May 21, 2012: Mon - Day 24 - Supercell - Vega Texas: After dropping off the great folks from our photo group, cleaning and servicing the van, I picked up Tom Trott who would be my chase partner for the next few days and we bolted west for some late day storm activity somewhere in the Texas Panhandle near Amarillo. There was a slight risk of severe storms in place for the western half of the Panhandle and for a good portion of northeast NM. A cluster of severe storms had formed off the higher terrain in NM by mid to late afternoon but those would be too far for us to intercept prior to sunset. I was anticipating that new storms would form farther east in the Panhandle and those we could reach by dark. The quest for today was to see some late day structure and/or lightning activity. We started to see some towers going up while we were about 50 miles east of AMA and figured we would be able to intercept one of these cells. We stopped briefly west of AMA near Wildorado to look at a storm gaining strength about 25 miles directly to our west and slowly drifting ESE.
There was another stronger cell right behind this one but it was totally hidden from view and that one was crashing SSE and I believe merged with our cell. We drove another 12 miles or so and exited at Vega to get a better look at the closer storm. The structure now had supercell characteristics and was beginning to spit out some nice CG's. It was now 8:30pm and getting rather dark. We spent the next hour of so watching this cell and enjoying the light show, most of the best ones missing my camera's lens. AMA 299m
May 22, 2012: Tue - Day 25 - High-Based Storms - Western OK PH into SW KS: The models were right on target with breaking out a couple of storms in the western Oklahoma panhandle by mid-afternoon. An enticing Cu field beckoned to our west just as we reached Guymon, so there was no need to sit around waiting for something to happen. We headed west and enjoyed the pretty updrafts for the next hour or so until we reached Boise City. These weak storm cells were very high-based and moving slowly. We dropped a bit southwest of town to have a better look at the pretty skies.
Tom and I hooked up with Bill Reid and his crew shortly thereafter and we followed a promising looking cell that was moving to the northeast more or less parallel to highway 56. There was some mildly entertaining structure from time to time and even a brief mid-level funnel cloud at one point but there was just not enough moisture available to get this storm going. We stopped a couple of times to take in the view but it soon became apparent that this storm and others to our southwest were going downhill fast. We gave up the chase and headed north to get in better position for our day two target. WaKeeney, KS 466m
May 23, 2012: Wed - Day 26 - Supercells & Lightning - East Central Colorado to Western KS: Another day with a bi-modal target...choose either eastern NE for a chance of tornado but possible cap bust or northeast Colorado for a structure storm. After reviewing the options with Bill Reid, Chris G. and his crew we all figured our best play for finding a photogenic storm would be to head west to Colorado. We hung around near Seibert during the mid afternoon to monitor satellite and radar trends and watched the skies to our west fill with ugly cloudiness. We had very cool and dry northeast winds at our location but the skies were sunny not too far to our south and that area had slightly better moisture and more easterly surface winds. A new cell formed near Colorado Springs that looked promising and it wasn't long before we targeted that storm and headed south on highway 59. We made our first film stop near Aroya and watched this eastward moving cell approach our position from along highway 94.
Another cell formed behind this one and held our attention briefly, but it didn't do much more than the first cell. If only these storms had a bit more moisture to work with we might have had a real show! Another promising looking cell formed to our southwest near Pueblo and we could just barely make out a pronounced updraft base and tower. This storm was ingesting slightly better moisture from the east so once again we dived south, this time via a 25 mile network of gravel roads hoping to beat any rain from other storms that had formed off to our west. We reached Haswell just before 8:00pm MDT and stopped to view the updraft area of the "Pueblo" storm just to our southwest and the beautiful stormy skies that had formed all around us. The wind was very strong out of the north and northeast...probably gusting to near 50mph at times. This along with being pelted by big wind-driven raindrops made it very difficult to stand outside and photograph anything!
We then headed east on highway 96 and enjoyed an incredible stormy show along the way with lots of blowing dust and insane CG activity all around us. The blowing dust and occasional pelting of rain prevented us from stopping to film this incredible show, but we did stop briefly just west of Eads to quickly capture a few lightning images...this show was just too good to pass up.
