2021-05-15 REPORTS: NM/CO

John Farley

Supporter
Apr 1, 2004
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Pagosa Springs, CO
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My first severe storm chase of 2021, in far northern NM and southeastern CO, was very successful. I intercepted two bow-head mesocyclones - the first over the Raton Mesa east of Raton, NM, and the second near Rocky Ford, CO. I thought the first one was on the brink of producing a tornado, but it apparently did not, although it did cover a highway with one-inch hail. I did not think the second one seemed as close to producing a tornado, but it did - although I did not realize it at the time. The NWS confirmed, by video submitted on social media, that there was a ground circulation that lasted for five minutes or so a couple miles south of Ricky Ford. The first picture, below, is of the mesocyclone over the Raton Mesa.

IMG_0196-cr-e-408p-fb.jpg

The next picture is of what turned out to be a tornado, taken from just south of La Junta looking west toward Rocky Ford, where the NWS confirmed a tornado a couple miles south of town. I did not think it was a tornado at the time, but I guess it was since someone gave the NWS video of a ground circulation. Note the narrow, squiggly feature near the ground at the left - I am guessing this was the tornado, but I am not sure. I am also not sure it is technically correct to call this a bow-head feature, but if it was not, it quickly evolved into one once the storm was north of Rocky Ford. So I do not think it would be totally incorrect to call this a bow-head tornado, in which case it would be my first.

Note the narrow, squiggly feature near the ground at the left - I am guessing this was the tornado, but I am not sure. I am also not sure it is technically correct to call this a bow-head feature, but if it was not, it quickly evolved into one once the storm was north of Rocky Ford. So I do not think it would be totally incorrect to call this a bow-head tornado, in which case it would be my first.

vidcap3-rockyford-51521-fb.jpg

Eventually I will get around to posting a full report, but it will not be for a while as I will be out on the road chasing for another day or two.
 

John Farley

Supporter
Apr 1, 2004
1,615
870
21
Pagosa Springs, CO
www.johnefarley.com
I have now completed a writeup on this very interesting chase day in far northern NM and the Arkansas Valley in Colorado. You can view it at:


BTW, although the picture above could be the beginning of the Rocky Ford tornado, I think what is more likely to be the tornado is in this picture:

chase51521-7.jpg

Here is an annotated version of the same picture to show which feature I think was the tornado.

chase51521-7-notation.jpg

In the full report I explain why I think this was the case, and also include video from this time frame.