July 6, 2016 Alliance Nebraska Tornado

There isn't a whole lot to type up on this one. Might be fun guessing the distance of the tornado though. The main play area was up near and east of the Black Hills in SD. Before getting there the moisture feed showing up on satellite, passing just west of Valentine, caught my attention. I hoped there was enough convergence in the area just northwest of Valentine, or west even, to get something going. Meanwhile a storm popped up out by Chadron in the hotter drier air.

Deciding at Valentine to go north into South Dakota or west was not an easy one. I opted for west. There's so so little data west of Valentine. Just about zero till all the way to Gordon(90 miles). By Gordon I could see that hot dry storm out west. It was extremely tiny on radar. Very often when they are this tiny and west of the better juice, they don't last that long or do well.

I was open to taking highway 27 south as much as I was going back east where I was. Neither was that massively different for the drive back home. My decision wasn't based on that at all. I really wanted something to pop in this cumulus cloud/moisture feed I was now just west of. I also wanted to keep the South Dakota play open. So anyway, the above is the storm out west, viewed from a couple miles east of Gordon.

What was happening here northeast of the storm, was that precipitation from its anvil was creating little microbursts as it descended into drier air. I felt there was a fair chance this would be enough to kick off some new storms, much more into the real moisture feed. The location where I'd been hoping for initiation the whole time. And I could begin to see that happening with new bases starting to form east of them. One can see these on the radar loop at the end of the page.

Wasn't long and a tornado forms under that storm out there, the hot dry one to the southwest. I'm mostly making the page for that and to guess how far away that is. Guess now as I explain it next.

It went on for about ten minutes probably. If you commit to a storm out here, you are completely decommitting any other ideas. Not only is there a long drive to get to it, but that drive doesn't have any other road options, nor will it have much of any data. Given how tiny it was and west of the better moisture and the fact I was now getting stuff to form near me and east where I wanted them the whole time, it wasn't that hard of a choice to leave this storm. It would have been so easy to drop down 27 and watch this one. Sigh. You can only pick one option out here. Couldn't exactly sit here and wait on both for a bit either. I picked wrong. Well I at least didn't pick South Dakota, as I wouldn't have even got this much. It was lame apparently and it was either an enhanced or moderate risk up there.

Here is how far away this tornado screen grab is. At least 40 miles. I knew it was out there at the time and thought, heck I could add another 30 miles east and still probably see this. Once I went east though, there were now storms between me and it, but mostly just massive sandhills almost always blocking that view southwest. They have a tendency to always be taller to the west.

I really didn't know what I was missing for a long time. There was no view that way or radar data. The rare radar image I'd get made me sad lol. It now looked insane on radar and not tiny. Sometimes it was wrapping very high DBz around the hook. I thought, I do not want to know what I'm missing. From that highway 27 I could have watched it approach for an hour and a half. But no. I'm east up on highway 20 watching my convection struggle to root and stay discrete.

Here's my storms near Ainsworth now. Not wonderful. They raced me most of the way back home.

At the top middle and right you can see my storms form. The most northeast of them trying to get substantial and hook, but just getting ran over by others. It's like at the time you can know the atmosphere in that location is clearly better than the other storm had. But what you can't know real well is how they will initiate. It's such a fine line between one single storm popping up and just a few together and it makes the real difference over anything else going on.

The roads out there puts one at a big disadvantage the second they leave home. In other locations you can just play between areas like this. Or you can pick the first one, like the small storm, while leaving yourself a route back to the other idea and just playing the best angle to be able to play both. Not there. You pick one or the other. It's tempting to not even drive to that area, but problem is they have some of the best storms.