Tags archives: Great Plains

  • Wheat and What Destroys It

  • Every year, hail and thunderstorm winds do millions of dollars in damage to crops across the nation's breadbasket—much of it wheat, and much of it in supercells.  Fortunately for the owners of this field, the dark, messy, heavy-precipitation (HP) supercell shown here slid just a few miles to the west and north, sparing this [...]
  • Spotlit LP on the Great Plains

  • While observing a closer, more precip-dense supercell from its inflow region, another storm of low-precipitation character floated past in the opposite direction that was marvelous in its own way.  Double the fun!  This storm plied the southwesterlies just outside the shadow of its larger neighbor for about half an hour afte[...]
  • Anvil Shadowing Altocumulus

  • A small patch of altocumulus (Ac) is bisected by an anvil shadow from a supercell.  The Ac was moving rapidly from sunlight into shadow, which was SSW-NNE.  Storm observers can use cloud motions at different levels to get a rough idea about the wind shear.  In this case, I could tell there was good shear from the eastward sp[...]
  • Turquoise Core

  • To create this effect in thunderstorms, sunlight refracts through tens of thousands of feet of rain, hail and wet convective cloud mass, filtering out reds and leaving greens and blues.  The green hues preferentially exit areas of heavy precipitation with large drops and hailstones.  Aside from the potentially flooding rainf[...]
  • Hail Flood

  • Upper Dugout Creek gathered a large mass of both rain hail that fell from a memorable supercell and washed down assorted local drainages.  Since hail is ice, it floats, and was carried downstream by the overflowing creek, intermingling with assorted plant material and other detritus along the way.  The resulting mixed-compos[...]
  • Downward-Pointing Crepusculars

  • We often see crepuscular rays with an apparent upward aim.  In this case, the chunky young anvil from a nascent supercell spread across that part of the sky containing the sun, part of which can be seen through a hole in the cloud.  As with other crepusculars, the rays actually are parallel, but seem to spread away from each[...]
  • Electric Loop

  • During the trip to see the total solar eclipse, and on the day we left Oklahoma, I closed out a fine travel day by intercepting an elevated, nighttime storm over the Platte River.   It prolifically flung cloud-to-cloud and cloud-to-air lightning, including countless loops from cloud to air to cloud, of various sizes and shap[...]
  • Circumhorizon Arc

  • We had arrived in the general target area of marginal afternoon storm potential, and decided to explore parts of the ironically named and almost wholly anthropogenic Nebraska National Forest.  Right after leaving, while cruising toward Thedford and a future day's rendezvous with supercells, an odd color effect that I couldn'[...]
  • Between a Mesocyclone and a Tornado

  • The rising dust under this ragged but rapidly rotating wall cloud also was moving around in a closed circulation—just not as visually intensely as the clouds above.   If I had to guess, it was near the margins of the lower EF0 wind threshold of 65-mph three-second gusts, but of course this storm did not have a mobile radar o[...]
  • Moon through Anvil

  • One fine evening in Scotts Bluff National Monument, after presumably its last lightning activity, a weakening supercell floated overhead, its anvil translucent to the waxing moon.  The surrounding landscape of sandstone and ash bluffs took on the blended hue of refracted moonlight from above and town lights of Scottsbluff an[...]
  • Tornado without Funnel

  • The supercell already had offered a pleasant dose of high-based scenery two hours before, and a gustnado near a previous mesocyclonic occlusion in the intervening hour.  Although the southeastward-moving storm remained high-based as it approached the Richland/Piedmont area, we surmised that it might have one brief shot at a [...]
  • Gustnado near Mesocyclone

  • Gustnadoes are whirlwinds that form in outflow air, disconnected from the cloud base above.  They are not tornadoes, despite sometimes being misidentified by spotters or misclassified as such in official storm reports.  Occasionally the winds in gustnadoes become strong enough for minor damage, and it probably is not a good [...]