Storm Chase 2021: Day 5

This morning we woke up in Chadron, Nebraska to a cool yet humid morning. We traveled a couple of hours to Sidney, NE.

Atmospheric Setup

The SPC Day 1 Outlook gave a slight risk for severe weather from southeastern South Dakota down into northeastern Colorado.

SPC Outlook

Upper level winds showed the best areas of divergence and high winds over the panhandle of Nebraska.

Pivotal 500 mb model

At the lower level, warmer temperatures advected in by southerly winds. The highest values continued to remain over the panhandle of Nebraska. These higher values could help in increasing instability and lift. This is also where the cold front can be seen drapping down across the corner of the Dakotas.

Pivotal 850 mb model

Surface dewpoints were sufficient across the panhandle offering additional moisture support for storm formation.

Pivotal surface dew point

Modeled reflectivity helped to give an idea where rain and storms may initiate.

Pivotal modeled reflectivity

Additionally, the modeled composite reflectivity, UH>75 m^2s^2 helped in us eyeing where severe storms may occur.

Pivotal composite reflectivity

All in all ingredients looked to best line up across the southern Nebraska panhandle, so we chose to drive to Sidney.

The Drive

The drive was a fairly short one taking only about three hours during which we stopped in Alliance to pick up our friend Joe Sullivan. While there we stopped at Carhenge a famous roadside attraction using old cars modeled to look like Stonehenge.

Group photo at Carhenge!

From there we stopped at the Subway in Alliance for a wonderful lunch. For such a large order, the staff did a fantastic job getting everyone’s sandwiches made quickly and efficiently.

We continued on to Sidney where we stopped at a park for a little fun while waiting for storms to initiate. Within a very short time of being there one of our footballs got stuck and then the other as it was used to try and dislodge the first.


We still had a ton of fun talking, playing, and watching the radar. We even got to speak to a very intelligent young man who wanted to know more about the meteorology program! Unfortunately any storms moved northerly away from us and into a less favorable environment.

After a while we loaded up and headed down to Sterling, CO to watch a final, weak storm before eating and hitting the hay. The storm had beautiful structure and lightning.


We went on to Parts & Labor Brewing for dinner. The staff was incredibly friendly and the food was tasty and filling! Afterwards we all crashed at the hotel to prepare for another day!

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