I have noticed a pattern during my 2019 storm chases, I pick a target, second guess that target, go to my backup and tornadoes form at the target I first considered.
Saturday, June 8, 2019 was no different. Severe weather was in the forecast thanks to a cold front descending out of the northwest across Nebraska during Saturday afternoon. A slight risk of severe weather had been issued by the Storm Prediction Center across an area including Central Nebraska, Northwestern Kansas and Colorado.
My first target I had decided on was Colby, Kan., repeated model runs on the HRRR and RAP seemed to indicate supercells would briefly appear in the early afternoon before getting consumed by an MCS line as the cold front moved through. Even then the tornado chances were extremely marginal, or so I thought.
I made my first mistake when I seconded guessed my target. I felt like the triple point, the intersection of the cold front and the dryline, would be further north in southwestern Nebraska. I therefore decided on McCook as a new target and arrived in town around 3 p.m.
Almost immediately I paid the price for my second guessing, a small cell immediately blew up near the Colorado, Kansas border and quickly put down a tornado.
As I was waiting in McCook I saw a brief dust devil kick up in a field below me. I took this as an omen, I would either see more tornadoes today, or this would be the only twister I would see, it turned out to be the latter.
Several smaller cells began forming southwest of McCook and I drove several miles west past the town of Culbertson to wait for the storms to mature and approach me. After finding a good spot to wait, I noticed the cell to my south was moving slow, very slow, at only five knots to the north.
I was able to maintain this position for over an hour as the cell crawled north. By this point new storms were forming to my north and were taking on a multi-cell characteristic. This wasn't great for tornadoes, to add insult to injury the storms I watched didn't even get a severe weather warning.
Despite this it turned out to be a pretty good chase, documenting the entire life of a thunderstorm has it's perks and out in rural Nebraska I was only a handful of people who witnessed these storms. Its not always about tornadoes.