May 22, 2015: Beautiful supercell in Colorado

 

 


chase images and log by William T. Hark, M.D.

 


I started the day in Amarillo, Texas. After a morning forecast meeting with my friends including Dave Lewison, Scott McPartland, Dayna and Brad Rousseau, Matt Grinter, Stephen Barabas, and Chris Kridler. We decided to target northeastern Colorado. There was a shortwave trough moving through eastern Colorado and with marginal instability ahead of a surface low, severe storms were possible. We drove north in a large caravan of chase vehicles through Oklahoma into Colorado. We eventually arrived in Hugo and shifted west on 2W to watch some developing storms. As the storms slowly moved eastward, we drove back east at 4:45 PM and then north on 109. We found beautiful place on a hill to watch the storms. While waiting, we entertained ourselves petting some horses. Australian chaser, Dan Shaw also dropped by to visit while we watched. There were some isolated storms near Burlington that were strengthening along with storms to the northwest. We continued north and turned east on I-70. Closer to Burlington, we stopped to watch the beautiful sunlit towers and a developing rainbow. Meanwhile, the storm to the west was also strengthening. I broke off from the group and headed west. The rest of the group soon followed. I missed a gorgeous rainbow on the eastern storm. I did see a developing wall cloud and beautiful storm structure as I blasted west. I passed Flagler at 7:31 PM and could see the rather linear wall cloud. I pulled off at Arriba and found a spot just north of town to watch the supercell. It was weakly rotating and had beautiful striations. As the sun set, it appeared through the storm in a gap. The storm gradually lost it's structure. I headed back east and met up with the group in Flagler. There wasn't much else to see and we headed to Goodland, Kansas for the evening. While at a Denny's in Burlington for dinner, we were amused watching The Weather Channel on a big screen tv. Three members of the group (Chris Kridler, Scott McPartland and Dave Lewison) were being interviewed on a show about the famous 2004 Attica, Kansas tornado.


Chase caravan


Bill Hark waiting for storms


Storms, west of Hugo, CO, 3:54 PM CDT


Watching storm, west of Hugo


Brad Rousseau, Dave Lewison, Scott McPartland


TIV and support, west of Hugo, CO


Our chase caravan, "Autoclub," 5:16 PM CDT


Friendly horses




Chris Kridler and new friend


Along 109, south of Genoa, CO


Supercell to west along I-70, 7:35 PM CDT


Supercell to west, view from Arriba, 7:45 PM CDT


View from Arriba, 7:47 PM CDT


Supercell with sunset, view from Arriba, 7:53 PM CDT


Chaser dinner at Denny's in Burlington, CO


 

May 23, 2015: Supercell in Colorado

This was my last day of chasing. I started in Goodland, Kanas with the rest of the group. The weather was unusually chilly with the temperature in the upper 40's and cold blowing rain and fog. There were two targets as was expected the previous day. One was in eastern Colorado and the other in Texas and Oklahoma. By our decision yesterday, we were out of range for the southern targets. The Colorado target looked good but we had to go west to get out of the rain and fog. We went west to Burlington, Colorado and then southward. At Cheyenne Wells, I decided to break off from the group to take some pictures. Since I had to be back in Wichita, Kansas that night, I planned on staying a bit farther east and adjust based on time and the forecast. I continued south enjoying the scenery. I think it is interesting that the ground can be relatively flat for as far as one can see, yet the elevation is almost a mile. I turned west at Grenada and stopped in Lamar, Colorado for lunch. Lamar has a particularly miserable selection of restuarants. While eating, I noticed that storms were developing near Pueblo. A tornado watch for the area was issued. I blasted west on 50 toward the storms. Some storms were showing signs of rotation but they were in a large conglomeration rather than isolated cells I intercepted the stronger storm near La Junta and followed it eastward. It produced a rotating wall cloud but to tornadoes. There were some brief gustnadoes that may have been reported as tornadoes. More storms were forming and they became a line of storms slowly shifting eastward. I drove east and briefly turned north on 14 as the line approached. The main storm had briefly shown inflow but then became outflow dominant I met up with my friends near Las Animas, Colorado. We continued to watch the storms before I decided to shift eastward. Unfortunately, we missed the tornadoes in Oklahoma as did many other experienced storm chasers. I broke off from the chase and started the long drive back to Wichita for my flight home.


Cold, rainy and windy in Goodland, KS


I love the open road


Wall cloud, 3:02 PM CDT view toward La Junta


Storm, view to northwest on 14, 4:20 PM CDT



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All images Copyright 2015 William T. Hark