Started today in Guymon and SPC had a large Enhanced Risk area along the Red River with attendant 5% Tornado Risk but we saw enough in leftover moisture in the Oklahoma Panhandle and Texas Panhandle to leave us in the area we finished the day before albeit in a Marginal Risk for storms and Zero Tornado Risk. We headed west to Boise City for lunch and watched towers trying to form into storms but everything seemed to struggle and it looked for a long time like it would just be single cell showers over great viewpoints of old houses that would be the order of the day.
Suddenly the Storm of the Day was taking shape further south just into the Texas Panhandle and finally we had our Supercell for the day and although we could never get in front of it due to limited road option the view from the back was simply amazing and for the next 2 hours it was photography heaven even with the numerous Mosquito bites we endured. Here are just some below of the hundreds of pics we took of this stunning LP Supercell South East of Perryton (Tx)
Once the Sun started to set the colours went into overdrive
An amazing end to the day
We started today in Goodland and some were woken early with a 4.5 Magnitude Earthquake rattling the beds at 352am in the morning. The Target today was a little bit further south into SE Colorado with the hopes that some of that low 60’s dewpoints can get advected into the region late in the day from South Easterly winds riding up over the Palmer Divide and Raton Mesa. We stopped off in La Junta at Lucys Tacos which is an amazing Streetfood Taco Stall we found earlier in the trip. And it was not long before a Supercell was forming about 70 miles south along the Colorado/New Mexico border so we set off towards Kim and got into a nice position North East of the Storm.
We continued East towards Springfield stopping sporadicly along the way to admire the Structure at various stopping points.
It was clear this Storm like the day before was heading into heavily capped air further east and had that dying look about it so we stopped off at Springfield for a while awaiting the next line of 4 Supercells that had initiated along the Rockies and were hopefully going to be the main show with moisture having arrived in time.
After a break for about an hour we got into position about 14 miles North West of Springfield and it wasnt long before the storms came into view and these looked the real deal if slightly HP in nature they were still discrete so had a chance at a Tornado, Inflow winds were screaming behind us at about 40mph sustained and it wasnt long before the storm in front of us became Tornado Warned.
At about 838pm MDT one of our group got a Picture of the Cone Tornado this Storm Produced which has since been verified by NWS Pueblo and Nick Nolte got an even better picture of it from County Road RR which was 1 mile south of us (His Picture Below Credit to Nick Nolte)
The Cone is to the left of the Picture above. Soon after the above the winds switched to outflow and we made a hasty retreat back to Paved roads and headed South to Boise City to grab some food before heading east through numerous storms to Guymon to finish the day. Tour 5 off the Mark with a Tornado.
We started today in Burlington and had a chase target of Between Limon and Colorado Springs, SPC had issued a 2% Tornado Risk and chances for Supercell Storms were good with 35knts of West North Westerly flow aloft. The first Storm of the day fired near the Black Forest area in front of the Rockies so we set off towards Kiowa and stopped about 35 miles East of the storm. It quickly gained a Tornado warning early in its life
The storm then went on warp speed mode moving east at 50mph so we repositioned further east and travelling through the town of Simla Tornado Sirens were blaring away. The Storm as it neared Hugo then started to struggle for some reason and it was clear from the look it did not have long left but managed to snag 1 more shot looking up into the Mesocyclone while travelling along the road.
As the storm died we hung back along Highway 287 for more developments and patience paid off with a nicely structured Supercell that would go on to be the storm of the day and rampage across Kansas and Nebraska in the following hours. Our first look at it was near West of Kit Carson.
We kept in front of the storm as it pretty much followed Highway 96 through Kit Carson, Cheyenne Wells and Sharon Springs. You could tell it was fixing for some serious hail from the first look at it getting stronger.
After the above picture was taken we headed east but also started taking sporadic Golfball Hail and it looked like giant snowballs were falling in a very atmospheric sky with walls of dust crossing the road in front of us as well, the structure at this time was getting incredible behind us so we kept about 10 miles in front of it and stopped various times for shots, the first just as the sun was setting casting an orange glow under the base.
