clearly see the rain/hail shaft (we later learned that this storm produced baseball-size hail). It was the most jaw-dropping storm structure I have ever experienced! None of us had ever experienced anything like this storm, with picture-perfect, textbook structure.
We watched the storm for about an hour, and I was able to capture a short time lapse video of the cyclonic motion of the clouds. (Full disclosure: I am currently obsessed with watching this video.)
I am still astounded that we were able to find perhaps the best storm of the day, isolated away from other storms in northern Kansas. Also, I am so grateful that we were granted permission to take the afternoon off from work, making up the time over the rest of the week. It was a very long day, as we got back from the trip very late, but it was an exhilarating adventure nonetheless!