Saturday, June 25, 2011

Chase 10 June 17th 2011 Palmer Divide

It was noon. The Rockies were convective from early morning heating and cells were pushing of the Rockies through Denver. I was getting out of the hospital and was ready to leave for a chase once again. A nice rain shaft blanketed Denver as I was packing up the car. Today was going to be awesome because of the conditions and Palmer. I was able to find someone to go with me because I really do enjoy company while chasing. Paddy Fowler was getting off work just in time for some Palmer magic action. A frontal boundary was pushing off the Rockies so at first it was linear so I had time to wait for Paddy to show up. I was ancy, but patience is something I've learned. Paddy and I departed after the linear stuff converged further east creating the first severe thunderstorm just south of Byers. We drove through the core getting some awesome hail on I-70. Pushing forward there was another developing severe thunderstorm developing and moving northwards behind it. We sat around and watched this develop with a long inflow tail wrapping into the long meso. It was a beautiful view to be in between two cells. One to the north and one to the south parked just southwest of Agate, Colorado. Watching the convective towers beginning to form on the east in the direction of Limon, it was time to head in that direction to be there for the 3rd convective severe thunderstorm. We get to Limon parking just south of town and watch a beautiful meso outflow cell with a wall cloud rooted deep into the core. It was simply amazing. We could see yet another cell developing east of Colorado Springs moving NNE, so this would set us up for the 4th best severe thunderstorm with supercell structure for a brief time as we arrived. The mesocyclonic structure on this severe storm made this worth the whole day of excitement that we had just already experienced on the first 3 cells prior. With the knowledge of all the storms prior going outflow, we knew time was limited before this moster cell would go outflow. Soaking all the green sounding skies along with the base meso, it was great. We saw dust getting kicked up out front which signaled this thing was heading eastward. No hope of this thing restructuring as it folded over. Looking on radar we saw yet another couple of cells were making their way out of C Springs turning severe. So we bailed out and headed a little west. At this point we are waiting just outside of the town of Punkin Center. I just had a feeling we needed to wait this girl out, yea storms can be girls too lol. We noticed along convective line from roll clouds were becoming quite impressive as it would come into an area of greater moisture from the backside of the 4th passing cell. A beautiful long shelf parallel hwy 71 north and south moved with intimidation eastward. This was very impressive and gorgeous. We drove north on 71 punching yet another hail core finishing off with very photogenic sun crespecular rays piercing through the leftover cu towers. All in all, 5 well noted cells and with good timing to each of the severe storms, makes this a great chase experience with Paddy. Glad we were able to make up for the bust day :)

Chase 9 May 28th 2011 The Forgotten Bust :)

The forgotten chase, BUST! I rolled down to Aurora, CO on a Saturday with a 'SEE TEXT' hoping to see convective towers develop off the Palmer. I picked up a long-time friend whom I hadn't been chasing for almost 6 years. May 10th 2005 to be exact in Nebraska, this was a good day. Anyways we met up and took my VAD car to just a little west of Aurora Reservoir and just waited around for something to fire. The conditions were a little too chilly during the day and a strong cap lead to nothing during the day to chase. I was hoping for no evening convective towers as I suspected would happen. We had a good time just observing from our spot, despite seeing cirrus and sunny skies along with a cumulus' trying hard to our east to poof up. Anyways, Paddy and I called it a day and watched on radar that night as a severe thunderstorm moved east of Colorado Springs. I'm glad we didn't chase it, cause both of us didn't want to chase for an hour than come home. A good bust day all in all, cause I'm not in Kansas looking at blue skies. Till next time.....

Monday, June 6, 2011

Chase 8 May 30th 2011 "Wiggity" Wiggins, Colorado vicinity

Storms I expected, but nowhere near the timeframe that I anticipated these storms to begin. I was watching an intense movie on AMC when I randomly decided to look at my phone radar. My jaw dropped and I couldn't believe things were already happening. I was in my pjs and ready to go back to bed for a nap, lol.
My heart went into frantic mode and I was out the door in one minute with everything that I needed. I even stayed in my pjs!!! I headed east 34 to intercept the severe storms moving towards Wiggins, Colorado. As I was going to my car it looked as a cell had already passed to the northeast moving north from Greeley. That is a problem with living in a closed apartment with very little internet. As I was driving eastward through the cowyard just east of Kersey, Colorado, the roads were piled of hail from the first wave of cells that moved northwards earlier. At this point, I felt I missed everything. There was still a chance just to enjoy the outflow show and the new cells converging northwards to Wiggins. It was good to get out east and enjoy a Colorado severe warned storm. Some rotation was seen in the outflow. To the south, looking towards Denver, I could see some meso bases and lowering at times. Everything eventually lined out and weakened with no upper level support to keep these storms afloat and long tracked.
My respect to all soldiers and those whom served to protect our way of life. Memorial Day
Here are tons of photos from the afternoon :)

