June 12th Carpenter, Wyoming Strong Tornado

June 12, 2017….it started out like any other day.  Too busy to think, let alone chase and then load a trailer for a big show in Amarillo, TX that I was leaving for the next day.  But I did and the reward was worth the, “Am I going to get there in time” thoughts I was having.  And that is because I didn’t leave Denver until 2:15PM.  Yes, 2:15pm. And no, there wasn’t any speeding involved.  Just pure LUCK.  That and Starbucks, YES, you read that right.  I stopped at Starbucks on my way to catching the Carpenter, Wyoming tornado.

Roger had told me that morning, as well as several days before, that if there was “ANY WAY YOU CAN CHASE”, how many times have I heard that phrase???…I should do it. I was torn on going as I also had a gal coming in from Yuma, AZ that afternoon that was going to TX with me the next day.  It wasn’t until noon that day that I just told her I couldn’t resist the chase.  The sky in Colorado was showing me I HAD to chase!  Sooooo,  I did.  After contemplating on which route would get me north the quickest, I soon decided to high tail it on up I-25 and then north on highway 85 from I-76.  My first stop was in Brighton, CO for a STARBUCKS.  What????  With a sky like THAT…I stopped??? Can’t a girl eat, drink and chase all at the same time???!!!  As I sat ordering my drink and munchies, I watched as a HUGE towering CU was going up directly to my N/NW and man was it GROWING.  As I watched radar, I could soon tell I wasn’t going to make that first cell but little booger blowing up on the south side was soon showing me I had a chance!  So with renewed hope, I took off with my Grande Very Berry Hibiscus and headed north.  And then it happened…that darn Highway 85 construction happened.  UGH.  I said MANY cuss words as the 45mph speed limit was starting to give me heart palpitations.  I soon realized that if it wasn’t meant to be, well, it just wasn’t meant to be.  BUT…I DO NOT GIVE UP EASILY!!! I eventually conquered the chase that day, as I remained steadfast with trusty ol’ Radarscope…yes, I chase mostly by Radarscope, and Google maps by my side.  I managed to chase the sequence of events that day as instinct lead me along several dirt roads, a herd of cows and eventually to the promise land of Carpenter, Wyoming where I eventually watched an a “drill bit” tornado that lead itself in to an incredible rope out.  I also came across the damage path where a barn roof was laying in the middle of road. I did stop to make sure no one was hurt and when I realized all were OK and that hissing sound wasn’t a snake in the grass, it was high time to boogie on!  Several houses had damage but from what I understand, no one was injured.

And if you are wondering, Roger and I like to cover 2 target areas, when and if needed.  He remained up north and managed to catch tornadoes with his tour group, as I fed him images from my solo chase.  My chase ended that day when my gps went out and I had NO idea where I was at.  I chuckled as I knew if I just headed towards those Rocky Mts, I would eventually find my way home.  Most chasers continued on that day and went north with what ended up being a beautiful supercell.  (check Roger’s chase account from this day) But as you have read, I had a huge show to cover the next day in Amarillo, TX and had to get home.   I hope you enjoy the sequence of events that unfolded for me on June 12, 2017 as I sure had fun with my Starbucks, Radarscope and that never-ending feeling of, “Gotta get there!!!”.

Caryn Hill
SLT Co-owner


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