Monday 28th May 2018 – CO/KS – Enhanced Risk

We awoke today in Ogallalla with a firm target of a triangle from Burlinton to Limon to Sterling and on the journey to lunch the SPC introduced a 10% Tornado Risk box. Finally we had a decent risk area today, mid 60’s dewpoints into Eastern Colorado, 55knts of 500mb flow, deep layer shear and easterly surface winds, everything looked ripe for Tornadoes, we also had an Outflow Boundary laid out from yesterdays storms over the Burlington area. If a storm could initiate anywhere near that Boundary then it could be a big day. After grabbing lunch we sat halfway between Yuma and Joes and watched convective initiatioin occur just 12 miles to our South West. We took a dirt road west to sit right under the base of this storm and on the way a small landspout tornado occured off in the distance to our south-west, what a start to the day already. Radar representation showed this storm was firmly rooted on the boundary and I moved us further South watching 3 areas of rotation, bases were so low there could be Tornadoes and Landspouts anywhere in the Southern or Western sky.

After another quick stop down a dirt road South West of Cope 2 Landspouts touched down in the field to our south. An amazing sight as they churned the brown dirt. Picture Credit to John Finney below

Everybody on Tour 2 got out into the field next to these Tornadoes and filmed and took pictures

We continued on South down amazing gridded dirt roads with hundreds of other chasers and got into a position to see the best Tornado of the lot on this day under a strong mesocyclone, this Tornado was on the ground for over 20 minutes. Picture below by John Finney

This was turning into a Colorado Magic type of day with a Cyclic Supercell churning out Tornado after Tornado. We continued south towards Flagler and the I70 noting another few Landspouts on the way with the closest about 100 yards to our right in a field, all the while the bigger Tornado was still ongoing with satelites to its sides.

After about 2 hours of this the storm finally started to to transition to HP and seemed to leave the boundary, it was time for a coffee and fuel up before we headed east to Colby at our overnight stay. And when we got there we were treated to 6 hours of close Cg lightning all the way through to 5am the next morning.

A truly amazing day with 8 Tornadoes from 1 Supercell, when Colorado goes big it sure does like to show off.

Sunday 27th May 2018 – CO/NE – Slight Risk

After our travel day to get into position from Elk City to Ogallalla yesterday we awoke finally to a 5% Tornado Risk with better upper support and some impressive moisture in place today would finally see the Season kick up a notch. My target upon waking up was La Grange to Cheyenne and we set off west along I-80. Around lunchtime and after looking at some Surface Obs for some reason I completely changed my mind and favoured NE Colorado, the 50f dewpoints near Cheyenne and NE surface winds were putting me off my initial target and SE winds and Mid 60’s dewpoints looked nice just to my south, so I turned around………….Rule number 1 in storm chasing never change your target area or it will bite you on the arse.

We got onto some nice Supercells all moving North but lacking anything to make them special, and as Models showed very messy in nature so why was I here still when the Storm of the day just 150 miles to my west was now tornado warned. The rest is History as they say, will post a screen grab of Paul Knightleys picture of Wyoming’s Tornado of the year below.

We stuck with our storms and core punched a few to try and get some hail dents but even that was sub standard. John Finney got a lovely shot below though and we ended the day again in Ogallalla. Tomorrow looks much better so lets hope Colorado produces some magic tomorrow on Memorial day,

Friday 25th May 2018 – OK/TX – Slight Risk

Started the day in Burlington with a long drive ahead so it was up at 7am and on the road with a target of Woodward down to Elk City. SPC introduced a small 2% Tornado Risk on the 1630z update so some hope was given but with still no upper support and 25kts of flow once again Tornadoes were going to be hard to come by. What was an added bonus was some stunning LP Supercell structure today.

After visiting the Windmill Farm near Shattuck we headed south to Roll and found a lovely lake to watch developing Cumulus Towers. It was a very slow burner but the Cap broke around 6pm and a beautiful LP Supercell was forming just 20 miles to our west. Roads were very good and the storm was crawling along so we went in a bit closer. The lightning out of the anvil was pretty violent and a few grass fires were noted as we jogged alongside the storm. The real winner was the Mammatus under the huge anvil though.

Picture above Credit to John Finney

Another LP Supercell further South East started to take over so we headed off to get in front of this, we noted several shear funnels with this storm and also a Heat Burst near Sayre when the temperature shot up from 71f to 94f.

Photo Credit John Finney

After punching through the core we came out the other side to a stunning orange glow just before sunset with the Supercell to our west near Mangum. Cg’s still raining down around our ears.

Picture above from John Finney.

Thursday 24th May 2018 – CO/KS – Slight Risk

Started the day in Ogallalla and had a target area of Eastern Colorado and Western Kansas. Storms today would have a brief window for Supercell characteristics and a small 2% Tornado window was put out from the SPC. We had lunch in Burlington and it wasnt long before we got onto our first storm near Cheyenne Wells, cored punched a few times and got some close Cg Lightning. We let the mushy line go east and went back North to a pair of LP Supercells near Burlington but it was clear these were struggling against a strong cap. Went east to Kanorado and snapped some shots on the back end of storms moving away to the east.

Wednesday 23rd May 2018 – CO/NE – Slight Risk

Started today in Limon and trundled up Highway 71 to Fort Morgan for a lazy lunch at Cables. Was very confident initiation would occur in NE Colorado today so was not suckered up onto the first storm near Torrington moving into the Nebraska Panhandle and stuck with our target moving up towards Sterling. A few failed attempts at storms occured but finally one shot up and went severe warned in 4 radar scans, the chase was on finally. Our storm started to head North East so we went down some dirt roads and found some hail. Picture Below John Finney

The storm was now starting to turn right to the east and near Chappell it really got its act together and was finally starting to look like a Supercell.

