Thursday, March 11, 2010

March 10, 2010 "cold core" chase near Sedan, KS

I haven't had much luck chasing "cold core" setups (see this link) in recent years. My move to Missouri has tended to put me farther away from some of the more photogenic events in western Kansas and Nebraska, and I've also been reminded that there are many things can go wrong in trying to chase these type of events.

Yesterday's "cold core" event with a tight 500 mb closed low moving from central OK into southeast KS didn't produce any tornadoes -- the outflow air behind the cells we chased was 38 deg F (brrr!) according to our car thermometer! The tornadoes after dark (one deadly) in central Arkansas were deep in the warm sector well southeast of the upper low. But the "cluster" of cells that moved north-northeastward into Kansas west of Sedan (see arrow on satellite photo above), associated directly with the low aloft, was very photogenic. The late afternoon low-angle March sunlight brought out browns and blues (see 3rd pic above) very similar to my first "cold-core" chase near Pratt, Kansas on March 11, 1990 (ironically, 20 years ago today).

A few pics are posted above. The first is approaching the low-topped cell cluster near Sedan, KS, looking west-southwest along Highway 166. The second shows some brief funnels along the rain-free base looking southwest from west of Sedan. The third shows the gorgeous near-dusk lighting looking northeast as our cell of interest passes to the northwest of Sedan. The last shows another small cell developing to our east, and how the vertically-sheared updraft was stretched out horizontally, typical of early season low-topped convection associated with "cold-core" settings.

My wife Shawna posted some more of our pics with captions on Facebook, under Shawna Davies' photo album entitled "3/10/10 SE KS Cold Core album".

- Jon Davies 3/11/10

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