A Parade of Supercells

Heading east in central Kansas last evening, I witnessed a parade of supercells, spaced across the eastern horizon; each half-again as tall as Mt. Everest, they reflected the setting sun. As I grew closer to this spectacle, the gaps began to close with new thunderstorms as outflow from the parent cells created lift. Soon, a massive wall of chaos loomed across my path; fortunately, I had made plans to spend the night west of the storms.

Safely in my motel room, I tuned into the Weather Channel and found that an interrupted line of severe thunderstorms, some with tornadoes, stretched from East Texas to Minnesota. I was also entertained by two of the Channel's expert stuntmen, doing exactly what they tell us not to do: standing in the dark near intense storms, looking for tornadoes with the aid of limited radar and night-vision glasses. Fortunately, no on-air mishaps.

The culprit for the severe weather was a massive, upper level low, parked over the Northern Plains. Still in place today, it will spawn new waves of storms as dry air from the west is swept into humid air moving up from the Gulf. Indeed, as I approached eastern Kansas this morning, puffy clouds were lining up above the hazy surface air, ready to ignite severe storms as afternoon heating intensifies. And don't worry, those courageous storm chasers are still in the path of the storms, ready to bring us live scenes of destruction.