2004-06-12 Wilber, Nebraska Doppler Indicated Tornado

So, after an epic month of May, it was time to come back to earth and adjust the hose-to-bust ratio to something more realistic!

I had gone to work that Saturday morning, upon leaving Bellevue at noon I was greeted by a squall line and a Red Box already, for crying out loud! There had been a DITOR at the comma-head south of Fremont, which I wasn’t buying (and never verified). I punched the middle of the line–sure, that was born to lose but I did it anyhow…

Back home, checking the SPC outlooks. Saw a cell pop up SW of Crete, which was an easy chase…I-80 to US-77, get south of Lincoln and reconnoiter. Felt sorry for the poor sods in Wilber and Hallam, I’m sure they were getting sick of all the attention!

Got to the corner of US-77 and NE-33, started crabbing SW. This storm was DITOR’ed, here’s the inflow:


Here’s the wall cloud:


Tried to rationalize some rotation out of this, but I’m not that impressionable…a lowering, at least, with a state-of-the-art weather station in the foreground:


The wall cloud getting shoved ahead of the storm:


Ran into Mike Peregrine in the middle of 1×1 gravel roads, he was as disgusted as I was. I decided to get back onto the pavement before this storm turned the gravel into mud.

Back on US-77, if I were optimistic I’d say this was a dry punch into the back of the wall cloud, but I wasn’t and it wasn’t:


Project ROTATE had one of their DOW’s out (look just above the time-stamp):


(This means that even the professionals busted today!)

Being so close to Lincoln and on a weekend, there were a ton of yahoos acting like idiots, blocking roads, parking in the road just past blind crests. If the Hallam F-4 had shown up on this day, there would have been about fifty Darwin Award winners.

Here came the hail. Ma Nature getting payback for my successes! It wasn’t gorilla hail, more like chimpanzee hail, LOL…Golfball hail dimpled my car—upside to this is that the laminar flow would improve my gas mileage! I blasted east on a county road to Hickman, where I found a gas station canopy. My idea was to wait out the hail core, then drag race back to US-77. Was a little too late on the front end of that transaction (and a little too early on the back end)!

Back on US-77, about 30 cars were trailing the DOW truck south, (after all, if the researchers know where they’re going…?) Sheetmetal from two weeks ago was still stuck in fences along the highway. All sorts of clown chasers, leeches and ricers musta been hella chagrined when the DOW truck pulled into a Beatrice gas station and called it a day!


Next day, wifey and kids went with me to Kansas City for a RUSH concert (my sixth, wifey’s fifth, kids first!). I’m watching the kids swimming at the Fairfield Inn while keeping an eye on TWC. And I’ll be damned if there’s not an isolated right-mover crossing I-80 near Greenwood, cutting across Cass County—spitting out a wedge within 15 miles of my house! That would have been so easy to nail…


Author: Damon Hynes

Used to chase tornadoes, until Ma Nature ran out of them...

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