Russell to McPherson, KS Supercell and Brief Tornadoes

June 11, 2002

I'll add timestamps and locations to the image descriptions later, along with more background information.

Click on any image below for a larger version.  (Images from video unless otherwise labeled.)

02061101.jpg (16445 bytes) Looking west at the northernmost of two cells that initially developed east of Russell, just south of the interstate.  The first rain core covered the interstate.   
02061102.jpg (15039 bytes) Looking west from location a few miles farther east.  The southern storm's precipitation area rained into the first storm's updraft as the two storms merged.  Actually, the southern storm took over as the northern storm's updraft melted away as precip from the southern storm engulfed it. 
02061103.jpg (13035 bytes) Looking west at a well developed wall cloud.  There was a considerable gap in time between the previous image and this one.  I'll try to fill the gap later.  During the gap, the storm went through several cycles, producing at least three mesocyclones, complete with wall clouds and occlusions.  
02061104.jpg (13385 bytes) Looking west as the wall cloud lifts.  The storm slowed its eastward movement and was about to take a hard right turn toward McPherson.  The storm was also about to undergo a transformation from a classic, south flank updraft, to a high precipitation, forward flank updraft supercell.
02061105.jpg (17498 bytes) Looking west as the wall cloud weakened.  Note the weak RFD "clear slot", located just southeast and east of the wall cloud.
02061106.jpg (16334 bytes) Looking west as the storm began producing more outflow.  Even with the additional outflow, the wall cloud remained more or less stationary.  Inflow into the rain free base increased to 40 miles per hour, with higher gusts.  During this time, the forward flank updraft, located to my north, which was northeast of the updraft, became much more intense and began slowly moving south toward my spotting location.
02061107.jpg (17820 bytes) Looking west as the wall cloud enlarged. The gust front from the forward flank downdraft / precipitation core was getting close.  Shortly after this image was shot, I had to move farther south.
02061108.jpg (12222 bytes) Looking north from a location farther south at a "needle funnel"  located under the wall cloud, which had been pushed southward by the gust front.
02061109.jpg (14813 bytes) Wide angle view looking north - Note the location of the funnel (same as in the close-up above) near the center of the image.
02061110.jpg (12751 bytes) Another wide angle shot of the funnel.
02061111.jpg (15277 bytes) Looking north.  The storm again slowed its southern movement for a few minutes.  As it slowed, the wall cloud intensified.  Shortly after this image was made, the gust front surged again, requiring another move.  This time, the updraft core moved more southeasterly.
02061112.jpg (16973 bytes) Looking south toward an area where the rain free base (RFB) had been pushed east by an rear flank downdraft (RFD) surge.  Several minutes had passed between the previous image and this one.  The storm moved at a diagonal, while I had to drive south and then east.  The mesocyclone and updraft base had enlarged considerably.  The storm scale circulation was centered to my west about a mile or so.  A burst of RFD was pushing east, just to my south.  Several brief, but very intense tornadoes formed underneath this feature.  These tornadoes exhibited violent rotation at the surface, but did not produce condensation funnels.  
02061113.jpg (15103 bytes) Looking south at dust suspended below cloud base after one of the tornadoes dissipated.  I was concerned at this time that the RFD downburst jet might turn the corner and I would end up within the circulation of a large tornado.  The center of circulation was just behind me, to my west.  It was during this time that I encountered chaser convergence.  I passed many chasers who were parked at the side of the road.  
02061114.jpg (17305 bytes) Looking north from a location northwest of Lindsborg, the storm had wrapped into a forward flank HP supercell.  Note the inflow bands converging toward the primary updraft.
02061115.jpg (16081 bytes) Looking north.
02061116.jpg (15106 bytes) Looking west-northwest toward the updraft "notch".  The storm was still moving southeast.
02061117.jpg (15266 bytes) Looking west at the heavy precipitation core and associated gust front, located west and southwest of the updraft.
02061118.jpg (19031 bytes) Looking north at a powerful CG that struck just east of the forward flank updraft, east and at the leading edge of the precipitation core.
02061119.jpg (26900 bytes) McPherson received several inches of rain which briefly pooled on the main north-south highway, making travel difficult.
02061120.jpg (15894 bytes) Looking east from Lindsborg at mammatus, a rainbow and lightning.  I decided to overnight in Lindsborg.  After finding a motel, I drove just outside of town to watch, video and photograph the lightning show.
02061121.jpg (16884 bytes) This evening produced some of the best photography of the trip.  I'll scan and post some images from photographs later.

Copyright 2002 - Samuel D. Barricklow - All rights reserved.

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Last revised: November 28, 2008