Sunday 7 June 2015

Day 11 - Eastern Colorado Part II

SAT 06 JUNE 2015

A lot of chasers were heading for Nebraska today as the far northeast corner had a 10% hatched (ie significant) risk of tornadoes, and indeed all the indices looked favourable - was very tempted to head that way too, but knew we had to be in Colorado again on Sunday so didn't want another very long drive to disappointment - and indeed, it turned out it would've been a massive disappointment as hardly any tornadoes occurred there!

Meanwhile we drove west from our overnight stay in Burlington (CO) with the aim to grab some lunch and refuel in Bennett (CO). Some showers kicked off over the Rockies and drifted ENE'ward across the Palmer Divide, so we nudged a little farther south to Kiowa to see if anything would develop. At this time they were just a few thundery showers, so we headed back north again to follow a thunderstorm near Denver airport. It had a wall cloud, but soon weakened.

By this point it was mid afternoon, and we began to wonder if anything interesting might develop today - half tempted to book into a hotel early. However, the first line of showers we had initially 'chased' near Kiowa (CO) rapidly organised itself into a discrete supercell to the NE of Limon (CO), and shortly after became tornado-warned. There was one report of a brief rope tornado, but am yet to see any evidence to prove this.

We had to race eastwards to get ahead of this supercell which was shunting east at a good 40mph, road options were limited so it involved some dirt roads at times too, but we managed to get ahead of the storm and remain ahead with good team work between driving/navigating and keeping an eye on radar trends. The storm tried to form a funnel cloud at one point, and as the storm neared Burlington (CO) it began to form some incredible structure with a rotating mesocyclone, but was also becoming very outflow dominant. We headed to Kanorado (KS) and stopped to observe a stunning gust front beneath the tight rotating mesocyclone. Shortly after it rapidly began to weaken as it merged with storms approaching from the south west.
Funnel cloud forming for a time to the north of Bethune (CO)
Supercell just to the north of Burlington (CO)
Outflow-dominant rotating mesocyclone approaching Kanorado (KS)
Just when we were about to give up for the day we were treated to a spectacular display! Sadly no tornado, but the structure was worth the chase...
06 June 2015 GPS Tracker Route Map
2015 STORM CHASE stats thus far:
McDonald's tally: 12
Applebee's tally: 8
Distance driven: 4,995 miles
States visited: 8

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