5/24/05 REPORTS: CO

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The Lamar magic struck for a second day. We hung out at the Tyme Square and Days Inn wi-fi spots in Limon a few hours during the early afternoon while the storm picture clarified. As with yesterday, the warned storms up toward Akron and Yuma were tempting but Dean the storm guru held us off, forseeing a developing MCS that would envelop and chase any chasers trying to outflank it.

The tail-end rule held this day as a respectable barrel-shaped meso developed south of us and remained discrete, while the remaining storms rushed east-northeast to join the MCS. We drove I-70 east to Siebert, then south on SR 59 to get in front of the tail end storm as it pushed east. North of Kit Carson we punched through just behind the original tail end storm and right ahead of a rapidly developing, clearly rotating, flat-based new tail end to our west which was already capable of 1" hail and showing a 7 mile, 80kt gate-to-gate meso.

It continued to develop and turn right as we ran ahead through and south of Kit Carson. The storm developed astounding structure with stacked plate, striated mesos -- plural -- both east and west of our path with funnel studded wall clouds. Each had clear slots and was rotating like mad. At one point we were all set up for pretty pictures as an RFD punched down through the slot pushing rotating scud funnels earthward a few miles to our northeast. The wall cloud coned down but denied us the tornado then. What a vid that would have been!

The storm pushed us south to Eads and then east on SR 96 as a new updraft developed right over Eads and blasted us with CGs. East of Eads, appoaching Chivington, WX-Works showed three high gate mesos to our north, northeast and east, and two to our west. At this point a large cone-shaped lowering became visible to the east-northeast beyond the nearer meso to the north which was also dragging an amazing wall-cloud. This lowering got veeery low and mostly precip-wrapped from our vantage as we retreated south, so we can't declare a wedge without further photo analysis; however Dean approved the words "almost certainly a large wedge tornado". It appeared to be on and off ground level for the better part of an hour. Note: this is not to suggest that a wedge was down for an hour, rather that a very low hanging wedge-shaped circulation was present and twice was observed to touch ground as a cone and wedge. Preliminary views of enhanced video stills confirm this.

Sticking around to watch or continuing east into the bear's cage was not a sane option, with this beast intersecting our path and a dragging wall-cloud coming from the northwest that looked ready to tornado at any moment. We headed south from Brandon with all deliberate speed. I was the driver, so can only report that my wife, Monica, and Dean Cosgrove were oohing and ahhing at what I understood to be brief tornadic touchdowns to our west. I was marveling at the green curtain of monster hail and outflow dust in the rear view mirror and driving lest we be pounded into the mud. We made it into Lamar right as night fell and the now gusted-out complex overtook us. Writing this from the Days Inn.

Score, after reviewing preliminary captures: two tornados, one a large wedge, the other a tapered stovepipe, and possible brief touchdowns from several other low-hanging circulations; amazing structure shots of multiple gorgeous mesos, some with foreground cows. Pictures to follow when we get the chance.... All in all, another good day "at the office", as Dean puts it! :D

There's been some controversy on another board about this report's claim of tornado sightings. Film and video to come may further settle the matter, but here are unprocessed digital pics Monica took:

Taken about 20:20 MDT a few miles south of Brandon, CO, looking northwest www.stormprint.com/IMG_0916_640bit.PNG
Above magnified wall cloud area. Note the small spinup www.stormprint.com/IMG_0916_CropEnlg.PNG
Taken the same place, ten seconds later, looking north-northeast www.stormprint.com/IMG_0917_640bit.PNG
 
May 24, 2005 Chase Report (Or how I screwed up)


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 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. It formed a nice gustnado and there was some visible rotation to the north. At this point, I wanted to target the easterly storm. 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 is my mistake: I decided not to go south at Burlington because 385 would take me through the cores of two developing supercells. I drove east 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. The were heading toward me from the north. I had a nice view toward an area of rotation just west of Holly at 8:20 PM MDT. I was then hit by the core with driving rain, wind and small hail. I am now in Lamar, Colorado at the Super 8. The town is full of chasers. Jason is also staying here. He chose the south road from Burlington along with Cloud 9 and observed amazing striated storm structure. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow will be better. Thanks to Jeff Piotrowski for radar updates.


