2018-05-28 Reports: CO/KS/NE/WY

Discussion in 'Target Area' started by Dan Robinson, May 28, 2018.

  1. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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    Targeted the obvious play, the outflow boundary along I-70 from north of Lamar to south of Goodland. When the Quinter-Hill City MCS sent a huge blast of outflow westward, the only thing left was to jump on the storm north of Seibert. It was north of the outflow boundary, but was backbuilding slowly southward and would likely grab the boundary. It finally did this just after 5PM, putting on a long show of multiple landspouts, some two at a time. At least one of the tornadoes was likely mesocyclonic, as it persisted for 20 minutes. My count for the day is 5.

    Final chase log here:
    http://stormhighway.com/may282018.php

    This is the first one I observed, about 8 miles southwest of Cope - and the closest one I managed to get to:

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    Video:

     
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    #1 Dan Robinson, May 28, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2018
  2. Dave C

    Dave C EF1

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    It was immediately obvious cloud deck would interfere along the front range so we mostly lost interest in the Palmer initiated storms while milling about at our initial meetup point near Byers. Visible sat at this point revealed the KS/CO boundary clearly. We setup to wait near Arriba so we could jump on the boundary if a storm went up near its western extent, while also hedging on the Palmer should something unexpected come up from behind. We gradually moved eastward and saw the first towers go up on the Seibert storm just to our NE and were able to commit and be there for all the fun. One of our group saw her first tornadoes, which is always fun to share with people. Not bad for a relatively easy chase in a lackluster year. I always find land spouts photogenic, and this was my first photograph of two at once.
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  3. JeremyS

    JeremyS EF2

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    When I left in the morning, my target was somewhere in eastern Colorado between Burlington and Wray. On my way there I took note of the storms in central Kansas but had no plans of heading towards them. I left early enough though where since I was close and could take 70 west I would check them out. I made it to Quinter/Collyer and was just behind the storms. The core had a very pretty green color, but other than that nothing too crazy. Here's where I made my mistake of the day and I even remember thinking this could be a mistake. I went east to try and get around the front of the storms while they were mostly just north of I-70. The storms were constantly developing and redeveloping though and soon they had overtaken the interstate. This wouldn't normally be a problem if we were in my chase partner's vehicle, but in my wife's vehicle I had to avoid any hail. So now I was stuck on the east side of the storms wanting to bail west to get to eastern Colorado. I finally had to say screw it and make a break for it, driving through rain and some hail but no damage that my wife can see:)
    Of course by the time I got somewhat close to Colorado the spoutfest was winding down. I believe I did manage to see the funnel below the St Francis storm that was tornado warned a short time with a funnel.
    So another day I missed Colorado. I've yet to truly chase in that state somehow. Everytime I have plans to chase there something comes up where I don't make it there.

    I don't know any of you personally, have met a couple of you only briefly, so I guess this is just a story of what can happen out there on the road to any of us at any time. Thankfully I'm okay! Chest is still a little tight from the anxiety of what happened last night... I just copied this over from my Facebook post I shared with my family and friends.

    I JUST ALMOST F****NG DIED A LITTLE BIT AGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was going down I-80 west of Grand Island at 80 mph in a little light rain about 11pm when I see a vehicle or 2 pulled over on the right shoulder. I moved over to the left and was looking over at them when something suddenly didn’t look right out of the corner of my eye. In front of me laying across both lanes of traffic was a semi tipped on its side and I’m flying at it at 80 miles an hour. The semi had no lights on or anything so I didn’t even see it until my headlights started to shine on it. I slammed on my brakes and my first reaction was to swerve to the right into the ditch. I distinctly remember thinking what am I going to hit now that will kill me? Walking on the shoulder past the cars was a man that I somehow missed by maybe 5 feet probably still going 50 miles an hour as I went into the ditch so I could have also killed someone else. Luckily there were no posts or any other vehicles inbetween the parked cars and the semi. The ditch was also flat and had no trees. Also despite the grass being wet I didn’t lose control of my car. I was able to straighten my car and keep driving in the ditch and then get back on the interstate with no damage to the car. I’m now sitting here in York at a gas station trying to process what just happened and for my chest to stop being so tight. You see it all the time on the news and I’ve seen it recently with a friend and a friend of a family member and it was just almost me. Maybe another second and I don’t see the semi fast enough and then I’m....
    Sorry if I’m being dramatic here(and sorry for the language), but I just almost died. Not just like kind of almost, like one second away from dying. Tell everyone you love everyday you love them. You never know when it’s your turn.
     
