July 5, 2016 Columbus Nebraska Shelf Cloud

I sat home all day talking myself out of an enhanced to moderate risk in SD/MN. Turned out to be a good decision, as nothing was really missed. But I blew the whole day at home, thinking about it or some other target here. The eastern NE area was an idea, but I was sitting it out too. Then some storms formed near Grand Island. They were barely moving at first. Then they at least started to move northeast. I decided to go check them out. I was planning on driving well west the next day and was more in the mood to sleep early for that, but went anyway.

I got to Fremont and just about turned back there, only 20 minutes into an already short adventure. I just thought no way these last, as they were already shrinking. You could see outflow off either side of it too. It just screamed shrivel up and die. But the moisture ahead of it was silly. The dewpoint in Fremont was 80. It was 83 at home when I left. I figured at least if it did die out, there was a good chance of a roll cloud, given this level of moisture. Wouldn't take much cool air pushed out to form one.

She's moving slowly northeast till about Columbus, where she decides to start the rapid surge. They had a lot of trees and power lines knocked down. I stopped in Schuyler. just east of Columbus and shot it from there. Tekamah's airport station recorded a 78mph gust before it stopped reporting. They are right on the NE/IA border. where you can see that rear inflow jet forming as it crosses there.

I half blew this, as I wasn't overly ready when I got there. I really don't like to be the guy using a highway shoulder. I pulled off onto the grass off the shoulder. It's usually not that busy of a highway. I knew I'd be there for a very short amount of time. If I tried to find a gravel road to use right now, well that can get problematic with power lines needing to be on the right side.

I mostly blew it because I didn't get a time lapse of this. The cable release timer remote is still half new to me and it got me one more time. I go to push start and it only takes one shot. Somehow the "number" part gets reset to 1 instead of - . I at least know what it is now, as before I was like, what is wrong with this thing. I quickly said ok fine, forget that and get stuff going. I still need a second window mount. Throwing a tripod out the window isn't very efficient. Did that and got the video camera running, then set up the still camera on the window mount. Also tried to locate some bug spray, as the mosquitoes were rapidly nailing me there. It reminded me of those dreams where nothing works and time is running out. Seems this happens more and more. It's that dang second window mount I need. Oh yeah and the new one doesn't tighten right I found out. The top joint that holds the camera doesn't get squeezed like the bottom joint when tightening it up. So it's a wobbler in any wind or movement. Buying something better next time.

Having the time lapse problem at least allowed me to have the chance to do a pano. I really need two cameras so I can do both. Because chasing alone and running video and one still camera isn't already enough to deal with. I needed to take these frames a lot faster. Was tricky getting it to stitch decently, given the shelf moving so quickly in relation to my getting the 4 vertical frames while leaning out my window.

It sure was an awesome scene though. I tried to place myself ahead of it at the right time to catch the sun under it. It was getting some light which was making it look cooler but wasn't quite sunset just yet.

High iso soft shot as it moves overhead. I bust on out of there right now. The velocity on the radar coming over Columbus looked intense now and lagged the leading edge a bit. I was tempted to let that overtake me there but felt I really needed to shoot the shelf another time too. So I raced east to get another shot.

There just isn't a massive amount of time to get back ahead and find a spot without power poles or other view problems. Found this one and took it.

The quickest way to accomplish this is flip the car around and point it into the grass so you have the right angle out the window. Then have the camera on the window mount ready to mount. Toss it on there, point it, shut the car off and snap. You really only have a few seconds before it is on top of you again. Dealing with a tripod would eat up too many of those seconds. Plus screw chancing it with lightning out of the vehicle. I'll take my odds inside the car.

(11:15 - 80F) (11:35 - 91F) (11:55 - 87F) (12:15 - 80F)

Fremont registered a heat burst following this storm. At 11:15pm they had cooled back down to 80, but by 11:35 they jumped back up to 91. They fell back down to 80 shortly after midnight. Wahoo registered it too but not as drastic. Seems pretty localized in there and near in time and space to when the first real rear inflow jet shows up on radar.

I didn't have that much video to use but threw something together.

I have the design skills of a turd but had to start doing something for the thumbnail. At least such things are changeable after the fact. But the title seemed fitting for the frequency of the lightning behind this complex.

This single chase makes me realize I need to get a better video option. The first video was camcorder, which sucks in lower light more than I remember. This lightning one is with the canon dslr crop sensor. It sucks as much or more. Missing my 6d already.