Tag Archives | Colorado

June 21st Palmer Divide Briefly Tornadic Supercell

We weren’t expecting anything significant on June 21st. However, as often happens in the upslope regions of Colorado combined with terrain features, a decent supercell formed north of Colorado Springs along the Palmer Divide. Good directional shear due in part to strong easterly winds helped the storm to organize and rotate. As the cell approached the town of Kiowa, the low levels started spinning strongly. You can see a hook forming visually and rotate pretty rapidly. A tornado warning was issued by the NWS and soon an area of rotating debris was seen under the hook area of the storm. This weak tornado only lasted a couple of minutes.

As the cell moved further east, it encountered less surface moisture and instability, which caused it to steadily weaken and eventually dissipate east of Limon. Several other storms initiated in the cold side of the first cell’s outflow and never could really intensify for long periods. A fun chase and right in our backyard.

May 27th Northeast Colorado/Southwest Nebraska Tornadic Supercells

This day had a lot going for it. Great shear, good moisture and instability, and a dryline would help set the stage for intense supercells. Our first storm of the day formed near Ft Morgan and tracked northeast along I-76.  It became a rather large and occasionally disorganized supercell. However as it approached Sterling, it wrapped up hard and produced a brief, small tornado. Further to the east, a second, well organized and photogenic supercell formed. It produced a few brief tornadoes, however the structure of this storm would be one of the prettiest for 2019! As it came towards Imperial, a beautiful sculpted storm was present. At one point west of town, not only did the storm have a stunning appearance, but a partially rain wrapped tornado became visible. The cone shaped twister was on the ground for a few minutes before wrapping in rain again as we lost visibility of it. An amazing day with gorgeous storms and a few tornadoes! Enjoy the photos below!

May 26th Southeast Colorado Tornadic Supercell

May 26th ended up being an exciting Colorado storm day! We captured a tornadic supercell just north of Lamar that had a brief pretty white elephant trunk shaped tornado. The day started out really messy as numerous elevated thunderstorms formed over eastern Colorado. An existing boundary that was visible underneath the elevated storms would set the stage for late day supercells, one of which was long lived and quite nice. By mid afternoon we were watching storms west of Lamar. They were in drier air with high cloud bases and could never really get intense.

Further east towards Lamar one storm rapidly developed along the boundary and tracked northeast. Moisture, instability and wind shear was much better in this location! It quickly dropped a funnel that persisted for nearly 10 minutes, touching down a couple times but causing no damage in the rural areas. It moved northeast and weakened as a second storm approached from the southwest and became tornado warned. It tried hard several times to produce but in the end it never did. We followed it northeast to the Kansas border before dropping further south and east into Kansas for late evening lightning.  An exciting day in Colorado and western Kansas! Enjoy the pics below. (First bright pic of white tornado is a cell phone shot)

June 19th Prospect Valley, Colorado Tornado

June 19th had tornado written all over it. It didn’t disappoint either! Fantastic wind shear, high CAPE, good moisture for the high plains and upslope flow into the foothills provided all the ingredients needed to get tornadic supercells to form. An amazing sight, 3 significant supercell storms formed at the same time, situated about 50 miles apart. Usually the tail end storm is the cell you want to target, however, an old outflow boundary existed in which the middle cell developed on. It would be that cell that would go on to have amazing structure and produce the Prospect Valley tornado. All 3 storms would become tornado warned during their lifespans. The middle storm we watched grow from a smaller storm to a well structured tornadic supercell as it crossed I-25 and moved eastward. Various wall clouds, each time showing rotation, formed until finally rotation tightened to produce a tornado. A long snaking tornado was on the ground for nearly 10 minutes before roping out. After the tornado, the storm still spun as it moved across eastern Colorado before dying south of Ft Morgan. At that time, we blasted south to Limon and points east as the tail end storm took over the show. It also was tornado warned and may have produced a rain wrapped tornado north of Genoa. Structure was beautiful HP supercell, and it also was highly electrified. By early evening the storms lined out as they moved into Kansas producing high winds and heavy rain. A fantastic day for the tours as nature gave us quite a show!

June 18th Notheast Colorado Supercellfest!

