Pretty volatile set up this day with a warm front draped over
southeast Nebraska and a low pressure center coming out of
north central Kansas setting the stage for a big time supercell
or two. I knew it would be a crowded mess but I figured with
the way 2014 is starting out, it may be one of the only big
shows all year. My initial target was Geneva, NE. Left home
at 6:45am to make the 7 hour drive to southwest of Lincoln.
All kinds of tech issues due to a bad sim card in my aircard
and lens issues but mad it through the day. Huge thanks to
Nick Elms, Amanda Hill and Eric Whitehill for the help.
The first storm went up just about over the Hastings NWS radar site. I hung out just east of Geneva waiting to make sure that
was going to be the storm of the day before committing to going west 25 miles to the storm. Didn't take long as it became
obvious this cell was going to latch on to the warm front. I wanted to make sure I stayed northeast of the meso and hook to I ran
up to highway 6 and over to Sutton just to be safe. Safety would become a huge deal very soon with this storm. After going
through Sutton, I turned south 2 miles to the west and dropped south. This thing was already pitch black and hard to see under
from the northeast. Inflow was screaming in from the east. At one point I thought there was dirt flying over in front of me but it
was actually the water from an irrigator in a field off to the east. Had never seen anything like that before as none of the water
was falling in the field where it was supposed to. Anyhow, this is the view from just east of Clay Center, NW looking southwest.
There were a lot of dust whirls and a pronounced RFD punch around the south end. This is the start of the Sutton tornado.
|A closer shot of the RFD scooping up the Nebraska dirt. Strong cloud base rotation at this point.
Highway 41 and road 2 looking just northwest right at Sutton. Horrible visibility with the mesocyclone scraping the ground. An EF3
tornado is in progress back in there and you can make out the left edge in this image. This tornado was on the ground for 15.5
miles and was up to 3/4 of a mile wide. Not safe to be running up next to this one. Decided right here I would be staying south and
Quite the RFD erosion making a huge horseshoe out of the meso. Taken two miles south of Grafton, NE looking straight north.
There is a 750 yard wide EF2 in progress just to the left of center in this image. Again, I didn't feel safe making a run at these
tornadoes with the poor visibility and the parameters were such that a large tornado could rapidly form. Not a chance I was
willing to take.
The back roads were pretty quiet. The problems were the locals. However, this is their home and livelihood under the gun. Not mine.
|The end of the Fairmont/Exeter EF2 tornado shot from the Fairmont State Airfield. Weird place.
|New area of rotation developing north pf highway 6 east of Exeter.
|Odd thing was it was totally anti-cyclonic. Not a huge surprise given what a beast of a storm this was.
I have no idea. This was looking north over I80 just west of Milford. Maybe the end of the Beaver Crossing tornado?
|Heading north up highway 15 trying to get on the south side of the action area.
Finally got sick of dealing with the HP nature of the cell and outran this tornado warned cell which was entering the Omaha NE metro.
Really frustrating "seeing" but "not seeing" the tornadoes. After the Clark County storm last year I'm still edgy about messing around
in the notch of HP cells just to get a shot of a tornado. After all, I don't exactly drive a vehicle suited for that type of effort. Overall I was
pretty happy with the day. It's been a long time since I did a solo chase like this and it felt great. Can't wait for the next one.
A bunch of video clips from the day condensed down to about 4 minutes. Spent pretty much the entire
time looking at wrapping rain curtains behind the clear slot. Remember to watch in HD!