We continued east into Kansas with the core of the "Pueblo" storm pacing us to our south. The lightning show continued but so did the intense wind and dust coming out of the north along with occasional bouts of rain. I stopped again a couple of times east of Tribune for lightning attempts but had to quickly get back in my SUV to avoid the dust and rain without much success a capturing lightning. I did manage to capture a few keepers though and took my final image as of this storm as it was dying from a point near Lydia Kansas. The stars were out overhead but the wind was still brutal. We arrived in Garden City about shortly before 1:00 am CDT. 515m
May 24, 2012: Thu - Day 27 - Late Day Storms - Emporia KS: The plan for today was to head somewhere in SE KS for a chance to see some late day convection if the CAP would break before sunset. Tom and I once again hooked up with Bill R., Chris G., and Bob S. and headed for a target area somewhere east of Wichita where the best convergence could be found close to the NNE/SSW oriented boundary without having to go any farther north than necessary. We hung out in Eureka during the late afternoon watching the convection on radar slowly initiate along the boundary well to our north and begin to propagate southward. Convergence was a better to our north and I opted to head in the direction. Bill and crew needed to get back to OKC by noon on the next day and was hedging south, but I kept trying to pull him north towards the towering cumulus that were erupting just to our north. I stopped at a high point north of Madison to watch some tail end convection to my north and west that was anything but severe, but quite picturesque at times. Bill and crew soon joined me!
We then drifted north to near Olpe and I opted to hang around until near sunset enjoying the colorful updraft towers drifting off to our east. There was a more potent cell about 20-25 miles off to our ENE but I just didn't feel like blasting after this and instead enjoyed the show that was going on all around us.
Our final photo op occurred while we were heading south on the Kansas Turnpike from Emporia. A Cb was being illuminated from within back to our ENE and we needed to stop and get a better look at this, but there were no exits available. Fortunately, Tom spotted the entrance to the "Bazaar Cattle Gates" and we took the gravel exit back up over the turnpike for a perfect view from a high point looking at the illuminated Cb now to our NNE. We spent about 20 minutes enjoying the show and capturing numerous images...a nice way to end the chase day. El Dorado, KS 380m
May 25, 2012: Fri - Day 28 - Prep Day - OKC: The risk for severe storms and possible tornadoes is temptingly close...just 5 or so hours away in west central Kansas, but a bit too far given the need to be rested and ready for the start of the next tour tomorrow which looks to have a very active start. Update...multiple reports of tornadoes were reported from a couple of supercells that formed in the Ness City to Hays Kansas area---a painful miss on the one day we couldn't chase, at least without being in a zombie-like state for the start of the new tour. Oklahoma City, OK 175m.
May 26, 2012: Sat - Day 29 - T4/Orientation Day - Weak Storms West Central KS: We really didn't have a good setup anywhere on the plains today but we did at least have a chance at seeing some storms. Bill, Keith, Woody, and I first headed the new group north towards the KS/NE border as the HRRR and other models were breaking out precip there by early evening...and that is where we wanted to be for Day 2. But the area to our west had a weak DL feature and perhaps a tad better convergence so we headed in that direction. Along the way an MD was issued and a few small storms initiated to our WSW and farther south in the OK PH. One cell looked promising about 100 miles to our west and we were headed directly towards it as it became severe warned and was blasting north at 40mph! We caught up with the tail edge of this storm east of Great Bend, the only severe storm on the plains at the time, but it was most uninteresting. However we did come across some interesting areas of blowing smoke that was likely caused by CG's from this storm. We then hung around the Great Bend area until after sunset watching some pretty convection before heading north for the night. Along the way we watched a line of storms that were producing lightning about 25 miles to our west. These storms were moving north to NNE with us but eventually died out. All in all a not too interesting day especially given the miles driven. Hays, KS 566m
May 27, 2012: Sun - Day 30 - T4/D1 - Severe Storms - Supercells: Another day when things didn't quite come together as hoped due mainly to no backed winds at the surface. The first storms went up well to our north while we were near the NE/KS border. There was an MD to our north and another to its immediate south which both became severe watch boxes and we were sitting right in the middle of these two areas. Bill, Keith, Woody and I had to make some tough decisions where to head our group and as things changed we found our selves going north and south thru the town of Red Cloud in Nebraska several times. We eventually figured our best option was to head for the more isolated cells erupting to our south and start thinking about a "tail-end Charlie" storm. Storms to our west and immediate southwest were merging rather quickly but one cell was slightly east of the merging line and didn't have anything to its immediate south. We got close to have a look at this cell as it raced to our northeast from a point just to the west of Smith Center in Kansas before dropping south to more isolated storm cells.
