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Monday, September 10, 2018

June 17 SW NE/NE CO

We began today in Valentine, NE.  Our plan was to get further west near Ogallala, NE, as this was an anticipated hot spot for the day.  We drove south on US 83 into North Platte, where we had another fast food lunch.  After lunch, we needed to get further west where development was already occurring near Julesburg, CO.  We headed west on I-80, and as we got closer to Julesburg, the storm looked awesome on radar and it soon had a tornado warning.  We were able to see the area of rotation, and it was likely a tornado was on the ground at that time.  Unfortunately, trees and precipitation blocked our view.  We found an exit off of I-76 to stop for a bit and watch the storm. 
Julesburg, CO
Just north of Lake McConaughy
Elsie, NE
As the storm continued its march eastward, we followed suit and found ourselves watching the area of rotation occlude.  When we got to Ogallala, we drove north towards Lake McConaughy on NE 61 in the hopes that we would find some good roads to let us stay with that storm.  Sadly, this was not the case, but we were able to stop again and watch the storm some more.  There were some interesting lowerings, and an area of rotation quickly became apparent.  We dropped back to I-80 and headed towards North Platte, where we were finally able to get back in front of the storm.  Along the way, we saw some dusty spin-ups in the fields next to us.  At this point, other storms were beginning to form further to the east, which would prove to be fateful for the storm we were watching.

Despite the imminent death of our storm, there were new storms going up to our WSW, so we decided to target those.  These storms would have very little tornado potential, as they were along the cold front.  Still, it was worth investigating, and we drove south out of Ogallala on NE 61 to try and stay ahead of these new storms.  When we got into Grant, NE, we blasted east on NE 23.  We were getting hit hard by rain and wind, so we knew we had to get east fast.  Parts of the gust front had some areas of very tight/intense rotation.  As we approached Elsie, NE, we finally got out of the outflow, and we were able to stop and watch the approaching storm.  The NWS called Dr. Bob to ask about what was happening.  They were getting reports of tornadoes and wanted to verify the calls.  While there was a tight area of rotation, we were not able to confirm or deny any tornadoes.  We continued east into Wallace, NE, and a tornado warning was issued for the storm we were watching.  Radar indicated a tight circulation to our NW, but the rain wrapping around the area blocked our view.  A shelf cloud to our northeast also got wrapped into this area, and it was hard to determine whether or not a tornado was, indeed, in progress.  We stopped one last time between Wallace and Sutherland, NE on NE 25 to watch the storm.  Our rooms were at the Lonesome Dove Lodge in Ogallala.

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