August 19th looked too good not to chase. Good moisture, high CAPE values, strong lift with an approaching wave and good low level shear along a boundary would set the stage for a good day! Mid afternoon storms exploded over northeast Colorado and slowly intensified. One particular storm, south of Holyoke, CO became a supercell. As it drifted east/northeast along the boundary it took off and became tornado warned. Very very strong low level rotation was occurring and the low level mesocyclone eventually became rain wrapped where you couldn’t see it anymore. Extremely heavy rains (4-9 inches!) prevented me from taking dirt, now mud, roads to get into the notch for a better look. However, the storm did produce a tornado, possibly two, one of which was a fast funnel in the hook area before it wrapped up in rain. A fun chase day, and good results, just wished for a better view in the notch! Enjoy the pics!
Wow, all I can say is WOW! What an amazing supercell this day produced! Great shear, good moisture and instability, and lift along a boundary and mountains would provide all that was needed to get the best structured supercell of 2021 to form. After hanging out in Havre, MT waiting for a storm to get going, we finally got our wish. Due to the late setting sun in Montana in June, we had several hours to watch this storm ramp up and become a jaw dropper! The one unfortunate thing that occurred were the poor road networks in Montana. We were able to stay with this mothership supercell for a few hours east of Lodgepole and enjoy the treat! Incredible structure and the beautiful countryside in Montana made this day one of my favorite for 2021! Please take time and enjoy the photos of this stunning storm!
We weren’t expecting a great show this date as the ingredients just weren’t there. Marginal moisture and weak wind shear would limit the longevity and structure to storms this day, but we did manage to capture a couple of pretty supercells. We started the day in Lubbock, Texas so it wasn’t far to get into position. An old outflow boundary would provide to focus for storms. Due to the steep lapse rates and rapid cooling of the hot boundary layer as air rose aloft, storms became hailers and also were nicely electrified! The cells shown below produced hail the size of golfballs and 80 mph outflow winds, which generated a lot of blowing dirt across west Texas. It was getting late in the season to chase this far south, but you go where you need to. Many days of excessive heat dried up the landscapes which fueled the fire so to speak with intense blowing dirt. Fun day regardless! Enjoy the pics below!
May 31st took us to the Davis Mountains of southwest Texas. Good upslope flow, along with ample moisture and instability, would provide the needed ingredients to get tornadic storms to form. Good low level wind shear caused this supercell to spin like a top, and as it moved off the mountains into the nearby terrain, it produced 3 tornadoes that we could see. The road network is very poor in this part of Texas, so you had to position yourself where you could see what was happening. Most of the time we were at least 10 miles away from the tornadoes because of this. Nonetheless, it was a spectacular sight to watch this storm roll across southwest Texas. Enjoy the pics!
May 24th had substantial potential in western Kansas. A very moist and unstable airmass would develop over the region with multiple boundaries around for storms to form and spin on. We chose to play the usual triple point north of Leoti, where the first severe storm of the day formed. The triple point is the location where 3 air masses meet and it typically spawns one of the best storms of the day! It would struggle to sustain itself due to some small capping issues, but it eventually became tornado warned. However off to the north, a supercell formed and drifted north and produced tornadoes near Selden, Kansas. Since it’s a chasing rule never to leave your storm if it has a tornado warning to chase a different one (because, you KNOW what the one you left would do!), we stayed with it. More storms developed west of Garden City and would also become tornado warned. Our storm weakened, as did the Selden, Kansas storm, so south we went to play the tail end storm. What a beauty! Big, wet classic supercell with beautiful structure that would go on through the evening hours! At times the rotation became pretty tight, but it just couldn’t get a substantial tornado to the ground. We stayed with it till dark and then went back to Garden City for the night. Another day, where a secondary target produced tornadoes and the primary target would not. Such is the life of storm chasing! Please enjoy the pics!
May 8th took us to central Kansas along I-70. Good shear and convergence along a boundary would provide the focus for severe storms. However limited moisture and instability would eventually temper the overall threat. A supercell formed at the triple point southwest of LaCrosse, KS. It looked like THE storm to be on, however, it ingested dry air and died a couple hours later. Outflow from a decaying cluster of storms over northern Kansas would fire off several supercells in the daylight and darkness, of which a couple became tornado warned. There was little threat of a tornado due to the high bases of these supercells. They did produce baseball sized hail and a lot of lightning. Fun day for Tour 3! Enjoy the pics!
Day 1 of Tour 2 took us north from Oklahoma City to western Kansas. Shear was good this day, however moisture was lacking. This resulted in higher based severe thunderstorms with hail and high winds. Some of the areas of northwest Kansas near the Smoky Hill River bottoms are full of badlands type formations and make for a great photo! Lots of lightning also occurred with these storms as the built southward along an advancing cold front. Fun first day for Tour 2!! Enjoy the pics!
June 2nd appeared to have some promise for severe storms in southern Minnesota. Very hot and relatively moist air would reside along and south of a stationary front south of the Twin Cities. Large temperature/dewpoint spreads would result in higher based storms. High CAPE and moderate shear also existed. A cluster of cell formed along the boundary, and eventually the eastern most cell would mature into an intense hail/tornado making supercell. I was completely surprised to see a multiple tornado warnings for the storm despite the higher base! It produced a couple of weak tornadoes and very large hail 3 inches in diameter. It persisted for several hours before gusting out, with an eventual line of severe storms forming and moving southeast through southern Minnesota. This area is very photogenic and has many stunningly photographic farmsteads! Check out the photos and please click on an image for a larger pic. Enjoy!