Heading further east and just into Kansas near the Border we stopped again and it looked like even better with cars fleeing the looming mothership above
As we fled east we rode the storm out near Wallace and got hit with 85mph wind driven quarter sized hail, luckily for us the storm had not picked up stones and pebbles like earlier with at least 5 chasers vehicles windows being blown out near Sharon Springs. An incredible Supercell on a great chase day we ended the day eating at Lucys Diner before ending the day in Goodland.
Tour 5 started their first day with a risk in Colorado nice and local to Denver where we started. A very weak DCVZ was setting up today and SPC had a small 2% Tornado Risk for today, one thing lacking was the quality of moisture. A storm formed in the usual place around the Bennett area and we headed south to intercept. Some really nice Cg Lightning was noted with the storm and we headed east down dirt roads to stay in front of the storm that had already turned east towards Last Chance.
The Storm was massively High Based but intermittent Supercell structure was coming through from time to time.
The was also some strange rain shafts at times and its easy to see why these are falsely claimed as Tornadoes by law enforcement as some people could be easily fooled by these.
We continued on fantastic dirt roads heading through Cope and near Anton and found a great stopping point to shoot some structure to our north near an old abandoned Schoolhouse.
We continued on east to Idalia with the storm and got some lovely sunset shots before finishing in Burlington for the evening. A great first day.
We awoke today to the last day of Tour 4 with a surprising 10% Tornado Risk in Central Kansas. The set-up today was a boundary that was sagging south and eastwards and this boundary was trailing an MCV that was pushing NE through the Salina area. We left in good time and had a very quick lunch in Dodge City, the first storm fired early around 145pm so we headed off NE up Highway 50 towards Kinsey. An Outflow boundary was denoted as a long line of cumulus clouds that looked like a gust front in appearance, the developing Supercell was tucked in just behind moving South East.
We parked up about 4 miles North East of Kinsey in a great position to watch the base roll towards us. Getting a first look at the base I knew instantly this supercell was going to produce a tornado and soon enough a barrel shaped funnel cloud came into view behind a grove of trees.
And not long after this a Tornado was on the ground with intermittent touch downs and dirt being kicked up in the distance through a gap in the trees.
The time was still only 225pm and we had a lone supercell almost to ourselves.
I did some arty black and white pictures trying to get the structure in as well
The storm weakened after leaving the boundary so we headed east towards Pratt for another Supercell that had fired but it soon became clear the dreaded line out was occuring already and storms were growing upscale so with one eye on having to get to Denver for the changeover day we bugged out west.
A great Tour 4 with them seeing 6 Tornadoes and countless Supercells.
Started today in Wakeeney with a chase target of Eastern Colorado which was in the Marginal Risk between 2 Slights Risks in New Mexico and Northern Colorado. I liked this area due to the fact there was a surface low situated just east of Pueblo and some moisture was being pushed into the area from Western Kansas and the HRRR was showing a nice Supercell in the area, the SPC were not so bullish in there wording with mainly multicell storms expected.
We pushed south from Burlington through mainly small rain showers and headed for the furthest south storm which became stationery pretty much on the nose of the Low Pressure near Chivington. As we headed west from Sheridan Lake the storm became tornado warned and some really ominous lowerings were noted, around this time a Tornado was reported on the storm. We headed about 10 miles further south east to get a better look at the action area of the now obvious Supercell and the structure we encountered was some of the best of the season.
An absolute beast of a Supercell which was dropping 3.5 Inch Hail at the time of this picture, it also would crucially play a role in us missing a later Tornado near Arlington due to our Highway being closed due to 4ft Hail Drifts which had to be cleared by Snow Plough. The storm was too good to not get a Tour 4 group picture
Not long after the above our storm died out and we plotted a course for a newly Tornado warned Storm west of Eads but had to take the long way around which ultimately cost us time to get onto the storm while it was producing (A common Theme this year)
Our first look at the storm was one of a clearly Outflow Dominant Supercell so we booked rooms in Lamar and let the storm roll over us. A great day with some of the best structure of the season on a marginal risk day and we were the only chasers to get the structure we did. Amazing in this day and age of Storm Chasing.
