Thursday, April 12, 2012

Denver's First Spring Severe Thunderstorm of 2012 Season

It goes by saying, wow. Today was an unexpected surprise given I only suspected a hailer and some lightning. If it were to go severe it would be the threat of marginal hail. It was a different type of severe thunderstorm but a typical seasonal spring beginning to the Denver Front Range. As a line of intense storms blew up in the foothills making its way into conditions favorable for an intense blow up scene. My concern was the convection in the south cutting off any warm inflow, but I was wrong. I didn't think it to realize for the past month we had no precipitation and were left with warm pools of air from all the continuous daytime heating from the past month. The southeasterly winds were still pouring in strong against the Palmer into the Denver area providing enough inflow along with the dewpoints closing near the 50's. The Helicity values were perfect for some convergence and some organization of a very strong severe thunderstorm that went tornado warned. Yes. TORNADO WARNED.

The story goes. I went outside from the hospital to get the inflow running on my back and watch the line of storms pushing over the foothills. A linear of nice high based clouds began billowing in from the southwest all the way to DIA. As soon as orographic lifting began to play a role in the embedded chaos of high based thunderstorms. The clouds began rising with strong vertical shear and began converging pretty much right over the hospital. Talk about being in the right place at the right time for once. I just sat there letting the cool rain drops that occasionally fell bring the sensation of spring in my nose. Now the part where it gets interesting is, this sucker has just went severe and I have no idea. I sat there watching the towering cu's busting through the embedded mess, followed with the southern edge of the cell beginning an inflow tail (feeder cloud) than in a dry little bitty slot was incredibly unusual fast horizonal rising motion. The horizontal rising motion along with the cool bitter rain turning warm from an inflow breeze of warm moist air got me all jittery with excitement. It was passing over the hospital and it was hard to see over the building as it was about to do something great!

I ran inside and up the elevator soooo fast. I looked out the near window off the elevator and could see to my east northeastern direction the beginning of a developing funnel cloud. At the this point I started snapping away on my phone. I stood there in amazement and didn't really tell anyone, cause last thing we needed was for everyone to panic. Funny thing is after I watched the whole funneling process for 2 minutes. The hospital finally put out the Tornado Warning drill. Yea they were 10 minutes late for that, hmmm might need to look into that issue here. All in all can't complain.

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