Saturday, October 13, 2007 (Southwest KS, 470 mi.)


Tempted by a highly conditional threat, we expect a cap bust in Kansas and get exactly that.

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Not much to be said here. A typical autumn desperation trip that did little to quench my thirst for a real chase. As a fairly potent trough moved into the Southwest, lee cyclogenesis over the central High Plains pulled up marginal surface moisture ahead of a dryline that extended from NW KS into the TX Panhandle. Decent shear was forecast near the dryline as the trough approached, but the usual dual autumn plagues of warm mid-levels and lackluster moisture meant a strong cap would minimize the likelihood of convective initiation.

Brandon and I left Norman in his car around 11:30 for Woodward, where we would reassess the possibility of convection. We arrived a bit after 2:00 to nothing more or less than we expected: clear skies on all horizons. Unfortunately, the better (and I use that term loosely in this case) chance for any convection was still a ways farther north and west, so after eating at Subway and sitting around stealing wifi in the Days Inn parking lot for about an hour, we headed north towards Buffalo. The High Plains landscape was far from appealing in its stale autumn brown, a far cry from the lush fields we saw during this anomalously wet spring. After filling up the tank in Buffalo, we continued north despite sunset (7:00 this time of year) now looming under two hours away. Though we could barely make out some cumulus to the northwest, the predominant feature of the sky was broken but widespread cirrus that was surely cutting down on insolation; obviously, this was the last thing we needed with the capping concerns.

Eventually, we pulled into Ashland, Kansas, about 60 miles NNW of Woodward. With sunset less than an hour away and the small, ragged Cu field to our north still showing no signs of making something of itself, it was quite obvious our gamble had not paid off. We drove around some backroads NW of Ashland for amusement, and ended up encountering a few tarantulas while walking around in the brush. As sunset fell, we called it a day and arrived home around 10:30.