29 May 2009






Again, props to the Best Western Guymon Inn & Suites along Hwy 54 – what a great night of sleep!  Hit the road by around 9-9:30am to head north-ish into Nebraska.  Took Hwy 54 to Greensburg and took a lap around the town before we headed north on Hwy 183… none of us had been back there since May 2007.  There is certainly some rebuilding going on, but the scars still remain, too, and there are a lot of trailers and temporary facilities still in town.  Popped into Nebraska just south of Alma NE and continued up to I-80 just W of Kearney NE, with a Cu field developing to our NW.  Headed W on I-80 to North Platte NE (yes, we overshot eastward and had to double back), then N on Hwy 83.  By this time, there was one dominant storm up in Cherry Co. and approaching Ainsworth NE, and there was a cluster of storms trying to get its act together just NW of Thedford NE. 

Arrived in Thedford and met the secondary storms, with a severe thunderstorm warning out on the northern storm.  Enjoyed a good amount of cloud-to-ground lightning with the south storm and could see its updraft region pretty closely, and we debated for a time whether to pop N to the stronger storm or stay S with the storm that was trying to get its act together.  Headed W out of Thedford on Hwy 2, then took Hwy 91 to Brewster NE and went N on Hwy 7 to get a look at the northern storm.  It was here that Josh had an unfortunate encounter with some native Nebraska cactus as he was roaming the grasses to get a good picture; he pretty much had the entire plant stuck to his feet, flip-flops, and leg, and embedded a spine in his finger trying to flick the offending cactus away!  By this point, neither storm was terribly impressive, but either way, we had to get S and E to keep looking at them.  Took a gravel path S out of Brewster into the Loup R. valley (very pretty scenery along that road, by the way), with a photo op right along the river, and popped out onto Hwy 2 at Anselmo NE.  The storm still had some organization, and when we got past Broken Bow NE and took a peek, we could actually see some weak rotation associated with a well-defined updraft and distinct base.  It didn’t take long for rain to begin falling through the updraft, though, which took the organization back out of the storms.  We continued SE on Hwy 2 with the storm complex, which continued to produce vivid lightning despite its weakening appearance on radar.  Stopped NW of Grand Island NE for a few lightning photo ops, then wandered into Grand Island for dinner.  Ate at the Whiskey Creek there, with the College of Dupage and a few stray V2 members also finding the same watering hole.  Unlike those lucky folks, though, we were only a couple of hours from home, and we opted to head to home base for a night in our own beds.  Arrived late and declared Saturday a down day.