November 16th Texas Panhandle Tornadoes

November 16th was an amazing day and night. Numerous tornadoes occurred in Texas through Kansas, with the most intense tornadoes centered on two supercells in the Texas panhandle. We had the privilege of witnessing them both. A couple hours before dark dryline storms erupted and organized near dark, producing several strong tornadoes between Groom and Pampa, Texas. We watched an elephant trunk shaped tornado, followed by a large cone, then a wedge as storms raced off at 60 mph. An incredible way to finish the year for us as well as the guests that were on this tour!


July 19th Western Kansas Severe Storm

July 19th took us to southeast Colorado and southwestern Kansas. Although the set up wasn’t stellar by any means, there was enough shear, instability and moisture to support severe storms, including supercells. Mid afternoon south of Seibert, CO a supercell formed and tracked southeast. It eventually merged into a line of storms with embedded supercell structures as they marched all the way to Garden City, Kansas. Near the town of Tribune, Kansas on cell in the line spun pretty strongly and produced 80 mph winds, baseball hail and even a funnel cloud. This was a nice way to wrap up the Great North Tornado Hunt tour as the guests got to see a little bit of everything on this tour!


July 18th Nebraska Supercell and Funnel

July 18th took our Great North Tornado Hunt towards the North Platte area. Modest shear, great convergence, good instability and moisture would result in numerous storm developing. We targeted a cell northwest of Hershey that ended up anchoring itself there for a couple hours as it intensified.  The structure on the storm was quite nice, and as it moved towards Hershey, a long slender funnel formed near the clear slot of the supercell. We stayed with the storm until it decayed near dusk. Overall a great chase day and results for the tour. Something about Nebraska in July produces very pretty storms often!

July 17th South Dakota Tornadic Supercells

July 17th had incredible potential across the Dakotas. Our Great North Tornado Hunt tour was in place in far northeastern South Dakota awaiting initiation. A subtle short wave trough was moving across the region at peak heating, while 5000 CAPE values developed along with upper 70 dew point readings. An approaching cold front/dryline triple point would spark the first supercells, and then later the cold front would spark several more. We witnessed on such storm develop near Britton, SD which had incredible structure, huge hail to baseball size and a couple funnel clouds. Later another supercell formed near Eden, SD and dropped a tornado southeast of town. We stayed with the storms into western Minnesota where they weakened as they moved out of the strong instability. We finally dropped south towards Watertown, SD for the night as a really pretty shelf cloud approached town. A great day for the Great North tour, and it would be the first of several excellent set ups we had on this tour!

June 25th Chugwater, Wyoming Tornado

June 25th looked like a mess on paper. Lots of moisture, good CAPE, good lift, but little shear would be the story this day. We headed up towards Kimball, Nebraska for the initial convention developing, only to be taken west towards Chugwater as numerous storms formed. Splitting and left moving storms were the norm, with a few showing rotation on the northern side of the cells. As we approached Chugwater from the east, a rope tornado formed and planted itself on the ground for about 3-4 minutes.  It was something we really weren’t expecting but were pleasantly surprised to see! It was our 7th tornado on Tour 8 this year!


June 22nd Aurora Borealis

Although earthly weather was quiet on June 22nd, a CME that hit the earth that day sparked an amazing aurora display that night. We were in the Spearfish, SD area as darkness fell and the skies lit up in green and purple pillars as the intensifying aurora became visible. We spent a couple hours at night photographing this incredible event!  Much fun for all the guests who ventured out with us at night to witness space weather at it’s finest!

June 21st South Dakota Tornado Outbreak

June 21st was a day that had great potential. Very good shear, moisture and instability were in place across the high plains into the western Dakotas. An approaching shortwave trough would provide the necessary lift to spark intense supercells in southeastern Montana.  One particular supercell formed near Baker, Montana and cycled several times as it entered northwest South Dakota.  This storm would be responsible for a half dozen tornadoes we witnessed across northern South Dakota.  The first tornado occurred as the storm really ramped up near Ralph, South Dakota. It would cycle several times and keep producing tornadoes all the way to near Eagle Butte where it dissipated late evening. The structure was some of the best of the season and several tornadoes were quite photogenic! Tour 8 scored big with this gorgeous beast!

June 17th East Central Wyoming Tornado Warned Supercell

June 17th had a short wave trough moving across the northern high plains. Decent moisture and instability was in place to fuel significant storms. However a capping inversion kept storms from forming until late in the day. A storm complex moved out of Montana into eastern Wyoming, and it was this complex that developed significant rotation as a storm in front of the line became absorbed into it and caused it to rotate rapidly. A tornado warning was issued for the western Black Hills as the storm approached Beaulah and into the Spearfish area. The structure as dusk was quite nice and the lightning was amazing! One of the best lightning displays all season so far!


June 11th Southeast Colorado Supercell

June 11th had issues, but still produced some nice storms. Marginal moisture, but decent shear overlaid eastern Colorado. By mid afternoon storms formed along a boundary that stretched across east central and southeast Colorado.  One particular supercell tracked along the boundary from north of LaJunta to far southeast Colorado. It struggled to stay on the moist side of the boundary occasionally, but managed to be quite a prolific hail producer. Never a real threat to produce a tornado, it did however manage to produce several short lived funnels. By early evening a cluster of storms formed south of Lamar. A tail end storm became a powerful supercell and was tornado warned for a couple hours. Visually it was stunning with constant rotation under the updraft. Two tornado reports came in, however they were not validated.  As the supercell tracked into southwest Kansas, it became an outflow dominant storm and produced significant winds.

June 5th Eastern Colorado Tornadoes

June 5th kept us close to home. A warm front draped over east central Colorado would become the focus for intense supercell storm development by late afternoon. It provided a differential heating boundary where storms erupted on the south side of it and interacted with the strong low level shear on the boundary. We sat between Anton and Cope and watched as a strongly tornadic supercell anchored at that point and produced multiple tornadoes. All in all we counted 4 confirmed tornadoes. The storm was a tad messy, and thus photos from the day clearly show the rain/hail as we took each shot. A couple of the tornadoes appeared to be strong, but fortunately only destroyed a barn in the wide open eastern Colorado plains. Tour 5 and Photo Tour #2 enjoyed the event as both were in great position to watch the entire tornadic cycle of the supercell.