July 20th featured good shear, excellent moisture and instability, and the Palmer Divide to produce storms with upslope flow. Mid afternoon a supercell formed near Simla, Colorado and turn to the south. As it did, it was rotating very strongly and may have produced a couple of broad, weak tornadoes. The lightning was absolutely insane with the supercell and the hail was quite large, up to softball sized! As the storm moved south, it was interfered with by another supercell and the southern storm became the dominant supercell. It moved southeast and eventually collided with northeast moving storm near LaJunta. Over the next 45 minutes it struggled to maintain any intensity until it finally pushed through all the left moving storms. It became tornado warned near Las Animas and had quite strong rear flank winds along with very large hail. We ended up letting it go as we needed to be back in Denver that evening. A great local chase for our tour group and one of the prettier supercells and lightning shows on the season! Enjoy the pics!!!
May 11th had a lot going for it. Good upslope flow into the Raton Mesa, decent moisture and instability and great wind shear would set the stage for supercells this day. Storms formed early afternoon and became tornado warned. We blasted west from the Oklahoma panhandle into the mesa in time to watch a supercell get very interesting. Couldn’t confirm any tornadic activity, but it certainly looked like it had potential. This storm also produced baseball sized hail and high winds. It was a treat to photograph and watch spin across the mesa into the Oklahoma/Texas panhandle. Fun day for all the guests who witnessed this beauty! Enjoy the pics!
May 18th featured a short wave trough moving into the Texas panhandle. It also had a dryline extending along I-27 south and north of Amarillo. Storms started forming mid afternoon along the dryline. Although they couldn’s sustain themselves and eventually died off, they did produce some severe weather. Late afternoon a cluster of storms formed northwest of Amarillo. Due to weaker wind shear, we hoped something would emerge from the cluster due to storm interactions. It certainly did! A supercell emerged west of Chunky, TX and drifted slowly east. It tried to produce a tornado a few times, and was tornado warned. It could never keep a rotation couplet tight enough to produce one. The storm produced baseball sized hail and had very pretty structure. Whenever you get that stack of plates look, you know it is a special storm! Moving very slowly east, it kept it’s intensity for several hours before finally decaying mid evening. A great day and a fun chase! Enjoy the pics!
May 4th was a strange day. A decent threat of severe storms and low end tornado potential existed. High based storms formed off the caprock by mid afternoon and moved east. Bases never lowered. Another couple of storms, eventually supercells, formed along a boundary a bit further east southwest of Crowell, TX. Within a few minutes a lowering formed and exhibited some rotation. As the storm moved east, a line of storms formed in front of it, thus limiting the quality of inflow air into the supercell. It caused it to slowly weaken over time. The storm produced baseball sized hail, high winds and was tornado warned for a couple of hours. It showed a fantastic hook echo on radar, but it just couldn’t sustain with cold inflow from storms ahead of it.
May 29th was the classic “day before the big day” type set up. Moisture and instability were rapidly increasing along a lifting warm front in Nebraska, and shear was quite strong. Models showed late afternoon and early evening supercells forming north of Broken Bow and that is exactly what occurred. It took awhile from the main supercell to root along the boundary and get organized, but once it did, it became a formidable storm! Eventually it became tornado warned as it moved to the northeast and stayed warned for a few hours. Due to storm motion and poor roads, it became virtually impossible to stay with it. Near O’Neill we had to let it go and head to Sioux Falls, SD for the night. The storm had good structure, and it had a well defined rotating wall cloud. It just couldn’t tighten enough to get a tornado to form. Enjoy the pics!
Tour 1, Close Encounters started off the tour season with a bang! On arrival day, we blasted to southwest Kansas near Coldwater and caught a pretty LP supercell spinning like crazy! It became tornado warned early evening and tried to produce a funnel. It did not produce any tornadoes. The prettiest thing about this storm were the sunset colors lightning up the underside of the anvil and mammatus clouds. A great start to the official 2022 tour season! Enjoy the pics!
May 22nd had great potential in Colorado. Good upslope flow and moisture, as well as great instability and wind shear would set the stage for intense tornadic storms! One storm formed early in the afternoon and produced a fast tornado west of Akron. A second supercell formed south of Limon and produced several tornadoes. We were able to intercept the first supercell and tornado west of Akron, but tried to blast down towards Limon later and couldn’t get there in time for the second storm. Still we caught a pretty tornado and then the end of the second tornadic supercell. A fun day, very hectic and exciting!! Enjoy the pics!!!!
May 7th was advertised to be a strong tornado threat. In the end of the day, there really weren’t many tornadoes and none that were strong/violent. Too many storms would form and create a competition where none were able to be long lived tornado producing machines. We were able to chase 3 significant supercells, one near Stinnett, Texas, one near Amarillo and another near Tulia, Texas. The Tulia storm was the only one that produced, and even that was not significant. We arrived near Tulia a few minutes too late to see a weak bowl with a couple condensation fingers and also another small tornado. As we arrived, video caught a tornado in the distance about 10 miles away. The storm was high precipitation and very messy. We stayed with it as long as we could, however the caprock escarpment has few roads off of it and it made it impossible to stay with the storm. Later in the evening we chased 2 other tornado warned supercells in southwest Oklahoma near Hobart and Vinson. Fun day, a bit frustrating, but we still had several tornado warned storms to chase!
May 1st was a great setup. An outflow boundary lay in northern Texas with 70 degree dewpoints to its south. High CAPE, strong shear and lift along the boundary would cause several tornado warned supercells to form. However, only one would produce any tornadoes. We sat in Seymour for a couple hours waiting for initiation to occur at the triple point just southwest of town. Soon, a storm developed and shot to 55,000 feet in height. We blasted south through intense rain and lightning only to be greeted by the first tornado about 7 miles to our west. Poor road networks prevented us from getting close to this beauty! It lasted about 10 minutes and dissipated. Not long afterwards, a new meso formed to the east and started rotating intensely. A multivortex tornado touched down and lifted several times before a slender cone tornado formed. It bounced around the ground for a few minutes before lifting. We were about 1 mile from it when it occurred! You could hear the waterfall sound of the rear flank downdraft winds as it crossed to highway just north of us. Eventually the storm weakened as we blasted west to another tornado warned supercell. This storm became high precipitation quickly, but it tried hard to drop another tornado to our north. I cannot confirm if it did or not based on our position, but it spun wildly. Enjoy the photos!
April 28th had potential. A warm front was draped across northern Kansas, while a moisture gradient/boundary was draped across southern Kansas. Both areas appeared to be primed for severe weather. Strong shear, good moisture, moderate CAPE and lift along the boundaries would result in intense severe thunderstorms along the northern boundary. The southern boundary stayed capped through the day. We went with the northern boundary and intercepted a very pretty, INSANELY electrified, tornado warned supercell not far from Sanford, Kansas. The storm had latched onto the boundary and spun hard, becoming tornado warned for hours. It also had baseball sized hail and 80 mph winds. We stayed with the storm to Ness City, Kansas and left it as it bowed out and eventually weakened. A great day and a fun and exciting chase for all the guests! Enjoy the pics!