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Storm Chase Account August 1-2, Nebraska – Kansas

Morning of August 1st I woke up in a fog. Literally! A foggy truck stop in Nebraska City, Nebraska. If I could play guitar I’d write a song called Truck Stop Fog to describe my mood that morning…

Soon I was on the road again but an hour into the ride my vehicle made a horrible shudder when the front driveshaft broke a CV joint. From the side of the road I posted my plight on Facebook and the community immediately responded with advice regarding area auto repair shops. Some people offered accommodations while others even stopped to help me out! For this assistance I was truly grateful. I then proceeded to creep along the shoulder of I-80 at 5-10 mph. For an hour I hobbled at this agonizing pace until finally arriving at a Ford dealership in York, Nebraska.

The mechanic put my truck on the lift. This is the sound of a bad CV joint.

The offending driveshaft after removal.

Ousting the front driveshaft meant my 4WD Explorer was rendered 2WD but I was on the road again in pursuit of storms!

Sand Hills Supercell, Click image to view gallery / purchase print

West of Mullen, 7:26pm. Deep in the Sand Hills of Nebraska, a largely uninhabited region with no radio stations, telephone or internet data. Worst of all, few roads! The area is untamed yet beautiful. Look at the wildflowers! The supercell above is marked by an updraft base on the right and a bright luminous hail / precipitation downdraft on the left. Very large hail was confirmed in that core.

Sand Hills Supercell #2 Click image to view gallery / purchase print

7:31 pm.

 Next day- The Great Northern Plains Biker Migration was in full swing. (Sturgis)

I‘m in Kansas now waiting a couple hours for storms to fire on an outflow boundary. To pass time I entertain myself making images of signage I see around a truck stop.

CG Barrage, 2013 Click image to view gallery / purchase print

CG Barrage (cloud to ground lightning) 9:23 pm southwest of McPherson, Kansas. I’ve been in a few of these but this was the most terrifying. I was located at a critical time and place beneath a rapidly developing updraft resulting in a 360 degree onslaught of cloud to ground lightning- the kind of bolts that break into beads as they dissipate. A particularly close one shut my computer off! No damage, just turned it off. It straddled me, striking the ground on both sides of my truck. That was a little disturbing.

Please leave comments below!

☯ Stephen

Lynda Whitfield - August 5, 2013 - 12:39 am

Love the Nebraska Sandhills…

Linda Wineteer Eckhardt - January 31, 2014 - 6:50 am

Was the one shot up around Ogalala, NE? I know what you mean about lightning striking near you while you were in your truck. Back in 75, I was at a stop sign in Guymon, OK when lightning hit a tree on the NE corner, catty corner from where I was stopped. Scared the bageebees out of me. All the hairs on my arms stood straight up. I had to go to the police station to have them check on the people that live there, for the tree was right up next to there porch. As it turned out they were ok, and gave the officer $20.00 to give to me, for checking up on them. It scared them as well.

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