06/16/04: REPORTS CO, IA, NM, KS

Larry J. Kosch

Judging from the damage reports coming in from CO, it's time for the REPORTS thread. Place your first-hand chase reports here. Thanks. 8) LJK.
I chased a storm in extreme eastern Illinois near Paris that was RITOR'd for a while, then another between Danville, IL and Crawfordsville, IN that also rated a tornado warning. Neither storm was visually impressive, though the first had a well-defined lowering late in its life.

The second storm produced a non-tornadic needle funnel and a persistent area of rotation before becoming disorganized.

Thanks to Steve Miller for nowcasting.
I and my wife Monica were guided by Dean Cosgrove to the tornadic supercell about 25 miles southwest of Lamar, CO, Wednesday afternoon. The closest intercept was made from a good vantage far into the network of local dirt and gravel roads west of US287. We were waiting in Lamar when the cell went up somewhere before 2 p.m. MDT south/southwest of the John Martin reservoir.

As we approached from the east we saw a possible large tornado well to the west, and about this time a tornado was reported by spotters to the west on the other side of the storm. We had a positioning delay and had to back-track when a road shown to run through to the south dead-ended at a gate by a ranchhouse, thanks apparently to the initiative of said rancher. Never mind... race back three squares, looking up at a very green hail core (between slowing for the many cattle-guards lying in wait for an unwary suspension) and speculating whether you or the core would make the intersection first where you were to turn south.

From the vantage we were able to get out, observe and photograph the on-coming meso for about five minutes as it approached from the west, drawing very strong ESE inflow. There was very probably a large rain and hail-wrapped wedge about two miles west. When Dean gets the chance he'll study the video. From the vantage we also observed several miles to the south of the main meso definite gustnadoes and a quasi-tornado with a a definite funnel below cloud-base and a connected, persistent dust-whirl on the ground.

The beast started to gust out and we had to get out of there fast! We "ambled" south racing the monster hail front, RFD and ??? (very, very dark in there -- let's just leave it at that), passing several other chasers and the Silver Lining Tour vans as we curved east just ahead of the storm back toward the paved road.

We then became storm chasees all the way to Garden City, KS, and beat the squall line to GCK by a few minutes. The steak dinner later tasted very good! 8)