June 2

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by Hummer Storm Chaser

Storm Crosses Mighty Missouri

Council Bluffs position one
May 31 storm Council Bluffs
Council Bluffs storm position two

Creeping northeast toward Omaha a dinnertime May 31 was a lone cumulus cloud formation that grew with tremendous energy, attracting the VORTEX2 teams to their battle stations. “The Omaha sounding [weather balloon data] showed wind speeds of 45 knots in the upper level,” said David Dowell from the National Severe Storm Laboratory. Other data, said Dowell, was “off the charts” to produce a large rotating storm, but the storm that the teams chased never rotated. “That’s kind of a head-scratcher here,” added Dowell. There were many traits of the storm that were favorable for a tornado, the shear from the air masses was 40 knots, and the energy rating of the storm, called “cape”, was 1500 joules per kilogram. This energy source was warm moist air coming from the southeast. “I’d love to hear some ideas from everybody,” Dowell requested at the next morning’s weather briefing. “One of these days we’re going to find the needle in the haystack.”

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