Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Hail-ing Nebraska

I mentioned to someone the other day that we were still south of the "freeze line." which is not really a meteorological term.  In waterfowl it involves where the lakes are frozen or not, and it can be good to watch ducks. In the Great Plains during the spring, the line where the cold air meets the warm air is another freeze line and that is how I like to use the term.  Being east or south of that line requires some other watching, watching for tornadoes and hail.

Almost every year since about 2007, I have taken a trip to Oklahoma, sometimes in the fall, but the other half of the time in the spring.  I have seen the effects of some powerful storms over the years.  On the other hand, a few of the train like sounding storms turned out to indeed be just trains

We turned north in Texas and spent five nights in Oklahoma.  We ended up at a campground which was having a "Prom party."  The statement "off like a prom dress," was the theme.  We had fun dancing.  You kind of had to be there.  We also ran into some other campers we knew from Minneapolis and as such we had some campground cookouts and shared trucking stories since two were retired truckers. The butterflies were out, the weather warm, and we hiked around and had a great few days

Today, the storm I was watching finally moved over the Rockies and since we had a tail wind to get home, we made a break for it.  I saw the next big snowstorm looking like it would be in North Dakota and the effects of the mountains looked like they would prevent big Tstorms until Iowa.  We could sneak into SE Nebraska and then in the morning get north before the storms reformed, everything would work out.  It was a bit ominous when  the Univ of Kansas storm chasing van flew past us north of Topeka driving hard to the north.  I still had hope to miss it, but unfortunately, we were literally three miles off.  

The storms popped up out of nowhere at 5PM an hour after we had set up the RV in Nebraska City.  The first three of the "training" thunderstorms missed up mainly with only glancing blows a little hail but just enough to take a big sigh of relief.  It would not last.

Quarter sized hail
It was the 4th storm that hit hard or should I say the roof and the glass.

Here comes the hail

Going through my change, half-dollar sized hail

The fifth storm lasted for twenty minutes and the stones were even bigger
Silver dollar sized?

The tornado warning was issued at 7:51, with the tornado 3.1 miles south of us, heading our way.  We are tucked a little in a hole and it is a good 200 yard run to the storm shelter.  It passed over us, with just a green hue to the sky, silent but scary.  We survived that just as cell number six formed  southwest of us.  It looks like it will be a long night.

It turned out that real tornadoes and damage came close to where we were camped last night in Oklahoma so it was good we left but we just chose our route home poorly as it would end up.

Sheez, I'll look outside when the sun comes up, and survey damage.  Who does RV body work?  I got a feeling more storms will follow.  The sounds of hail on the roof of an RV is just awful.


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