Picture above Credit John Finney

We followed the storm towards Lake McConaughty and just south of there jaw dropping structure was starting to form in front of us.

Picture Below Credit John Finney

We then went east and North towards the Lake and Dam area and it was here that we really should have got in front of it again and not hung back for Lightning and Mammatus as the structure got even better further east. But where else can you finish the day with sand between your toes watching lightning overhead. And all of this in Nebraska.

Picture Below Credit John Finney

Tuesday 22nd May 2018 – Colorado – Gen TStorm Risk

Awoke in Roswell and today was the day we needed to head north due to quite a few risks starting to show in the Northern High Plains. My plan was to try to make it to Lamar or Limon and hopefully pick up some lightning on the way. This day turned out much better than we had planned with 2 Supercells keeping us company for the ride up and also what the NAM had showed for 2 straight days. After a lunch in Tucumcari we blasted North and could see severe storms west of Lamar, it was still quite early and if they could hold together we could have a little bonus here. As we approached Lamar the first Supercell which was by now west of Kit Carson started to weaken. We continued west towards La Junta and to our surprise another Supercell took hold and the chase was on. We stopped to look at the structure

We tracked this storm north for a while and seeing as we had booked the hotel in Limon it was seemingly taking us that way anyway. When we next stopped it was clear the storm was on its dying breathes due to the sun setting behind it and loss of diurnal heat. We snapped the last few Cg bolts before the storm died. Shot below over field of Cg’s by John Finney

Bigger day tomorrow hopefully in Colorado and Nebraska.

Monday 21st May 2018 – New Mexico – Slight Risk

After a travel day on Sunday we started in Amarillo with a solid chase target of Roswell. Storms today would initiate over the higher terrain and move off into the Plains into the better moisture. HRRR had a few supercells on its runs and we got to Roswell after a great lunch at the Coffee Bean Cafe in Clovis. Time ticked by and convection did not look like it was going to fire further south so we got suckered north to Vaughn and took a look at a Supercell moving into town. Visually it was unimpressive with a big shelf and cold outflow winds.

We noted another Supercell moving NE down near Corona and we took the Mountain road SW from Vaughn and at elevations of 6,680ft finding a spot to view the LP Supercell was hard. By now the Roswell storm which had been showing on the models had fired up and there was still time for us to drop south and watch the beautiful sculptured structure getting lit up by constant lightning. Shot below by John Finney

We headed back to end the night in Roswell and let the Storm slam the hotel, some really close Cg bolts rocked the hotel and sent the power off briefly. Some great anvil crawlers were going long into the night and once again John nailed these.

Anvil Crawlers in Roswell – By John Finney

Saturday 19th May 2018 – Texas – Enhanced Risk

Today was changeover day between Tours 1 and 2 and we awoke in Childress which was bang smack in the centre of todays Enhanced Risk. We had to drive back to Dallas pick up and drop off guests and drive straight back up Highway 287 again. The better risk for Supercells and Tornadoes would be further north today and out of our reach but we did have the fall back on east moving storms moving towards us as we went North West up Highway 287.

We got away from Dallas at 3pm and by 6pm Severe Storms were just west of us near Vernon. We headed south from Vernon and watched a line of 3 storms move towards us. The structure was still just good enough before it was starting to line out like the models showed.

Picture above shot by John Finney

We then moved south and east towards Wichita Falls to get in position for some lightning shots before eating at Applebys. The storms took an age to get to us at the hotel but when they did the storms went on into the early hours.

Picture below shot by John Finney

Friday 18th May 2018 – OK/TX – Enhanced Risk

We awoke in Liberal for the final chase day for Tour 1 knowing that we could not get suckered too far north due to the changeover day tomorrow in DFW. Around 3pm a Severe Thunderstorm Watch was issued and after a nice lunch in the Cattlemans Steak House in Canadian we set off for the Pampa area where the dryline was converging and that was where it looked like initiation would occur. We got onto the first storm of the day which quickly became a Supercell and viewed some nice lightning from Miami. Other storms had now popped off along the dryline and the top one went Tornado Warned so we gave it a chase upto Perryton but it quickly became clear the storm was very High Based so left it and headed back to the Tail end Charlie Supercell which itself was still really high based no surprise with 95/59 spreads in the Panhandle. Around 8pm and with activity waning we started our long journey back south, booked rooms in Childress and Tour 1 ended their chase with some amazing Mammatus.

A great Tour 1 with some challenging synoptics and no real classic looking chase days. We chased in 7 States and did 4,065 miles, we saw 1 Tornado and the biggest Hail we saw was Baseball.

Thursday 17th May 2018 – CO/KS/OK – Slight Risk

Started today in Lamar with high hopes of something decent rolling out of SE Colorado and into the better moisture in Kansas, but this day really underperformed in a big way. Left Lamar around 11am and grabbed a quick lunch, went South to a rest area and watched an area of convergence build into a storm. It was clear to see this storm was having big issues with low level moisture and the steering flow was taking it almost due North which was not helping as well. We stopped just south of Lamar for a structure shot.

Off to our SE big towers along a boundary were keeping our interest though and it was this area of storms we went for when our storm died shortly after the above image was taken. It was always going to be a long shot and we finally connected with the storm just south of Hugoton (Ks) but by this time the storms were pulsing down. A very frustrating chase day in the end.