  4. JeremyS

    JeremyS EF2

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    I was able to work on some photos tonight. The first shot is of the HP storms that flooded out a few counties in central Kansas. The other shots are of this amazing left mover that I ran into on my way to try and get to Colorado. Never made it to Colorado, but seeing this storm lessened the miss. I had to call the NWS after I found golf ball sized hail with it after it crossed the highway and it had no warning with it yet.

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  5. edward oneal

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    20180529_080222.jpg My highlight of the day was getting blasted by 70 mph winds and rain North of Jetmore KS along hwy 283.
     
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  6. Jeff Duda

    Jeff Duda Resident meteorological expert
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    I have basically the same shots as everyone else who was on the Washington-Kit Carson County, CO storm. Was pretty delighted to have this success given how shitty 2018 has gone and that my previous chase exactly two weeks prior in almost the exact same area was such a dud.

    We saw the tower going up from about the time we were passing Limon and decided long ahead of time to get east of it and then cut north. Due to the paucity of roads that forced us to get to Siebert and take CO-59 north. We ended up going all the way to U.S. 36 at Cope and turned west to play around under the updraft. Turned back east, then south at the Arickaree curve after taking some sprays of sub-severe hail. Continued south and east on dirt roads (god I love CO dirt roads!), witnessing numerous landspouts far off to the southwest. Finally the big two formed a few miles to our southwest and, to our surprise, slid S/SSE. We booked it west on Road O and then south on Road 10 trying to "field goal" the twins but ran into enough traffic and rain and we were late to the rendevous point anyway. We pretty much lost sight of the one of them as we passed north of them because one obscured the view of the other, and we couldn't tell which one was dying and which remained.

    Anyway, like everyone else, we gradually made our way back to CO-59 and southward as the long-lived twin finally dissipated. A few miles south we had a close encounter (not as close as a few dozen other chasers, though) of a brief spin-up in the field just west of 59. The funnel was visible just below cloud base for a minute or two prior, so it didn't catch us off-guard or anything. It was pretty entertaining to watch that thing spin up 100 m to our west. Reminded me of that one that Bart Comstock and Andy Gabrielson saw (I think) in SD in 2010 - it was so small you could fit your arm across it, but the torque from the rotation would probably be enough to break your arm!

    Anyway, very enjoyable Memorial Day chase. Not my first Mem. Day chase, but my first Mem. Day tornadoes! Also my first official Colorado tornadoes.

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  7. Paul Knightley

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    We started in Cheyenne, and decided we would target a very obvious outflow boundary across NE and E Colorado. We headed for Limon, but in the end carried on past Limon a few miles, to Bovina. We met up with a couple of chaser friends, Dan Holley and Pete Scott. We watched the sky for a while, noting the pronounced low-level shear as the bases of the cumuli moved south-westwards, whilst the tops were being pushed to the north.

    After a while we decided to continue eastwards, reaching Flagler, where we picked up some lunch - but didn't eat it then - we needed to push on! A storm had developed to our north-west, so we made it to Seibert, and then headed north.

    On our way up to Cope we noticed some dust off to the west, which turned out to be a non-mesocyclone tornado (colloquially known as a 'landspout' - they form from local vorticity being stretched by a passing updraught rather than by complex interactions underneath a strongly rotating low-level mesocyclone - they're still tornadoes, though!).