IMAGES

Gustnado at edge of the storm (right dust swirl) north of Akron, Co
http://www.harkphoto.com/temp052405gustnado.jpg

This storm developed some rotation and infow north of Akron
http://www.harkphoto.com/temp052405storm1.jpg

Striated storms at night while heading toward Lamar
http://www.harkphoto.com/temp052405striations.jpg

View of the storm while just west of Holly at 8:20 PM MDT. View is to the northwest.
http://www.harkphoto.com/temp052405storm2.jpg


Bill Hark
http://www.harkphoto.com
 
Had a really good day in eastern Colorado and western Kansas. Started the day off in northeast Colorado where a few LP supercells developed and moved east-southeast. We then dropped south through Goodland, KS to intercept a new supercell that was ongoing northeast of Lamar, Co. This turned out to be our storm of the day giving us very impressive strucuture, small funnel, and one heck of a bow segment pass later in the evening.

Yesterday was fun as well and also toured NCAR. I will try and get all the pics of yesterday up tomorrow. Need Sleep!

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>> Click Here for Video! <<

Katie Burtis, Tom Dulong, Alan Covelli and myself raced around eastern CO with Tony Laubach and Jon Van de grift. We hopped on all the action we could find except the Tornado warned storms in the north! :?

We finally got the best show around 6pm north and then east of Burlington! :D

The photos below were taken by Alan Covelli outside of Burlington, CO.
[Broken External Image]:http://www.stormchaserco.com/20050524_alan_1.JPG

[Broken External Image]:http://www.stormchaserco.com/20050524_alan_2.JPG

[Broken External Image]:http://www.stormchaserco.com/20050524_alan_3.JPG

[Broken External Image]:http://www.stormchaserco.com/20050524_alan_4.JPG

>> Click Here for Video! <<
 
Just got back into Lawrence after a 2 day 1900 mile excursion across the plains. I drove back all night from Lubbock, TX so I am pretty much exausted. Here are some of my favorite pictures from Tuesday. The structure on Tuesday was incredible and it was great first plains chase for Owen Shieh and Jasel Patel who I was chasing with. We saw a brief tornadic spin-up west of Joe, CO that lasted for 10-15 seconds. I was filming for that time period and will get vid stills later today as well as a full chase report up..

Taken at sunrise in KS
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Originally posted by mikedeason
I guess I'll throw my semi-report in as well. Went out about 9:00PM last night, north of KGRI and saw an incredible light show. My pics aren't that great, but they should give an idea of how much of a good time I had! :)

I was heading south into that as well Mike.. unbelievable lightning show. Was heading towards Grand Island but ended up diverting west towards Kearney instead to avoid potential hail. Will have to see if the photos turn out (need good digital camera in the worst way..)
 
Began the day in GLD. Headed north out of Burlington on 385, then west toward Akron. Went north in Akron for a few miles to watch the beast of a storm move toward us:

[Broken External Image]:http://www.jasonbranz.addr.com/chasing/2005/akron3a.jpg

Went back south, played around with the storm for a bit on 385, then headed east to St. Francis and parked south of town to observe:

[Broken External Image]:http://www.jasonbranz.addr.com/chasing/2005/stfrancis1a.jpg

Blasted south through GLD to Tribune, then west on K-96 toward the Cheyenne county storm. Stair-stepped south on some dirt roads near the CO border and observed this beauty:

[Broken External Image]:http://www.jasonbranz.addr.com/chasing/2005/tribune2a.jpg

Looked like it was going to produce, but we couldn't see for sure. The colors were amazing with the CGs and the sunset. It was sure nice to chase out on the high plains again.

JB
 
A little late with my report, but at least its done...

Today we saw 2 tornadoes, check the link at the bottom for videos and pictures.

Scott and I woke up this morning in Imperial Nebraska at the Super 8. The people there were kind enough to give us a 10% discount for being storm chasers. After checking data Scott, Mark, Fabian and I decided to head toward Wray, Colorado. We arrived in Wray around noon and stopped at a strip mall to get some data.

