Whew! I just spent the entire morning editing photos. I'm still trying to decide whether it was a good use of time or not as I do have a lot of other things to accomplish.
Anyway, I had a great weekend. I spent Saturday up in Estes Park for my friend (and old roomie) Jami's wedding. I decided to make good use of the trip and got up there early to take a hike. My destination was Bridal Veil Falls, just inside Rocky Mountain National Park. Parking was difficult, but I waited for a spot.
A little while into the 6.5 mile round-trip hike, I heard thunder. Being a meteorologist, you think that the sound would be enough to get me heading back to the car. However, I rationalized that the country behind me was a lot more open and the hike would lead me into a partially sheltered ravine. So, I continued on ... and got soaked. Luckily, I remembered to bring a zip-loc bag to keep my wallet, camera, and phone in. I was in shorts and didn't have a jacket or poncho, however. So, I got pretty wet.
The rain ended as I reached the falls. I didn't really take any photos until I had ascended the rocks on the side of the falls and could get on top. I found another cascade up there.
On the way back, the sun came out and illuminated the beautiful golden aspen.
I made it to the wedding on time and it was wonderful. I'm incredibly happy for Jami and everyone seemed to have a good time. I even did some dancing at the reception with a couple of the bridesmaids. It was a great time!
On my way home, I decided I'd go to the Stanley Hotel (from The Shining) and try and get some photos. They turned out okay ... but I'm still learning to work within the limitations of my camera.
Sheep Mountain with fall color and the storm behind it.
The upper cascades at Bridal Veil Falls.
Bridal Veil Falls from above and rain in the valley below.
The falls from below.
... and a few shots from the trip back down:
* * *
The wedding procession.
Just playing around. The Hotel got me in the mood to make something ghostly.
So, all in all it was a fantastic day. I am very happy for Jami and spent an amazing day out in the elements.
Well, I decided to go spotting today anyway. I was watching two outflow boundaries collide and saw what looked to be a brief couplet along the convergence. So, I ran out really quick and couldn't see anything ... so I drove to Cherry Creek Reservoir (to explore for any other reason) and found a place to pull off. The lightning was fantastic on the way there, but waned when I arrived.
The skies weren't all that photogenic, but I did have this nice little downburst form the cloud:
It didn't drop near as fast as I thought it would, so maybe I was incorrect in my assumption of what it really was. I was really hoping to get some active lightning and hope to get a lucky click or even a landspout, but nothing really happened except some light rain.
What eventually happened with the "downburst":
I was parked along East Belleview near Peoria (in case you were wondering).
Dann. PS: It's approaching 1AM. So much for getting to bed early to give me an early start tomorrow.
I briefly considered heading out to Cherry Creek Reservoir today to take some pictures, have a walk, and hope some storms get going. There are a few along the foothills and the Cheyenne Ridge to the north. I can't believe all the convection about with dewpoints near 30ºF. Lapse rates must be pretty steep today. I suppose if anything persists around sunset, I might try and find a perch to shoot from, but there's not much but the heat of the sun driving things today. So, it looks like I'll probably hole up in my apartment and work on some image editing. I have 50+ lightning photos from last weekend that I haven't touched
Tomorrow, I plan to get up early and drive to Estes Park. I'm attending a wedding later on in the day (congratulations Jami!), but I'm certainly going to take advantage of the gas money! I want to hike to Bridal Veil Falls and take in the fall foliage along the way. Anyone interested can tag along, but I won't be able to give any rides back down into the metro area.
I wanted to share a couple of photos from Big Sky Convection contributor Alan Clark. They were taken (I believe) in Rock Springs, Wyoming this past weekend. Check out the awesome pileus clouds atop the towers!
Very tired ... not much time to type, so I'll make this short.
Went chasing today with Jonathan Splitt and Jeff Auger (first storm chase for both of them!) I was a little worried as cloud cover had inhibited storm development close to home. We took a chance and drove into the Nebraska panhandle to intercept a severe-warned supercell.
It was very pretty, but died as we approached. We took a lot of photos and enjoyed the chase, happy to head home at that point and satisfied with our results. I mused that it would be nice to get a lightning opportunity on the way home. We stopped for some dinner in Sidney, Nebraska and when we were done, the fireworks began.