Our next and final photo op came a little south of Stockton as some pretty updraft towers came in to view from behind a dying cell we had been watching. The sun was setting and the towers were lit up quite nicely since there were intervening clouds to shadow the view. We then headed south and had a good view of what may have been the best storm of the day about 40 miles to our east. This storm was the southern most and had no competition and prompted several severe warnings. It was now well after sunset and about all we could see was the pretty updraft region being illuminated by lightning from within. At least we were seeing some storms, but a disappointing day given what it could have been with more backed winds. Hays, KS 324m
May 28, 2012: Mon - Day 31 - T4/D2 - Severe Storms - Supercells: We had to drop south about 300 miles to Texas in order to catch up with the CF boundary that was now draped NE/SW across western OK into North Texas. By late afternoon we could easily see the boundary defined by a line of towering Cu that were rapidly weakening the CAP. We dropped south from Hollis OK to Crowell, TX and then southeast towards Seymour in order to drop south of a beefy updraft Cb that soon became a severe warned storm. We stopped east of Crowell to view the storm to our north that was now beginning to move southeast and would soon be hitting our area with large hail.
As we headed towards Seymour we got blasted from the north with plenty of gusty winds filled with blowing dust. We experienced gusts to perhaps 60mph a few miles west of Seymour.
We continued southeast watching the storms to our north as MTN indicated several areas of rotation with these storms. One storm back to our northwest had a pronounced blocky lowering and we stopped to look back at this feature from a point a couple of miles west of Megargel, TX. At one point a cone-shaped lowering appeared and there may have been a bit of red dust circulating beneath the lowering...but we were too far away to confirm any rotation.
The best show came a little later as we blasted south to Newcastle and then east on 380 and then south again on 578 towards Breckenridge. We had some nice structure to look at as well as plenty of nicely branched CG's. We stopped a couple of miles south of highway 380 on 578 to look back west at the storm where we were momentarily safe from the rain and hail core. We then continued south to Breckenridge through lots of strong outflow from this storm as well as some very colorful CG's off to our south that were being spit out by a new storm cell. We tried to stop once to film this show but the rain core quickly ended that idea. Breckenridge, TX 524m.
May 29, 2012: Tue - Day 32 - T4/D3 - Nicely Structured Supercell - Okeene to Piedmont OK: The HRRR and RUC model had just about nailed the forecast today for a series of semi-isolated supercells starting in NW OK and drifting to the ESE. Our target was to start somewhere near Woodward to Alva area based on the morning models. For a change we would have some backed surface flow to work with and with adequate CAPE and flow aloft we were anticipating a pretty good show. We reached the Taloga to Seiling area by late afternoon and had a nice area of TCu clustered just to our ENE. We headed east on highway 60 towards Fairview and had nice updraft towers to our immediate east. There were multiple updraft bases at this point but we figured we would have time to get ahead of all this by the time the storm got its act together. We headed south from Okeene and watched the now more compact storm drift towards us from the northwest. The storm was now moving mostly ESE and we had a great view of the fast developing structure off to our north. The last image below was taken a little later on the way to Kingfisher when we stopped to view some suspicious wall cloud lowerings beneath the updraft base.