About 10 minutes after we parked in Wray the DOW team came into town. They had the rapid scan truck, and one of their other DOW trucks. The TIV (Tornado Intercept Vehicle) was in the convoy along with a chase tour group. We took some pictures of the DOW and TIV before finding another location in town with WIFI access. We had to drive around for a few minutes, but we were able to find data so we could refine our target area. The decision was made to head south to Idalia Colorado.

Unbelievably we found a rare shade tree to park under while we waited for storms to fire. We played Frisbee for an hour or so and hung out. The Principal and a teacher of the Idalia School came and talked with us. They asked if we would be in town tomorrow and if we’d mind coming to speak to their school. We would have gladly done it for them, but it didn’t look like we were going to be in the state tomorrow. Maybe we’ll have time next year.

Not too long after talking to the teachers we headed west to Joes Colorado then turned north onto CR F (59). About 12 miles north of Joes we turned left and continued west. From here we could see a nice supercell to our northwest traveling towards us. We turned south towards Wiladel, Colorado and found a great place to stop and film the storm.

To our north there was a supercell base that was really getting its act together. Five minutes after deploying our cameras a wall cloud began to take shape. I’ve never seen a wall cloud form so fast. Within 2 minutes it went from a high based storm to a huge menacing wall cloud. About 5 minutes after the wall cloud formed Mark yelled “look to the north!†Tornado #1 was on the ground and I repositioned my camera to see it better. It was on the ground for about 1 or 2 minutes before lifting. I doubt it was very strong, but a tornado nonetheless.

Right after the tornado lifted we had to pack up before the HUGE RFD hit us. The RFD winds must have been very strong, because it was coming at us in a hurry. We shot south 10 miles to Wiladel and then turned east. At this point in the chase there were supercells everywhere it seemed. We had to work hard to stay out of their path. We zigzagged southeast until we stopped in Burlington Colorado. There were supercells nipping on our heels, but we had to get some fuel.

We left Burlington on I-70 east with many other storm chasers and tour groups. Colorado interstate speed limits are 75, so we were really able to move! Mark and I decided that we would try and intercept the far southern cell in Colorado. In order to intercept that cell we went to Goodland Kansas and then traveled south on US-27. Once in Tribune Kansas we turned back west on US-96.

We crossed into Colorado near Towner and were met with the most beautiful supercell I’ve ever seen. It was perfectly laminar with a long curved beaver tail that extended for several miles. The wall cloud was clearly visible under the storm. There were more stacked plates than I could even count. Mark and I turned left (south) onto CR-27 and stopped 1.2 miles down the country road. We stepped out to film the most amazing supercell I’ve ever seen in my life. I measured sustained inflow winds at 51 mph. Check out the video, it speaks for itself.

The storm had turned straight south and it was getting a little too close for comfort. We headed south to get out of the inflow winds. We had a few gusts that were probably around 65 mph while traveling south. A couple miles down the road we turned right (west) and went in front of this amazing storm. At this point we can clearly see what appears to be a large wedge tornado on the ground. All four of us watched it intently to make sure it was a tornado. We all agreed that it was a wedge tornado. The video shows what we are talking about.

We continued west on the country road and stopped at the intersection of 385 to shoot more video. There could have still been a tornado on the ground at this point, but the dust and low light made it very difficult to see. The storm got pretty close to us again so we headed south on 385 for a few miles. We passed a lot of chasers on the way south.

It was starting to get dark and difficult to see anything so we called off the chase. We spent the night in Clayton New Mexico for some well deserved rest.

We all agree that the tornado was on the ground. I don’t think it was down very long, or that it was very strong. I’d estimate it was between ½ and 1/3 miles wide. It was only in wheat fields so there won’t be too much evidence of it. Anyone looking from the west side of the wall cloud would not have been able to see it due to the dust and intense RFD. It looked like we were in the right place at the right time to see this one.

What a great day though, it was enough to make our 2005 trip worthwhile even with this weather pattern.

I've got 2 videos and 27 pictures on my website. Check out my chase log at http://www.brademel.com/pages/storm_chase_...year=2005&id=10
 
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