6/22/06 REPORTS: CO / KS / TX / OK

Michael, Tom Dulong and myself got out a little too late to catch the tornado that damaged a house under construction in Douglas County. We did have fun chasing a nice meso that many times was tornado warned and tried again to tornado but fell short and never really did as far as we could see.


We stared for a long time at this feature that looked like a tornado but could not confirm that it was rotating or touching down


Near Hugo, CO at 3:21pm MDT - probably NOT a tornado but still got our attention!
I was on this storm with Roger Hill and Silver Lining Tours today, as well. What a beast! We drove through squall lines so many times today, I couldn't even say if we drove east through this one or what. This monster was extremely gusty. As we raced south and east to get out in front of the thing, we were racing with debris like plastic bags and tumbleweeds alongside us... at 70 MPH! Plus the temperature dropped from 83 to 53 in about a half hour. Crazy.

Roger finds it very hard to believe that any tornadoes, landspouts or otherwise, could have formed from this storm, and his colleagues agree. It seems much more likely that the damage you described is from the extremely strong straight-line outflow winds.

Here is a longer summary of our chase day.
This storm did kind of catch us by surprise. We were racing home to see my little sister who was in the emergency room at Childrens Hospital, so we were not thinking about chasing. When we got to Limon, we saw several chasers including Roger Hill, and a DOW. I finally got some info on the storm and we decided to chase it for a short time. We unfortunately got behind the storm and followed it south on route 71 from Limon.

We never got ahead of the storm. We just stayed in between the meso/gust front and the precip. There was a report of a few landspouts 5 miles northwest of Punkin Center, but we were very close to Punkin Center at that time and did not see any obvious landspouts anyway, just a lot of blowing dust. We turned around a little south of Punkin Center and headed for Denver. Overall it was not a bad day especially since we did not think that we would chase at all. :D
After much heeing and hawing, I finally left home at 2:15 p.m. and got down to Limon by 4:00. I shot down 71 towards Punkin Center trying to catch up with the western end of the line. I was in for quite a structure treat as I emerged from the rain curtain of the supercell dumping copious amounts of rain farther east around Hugo. I saw an absolutely stunning, rock hard vertical updraft about fifteen miles to my southwest, with another supercell developing about 10 miles to its west. I tore west on Highway 94 and then shot down a county road just east of the Lincoln/El Paso County line. I stopped a few miles north of the storm and took a few pictures as the meso tightened and lowered considerably. This was around 5:00 p.m. I began to get excited when a condensation funnel appeared and began lowering towards the ground. I was ecstatic when I saw a small debris whirl on the ground. :D The debris whirl only lasted maybe fifteen seconds or so, and then the condensation funnel disappeared within two minutes. I had no cell service so I didn't bother to report the tornado. The meso continued to rotate until it became obscured by the supercell which had formed to it's west. Still wanting to see if the meso would produce anything more, I decided to core punch the bear's cage of the obscuring cell. Bad idea. It was instantaneous; one second the road was dry and it was showering moderately and the next second it was like I had hit a wall of water. The rain was coming down so hard and so fast I couldn't even see to drive so I stopped. The deluge was also occompanied by some quarter to near golf ball size hail, so for a few minutes it was like standing next to a jet engine. When the rain lightened up about five minutes later, the Mercedes was now surrounded by about eight inches of standing water which had completely flooded the county road to the point that it looked more like a stream than a road. :unsure: I decided to get out of there, and though I had to go fairly slow in order to avoid sloshing water up into the engine and stalling it out, I got out of there with minimal ado and thanked God that I had all wheel drive. I got back to Highway 94, went and screwed around in a salvage yard east of Yoder for an hour ( I was bored, what can I say) took the Calhan Highway from 94 up to Calhan, topped off the tank, and then came home.
Total chase mileage: 369 miles
Total severe weather observed: 1 tornado, 1 large hail event and 1 flash flood
Chase Rating Factor: 7 out of 10 (would have been higher if the tornado had stayed on the ground longer) B)
Regret: Not leaving two hours earlier like I had planned (could have seen the Black Forest tornado if I had) ;)
Lesson Learned: Core punching is a STUPID idea. :rolleyes:

Here is a pic from the chase today to the Dumas Texas area. The isolated cells in the northern Panhandle were unimpressive but the monster bow cell that moved into Dalhart and Dumas was very photogenic and looked as if the tmosphere was bending in half in its wake. It was also producing some nice looking gustnadoes one of which actually passed over me with winds to 75 mph peak gusts. This was actually pretty interesting but I didntr realize it was actually a gustnado over me until it passed a little SE of me and I could see it rising and rotating into the clouds along the leading edge of the feature. Just behind me a couple of grain bins were damaged as well. I watched as it moved into the North Side of Dumas and fell apart. The gustfront however would keep its nice looking structure until it reached Amarillo then pretty much lost its structure.

