Saturday 17 May 2014

2014 Day 5 - Estes Park (CO) to Gillette (WY)

Today was a positioning day ahead of the first potential severe thunderstorms expected on Sunday. Having spent the night in the beautiful surroundings of the Rockies, a quick gym session and we were on our way northbound through Colorado and back into Wyoming. The route took us north parallel to the Rockies on our left, with ample convection developing over the higher terrain and drifting east towards us, albeit very high based. We witnessed a couple of heavy showers as these drifted over, the mountain peaks still covered in snow.
Nice anvil as a shower brews over the Rockies
Plenty of convective cloud atop snow-covered Rocky mountains 
Cheeky scud...
Not a lot to report about the rest of the 7-hour journey northwards, once we'd left the Laramie mountains behind the cumulus field became very broken with sunny spells to end the day. We did stop at Douglas (WY) McDonald's, taking our tally up to 8, and enjoyed another steak at Applebee's in Gillette (WY) in the evening (while once again being asked to pay for the bill before we'd finished eating?! Turns out this is to ensure Applebee's get their money in case the customer has to 'leave in an emergency').

Frustratingly one of the upslope-flow showers in southeast Wyoming became organised enough to warrant a severe thunderstorm warning for gusty winds and hail just south and west of Cheyenne (WY).  With this being many hours to our south there was no way we could chase it, and in the end the storm didn't last very long as soon dissipated as it crossed into Colorado, albeit leaving a carpet of hail over some locations.

STORM CHASE 2014 STATS thus far
McDonald's tally: 8
States visited: 5
Distance driven: 1460 miles

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