We slowly worked our way south, back into Colorado as strong storms fired ALL AROUND us. Literally, lightning was flashing in every direction. We simply chose the closest and most intense storm at any given time and shot away. It was a slam dunk ... and honestly, fighting camera settings was the only thing that kept me from walking away with 100+ lightning shots. We shot for at least an hour, in several different locations ... and could have gone on for two more hours at the rate these storms were putting down CG's. It was unbelievable.
I've chosen several of the best to share with you. Jonathan got some great shots too ... and Jeff got at least five good lightning shots on his CELL PHONE (that should attest to the frequency of the lightning)!!
Showers are ongoing across northeastern Colorado right now. Cloudcover associated with the approaching system is also a little daunting. SPC has given us a 2% tornado risk for today, which is chaseable in September. However, the latest RUC run is initializing precipitation in Kansas and Nebraska. I'm a little worried about the mid to upper level winds ... they look to be very strong. We do have favorable directional shear today, especially at the low to mid levels but ... supercells, if they do form, might easily be wiped out with the formation of a linear system. A couple of forecast soundings I created for 3PM today show really low Bulk Richardson Numbers (values between 2 and 5 for the E. Colorado stations I looked at).
I am still going to go out. Not exactly sure what time yet, though ...
Well, it seems like we might have some storms to chase over the next couple of days. Being that it is September and we are entering the "dark period", I think I need to be on the plains. Monday looks to be the better day, but to do accessibility, tomorrow might be the "easiest".
Right now, a modest negatively tilted trough exists in the Pacific Northwest. A couple pulses of energy rotated through today, setting off some thunderstorms. In fact, one moved through Denver a couple of hours ago, giving us a brief rain.
On the Eastern Colorado plains, moisture is on the increase. Strong southerly winds will continue to pump moisture in throughout the night and into tomorrow. There isn't a ton of moisture available, but there should be enough to give us some dewpoints approaching 50ºF, especially near the Kansas/Nebraska border with Colorado.
As tomorrow approaches, we will probably see a little drying off of the mountains, which will set up a moisture discontinuity. Couple this with the approaching upper level support and a lee-side pressure minimum, we could see a favorable area for storms ... especially if we see a few more shortwave pulses ride through.
With this system, we'll see an influx of mid to upper level moisture. Cold temps aloft and some decent heating on the plains will give us some nice lapse rates. Forecast CAPE is around 1000J/kg, which is enough for some fun. Directional shear is favorable for a few rotating updrafts (which could reach significant height). I would be surprised to see a tornado on Sunday, but some good-sized hail is definitely probability.
The WRF and GFS disagree on precip formation and location, with the GFS barely showing anything. However, the GFS has been dry all summer and hasn't responded well to convective situations in or near this area, so boo on the GFS.
This will not be an explosive severe event ... marginal at best. But hey, it is September ... I'll take what I can get.
I've focused mainly on Sunday so far, but I'll try and put together a forecast for Monday sometime tomorrow.
Came across some awesome video of storm chaser James Reynolds intercepting Typhoon Sinlaku in Taiwan as Ike was impacting the US. Great video to watch if you like seeing a thousand fire hoses on at the same time.
I spent the Saturday and early Sunday up in Breckenridge, Colorado for Oktoberfest! I was disappointed with the majority of the photos that I took. The first many were taken while I was enjoying the fruits of Oktoberfest and the second set (taken Sunday morning) were with lighting conditions I was having trouble with. I've included a few shots that I like the most.
None of the photos really have anything to do with Oktoberfest and or weather. However, the sky is visible and thus technically they count as weather photos. ;)
Flipping back and forth between The Weather Channel and Fox News for Ike coverage ...
... and really, only watching Fox because Gerraldo is currently wrapped around a freaking palm tree and his producer has their anemometer on kilometers per hour. He just yelled "135!!" If it were 135 miles per hour, Gerraldo and palm tree would be adios!
Very interesting weather in western Montana yesterday. In the early afternoon, I was calling my family to let them know a nice hailstorm was bearing down on them. This morning, they woke up to snow (elevation 5472ft):
"Always Chasing" describes my desire to never stop pursuing my goals and dreams (pardon the cliché). There are always storms to chase and trails to explore. This blog is a repository of those adventures... pursuing severe/adverse weather, visiting new places and exploring the natural topography of my surroundings. It is an outlet for my amateur pursuit of photography with my point-and-shoot camera as well as a forum for discussing meteorological events. The name "Big Sky Convection" will remain, but I feel that "Always Chasing" more accurately describes my direction.