Tag Archives | June

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 17th West Texas Tornado Warned Supercell

Sometimes, you just don’t care if a storm produces a tornado. It can be that pretty. Dryline supercell thunderstorms can be quite pretty, although they are often higher based. This day would give us just that. We had a high based supercell that formed along the Texas/New Mexico border and drifted slowly southeast towards Muleshoe, Texas. It spun like crazy. There was plenty of shear and instability this day and with the active dryline closeby we were hoping for a pretty storm. Active for several hours, this supercell produced incredible lightning, some of the best of 2019 to date and had nice structure.

Other storms would form later in the day and especially during the early evening as the cap was breached. Many of these storms were very electrified and intense, often being warned for large hail and damaging winds. A couple storms would become tornado warned, however no tornadoes occurred this day in our area. All in all, a fun day with a great storm and superb lightning!

June 16th Mertzon, Texas Tornado Warned Supercell

June 16th featured strong instability, good moisture and moderate deep layer shear. An old outflow boundary across the I-20 area west of Abilene would be the focal point for severe and tornado warned storms this day. We started the day in Denver and left very early to reach our target by initiation time. We made it with little time to spare! Storms rapidly developed and intensified along the southward sagging boundary. We headed south from Sterling City and got in front of a beautifully structured and tornado warned supercell! This storm was quite pretty, had a rotating wall cloud and incredible lightning. It spun southward for hours giving us a treat to watch.

Eventually near dark, the storm weakened, but not before giving us one last great lightning show! Over an 800 mile day, but worth it! Just goes to show we’ll go anywhere we need to so we can get our guests the best storms around!

June 13th Nara Vista, New Mexico Tornado Warned Supercell

The set up for June 13th wasn’t great. Very limited moisture would result in fairly low CAPE values, however deep layer shear was strong. In the end, a cluster of storms would form over eastern New Mexico and slowly track east and south. The tail end cell became tornado warned for nearly 2 hours and was very strong, also producing hail golfball sized. We started the day near Clayton, and eventually dropped south to get on the tail end supercell. The structure was decent, but the main story of this storm was the lightning and amazing colors! Just before sunset, the storm spun hard and became incredibly electrified. As sun set, the storm weakened and gusted out as it moved southeast of Nara Vista. A fun day and on the photography side of things, it was quite spectacular! Enjoy the photos!

June 8th Northwest Kansas Tornadoes

June 8th continued our streak of tornadoes for each tour! Two twisters formed north of Goodland along a boundary. Decent instability and moisture, as well as a wind shift boundary, would provide all that was needed to get supercells to form. One tornado formed late afternoon, and soon a second would also form as the first was dissipating. They both were on the ground for over 5 minutes as they slowly drifted eastward along the boundary. They were quite photogenic as well!

Later in the evening, a supercell came off the higher terrain of eastern Colorado and was very photogenic. Near Flagler, CO the storm had beautiful structure and quite nice colors too! Even a funnel formed briefly under the inflow side of the updraft! After a couple hours the storm eventually weakened as it moved into more stable air, leaving behind an amazing mammatus display! A great way to start the tour!

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!

June 4th Artesia, New Mexico Tornado

What a surprise day this was! Upslope flow and terrain circulations can do magical things in the high plains and this day would be one of the best! Poor wind shear, marginal moisture, but decent CAPE would provide at least some threat for severe storms. We were in Roswell, New Mexico the night before and decided to stay around for the action on June 4th.  We dropped to west of Artesia as one LP supercell formed and produced copious amounts of hail. As it moved off the higher terrain it weakened and died. However, a group of storms formed and slowly intensified as they remained anchored on the foothills west of town.

As we positional ourselves on the eastern most storm, something strange happened. The storm started to get well organized and show signs of rotation. Soon a small wall cloud formed. From this wall cloud, a funnel dropped down and planted firmly on the ground for a few minutes. However due to the higher cloud bases and lack of appreciable moisture the funnel never fully condensed to the ground, but a debris cloud rose up from the ground to show it was connected. It persisted for several minutes before weakening and dissipating.  We then came back into town and dropped south to Carlsbad to watch the cell drift towards town. It maintained it’s supercell characteristics for a bit before gusting out and dying. A great day and a nice surprise tornado kept our streak of consecutive tours alive with all seeing at least one tornado!

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!

June 19th Prospect Valley, Colorado Tornado

June 19th had tornado written all over it. It didn’t disappoint either! Fantastic wind shear, high CAPE, good moisture for the high plains and upslope flow into the foothills provided all the ingredients needed to get tornadic supercells to form. An amazing sight, 3 significant supercell storms formed at the same time, situated about 50 miles apart. Usually the tail end storm is the cell you want to target, however, an old outflow boundary existed in which the middle cell developed on. It would be that cell that would go on to have amazing structure and produce the Prospect Valley tornado. All 3 storms would become tornado warned during their lifespans. The middle storm we watched grow from a smaller storm to a well structured tornadic supercell as it crossed I-25 and moved eastward. Various wall clouds, each time showing rotation, formed until finally rotation tightened to produce a tornado. A long snaking tornado was on the ground for nearly 10 minutes before roping out. After the tornado, the storm still spun as it moved across eastern Colorado before dying south of Ft Morgan. At that time, we blasted south to Limon and points east as the tail end storm took over the show. It also was tornado warned and may have produced a rain wrapped tornado north of Genoa. Structure was beautiful HP supercell, and it also was highly electrified. By early evening the storms lined out as they moved into Kansas producing high winds and heavy rain. A fantastic day for the tours as nature gave us quite a show!