2017-05-25 REPORTS: CO/KS

Discussion in 'Target Area' started by Quincy Vagell, May 26, 2017.

  1. Quincy Vagell

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    We started the day near the CO/KS/NE border and opted to begin the chase on the Colorado side for the early afternoon. Storms started to develop to our north, as we sat near Goodland, but despite a tornado warning being issued, I decided it would be best to hang south, as storm modes were getting messy and a possible tornado report with the convection was likely a landspout.

    Storms struggled to organize for a while, but that was pretty much expected for the day. While shear was decent, instability was lower-end and moisture was lacking.

    We drifted east I-70 and a cell near the CO/KS border started to show some subtle signs of organization. We stopped, observed broad rotation, but ultimately drifted east to stay ahead of the storm. Watching radar, it was clear that the storm was accelerating and forcing a gust front out ahead, remaining largely outflow dominant.

    Around the Oakley area, I made the decision to blast south toward convection in southwestern Kansas, given stronger boundary layer heating and, overall, a slightly better parameter space. The initial cell up near I-70 was beginning to look like it was wrapping up, but at the same time, it also appeared to be occluding, or at least wrapping over itself. A tornado warning was issued and we stopped briefly, just to make sure. I didn't think it would be wise to move back north into what was a rain-wrapped circulation, and instead, we stayed south to take some photos. The storm was quickly becoming more photogenic from our vantage point, so there was no point in ruining photo opportunities just to get in the middle of a messy looking tornado warning.
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    The above photo was taken near Elkader, facing north on US-83. Although I've had some decent chases this year, this chase had some of the better (maybe not quite the best) structure of the year. Perhaps my judgment is somewhat clouded by what was, what I would consider, over-performing structure for the setup, but magical things can happen in western Kansas.

    Either way, it wasn't long before we got back on the road south, to check out the Dodge City area. It was a conditional play and I knew that we might not see much of anything at all. A discrete cell was drifting east and radar scans were becoming less helpful as the convection moved right toward the DDC radar site. On satellite, trends were hard to tell, but visually, we could see that the updraft would pulse up from time to time, so we continued on.
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    After stopping for a few photos just west of Dodge City, our visibility quickly became obscured by some mid-level clouds and the cell steadily weakened. It was at the same time that robust convection to the north was also showing downward trends in organization. Instead of wandering much farther, it made sense to stay in Dodge City, a year and a day after a historic event in the same area, and prepare for the following days chase.

    I generally chase solo, but my chase partner for this week is Jackie Lucente, a previous meteorology major at Western Connecticut State University, a long-time friend and co-worker. We started chasing annually in late May in 2014, but she was unable to get out last year. Our trips have consisted of a mixture of leisure travel and chasing (we tend to skip over marginal setups, which sometimes comes back to bite us), and although 2014 and 2015 didn't offer much for our trips, it looks like yesterday's chase will mark the start of a solid 3-4 day stretch.
     

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    #1 Quincy Vagell, May 26, 2017
    Last edited: May 26, 2017
  2. James Wilson

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    We left Hays and headed to our target of Burlington, CO. We jumped on the cell to the SW of the tornado producer by Sterling. We saw a gustnado on the first storm as it progressed along and later the tornado by Idalia. From there we got on the cell tracing along I-70 and saw some nice structure. Note all photos are from dashcam.

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  3. Michael Snyder

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    tarted the day by flying into Denver and was in the rental car and chasing by 1030am.
    Started East towards Limon and eventually Burlington Colorado. Blasted north to watch the base of the storm that went just south of Wray and got back in time to see the southern storm start to really take off.
    I estimated gusts to 80mph and I heard reports of 95! MPH with this storm.
    So, while it was a mediocre chase, Ill always remember the strength of the winds. _DSC4135.jpg _DSC4241.jpg
    _DSC4135.jpg _DSC4241.jpg
     
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  4. James Wilson

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    Here's my short sped up video showing the tornado and the rotation above it.

