Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 30th, 2010

Heavy rain threatens to rain-out the Colorado Rockies vs. Chicago Cubs game at Coors Field in Denver.

Lightning successfully shuts off as soon as the camera comes out.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

2010 Storm Chase 35 Brief - July 29th

Well, long story short: Saw that the DCVZ had set up this morning and when cu started firing along it, I went out. Unfortunately, stronger storms on the SW extent of the boundary dumped their payload and left huge outflow pools that undercut the boundary all the way up north past DIA. No landspouts for me! Just some rain.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

2010 Storm Chase 33 Brief - July 21st

Chased several severe-warned cells in Eastern Colorado today. I met the first storm south of Deer Trail on I-70 and got readily cored. The largest hail was perhaps the size of a pea but the winds were the main story, easily gusting over 50kt and making it difficult to stay on the road (or even see) even at low speeds.

That storm sidetracked me from the convergence boundary that I planned on targeting, so I noticed that the cap broke on it and I drove irresponsibly all the way toward the newly warned cells, south of Yuma. They went from multi-cell to a high precipitation supercell, which I managed to avoid (stay in front of) for a good long while.

I left the storm after it rained itself out at Wray (which then subsequently restrengthened and was tornado-warned), but I had a distance limit on the day and had already reached it. Plus, by the time it was warned, I was already on my way home.

About to get cored at the Lowland exit on I-70 (south of Deer Trail).

Outflow structure south of Yuma, Colorado.

Briefly harrassed this little guy for a photo op and then removed him from the roadway. One of six turtles that I saw on the roads today and one of two that I stopped for and removed them from the road!

Just after 0Z, 6SE Yuma when the storm looked its strongest. Though the area was in outflow, there was a visible notch to the right (and looking at the radar later, a hefty couplet hiding back there!) Great motion too... wish I would have taken the time to set up the video camera. At the surface, motion was rapid right to left but just above, rapid left to right.

Today was a good chase in that I had very, very limited data. Had to give the iPhone back to the old job, so I was chasing with an old (non-smart) phone and basically a weather radio and paper maps. Thanks to Johnathan Skinner for some nowcast support as well!

The photos could have come out better... I was at that point of lower light where I tripod isn't necessarily needed, but would have been the smarter option. Though the lightning shot, I'll have you know, was strictly reflex. :)

PS: This chase puts me over 15,000 miles on the year.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

2010 Storm Chase 32 Brief - July 20th

Chased with Tony Laubach today along the Front Range of the Rockies in Colorado today. Our target was roughly the I-25 corridor between Colorado Springs and Pueblo. Our first storm intercept was actually west of there near Wetmore, Colorado. Storms were only pulsing at this point, so we decided to head to Pueblo.

Thunderstorms over the Wet Mountains in Custer County, Colorado.

Back in data range, we found ourselves straddled between two severe-warned storms, both of which completely died immediately. So, we got a bite to eat at Jorge's Sombrero in Pueblo.

After dinner (and an extremely potent Margarita on my part), we headed up to the Springs to intercept a storm rolling out of the mountains. The storm was severe, tornado, and flash flood warned simultaneously but only really held a rain threat. We observed some flooding along Powers Boulevard and then eventually toured around a bit before heading home.

The day was a bit frustrating with storms dying as we approached all day, but we had good humor. I got to knock off a couple of mountain counties (Fremont & Custer) on my counties chased list. Also had great food. So, good day!


Friday, July 16, 2010

2010 Storm Chase 31 Brief - July 15th

Chased today with Travis Speakman and Tony Dawson. It was supposed to be simply a local chase... but you know how things get. Suddenly, we're in southeast Colorado. Anyway, it was interesting for sure as most of the storms had gone into outflow mode only to catch their stalling boundaries. Then, more cells fired along the boundary and they all seemed to come together at a pinch point near Eads. We watched one area of rotation get pretty worked up and saw a wall cloud form. I looked over and saw two tall columns of rapidly spinning dust under the outflow and tried to take pictures of it, but it was a bit too low-light to handle, so I needed my tripod. I snapped this shot before spending way too long trying to get the tripod out of the back of the car and get it set up. I was quite frustrated. Anyway, look at the image full size and look just to the left of the rain drop that the surprise flash caught near the horizon.

Anyway, the area was rapidly rotating and the vortices danced around each other for a while. Travis reported it. (0123 10 SSW EADS KIOWA CO 3835 10285 MULTI VORTEX NON CONDENSATION TORNADO ON THE GROUND FOR 2 MINUTES OVER OPEN LAND. (PUB)) That was our position, but what we were looking at was at about 5S Eads.

I would have liked to have been closer to "document" it fully, so I can't call it a documented tornado, but it probably was one none-the-less.

Precip halo around the west to east moving line of storms before they crashed together, just to our southwest.

The two lines crashed together right over us at this point which made for extremely chaotic conditions directly overhead and to our south. There were areas of extremely rapid rotation, though they never quite tightened up into distinct funnels. There were gustnadoes everywhere at this point but it was hard to tell if any of them were fully involved with what was going on at cloudbase. I was videoing at this point as the wind was continuously blowing dust into our eyes and blowing my camera tripod over.

We left at this point as the precip cores congealed over us and we spent the next 45 minutes in core north of Lamar and then east of Lamar. We eventually came out after driving through 50kt northerly winds and shot lightning a bit before it all wound down. We headed home but stopped on the backside to shoot lightning near a flooded road. The winds were very strong out of the backside and quite warm... I would estimate between 75-80ºF with high Tds. The air was never really cool (though I would expect that from the "cold pool" behind the MCS).

Anvil crawler lightning on the backside of the MCS as it stalled out in SE Colorado.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

2010 Storm Chase 29 Teaser (July 9th)

Showers slightly obscure the distant Pioneer Mountains in Beaverhead County, Montana. Image taken from Old US91, looking west, 4SSE Glen.

Strong outflow from thunderstorms over the higher terrain raise large waves on Clark Canyon Reservoir.

A thunderstorm dissipates over the Big Hole Divide, west of Bannack, Montana.


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

2010 Storm Chase 28 - July 2nd - Teaser

Elevated (post-frontal) low precipitation supercell north of Hysham, Montana... and a weak one at that.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Folk Festival

Chased a few subsevere storms around Southwest Montana yesterday and have a lot of photos, but I figured I'd share a shot from opening night of the National Folk Festival in Butte last night.


Thursday, July 08, 2010


Still alive... on vacation in Montana. Have a lot to talk about when I get back. Still alive.

Skalkaho Falls and Der Schploder on Tuesday night.