    We then continued north to Cope and then westwards by a few miles. We found a good vantage point but the extensive low-level stratus clouds being pulled into multiple updraughts meant we couldn't see much structure.

    However, what we did see was a series of further non-mesocylone tornadoes developing one after another, some way to our south-west. At times, at least 2 were occurring at the same time.

    These appeared to develop on the flanking line feeding into the main updraught, which soon started to exhibit strong low-level rotation. Hail started to fall so we retreated eastwards by a few miles.

    We could then see the low-level mesocyclone just to our south-west, which tightened up and produced a brief tornado, which quickly got wrapped in rain. We headed east again, and then looked right into the notch of the HP supercell, and another tornado developed just about a mile to our west. It was a narrow rope tornado, but was heading towards us. When it was within about 1/4 mile we decided to head off to the east.

    The storms then formed more into a line, and so we headed, via several stops, to Burlington. We decided to stay here for the night, despite the prospect of a long drive tomorrow to SW Kansas, the TX Panhandle, or W Oklahoma. We saw a number of other chasers when we went for dinner at The Dish Room - which was a very good place for dinner!

    A short clip of the two brief mesocyclone-spawned tornadoes from May 28th, 2018 - taken with my GoPro4, near Cope, Colorado - this was after the numerous 'dusty' tornadoes (most non-mesocyclone).




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  8. Dan Robinson

    Dan Robinson WxLibrary Editor
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  9. JamesCaruso

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    This was the second day of our 2018 chase vacation and our second screw-up (second screw-up of 2018; I’ve lost count of my total career count ). I asked myself if I should even bother posting this, three weeks after the fact and with all the great Cope event pictures above... But we can’t just post our successes, right? Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes, or will feel better knowing that these types of mistakes keep getting made, even after 20 years of chasing... (Maybe I shouldn’t be admitting that... )

    Anyway... I initially set a target in an ellipse between Limon, Denver and Fort Morgan, with the intention of adjusting along the way / later as appropriate. When the stratus north of Limon still wasn’t breaking up, we stopped in Arriba to give things time to take shape. Then we backtracked to Burlington, where there was a large chaser convergence at the Love’s truck stop there. The Kansas portion of the outflow boundary was quite visible on radar:

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    The dewpoint in Burlington was drying out; at around 21Z it was down to 55, from its earlier 60. We felt like we needed to get east into the warmer and more moist air south of the KS portion of the OFB. As we’re contemplating our next move, some other chasers tell us a storm is going up near GLD. Within minutes, the parking lot empties. Is everyone going after the GLD storm? Why? It is cloudy and cool north of that OFB... We drove east, not necessarily to go after that particular cell, but just to get into what we thought was better air south of that portion of the boundary. (We were already down I-70 near GLD by 22Z, and by then the Burlington dewpoint had gone all the way down to 44).

    Once we were in GLD we decided to see what happened with the storm there. Yes we knew it was going into bad air, but figured we could go north and then cut back west to pick up the northeast CO storm (which was just a very slight and linear echo when we first left Burlington - see above radar image - and now even at 22Z really didn’t look like much):

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    As expected, the GLD storm was quickly getting choked off by the cool outflow air, but the sickly updraft still had a pretty LPish look to it:

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    Well the plan to cut back west to the CO storm didn’t work out too well, due to a combination of bad road options and bad navigation decisions. Too little, too late. We knew a tornado warning had been issued, but we didn’t know what we had missed until we saw a bunch of chasers hootin’ -n- hollerin’, hugging and slapping each other’s backs, at some convenience stop off I-70, I think it was in Seibert. That’s when we started looking at the storm reports and our hearts sank.

