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  • Writer's pictureMichael Thornton

Dust storms in September

Updated: Mar 14, 2020

Hey everyone! It has been a long time since I last wrote a blog on one of my chases. Today I will be talking about a chase that I did back on September 21st in Central Kansas. On September 21st, the Storm Prediction Center had issued a Slight Risk from Kansas all the way Northeast into Iowa. The HRRR (weather model) had shown storms initiating as single cells in the early afternoon and heading Northeast where they would become a line of storms by nightfall. At 10:40 am I left Norman and headed North towards Rozel, KS.

Storms initiating Northwest of Jetmore, KS.

Looking Northwest into two separate Severe Warned cells.

At around 4:45 pm storms began to initiate to the Northwest of Jetmore, KS. I immediately left Rozel and headed straight West on Highway 156. Once I got into the town of Jetmore, KS I then headed North on Highway 283. After I had gotten onto Highway 283 the once weak Thunderstorm had become a Severe Thunderstorm. I decided that it would be best to let the Severe Thunderstorm pass to my Northeast so that I could be on the Southwestern edge of the severe cell. After the severe storm passed to my Northeast I tracked the severe cell into the town of Ness City, KS. By this time the National Weather Service had dropped the Severe Thunderstorm Warning on the storm that I had been chasing, while a storm to the North of my cell still had a Severe Thunderstorm Warning. Instead of immediately booking it North and going after the storm that was still severe I decided to sit in Ness City, KS and see what my options were. After reviewing my options I decided that it would be best to stay on the storm that wasn't severe anymore as I had enough confidence that the storm would become severe warned again.

Storm structure on the severe warned cell near Bazine, KS.

My confidence in the weaker storm would pay off as about 5 minutes later the storm would become severe warned again. I began to track the now severe warned cell eastward on Highway 96. At 6:36 pm this Severe Thunderstorm would whip up a quick gustnado, but I wasn't able to get footage of the gustnado since I was in a horrible position to film/photograph it.

Dust storm in the town of Lacrosse, KS.

After getting into the town of Lacrosse, KS the Severe Thunderstorm had become 100% High Precipitation. You could not see any kind of structure whatsoever. So, I decided to stick back and film lightning strikes with my new Panasonic Lumix camera that I had received in the mail two days prior. Once I had gotten a few lightning shots I decided to get a little bit closer to the severe warned cell as it began to slowly creep Northeast. This is when one of the coolest experiences that I've ever had while chasing would occur. The outflow from this Severe Thunderstorm was absolutely incredible. The outflow was so strong that it began to pick up dirt and would eventually create a huge dust storm. Prior to this event, I had never been inside a dust storm before. For me personally this was one of the coolest things that I have ever experienced. After the dust storm had passed nighttime had fallen and I decided that it was time to end the chase. Overall, I was pretty happy with what I got back on September 21st. I knew that the chance for a tornado was low, but I still chased since it was a Saturday and because of the risk for large hail and severe winds still existed. I hope that you enjoyed reading my blog about my chase back on September 21st. If you want to leave a comment, you are more than welcome to do just that! I love hearing from my readers. Again, thank you for reading my blog. Below is some footage from September 21st that I took.



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