Saturday, July 25, 2009

2009 Storm Chase 32 Report - July 25th - Saturday Night Thunder

So, as the story goes: I didn't plan on chasing storms today. In fact, I mused earlier about how hot the 700mb temperatures were. Surely, nothing would make it off the mountains. However, a few cells managed to pop up in the Metro, though none of them went severe.

At about 6:30PM, I walked over to the mail center at my apartment complex and noticed some VERY stout convection just to my east. When I got back to my apartment, I looked at the radar ... nothing ... I looked at Cheyenne and Pueblo's radars (they cut through the air at a higher level over Denver and can often show storms before the local radar does) ... nothing. I peeked back outside and saw a lowering to my southeast on the updraft.


Well ... I had planned on heading to the market to pick up dinner, so I figured I'd bring my camera with me. Finally, as I left, something started popping up on radar. I got on Arapahoe Road and just continued driving east until it was raining ... and raining rather hard! By the time I reached Arapahoe and E-470, there was a lot of water on the road. I called a friend working at UDFCD to alert them (they do flood control) and continued east. I wasn't sure what my goal was at that point, but I continued east until I got out of the rain and watched the cell begin to die on radar.

To my south, another cell on the Palmer began to surge northward, so I continued east on County Line Road to the Kiowa-Bennett Road where I worked my way south. A shelf cloud began to materialize on the shelf and this excited me. I had a paved road and a nice shelf ... what more could I ask for?

When the shelf came over, I found myself in the whale's mouth. My photos didn't come out too well do to the low light and not setting up my tripod because of the precip. The wind was less exciting than I expected, so I eventually continued south toward Kiowa. Most of the storms around began to weaken, but there was some interesting turbulence in the clouds.

I got on Colorado 86 in Kiowa and started to head home. I noticed that cells were beginning to strengthen over Denver so I hurried a little. I could see some interesting cloud formations to my north, so I turned north just before Elizabeth and tried to get a better look. Eventually, I had a view of the "interesting" feature, which could have "appeared" as a wall cloud. However, there wasn't much on radar there, so it was probably just scudzilla.

I continued north to get a good view of the cells coming out of the south side of the Metro and as it got dark, found a place to set up and shoot lightning. I was there for a while and managed to score one shot, which I'm happy with.

It began to precipitate and I figured I was done for, so I started making my way back home again. A bit later, I found myself thinking it would be cool to get the night sky with an oil pump in the foreground. So, I stopped. The rain was light and I took a ton of shots ... barely missing a couple of lightning bolts. But, I was so pleased with how they came out, the lightning would have only been a bonus.

Eventually, the lightning came to a halt and I knew it was time to go home. I had originally thought to pick up a steak from the market but I didn't want to curse myself by eating steak after a "chase" without a tornado intercept, so I stopped at Sonic instead. That turned out to be a very, very good idea.

Mileage: 90
Features: Shelf cloud, minor street flooding
Hail: None
Wind: Sub-severe.



sknr31 said...

exploder on another adventure.....

Dann Cianca said...

Der Schploder knows ONLY adventure.