Tag Archives | green

June 19th Raton Mesa, New Mexico Supercell

June 19th was the last day of Tour 7.  The weather pattern kept us fairly close to home, with the set up over the Raton Mesa between Colorado and New Mexico. Upslope flow would push decent moisture into the region and thunderstorms would form by mid afternoon. Moderate CAPE and shear were also present as the storm intensified and moved eastward. The region is known for it’s lack of good roads, so we ended up on a few poorer gravel/dirt roads. We arrived as the storm was very intense, producing golfball to tennisball sized hail. Love the “hail core green” color to the clouds when they are suspending millions of hailstones in them. The region is very colorful with many red rock buttes and ridges in the area adding to the already pretty scene. The terrain has been very dry in 2020, so little vegetation was growing.  Eventually the storm moved out over the Black Mesa area of the Oklahoma panhandle and weakened as it moved further east. A fun last day was a pretty storm and countryside! Click on a pic for a larger image. Enjoy!

June 8th Central Nebraska Tornadic Supercells

June 8th would provide us with ample opportunities to intercept numerous severe thunderstorms in central Nebraska. By mid afternoon several intense supercells formed along a weak front. Two storms became tornado warned as they spun across the region near Anselmo. Strong shear, decent moisture, high CAPE values and the boundary provided the focus for storms. We caught the first storm as it spun across with a large wall cloud that was rotating steadily but slowly. It tried to produce a tornado but never could. The second cell was by far the prettiest of the day. It had fantastic structure, a very large wall cloud and a couple of weak spin ups. At one point a dusty debris cloud formed underneath a small funnel that touched down for about 1-2 minutes. The storm became a formidable supercell and it moved across the region. Several other storms formed and a couple were also tornado warned, but did not produce. A fun and exciting day with these cells for all tour guests! Enjoy the pics and please click on one for a larger image.

June 2nd Southern Minnesota Tornadic Supercell

June 2nd appeared to have some promise for severe storms in southern Minnesota. Very hot and relatively moist air would reside along and south of a stationary front south of the Twin Cities. Large temperature/dewpoint spreads would result in higher based storms. High CAPE and moderate shear also existed. A cluster of cell formed along the boundary, and eventually the eastern most cell would mature into an intense hail/tornado making supercell. I was completely surprised to see a multiple tornado warnings for the storm despite the higher base! It produced a couple of weak tornadoes and very large hail 3 inches in diameter. It persisted for several hours before gusting out, with an eventual line of severe storms forming and moving southeast through southern Minnesota. This area is very photogenic and has many stunningly photographic farmsteads! Check out the photos and please click on an image for a larger pic. Enjoy!

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.

June 13th Nara Vista, New Mexico Tornado Warned Supercell

The set up for June 13th wasn’t great. Very limited moisture would result in fairly low CAPE values, however deep layer shear was strong. In the end, a cluster of storms would form over eastern New Mexico and slowly track east and south. The tail end cell became tornado warned for nearly 2 hours and was very strong, also producing hail golfball sized. We started the day near Clayton, and eventually dropped south to get on the tail end supercell. The structure was decent, but the main story of this storm was the lightning and amazing colors! Just before sunset, the storm spun hard and became incredibly electrified. As sun set, the storm weakened and gusted out as it moved southeast of Nara Vista. A fun day and on the photography side of things, it was quite spectacular! Enjoy the photos!

May 18th Northern Kansas Supercell

A complex, but decent set up occurred on May 18th. A dry line, warm front and cold front would be big players this day, but the question was which would produce the best storms. The dryline fired up early and often producing numerous storms with huge hail. The cold front fired up in Colorado with clusters of storms moving into western Kansas. But it would be the warm front in northern Kansas that would produce the longest lived supercells, nearly anchored along it. Unfortunately, none would produce significant tornadoes, but a couple would produce hail baseball sized and as well as one landspout tornado. We chased a cell south of Oakley that would  have pretty structure, tons of lightning and even a cone funnel that would could not determine if it touched down or not due to the angle it was from us. I fun and exciting day ended with a fantastic lightning show in Garden City, Kansas.

May 14th Southern Kansas Tornadic Supercell

May 14th took the May Minitour to southern Kansas. A storm formed near Arkansas City and anchored itself. Due to extremely high dew points and CAPE, the storm grew very large quickly. Wind shear was enough to start it spinning as well. It became severe and soon also was tornado warned. As the base lowered and a wall cloud formed, an elephant trunk shaped funnel dropped down and touched down for a couple of minutes before roping out. The storm maintained its structure for a couple more hours before it merged with a line of storms coming in from the west. A surprise event as it wasn’t forecasted, but nonetheless was pretty intense. Large hail also accompanied this supercell during its lifetime.

May 13th Texas Panhandle Supercells

May 13th brought a good set up with strong convergence, good instability and moisture, but weak shear. This would result in high precipitation storms nearly anchoring across the Texas panhandle into south central Kansas. These storms would produce copious amounts of huge hail, high winds and especially flash flooding. Due to weak low level shear, they would not produce tornadoes. One particular supercell grew to a very large storm. A second storm was south of it and the inflow was so strong from the main supercell it pulled to southern storm into it and completely destroyed it! Crazy to see this happen! The large storm became a formidable high precipitation supercell as it slowly moved east towards the Oklahoma border. Lightning was also intense in many of the storms and we were treated to quite a light show as we drove back to Oklahoma City.

May 1st Kansas Tornadic Supercells

May 1st had a lot of promise. However there were certainly some issues with the set up. Storm mode was unclear near the front in northern Kansas and a strong capping inversion southward along the dryline could result is very short storm lives in that area. We started near Great Bend and jumped on a storm that formed northeast of Dodge City. It quickly became tornado warned. Based on initial visuals of the storm, it had little tornadic threat at that time. As the storm moved northeast towards Interstate 70 it really ramped up, getting tornado warned for nearly 3 hours. Rotation was visibly increasing and the structure of the supercell became quite nice. Unfortunately a left moving split further south came crashing into it and basically killed it. Other storms formed north and south, and opting for the usual tail end storm this day proved to be the wrong play. As the tail end supercell moved east away from the dryline, it showed a nice hook on radar and became tornado warned. As we raced south, leaving the messy northern play to get on the tail end storm, it weakened and eventually died. Before dying, it gave us a very nice look at the updraft as it became a low precipitation supercell. 9 out of 10 times this play works. However this day it did not as a cluster of storms north of the interstate rotated and one dropped a significant tornado.

Enjoy the photos as it was a pretty supercell!

July 10th Eastern Montana Tornado Warned Supercell

July 10th was day one for the Great North Tornado Hunt.  A strong area of low pressure over southern Montana and an associated warm front extending east of there would provide the lift to produce numerous storms, including a few supercells. We intercepted the only tornado warned supercell in the country near Baker, Montana and followed it eastward along the boundary as it spun wildly. A few of times it appeared to produce a couple of funnels and even a brief dirt swirl under one, but the story with this beast was the pretty structure and amazing green colors.  This supercell produced very large baseball sized hail and had long inflow bands eastward from the updraft. The open prairieland of eastern Montana always gives a great foreground for one of nature’s most violent storms, the supercell. A fun way to start off the final tour of the year!