We then blasted east several miles past the town of Kingfisher to a high point looking back to our west to watch this amazing supercell approach our position. The storm was now moving southeast and we were far enough ahead to view the approaching storm for several minutes. There was obvious areas of rotation beneath the updraft base and at one point an RFD cut in and prompted some wildly spinning cloud wisps nearly overhead. It really tried to tornado, but the warm inflow stopped at this point and we were getting hit with cool outflow or possible RFD winds. It was now time to continue east and south to stay ahead of this storm.
We headed east and then south towards Piedmont and got pelted by hail a few times, the largest being about 2" but we were able to escape unscathed fortunately due to a good road network. The best structure occurred near sunset but by now the chaser traffic was getting a bit crazy and unfortunately I wasn't able to get much footage from the dash cam and no still images while driving. We did manage to stop very briefly on two occasions to look west at the insane structure nearly overhead but there were trees and other distractions to deal with. At this point some of the staff and guests saw a brief tornado to the north which was hidden from my view since I had moved to a less distracting area to enjoy the fantastic structure directly to my west. For me this storm was not about added yet another fuzzy and weak tornado in the bag...it was ALL about the structure for sure! I grabbed precious few shots and then we blasted south yet again, but by now it was getting dark and the photo ops were gone. A great chase day was had by all for sure! OKC 424m
May 30, 2012: Wed - Day 33 - T4/D4 - Bust - NW OK to NE TX PH: The morning model runs and a moderate risk for our target area in the Woodward to Gage, OK area simply didn't pan out. One negative was no doubt the cloud cover that limited instability until mid-afternoon. A severe watch box was issued in Kansas to our north and a narrow tornado watch box was issued to our south for the eastern TX PH region and we were right smack between these two areas. The storms to our north were mostly a congealed mess, but the storms to our south along the dryline looked very tempting. We hung tough until early evening in the Wheeler, TX area hoping that a storm might still form off to our northwest and then dive southeast, but it soon became apparent this might not happen. Meanwhile numerous tornado warnings and sightings were issued for a couple of cells about two hours south of our position but these storms were moving away from us and we'd never catch them before dark. We were running out of options. We headed south in hopes of maybe seeing a little lighting or some distant structure along the way but saw nothing. A total bust for today with no pictures taken, but at least we are now a little closer for our Day 2 target. Childress, TX 417m
May 31, 2012: Thu - Day 34 - T4/D5 - Severe Storms - Balmorhea to Marfa, TX: Bill, Keith, Woody and I blew off the idea of heading south of I-10 to the slight risk area in favor of heading to the higher terrain of west Texas to see a pretty supercell or two. The southern target was iffy due to a strong CAP, but the western target had decent upslope flow, adequate moisture, and just enough westerly flow at 500mb to produce something severe. We hung out just south of Peocos by mid-afternoon watching small towering cumulus go up all around us. The SPC mesoanalysis page indicated a tight Theta-E ridge coming in from our SE and ending just shy of Peocos. All we had to do (we hoped) would be to head a little south along that ridge axis and watch for a storm or two to develop, and that is pretty much what happened. We headed south on 17 to Balmorhea towards some radar returns over the Davis Mountains, but suddenly we had a couple of good towers exploding overhead! We dropped south of town and watched these and a couple of other cells develop and move southwest---everything was propagating southwest.
We continued south with the most dominant cell along highway 17 and tried to get ahead of its southwestward moving core near Fort Davis. The hail was mostly nickel size at first but gradually increased to the point that we needed to take shelter under some trees. We gathered a few hailstones before heading south again and measured several in the 2 1/2" to 2 3/4" range! We made another stop just north of Marfa at the airport to watch our storm approach from the northeast. The updraft base had lowered a bit and an small RFD began kicking up a lot of dust and throwing it in our direction. We then dropped into town and headed east on 67/90 towards a more beastly looking storm coming towards us from north of Alpine. We stopped near the Marfa viewing lights pullout to view some incredible lightning to our northeast---I may have got some of those on video but no stills. The last image below shows the core of the "Alpine" storm approaching.
