5.6.2010 Mission summary

VORTEX2 crews collected data on an elevated supercell thunderstorm near Oberlin, Kansas on May 6, 2010.  Storms formed northeast of Goodland, Kansas late in the day as expected.  Hoxie, KS was the initial destination and a developing supercell north of McDonald, KS was targeted.

The storm was moving quickly at 35kts, and teams deployed in the anticipated path of the storm.  The most exciting event was the historic and successful deployment of the unmanned aerial system, known as the Tempest!  The team from the University of Colorado and University of Nebraska-Lincoln deployed the aircraft, which flew at 1000ft above the ground.  The aircraft has a top speed of 78 mph, a wingspan of 10.5 feet, weighs 12 pounds, and can fly for up to an hour, as long as it is tracked visually.

As the rain started, unpaved farm roads quickly became muddy and dangerous – causing a few of us to get stuck.  Kindhearted farmers who clearly had experience driving in the muck pulled the stuck teams out by midnight.

VORTEX2 is taking a two day break to prepare for what looks like an active severe weather pattern beginning late Sunday.

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