May 19, 2014: Severe Nebraska mothership supercell
May 19, 2014: Today, Peggy Willenberg and I finally got into the range of chaseable storms after driving for two days from South Carolina. When we reached the Nebraska panhandle, prospects didn't look great for severe storms, and near Scottsbluff, we watched several small cells pop up and die as they moved northeast out of Wyoming. But patience was rewarded as we finally got a gorgeous UFO-like supercell, complete with hail, blowing tumbleweeds, lightning and a mothership structure.
Video of beautiful Nebraska mothership supercell on May 19, 2014. Video by Chris Kridler.
Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.
After lots of driving, this would be our first chase day. Nebraska - The Good Life!
Love these old motel signs. This is in Trenton, Nebraska.
Piddly little storms around Scottsbluff attracted our attention for a while.
This one glided over Lake Minatare.
The trees were atmospheric as a tiny storm attempted to form a base.
Another view over Lake Minatare.
As storms kept moving out of Wyoming, they showed a little more shape and promise.
The cows were content to ignore this storm.
Finally, around 6:30 p.m. mountain time, storms with more vigor moved into the Nebraska panhandle. Note the hail shafts.
Fingers of hail are evident southeast of Scottsbluff.
But we were especially interested in this severe-warned storm south of town and pursued it.
It was clear a UFO was under construction as the storm kicked up dust.
A wider shot of the structure also reveals streaks of hail falling. (Entering Kimball County, as the sign says.)
Here's a closer look at the pretty spaceship-in-progress.
We made the turn east on Route 30, which parallels I-80, and knew we'd have to punch through it to get a great view.
As Peggy drove, I shot this out the window - the beautiful mesocyclone, falling hail and raging dust.
Here you see the hail shaft to the left and hail flying at us like stars in a video game. Peggy spotted one baseball, but mostly we were hit by smaller hail.
Dust under the base.
We had to go through the dust as we were pelted by a colony of fleeing tumbleweeds.
The reward on the other side - a beautiful "mothership" supercell with fascinating features.
I loved the curling teeth in the middle tier.
This reminds me of a similar shot I took years ago that I called "It sounded like a freight train."
Another angle - wow, it was pretty.
A bit down the road, and the storm was pulsing down in intensity but still pretty.
Here it appeared to look more outflow-dominant but was in fact back building.
This is looking north.
Copious hail fell from the storm.
From the west, we watched the old and new updrafts lit by the setting sun.
In Sidney, the cell is dimly seen in the distance as "Godzilla" rages at the local theater.
The pretty storm as seen from the west, active with lightning.
Another lightning shot from the west, complete with stars. You can see the railroad tracks in the foreground.