We tried to stay with this storm by heading south at Marfa but by now it was getting dark and we figured the chance of any tornado was slim. The best play appeared to be head back north to the dry air behind the storm for some nice structure and/or lightning photography at sunset. That plan worked out rather well as we did get to see some amazing skies. The lightning was rather infrequent but what did occur was excellent! All in all this day was worth the effort of the long drive! Alpine, Tx 518m
June 1, 2012: Fri - Day 35 - T4/D6 Final - Marginally Severe Storms - Channing to Vega, TX: We have little to show for our 600 plus mile drive today. There was a slight risk of severe in the Texas Panhandle but with weak upper flow and lack of good convergence at lower levels storms were rather weak and uninteresting. One storm west of Channing did look good for awhile as it moved south towards our photo stop location as we were looking north. But it soon became outflow dominate and started to compete with other nearby storm cells that were going up. After filming this storm we dropped back south to Vega to get east of another storm or two that was putting on a semi-interesting lightning display at sunset. The show was not enough to get me out of the van however. Overall we did have a very good week with quite a variety of interesting storms to chase. Vega, TX 618m
June 2, 2012: Sat - Day 36 - T4 Departure Day - Strong Storms - Hardesty, OK: After saying goodbye to the T4 folks and racing around to get the vans serviced and cleaned Woody and I started our trek to Denver. I figured if we got out of OKC fast enough we might have a shot at seeing some late day storm activity before nightfall. There was a slight risk of severe storms across a good portion of SE CO, SW KS and the OK and TX Panhandle region. Logistically and meteorologically Guymon appeared to be a good target to reach. We left OKC a little after 4pm and headed towards the OK PH via the northwest passage. By the time we reached Watonga storms were already covering a good part of eastern Colorado. But as we later entered the eastern edge of the OK PH a cell or two began to form west and southwest of GUY. All we had to do was continue straight west towards those storms and hope for a nice show. We got our show a little east of Hardesty while we still had good light. An impressive mammatus field formed overhead and there was a decent amount of lightning activity off to our immediate west. We found a high spot with an excellent view west and hung out watching and trying to capture a few lightning bolts until well after sunset. Not a bad day considering having to drive the tour folks from Vega, TX to OKC (318m)...service the vans and then drive nearly another 300 miles back west to get ready for the start of the next tour in DEN. Guymon, OK 307m
June 3, 2012: Sun - Day 37 - Travel Day - No Storms: Today we drove the final leg of our OKC to DEN journey with a stop along the way to visit with my son in Castle Rock, CO. It was nice to not have the pressure to look for a storm for a change, but we did actually find some weak storms over DEN that put down a few CG's. Denver, CO 356m
June 4, 2012: Mon - Day 38 - T5/Orientation Day - NE WY/SW SD: The slight risk of severe storms in western MT was too far for us to reach today, so we headed for northeast WY/SW SD for a chance of a strong to severe storm IF the CAP could be broken. We had dewpoint readings in the low to mid 50's and a light SSE wind and the TCu showed nice shearing aloft, so we had many of the ingredients necessary for a good storm. A few nice towers went up by early evening near Four Corners, Wyoming but they just couldn't break thru the strong capping inversion. We hung out for awhile filming an old farmstead and then headed to Devil's Tower to finish up the day...all in all a fun day even without the storms. Belle Fourche, SD 468m
June 5, 2012: Tue - Day 39 - T5/D1 - Weak Storms & Smoke - Laramie Range WY: The severe risk of storms and supercells continued today for the western Montana region. Had there not been a good chance for supercells and/or tornadoes the following day in the CO/NE/WY area I would have gone for broke and driven the distance. But then there would be no way to get the storms on the following day given the 12-14 hour drive south. I opted instead, hard as it was, to once again hope a strong storm could develop somewhere in eastern WY. The CAP was a little weaker today, but the dewpoints were very low, mostly in the high 40's. We watched a few updrafts percolate to our west over the Laramie range as a raging wild fire billowed tons of smoke skyward to the base of the young updraft towers. One cell held together with a bit of lightning and drifted rapidly off the NNE. Other updrafts gave promise, but soon fell apart. We just didn't have enough moisture and lift to get things going. Ended the day in Kimball, NE 400m appx.