    There’s some great discussion about this day in the Events thread, and @Quincy Vagell, @Dan Robinson, @Jeff Duda and others provided some great analysis and explanations. I learned a lot from this event, and in retrospect can easily see where I went wrong. I guess I was assuming the OFB in KS would force storm initiation in the warm sector south of the boundary, and was hoping it could benefit from the thermodynamic conditions and still ingest some vorticity from the OFB, and turn right without moving across the boundary into the cooler air (I know, “hope” should not be a chase strategy). Although there was a newer surge of outflow behind the KS portion of the boundary, and SPC noted that in NE CO the outflow was “less prevalent / hostile”, I still thought the air south of the OFB in KS was better than in CO. In fact, even the conditions south of the OFB in CO weren’t great.

    (Edited for grammar)
     
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    #9 JamesCaruso, Jun 17, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2018
  10. cdcollura

    cdcollura EF5

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    Good day all...

    Sorry for the late reply but Memorial Day (May 28) was an awesome chase day in Colorado. Details on this chase are shown below.

    Chase Summary is below (May 28)...

    May 28 was an awesome and well forecasted / verified chase day, one of those ones to remember despite 2018 being a "slow" year storm wise. I forecasted and left Ogallalla during the mid morning, and headed west on I-80 then I-76 to Sterling and Brush, Colorado. The target area would be pretty much north of I-70 and near and around Highway 36 and east of 71. The SPC had an enhanced risk area in place, with a 30% hatched hail, 15% wind (30% east of the target), and a 10% tornado probability. The SPC issued MCD 553 and subsequent tornado watch 127, valid until 9 PM MDT (10 PM CDT). I left Brush by going south on SR 71 to Highway 36 east near Anton and down to I-70 to await initiation, running into Reed Timmer and his group / film crew near Flagler at a fuel stop. The chase led me back north to Highway 36 northwest of Seibert in Kit Carson county, followed by an incredible interception of multiple tornadoes from a supercell / line segment, then wrapped up and headed east on I-70 to Goodland for the night. Storms evolved to an impressive line segment west of Burlington, Colorado during the drive east on I-70.

    Storm Details are below...

    May 28, 6:00 PM - Observation and indirect penetration of extremely severe thunderstorms in Kit Carson County, Colorado between I-70 and Highway 36 and north of Seibert. The storms were a complex interaction of a supercell storm and flanking line extending along a surface boundary, with at least a dozen tornadoes produced during a period of less than 2 hours! The entire life cycle of these storms were documented, from initiation to weakening / evolution to a squall line. These tornadoes were landspout type tornadoes, however, some were quite large with stove pipe dimensions, similar to that seen in Wray, CO in May 2016. The tornadoes at one point were multiple, with two (or even three) on the ground at the same time. Two large stove-pipe landspouts (highly visible and photogenic) were observed north of Seibert, with one rotating counter clockwise and the other anti-cyclonic and rotating clockwise, with intermittent quarter to golfball sized hail falling in a near rain free environment. Besides the tornadoes, hail up to golfball sized was observed, along with frequent lightning, heavy rains, and 60 MPH winds. The supercell storm also had a striking visual appearance and complex structure. The only damage observed was downed powerlines along a farm road from one of the tornadoes. Farther east, the storms were sampled again as a squall line west of Burlington, Colorado. Conditions causing the storms were surface heating, upslope wind flow, a low pressure area, upper trough, and complex surface boundary interactions. A 2016 Jeep Wrangler was used to chase the storms. Documentation was digital stills and HD video. A tornado watch was also valid until 9 PM MDT (10 PM CDT) for the area.

    Pictures are below...

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    Above: Storms initiating along a confluence boundary and north of Flagler, Colorado during the afternoon. This will become a supercell storm.

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    Above: One of the first of many landspout tornadoes developing north of Seibert, Colorado in Kit Carson County.

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    Above: View of the two landspout tornadoes a bit later north of Seibert, Colorado in Kit Carson County. The left (southern one is cyclonic) and the one to the right is anti-cyclonic (clockwise, and rare for the northern hemisphere).

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    Above: Close range shot of northern landspout tornado core region. This was anticyclonic, rotating clockwise, and rare for the northern hemisphere.

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    Above: Southern landspout tornado over an field, weakening, with cows in the foreground.

    Video of the event...

     

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