May 19, 2014 Nebraska Panhandle
Date: 19 May 2014
Location: Nebraska Panhandle
Chase Partner: Scott Hammel
Summary: It looked like a marginal day at best on the morning model runs. Dew Pts were in the mid 40's and didn't look to get much higher than that throughout the day. It was a rather slim pickings kind of year and after talking to Scott that morning we decided we would give it a go. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket. So I headed out and picked him up around 1130 and we were off with a target of Kimball to start. As we crossed the Wyoming border some weak convection had started going up just west of the Nebraska border. We headed north out of Pine Bluff's and stopped for a little while and shot some time lapse stuff a few miles north of town. We stayed ahead of the weak convection and headed up toward Gering and stopped again. We talked with Gene Robertson for a while and I filmed Union Pacific trains rolling over my Midland video camera to kill time. The storms just never looked like they were ever going to get going. We started to make our way a little closer to home and stop to get what weak storms had formed SW of Gering. As we stopped for the middle storm south of Gering, the storm to the SW of it started to look better and had more structure to it. It was high based and had very little precip coming out of it. We charged south to get in front of it on the back roads and ended up on something very similar to Bob's Road full of ruts and valleys that would have buried my truck up to its axles if I made a wrong turn. So we found a cool old barn, shot some pics of it and the storm, and doublebacked to find a better road. We kind of got behind the 8 Ball for a few, but quickly repositioned to get back ahead of the storm. It turned into a huge, picturesque LP Supercell that was blowing dust out ahead of it like crazy. We got to Highway 30 and stayed ahead of it and the Chaser Circus that was decending on it. We made stops at Dix, Potter and Point of Rocks Nebraska to get shots of the storm with silo's or landscape in the foreground. We stopped again shortly after Point of Rocks along the Union Pacific line to shoot some time lapse of the storm as it approached our location. While at this location I got probably one of my more defining images of a Union Pacific train passing by with the storm in the background. Probably my most popular image I have taken to date. After the storm had passed we headed toward Julesburg where we were overtaken by plumes of dust and hail. We stopped south of Julesburg and shot some lightning and night time shots for about 45 minutes. All in all, it turned into a great chase! As with every chase with Scott as a partner, there were a ton of laughs and some great chaser stories to come from it.