Saturday, February 12, 2011

2011 Storm Chase 1 - January 19th - Like Fresh Fruit In Winter

This was definitely more of an impromptu chase. I was aware of the potential for convection and noted that we had mustered around 100J/kg of CAPE in places over the Western Slope (per the RUC). I left my house to get my car washed and keep me eyes out for interesting skies to photograph near sunset. I was not disappointed!

No sooner had I pulled out of the car wash than I noticed a nice cell rolling in from the north-northwest. Please understand that my threshold for a "nice cell" is rather low considering the location and time of year. Regardless, it was coming in with earnest and was notably exhibiting a shelf cloud on its front. I attempted to get into a good position for a picture but failed before it was already overhead.

I left the city limits and found myself on a muddy road into the East Fruita Desert. Another cell was rolling over the Roan Plateau to my northeast and was looking rather ominous. The sun was still hitting the cliffs as the storm approached. Note that the promontory is Mount Garfield.

Mount Garfield being swallowed up.

A look back to the southeast, toward the Monument. This is the back side of the original shelf cloud.

The newer cell, upen reaching the edge of the Bookcliffs, began to shelf-out as well. One could imagine a dense pool of cold air virtually spilling off of the edge of the plateau and this is evident in the pictures below.

Please ignore the blurriness of the following picture. I just wanted to illustrate that there were some nice downdrafts with a few of the leading cells. This, I can assure you, is almost all snow (probably graupel) on the foothills of Grand Mesa.

The cells moved through just before golden hour and the clouds cleared enough to get some nice images of my surroundings.

One final look at some hidden storm structure as the evening light coursed in:

I attempted to reposition for better photographic opportunities, but the light faded and so did the storms. Still, it was nice to get out and pursue something meteorological. I could feel a hint of energy in the air and that was certainly a nice reminder that Spring is around the corner.

Mileage: 20
(Year-to-date): 20
Largest Hail: None.
Winds Of Consequence: None observed.
Tornadoes: 0

Other reports on the date:

Official Storm Reports for January 19th.

Detail Map:



sknr31 said...

I LOVE IT!!!!!

Pat Darrow said...

There can be some amazing structure on those winter systems as they cross over from Utah and head southeast. Can get some really nice cold air funnels too. Nice pics! Sounds like it was good time in the valley. If you head up 139 to Douglas Pass, there are some great vistas to be had as well.

Dann Cianca said...

Pat: Where did you live out here? (Or did you... I seem to remember you out on the Western Slope for a while).

Skinner: Thanks!