Pea-sized hail

Mileage: 59

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Chase 7 May 24th 2011 EF-5 Wedge El Reno, Oklahoma

It was a beautiful morning in Elk City, OK the dryline receding from yesterday’s storms and a cu field scattering western Oklahoma. Today in the forecast was for a similar but better setup for supercells all along the dryline of Oklahoma. Brad Duncan really wanted to come, but had to stay home for his daughter’s t-ball game. Stephanie Baker still was able to ride along for what was about to be a long evening of intense action. Waiting at initiation just a little south of Clinton, OK, we watched cells explode moving northeast converging into the first severe thunderstorm of the day. We followed this north and east for a little while until I realized we needed to get south to the second tornado warned cell in yesterday’s area that was beginning to report tornadoes. Meteorologically I was twisting my head because I should’ve known and forecasted what I call the STAIRCASE CHASE METHOD. The one that we were chasing was also tornado warned too, but had my heart set on the second southern tornadic supercell.
Shep did an amazing job navigating us all the way down there, while I was on top of my game driving through intense lightning and heavy downpours at times. We were near I-40 again way to the east near Oklahoma City just north of Hinton, OK. It was dark and very ominous! Adrenaline kicked in when we reached a clearing and could see a wedge was on the ground in the distance moving in our direction. When I say distance, there was plenty of time to get south and be in position as it moves northeastward into the El Reno, Oklahoma area. As we drive through Hinton, OK we get to a road that drives south and east at the same time. Shep and Stephanie at this point were watching and photographing what was a good sized tornado moving northeast towards Hinton. I pulled over and looked to see the meso and below immense rotation in the distance at it was passing to the north of us. Most incredible rotation I’ve ever seen close to the ground. It wasn’t even fully condense either. I saw the roping stage unfolding when parked watching it pass by. Now in my meteorological sensing I’m sure this energy of rotation fully engulfed into the wedge that dominated most of what was on the ground as it kept tugging along northeast towards northern El Reno and northern Piedmont, Oklahoma. Maneuver driving was engaged just to get back to the northeast to catch up to the wedge. I made some bad decisions on my driving in order to get a better position, but with safety concerns for other people with us. It was for the best. We got to 81 and headed north to El Reno where we ran into chaser convergence following behind the most intense backside rotation of a tornado passing over the road. The rain horizontal and power flashes up ahead made for an exciting but bittersweet moment. This tornado was damaging to many lives.
Piedmont, Oklahoma, a town I’m the biggest fan because I grew up in this town and found what I wanted to do with my life. We were able to go north to see that my neighborhood just east of the town of Piedmont was still intact. To the north though, not so fortunate.
Everything was getting blocked off, which was great work by the emergency response teams. So hats off to them. I hope for speed recovery and hope for those not fortunate of this disaster.

We began back to the east to get to I-35 so we could catch up with a supercell moving through Norman area heading east on I-40. We again drove through the intense updraft, anvil where hail fell ahead of this monster super cell. Again Ryan Shepard, thanks to him for navigating us through to get in position for possible structured supercell. We arrived in Shawnee, another funny, Stephanie Baker who lived there through her college career just graduated from this town with the intention of never coming back. WELL SHE WAS WRONG! LOL. So we pulled in to get gas and saw the Roger Hill caravan following the similar ideas that this was all that was close enough to enjoy. We drove north of Shawnee and I looked over and moved over slowing down quickly. There was our third tornado of the day. A beautiful rope tornado just to our west. The storm began to outflow but in the rising updraft area was this tornado that many others were much closer to have a better vantage point. All in all an amazing day once again. Shep and I talked to cows for a good 5-6 mins too while standing out watching the cell moving northeastward towards Tulsa area. Don’t have this footage, but will get it when I can :)

Wedge Tornado
Trunk Tornado
Rope Tornado
Golf Ball Hail

Mileage: 367