Started today in Liberal with a general chase target of North Central Oklahoma, HRRR had been very constant in promoting a Supercell on the Stationery Boundary. On route we noted very low cloud bases and low level shear in the cumulus being torn apart, I said to the group that the SPC might be underplaying this day somewhat. After arriving near Enid TCU Towers were building near Oakwood and we set off towards Canton where we got our first view of the storms developing. We headed west towards Oakwood and noticed a storm on the southern end which was stationery, a very big clue to a Supercell riding the boundary and becoming the dominant storm of the day much like the Goodland Supercell from 1 week previous. Our first look at the storm from the South was of a stunning Classic Supercell with a ground scrubbing wall cloud, not long after the picture below the storm gained a Tornado warning.
Positive CG Lightning started to spit out of the storm and rotation picked up with strong inflow winds from the SE.
The radar at this time also was showing an anchored Supercell on the boundary unfortunately darkness was rapidly approaching making photography hard.
When the above radar grabs were taken a Large Tornado was being reported 7 miles south of Putnam and we managed to get a shot when the Lightning lit up the base showing the tornado on the ground.
Shortly after the above picture we headed west towards Custer City to try and get in front of the Tornado and with Tornado Sirens blaring through town we made a run for the North to South Highway and south towards Elk City but the Storm increased its forward speed from 5mph to 30mph cutting us off and with a very big strong couplet just a mile to our west we turned back for safety with a rain wrapped tornado on the ground this was the safest option.
The grabs above from Car 2 showing this was a wise decision. After the above we headed south to Weatherford and rode out 85mph hurricane force winds at a gas station to end the day. Tornado number 5 for Tour 4 and very happy guests once again.
Started today in Tucumcari with a target area of Western Kansas and Eastern Colorado. The was a moisture tongue of mid 60’s dewpoints residing just east of a Surface Low in SE Colorado and this was our area for today. Storms initiated all too quickly today with a lack of Cap almost killing the day before it got started. We headed to Johnson City to watch a nice Supercell rolling east from Campo but all too quickly this storm grew upscale and too many cores interfered with it and the storms quickly became elevated which was good for lightning. There was very little tornado threat today once everything congealed. There was the briefest of structure before sunset just north of Elkhart and we let the storm chase us into Liberal for the night.
The Storm also ingested a lot of dirt from the fields which made for a nice Sunset.
A rather under key day today given the thermodynamic profiles on offer and the lack of surface winds really scuppered tornado chances today.
Started today in Amarillo with a target west of Clayton South East of the Raton Mesa mountain range for some upslope storms moving south-east into better moisture. Capping was a big concern today and that was proven when storms initially struggled to get going. We watched a storm near Springer that struggled and eventually dissipated near us, we then took dirt roads through canyons and another storm fired from the earlier storms outflow, the base on this looked amazing and would become the storm of the day. We stopped east of the storm and the structure started to look incredible going from LP to Classic Supercell quickly and the storm even gained a Tornado Warning.
We continued south and east down dirt roads stopping to look at the incredible structure all the time.
Radar Picture below showing our Position
The Storm was only just starting to get its act together and 3″ Hail started to fall just to our North. At one stopping point I jumped out of the car only for a fully grown adult rattlesnake to give me a stern warning. The storm as sunset neared took on some spectacular colours with oranges and red colours and some amazing lightning.
And one of my favourite pictures of the season so far below
We ended the day in Tucumcari with another risk day to follow in Kansas on Friday to come.
Started today in Garden City and HRRR had initiation beginning around 5pm along a Cold Front in West Central Kansas. After having a nice lunch we watched towers trying to break the cap and after a few brief attempts a storm started to go severe just north of Kinsley. We got south of the storm and it rapidly gained a severe warning.
The Tornado Risk today was below 2% so structure would be the main target today and we headed south towards Greensburg to look back and admire and the Supercell started to get some really nice structure at this time.
The Cg Lightning was also spectacular with this storm.
We punched through the core and took some small hail and watched as the sun set with some amazing colours and fields of Mammatus under the anvil
We ended the day in Enid Oklahoma with a travel day looming ahead of a run of chase days starting in New Mexico on the 13th