Colorado Storms: May 24, 2005

I started the day in Burlington, Colorado. After a checking data, I was initially targeting the Yuma to Sterling area. I was chasing with Jason Persoff, M.D. We checked the data along with Tim Vasquez' forecast. There was no hurry and we spent time chatting with Charles Edwards and the Cloud 9 folks (1V) at the truckstop. Finally, we noticed storms were developing northeast of Sterling and extending south near Denver. Jason and I headed north on 385 and then west on 34 at Wray. We were watching the storms near Sterling develop tornado warnings. Choosing a target was difficult as a slightly closer line of storms was developing north of the Akron to Yuma area (in a west to east orientation). These storms curved around to the south near Brush. More storms were moving east from the Denver area and a slightly isolated storm had formed near Last Chance. We continued west and were delayed slightly by construction near Otis. I was in contact with Charles who had headed northward earlier and was watching a wall cloud. We turned north in Akron. There were two side by side storms developing rotation. We were on the westerly one. The lighting was beautiful.(2V) The storm (3V) was intensifying. It formed a nice gustnado (4V) and there was some visible rotation to the north. (Labeled view of the storm (5V) I watched the storm (6V) for a while but it was appearing more outflowish. I wanted to target the easterly storm that would have better inflow. I headed north and then east on county road 50 while Jason stayed to film our current storm. Unfortunately, the map showed the road continuing east but in reality, it stopped at a farmer's house. I was briefly trapped and had to wait out the core. I then headed south to Anton, east to Cope, then south to the town of Seibert. The storms had formed a line and the ones to the south were discreet supercells. The line was racing eastward. I wanted to target the tail-end Charlie that west of Kit Carson. I blasted east on I-70 reaching Burlington at 5:43 PM. Here was my mistake: I decided not to go south at Burlington because 385 would take me through the cores of two developing supercells. I drove west to get ahead of the line. South options were scarce, and I couldn't turn south until Goodland, Kansas. I headed south but the line was turning more southerly. I couldn't reach the storms before dark with limited east-west roads. I eventually was able to reach 50/400 and headed west to Lamar, Colorado. The storms were now a huge striated mass with constant lightning. They were heading toward me from the north. I had a nice view toward an area of rotation (6V) just west of Holly at 8:20 PM MDT. I was then hit by the core with driving rain, wind and small hail. I ended the day in Lamar, Colorado at the Super 8. The town was full of chasers. Jason was also staying in the Super 8. He chose the south road from Burlington along with Cloud 9 and observed amazing striated storm structure. Oh well. Thanks to Jeff Piotrowski for radar updates and to the farmer for shelter as I waited out the core. I did sell some nice video of the gustnado and hail at the farmer's house to The Weather Channel.

(1V) (2V) (3V) (4V)
(5V) (6V) (7V)

(V -- Video Still. P -- Scanned from slide, Fuji Velvia 100)

Next Page: May 25, 2005

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