Tag Archives | wind

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 5th West Texas Haboob

A crazy day ensued as a cluster of high based storms formed in New Mexico and tracked east into west Texas. As the storms approached the Lubbock area a very well formed haboob occurred, with a wall of dust/dirt scouring the landscapes. Haboobs can be very photogenic and this one was one of the best I’ve ever witnessed in 35 years of chasing in the Texas panhandle! High winds, large hail and that wall of dirt occurred within this line of cells as they raced across Texas.  An exciting day on a day when we weren’t expecting anything significant!  Enjoy the cool pics!

May 17th Southwest Nebraska Tornadic Supercell

May 17th was an amazing day. Storms formed along a dryline in northwest Kansas and northeast Colorado and pushed into southwest Nebraska. One supercell approached McCook, NE and dropped a few tornadoes along the way. Strong wind shear, great instability and good surface moisture set the stage for this and other storms to form. The first tornado was quite pretty as it tracked just west of town. A couple more formed in the hills where roads were bad and thus not greatly visible from where we had to intercept them. None the less the storm was a very pretty supercell and long lived. It persisted for several hours before weakening north of Kearney, Nebraska.

May 16th North Platte, Nebraska Supercell

May 16th was the day before the big day. Limited moisture would cause storms to be higher based, thus increasing the wind threat as well as hail. However little tornado threat would occur. We intercepted a cluster of storms which would move northeast towards North Platte and become severe. Hail to golfball size, pretty structure and intense lightning would occur from these. The tail end cell broke off from the line and became a pretty supercell right at sunset. The colors, structure and lightning were very pretty! Enjoy the photos below!

April 21st Western Kansas Supercell

April 21st didn’t look great on paper. However, storms erupted along a lee trough in far western Kansas and intensified as they moved eastward. A couple of embedded supercells would produce 70 mph winds and golfball sized hail. With the pretty Smoky Hill River badlands in the foreground, it sure made for a pretty scene! Bases of the supercells were quite high, as much as 8000 feet off the ground. Structure was pretty and lightning became frequent. We stayed with the storms until they weakend mid evening and then headed south for the night. I nice surprise chase for us on a day when it didn’t look very good at all!

April 3rd Southwest Oklahoma Supercell

April 3rd took us to southwest Oklahoma to film a commercial for Chevy Silverado trucks. After 2 days of intense filming in Colorado, we took the film crew to southwest Oklahoma in search of a supercell storm. It did not disappoint! Late afternoon a storm formed southwest of Wellington, Texas and moved into southwest Oklahoma near Hollis as it intensified into a formidable supercell! Fantastic structure, hail the size of tennisballs and nice lightning greeted us and the film crew. We stayed with the storm till sunset south of Snyder and then let it go. The tv crew was astonished at the sight of the supercell and came away with fantastic footage to use in the commercial. It will air late spring first on CNN and then later on other channels.

 

 

July 10th Killdeer, Saskatchewan Canada Tornadofest

July 10th lived up to the potential forecast models showed! A strong shortwave trough would traverse across southern Canada and Montana, as a dryline/cold front and associated warm front would slide slowly east. Strong shear, deep moisture, high CAPE and several boundaries would be the focus on severe storms. The question would be whether or not they would be isolated or clusters/linear. Fortunately a cluster of supercells formed over southern Saskatchewan and the tail end cell anchored along the warm front west of Killdeer. This storm would become a tornado machine as it produced at least 9 tornadoes we counted. More may have occurred as multiple occlusions occurred and some were quite messy with low visibility. This was one of the best tornadic events we’ve witnessed in Canada in 20 years of tours! Fortunately the tornadoes stayed over rural countryside and did little damage. A couple of these were quite strong. This storm slowly moved east riding the warm front all the time and eventually was choked off by outflow from a linear complex over Montana. Amazing event and a great way to end our tour season! Enjoy the photos and video stills!

July 9th Northeast Montana Tornadic Supercell

July 9th had big potential. It wasn’t clear whether that would be across the international border into Canada or if storms would right turn along a warm front into northeast Montana and northwest North Dakota. Fortunately, for ease of chasing, storms crossed into the US and gave us quite a show! An intense supercell cycled and really ramped up as it crossed north of Plentywood, Montana. Due to high CAPE, strong deep layer shear, dew points in the lower 70s and the aforementioned warm front, the stage was set! This supercell became a monster, the storm of the day, as it rolled through Plentywood, MT and into far northwest North Dakota. Huge hail to baseball size, microburst winds of nearly 120 mph and an EF1 tornado that hit Plentywood, would be the highlight this day. A second supercell soon followed the path of the first and had just amazing structure as it rolled through Plentywood.  Highways ended up being blocked due to debris from downed trees, power lines and houses through town. Fortunately there were no fatalities. Check out the photos below. Enjoy!!!

June 28th Southeast Montana/Northwest South Dakota Tornado Outbreak

An incredible day! The most significant tornado outbreak of 2018 to date occurred from one supercell this day! Southeast Montana and northwest South Dakota was the scene for this cyclic tornadic supercell that produced at least 8 and possibly more tornadoes in that area. The highest CAPE values I’ve seen in this area in 33 years of chasing occurred with 8000 joules of CAPE! Strong shear as well as mid 70s dewpoints, and throw in an awesome Black Hills Convergence Zone boundary and it would be only a matter of time before this supercell formed and morphed into the best storm of 2018! By mid afternoon several cells fired along the boundary and drifted north. All but one cell continued on this trek, with the one lone cell quickly becoming a supercell, which right turned along the boundary and turned into a beast! The structure was top notch and the tornado event that unfolded was incredible. Tornadoes of every shape, size and strength would form from late afternoon through sunset as the cell continued its slow march into northwest South Dakota. At one point we even had an anticyclonic tornado that developed on the south side of the updraft and raced directly towards us. Caryn would see it and take evasive action quickly as it passed in front of us. Then a large half mile wide wedge formed directly in front of us and roared across the countryside getting an EF3 rating! An amazing sight to behold!!! The storm continued into northwest South Dakota south of Camp Crook and continued producing tornadoes in the dark. Lightning would illuminate them making for some of the most spectacular storm photography this season! Please enjoy the pics!

 

June 26th South Central Kansas Tornado and Supercellfest

June 26th looked iffy. A mistimed short wave would fire numerous storms early in the day. However it also left an outflow boundary across southern Kansas. Extreme instability, mid 70 dewpoints and moderate shear would fuel and organize storms along the boundary. The first supercell produced a fast rope tornado that was on the ground for 1-2 minutes before dissipating. A second boundary intersected the outflow boundary just east of Wichita and that triple point would be the focal point for 4 distinct and strong supercells. They each produced very large hail to baseball size, copious amounts of lightning, a couple tornadoes and some of the best storm structure one would ever want to see!!! These supercells fired one after the other, and tracked east and southeast along the boundary. The last one of the day by early evening had insane structure and was firing off cgs every few seconds as it was tornado warned for hours! It would rage on for a few hours before dying off as a line of storms formed west. Incredible day for what could have been a total bust due to subsidence behind the early day wave! Enjoy the pics!