Didnt see alot on this chase till late in the day but not going out the previous day and missing the Oklahoma panhandle landspouts coaxed me out today. I also got to use my just arrived this morning canon 10-22mm lense which I loved. This was the perfect type storm for such a wide angle lense. I still at times couldnt get the whole storm on the frame this thing was so huge.

Also got some late night lightning pics from Wichita Falls added one of those pics here as well

The 2006 season continues with all its might! A beautiful setup with only one thing wrong; upper level winds. They were slow enough where storms formed so fast, they grew into each other and became one of the biggest convective blobs I've seen in a while. Jon V and I left campus immediately after my test and shot down I-25 to Castle Rock where we hopped east on CO-86 and on the first tornado warned cell of the day. We witnessed a wall cloud and funnel south of Elizabeth which disappeared. Shortly after that, we had a tightly rotating funnel which made it halfway to earth before quickly disappating. Another tornado-warned cell developed to our immediate north and quickly became a precip mess. Another tornado-warned cell in El Paso County south of Elbert sent us down a county road where we crossed through Elbert and onto Hwy 24. We had a great view of the base, but no tornatic activity to speak of, let alone a tornado. Later reports of the house-damaging tornado lead us to believe that a precip core to our immediate west was blocking the view and the only chance to see this tornado was due south of it. We flew up Hwy 24 towards Limon where yet another tornado warned cell was. A report of a tornado 11 miles west of Limon had us curious as we were west of Limon directly beneath the storm's base and saw little in the way of rotation. Precip was around, so I suppose its possible the tornado was north of us a bit, but still, no visual. We got in touch with Verne when we arrived in Limon for a top-off who said they were with Chris and company and were heading south on 71 north of Punkin Center. We dove south on CO-71, but quickly fired east to Hugo and southeast on Hwy 287 to avoid punching the core of a tornatic storm to our south. Verne was our eyes as we raced south and east and confirmed no tornadoes (a few spin-ups) . We finally got back within visual view of the base about 10 miles southeast of Hugo and stopped several times to shoot the amazing shelf cloud. We then had to surrender ourselves to the core when a 6 mile one-way road construction had us sitting in the storm's path for about 20 minutes before the pace-car finally arrived to take us through the construction. Jon and I filmed our before death speeches as we figured we were going to get cored while sitting there filming the death of Castle Rock's construction crew. Fortunately, we were able to get through the cone zone before the core got to us. We got into Kit Carson and fired south toward Eads where the eastward moving line finally overtook us. We met with Verne and company briefly under a car wash with the core of heavy rain beating down on us. We continued south to Lamar where Jon and I documented some closed roads due to minor flooding. We shot around town for a bit before stopping to fix my glasses (my lens popped out between Eads and Lamar). After that, we jumped on Hwy 50 towards Pueblo and then home to Denver to wrap up another 500 mile Colorado trip.






Humerous video of severe storm producing storms hitting Grandma as well as our final thoughts in construction.


EDIT: To clear up confusion for those who missed it above...


We were at one of those lovely one-way stops for 20 minutes.


Sitting in traffic, not fun.. making light of the situation.. much more fun!
After finally getting things finished up at work, getting everything set in the new chase car and after three reboots with the GPS units I hit the road out of Wichita around 3:45pm. Made it into Great Bend around 5:00pm and was tracking the cell that was Tornado Warned in Trego Co. I followed the cell south once it made it into Pawnee Co really stayed on the Pawnee Co and Stafford Co line until Highway 50 then headed back east. The storm dropped a lot of hail and rain but never really dropped a funnel. Did see a wall cloud a few times and at one point maybe some dust swirling around on the ground but it was short lived. Nice chase with the new car nice storm to take pictures of and also for the Sprint PCS user I had data coverage this entire trip so looks like finally getting data coverage in rural Kansas.