August took me for the first time to the Florida Keys waterspout chasing. As we arrived, Hurricane Charley intensified and we decided to chased it. After encountering 90 mph winds, we left and headed out of harms way. During our week in the Keys we saw several funnels and a waterspout. Next year we will go back!! It was a blast!!!!!
August 9th, 2004 Agate, Colorado Tornadic Beast
August 9th took me and everyone in Colorado by surprise. A strong supercell developed near Agate, east of Denver and tracked slowly southwest over the Palmer Divide. This storm was a prolific hail producer (softballs!) and produced numerous tornadoes. I lost my windshield, headlight, wipers, sat dome and a few other things. It was worth it to me.
June 21st, 2004 Amarillo, Texas Monster Tornadic Supercell
June 21 was a good set up for late June in the Texas Panhandle. Strong deep layer shear, a sharp dryline and high CAPE would provide a set up for supercells. Mid afternoon an LP supercell developed north of Amarillo and stayed on the triple point for a couple hours. Eventually the storm moved south along the dryline and became an incredible hail producer. It produced hail to cantaloupe size in Amarillo that caused $100m damage. This storm also produced several weak tornadoes.
June 16th, 2004 Lamar, Colorado Long Lived Tornadic Supercell
June 16 was to be a day I would not soon forget. Strong upslope flow would provide deep moisture in southeast Colorado. Deep layer shear was more than adequate for tornadoes. By early afternoon, skies cleared and strong heating destabilized the atmosphere. A nearly stationary supercell developed southwest of Lamar and slowly drifted eastward. This storm produced at least 5 tornadoes and possibly more. Due to the poor road network, two tornadoes were not able to be photographed. At one point I had rain and hail falling on a dirt road that quickly turned to Vaseline slick mud!! I though I would NEVER get out!
June 10th, 2004 Chappell, Nebraska Tornadic Supercell
June 10 was to be a day nobody would forget. We started in North Platte and analyzed data till early afternoon when a cell blew up west of Julesburg, Colorado on the dry line. I rallied the gang westward and arrived west of Big Spring on US30 just in time to watch the show start. This supercell developed into a beautiful classic with nice wall cloud, clear slot, FF core and an incredible tornado that lasted 28 minutes! This tornado morphed from a small nub funnel with debris cloud, into a full fledged strong cone tornado. The structure of this beast was a sight to behold!!!
June 9th, 2004 Woodrow, Colorado Tornadic Supercell
The set up for June 9 was good for the high plains of eastern Colorado. Strong upslope flow beneath strong mid level westerlies would provide a good shear profile. Supercells developed near Denver by mid afternoon and moved northeast. One storm produced copious amounts of hail and produced at least two confirmed tornadoes.
June 6th, 2004 Max, North Dakota Tornadic Supercell
This was a tough one for me. We left Denver early this AM with a target of Dickenson, ND. After almost 800 miles, we arrived to see 3 high based storms get their act together. Strong moisture return ahead of a short wave trough would provide lift to get these storms going. In spite of only upper 50s dewpoints, these 3 storms turned into supercells, with the southern storm, near Max, ND our target. We arrived as the storm was a beautiful saucer base with clear slot. A couple of funnels formed and extended close to the ground. Close enough I would consider this tornadic.
May 29th, 2004 Concordia, Kansas Area – Tornadic Supercell
The setup May 29 was classic. A strong dryline surge was coming into Kansas. A surface low was developing with a triple point in north central Kansas. Moisture was spreading northward and would wrap around the surface low. By late afternoon, cumulus towers developed west of Concordia. It didn’t take long for an intense supercell to form and track northeastward along the warm front. This storm produced at least 5 confirmed tornadoes, including one that would hit the town of Norway, Kansas producing widespread damage.
May 22nd, 2004 Nebraska Tornadofest
May 22 took me to Nebraska. All things were coming together for quite a severe weather episode. A strong dynamic low and associated trough were coming out of Colorado headed for southern Nebraska. All severe weather indices were pointing to the area southeast of McCook, eastward towards Fairbury. Enough shear, instability, moisture and lift were present for strong tornadic supercells, and the atmosphere did not disappoint. By early afternoon, severe thunderstorms erupted in Colorado and spread into southwest Nebraska. We blasted westbound out of Hastings towards the tail end supercell southeast of McCook. We arrived in Beaver City in time for the show of the day. A quick tornado developed as the storm ingested deeper moisture, however this would be just the beginning.
Soon, a strong tornado developed just south of town and stayed on the ground for about 15 minutes. This was a beautiful elephant trunk/stovepipe that did little damage. A second tornado formed after an occlusion near the town of Orleans. This tornado just missed the north side of town. We are parallel with the tornado its entire life cycle. Just east of town I got out of the van and video taped as the tornado churned about 200 yards north of the road. It hit s building and filled the air with debris. I jumped back in the car and we drove east as it dissipated. In the meantime another tornadic storm (near Hallam, NE) formed. As we tried in vain to catch it a another storm formed near Republic, Kansas. This storm would produce 3 tornadoes, one of which was fairly strong. The updraft structure was breathtaking!!!! Finally at dark the last tornado formed with this storm as we blew it off to get ready for Illinois the next day.