Days like June 18th don’t happen very often.  With good moisture, shear and instability, it was a pretty good bet supercells would form. However, we didn’t anticipate the shear number of supercells that would actually form! A boundary laying east/west across the northern Denver metro area extending into northeast Colorado would provide the needed focus for storm development. One supercell after another formed and tracked along the boundary.  Every different type and structure of storm occurred and made for a photographer’s delight! Sculpted updrafts with good lightning, wall clouds, colors, possible tornadoes, and hail happened! Storms would rage on through the late evening hours before diminishing just before midnight. SLT co-owner Caryn Hill’s intercept of the Roggen, Colorado storm superseded the structure shot she got from the night before near Otis, Colorado! Absolutely stunning sunset supercell! Please enjoy the photos! They were gorgeous!

June 17th Colorado/Nebraska Tornadic Supercells

June 17th had big promise. Great wind shear, good moisture, high CAPE and a dryline and outflow boundary intersection set the stage for what would be a great day! We started in Ogallala, Nebraska and just had to drift westward towards northeast Colorado. Mid afternoon initiation was pretty convincing that supercells and possible tornadoes would occur. The initial supercell spun like mad, dropping baseball sized hail and producing at least two tornadoes. Structure was very pretty, however blowing dirt in the rear flank downdraft area (rfd) would block viewing of the mesocyclone at times. A big dusty tornado occurred near Julesburg, CO followed by another tornado near Big Springs, NE. The cell would eventually gust out northwest of North Platte, NE but not before producing one more small tornado. A fantastic day that produced an awesome supercell. Meanwhile, SLT co-owner Caryn Hill chased locally and intercepted a highly sculpted tornado warned supercell near Otis, Colorado! Probably the best structure for 2018 to that day! Enjoy the photos!

May 28th Eastern Colorado Tornado Outbreak

May 28th had good potential. An outflow boundary laid across eastern Colorado from north of Seibert, Colorado to Colby, Kansas and points east. Great shear, instability, moisture and lift along the boundary, as well as the dryline extending south from Oakley, would allow numerous storms to form. A couple became tornado warned in far eastern Colorado. One particular supercell anchored itself north of Seibert along the boundary and became a tornado machine. We were on the scene early and watched as numerous tornado formed, with up to 3 on the ground at the same time. Several of the tornadoes were actually landspouts (nonsupercell tornadoes), however a couple certainly had mesocyclones and were therefore supercell tornadoes. It was an amazing sight for our guests to witness as we were able to get within a mile of a few tornadoes, and within a half mile of one stronger tornado!  Please enjoy the photos from this amazing event!!!!!

May 26th Eastern Colorado Tornado Warned Supercell

May 26th took us to eastern Colorado to play upslope off the Palmer Divide. Strong shear, decent moisture and instability would set the stage for several severe storms.  The best of these would form and move into far east central Colorado by later afternoon.  Although higher based, this supercell would become tornado warned and produce a couple brief spin ups.  Hail was up to baseball sized and the structure was very nice. The storm eventually merged into a cluster as it moved into western Kansas during the evening.

May 8th Eastern Colorado Tornadic Supercell

May 8th had potential in Colorado, as well as eastern New Mexico. It was the first day of Tour 3, and we decided to play the Palmer Divide area. Decent shear, moisture and instability would set the stage for intense severe storm development by mid afternoon. With a 650 mile drive from Oklahoma City, Tour 3 guests made it in time for a beautiful long lived sculpted supercell. However, we would miss a brief tornado that SLT Co-owner Caryn Hill caught early in the storm evolution. Sometimes time and distance won’t allow you to get where you would like to before storms fire up. This supercell would mature and produce large hail, strong winds, lightning and gorgeous storm structure. This would be the first of 4 straight days Tour 3 and one of our On Call Tours were treated to tornado warned supercells.

July 17th Northeast Colorado Tornado Warned Supercell

July 17th was a high plains upslope set up. Southeast winds along a boundary would funnel moisture into the Cheyenne ridge. A supercell formed early afternoon near Chugwater, WY and would right turn and track down the boundary into northeast Colorado. This storm was outflow dominant most of its life cycle and was a major hail producer. In Colorado it became tornado warned, although not a big threat in my opinion since it was outflow dominant. We came across some beautiful landscapes to photograph the storm, and everyone had a great time with it. The storm never produced a tornado but it did produce significant hail the size of baseballs along its path.  This was to be the last great day for the season as we wrapped up tours and headed home to Denver. Thank you all for a wonderful tour season. We have the best guests and guides on the planet!