     
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  5. James Wilson

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    Here's dashcam

     
  6. cdcollura

    cdcollura EF5

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    Good day all,

    This was a marginal chase day but wound up with some pretty good results - Thanks to "colorado" magic.

    Summary: May 25 was both a repositioning day, and marginal chase day as well. The conditional target area was in far eastern Colorado, north of Burlington, where the SPC had a slight risk outlook. Hail and wind probabilities were both 15% on the 13z and 1630z outlooks, and later a 2% tornado probability was introduced after 20z. I forecasted and decided on the Burlington, Colorado target, and left Wichita during the mid morning via I-135 northward. Once past Salina, I headed west all the way past Dodge City and into Colorado near Burlington by afternoon. Storms pretty much developed on cue northwest of there, and two supercells were intercepted. One near Highways 385 and 36 from Yuma County, Colorado eastward along Highway 36 to Cheyenne County, Kansas. This first one produced large hail and a weak tornado. Continuing south and eventually east via SR 27 through Goodland to I-70, the second storm was encountered from near Oakley, Kansas and eastward to south of Wakeeney near Highway 283. After chasing these storms was completed, I back-tracked up 283 to I-70 west out of Wakeeney, spending the night in Goodland, Kansas.

    1). May 25, 3:30 PM - Interception and penetration of a very severe and tornadic thunderstorm from Yuma County, Colorado eastward to near Saint Frances, Kansas along Highway 36 and near Highway 385. The storm was a powerful classic to HP supercell storm. The storm core contained hail to baseball sized. Hail up to golfball sized was observed in the hook of the storm near the intersection of Highways 385 and 36. Much of this hail accumulated on the ground do a depth of a few inches. A weak tornado was observed looking eastward from Highway 385 to the northwest of Hale / Bonny Reservoir and east of Idalia. The tornado was weak, lasted roughly 5 minutes, and remained over an open field. A rotating wall cloud was observed exiting the storm core to the northeast later. The storm also contained 65 MPH winds, torrential rains, and frequent lightning. The storm also had a striking visual appearance, with the base resembling a "cinnamon roll" and the weak tornado under it. Conditions causing the storm were surface heating, upslope wind flow, a stationary boundary, a low pressure lee trough, and upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area until 9 PM MDT (10 PM CDT).

    2). May 25, 6:30 PM - Interception and penetration of a very severe and possibly tornadic thunderstorm from near Colby, Kansas along I-70 and southeastward to near Trego Center south of Wakeeney near Highway 283 in Gove and Trego Counties. The storm was an HP supercell storm. A possible tornado occurred with this storm near Oakley, but was rain wrapped and not visible. Strong winds gusting over 80 MPH were encountered east of Oakley on I-70. Torrential rains, quarter sized hail, and frequent lightning with close hits was also observed. Power poles were snapped and some structural damage occurred near Oakley. Flying tree debris was also noted blowing across I-70. Once east of the storm, before being undercut by outflow, the storm had a striated inflow appearance and large wall cloud with RFD clear slot on its southern side before weakening. Conditions causing the storm were surface heating, upslope wind flow, boundary interactions, a low pressure lee trough, and upper trough. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect for the area until 10 PM CDT.

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    Above: Developing supercell storm over Yuma County, Colorado during the afternoon of May 25. The RFD slot can clearly be seen just below the center of the picture, although the base of the storm is still high. A lower cloud base is barely visible to the right of that. The view is northwest.

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    Above: Weak tornado viewed from inside the hail core looking east north of the Bonny Reservoir and east of Idalia, Colorado. Time is roughly 3:30 PM MDT on May 25.

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    Above: Hail covering Highway 385 just behind the Idalia storm.

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    Above: Large wall cloud (before getting undercut by outflow) to the southwest of Wakeeney, Kansas later on as the southern supercell begins to wind down late on May 25.
     
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