Tag Archives | May 2018

May 29th Northern Oklahoma Tornado Warned Supercell

May 29th took us to northern Oklahoma. An outflow boundary and advancing cold front across Kansas would provide the focus for supercell thunderstorms this day. Good moisture and extreme instability, as well as good wind shear would provide the ingredients needed for storms to sustain themselves and be intense. The first supercell formed over northern Oklahoma west of Alva and become severe. Later it would be tornado warned and produce a weak tornado.  The structure was quite pretty and the storm exhibited decent rotation from time to time. However it could not focus in one spot and usually had broad rotation. Nonetheless, it was a good long lived supercell and provided us many photographic opportunities along the way for Tour 5 and the Photo Tour #2! Enjoy the pics!

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 23rd Roswell, New Mexico Large Tornado

It’s not often you wake up in Roswell, New Mexico with screaming southeast winds and 67 dewpoints.  Low stratus clouds were racing west towards the Sacramento mountains! Even though mid and upper level winds were not particularly strong this day, there was sufficient speed and directional shear to get a supercell to form. We weren’t expecting tornadoes, but with high dewpoints and strong instability we knew the potential existed. Funny thing was most chasers were racing north to play a system in the central plains, but we couldn’t pull ourselves away from Roswell.  In the end, we’re certainly glad we did! There wasn’t another chaser that witnessed what we did this day, with a quarter mile wide strong tornado under an amazing sculpted updraft! This cell produced huge hail as well and rolled across the countryside for hours all the way to Roswell. One of the most rewarding surprise days of 2018 for the tours!!!  Enjoy the pics!! Please don’t forget to check us out on Facebook as well as Twitter and Instagram!

May 22nd Roswell, New Mexico Supercellfest

May 22nd took us to New Mexico for what appeared to be a decent set up for severe storms, but not much tornado threat. Good mid level shear, decent surface moisture and instability would set the stage for storm formation off the mountains west of Roswell. By mid afternoon several supercells formed and kept forming over the same region as they moved east off the mountains. We intercepted a few storms that had good structure, big hail and a lot of lightning.  Storms persisted through the evening hours as they approached town with hail, high winds and plenty of electrical activity.  All in all a good day for Tour 4 and Photo Tour #1 as plenty of opportunities for photography/videography were available!

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 11th PyroSupercell in the Texas Panhandle

May 11th brought about one of the most unusual events we’ve ever witnessed! A massive grass fire in the Texas Panhandle southeast of Amarillo generated a pyrocumulus cloud. This cloud forms due to intense heat causing the air to rise and condense into a cumulus cloud. What we had never seen before was one of the pyrocumulus cloud grow to such enormous proportions that it was able to move away from it’s heat source and continue to grow, eventually turning into a supercell! Amazing! This storm would move all the way to the Oklahoma border before dying. It produced enormous amounts of cloud to ground lightning, which in turn sparked over a dozen new fires! It also produced hail the size of golfballs! Strange, beautiful and bizarre!!!!

May 10th Southwest Nebraska Supercell

May 10th took us to western Nebraska for severe storms.  Good instability and shear, as well as convergence along the dryline, would allow significant storms to form. However, due to lack of good deep moisture, the cells would be higher based than you would like to produce tornadoes. We intercepted a few storms this day, but the best and prettiest was a supercell that formed southwest of Ogallala, Nebraska later afternoon. This cell would have that classic mothership appearance, produce baseball sized hail and also became quite electrified. We were able to capture some great images. Also, we deployed our slow motion lightning camera which caught numerous bolts in slow motion!

Here’s a link to the lightning video:

May 7th Valentine, Nebraska Electrical Storms

May 7th really didn’t have much going for it. It was the first day of Tour 3 and we wanted something to chase. We left Oklahoma City early bound for Valentine, Nebraska, some 650 miles away. Decent shear, but very limited moisture and instability would result in high based storms to form. What we didn’t expect was the amount of lightning that was occurring with these storms. Right around sunset they became quite electrified producing numerous cloud to ground lightning strikes. We pulled east of town as they became severe warned and watched the show. Very pretty and long lasting lightning display rolled on for hours.

Enjoy the photos!