My first chase of 2018 came on a Slight risk day with low expectations, and resulted in some decent storm structure. This day had been talked about for around a week, with varying levels of hype. While I chased in the 5% tornado risk zone, there was a 15% significant tornado risk in Arkansas and a separate 10% tornado risk in southwest Iowa. These targets kept most chasers in those areas. My initial plan was to head northwards from Lawrence towards Atchison, Kansas, and maybe into Missouri. When I looked at short-range models and observations that morning, however, I decided chasing too far away was probably not worth it, as the tornado risk seemed fairly low. At 2 pm, I left Lawrence heading west towards Topeka, as thunderstorms had already initiated on the dryline running NE-SW through the Flint Hills. After some wrong turns, I ended up on US 24 near Rossville. I liked what I saw from the storms at this point so I turned north at Rossville to try to find a good vantage point.
3:21 pm, north of Rossville, looking southwest. At this point the storm had supercellular characteristics, and while not in any danger of producing a tornado, was nice to look at. The storms this day were moving very quickly, maybe 50-55 mph, so I figured I would sit tight and let the storms come to me. At this point, the thunderstorm was producing some hail around 1 inch in diameter.
3:31 pm, same location. You can make out an RFD cut with a bit of a lowered cloud base here. A small inflow feature is also visible in the middle-right of the picture. The storm has supercellular characteristics but I didn’t expect a tornado at any time.
3:52 pm, same location. This is the same thunderstorm as the above two pictures. After the second picture, the storm weakened and continued northeastward. Another updraft developed on the southwest flank of that storm and headed towards me, but the structure was quite unimpressive. Around 4:15 I called it a day and headed home. While there was nothing spectacular, all in all not a bad first chase.