June 6, 2012: Wed - Day 40 - T5/D2 - Supercells - Eastern Colorado: We hung out in Kimball for awhile looking at data and waiting for a sign to move. Convective Initiation looked likely somewhere west of Fort Morgan, yet big storms would be possible farther north in the southeastern corner of Wyoming...with more storms later farther east. I opted to head south to near Brush in hopes of getting an early cell and possible landspout and worry about any other storms later. We positioned ourselves in an area of agitated Cu that were about 25 miles to our west as these were located right along the wind shift line. We had a steady southeast flow at our backs as we watched the first towers break the CAP directly to our west by mid-afternoon. These updrafts looked pretty good and were moving slowly to the NNE. We headed west from Brush and then north on highway 52 towards Raymer. We stopped several times along the way to look at the most dominant cell on the north end of a line of developing storms. We made our final stop south of Raymer before letting this cell go (last image below) in favor of better looking ones to our south.
We eventually set our sights on the southern most cell that was looking to be the storm of the day located to the east of Aurora, CO. We navigated south to Byers and then dropped farther south and west on a network of gravel roads in order to get a little south of the updraft area of this large supercell. We had a great view of the structure to our west from a high point and took in the show for several minutes as the storm was barely moving. It was severe warned at the time and then later tornado warned, but we could see no evidence of any tight rotation. Another storm well to our south that was located east of Colorado Springs was showing off some very large mammatus clouds.
Meanwhile another storm was forming on the heels of "our" storm to its immediate southwest and promptly became tornado warned. We were ready to blast after this cell when we noticed several funnel cloud attempts beneath the rain free base close to the precipitation core. We were too far away to confirm any rotation though. Our group was able to get fairly close to this cell by sunset south of Bennett on a side road off the Bennett to Kiowa road. Again we had a great view looking southwest and Brett could see the "Sleeping Indian" mesa to our southwest...we were only about 30 minutes from his house! There were a few tornado reports from this storm (one imbedded in rain) but we saw no signs of tornadoes from our viewpoints. We spent the final hour of so enjoying the lightning before heading back to Fort Morgan for the night. 336m
June 7, 2012: Thu - Day 41 - T5/D3 - HP Supercell & Tornadoes - East Central Colorado: We started our day in Fort Morgan and headed west trying to figure out if we wanted to start our chase close to the Denver Airport or head north to Cheyenne where the HRRR was showing several large Supercells by mid-afternoon. An MD was issued by noon immediately followed by a tornado watch box just to our north and there were already a few storms initiating within the box with the closest one just 75 miles to my north. The decision was made...we blasted west to I-25 and then north. Near Fort Collins I received a call from Matt C. who had previously been thinking of heading north as well that I had better take a look at data for the DEN area and points southeast. I pulled off the interstate to study things and noticed that the storms to my north were falling apart and that current 5000 CAPE axis depicted on the SPC mesoanalysis page, great southeasterly surface flow and dewpoints in the mid to high 50's southeast of DEN had me heading south in a hurry. We hung out in the Parker area for awhile and then again farther south in Franktown. A storm soon formed off to our north and we headed east on highway 86 thru Elizabeth and Kiowa taking one quick stop to look at the developing storm off to our north. We found a gravel road north a few miles west of Cedar Point and headed towards Agate to get a leisurely look at the structure off to our north and northwest. There were actually two cells that eventually merged together. The storm was nearly stationary at this point and was severe warned. It soon became tornado warned but didn't appear to be ready to drop a tornado. The following four images were taken a few miles west of Agate.
We then dropped south of Agate about a mile on a gravel road and took another image and noticed a small "nub" hanging from the rain free base...just barely visible in the following image.
We then needed to get south on I-70 to the next exit at Cedar Point. Here we met up with Matt C. briefly and watched the somewhat distant HP to our WNW roll southward. It was pushing out an incredible rainfoot at times with lots of suspicious upward motion condensing on the leading edge of the rainfoot.
Now it was time to attempt to get ahead of this beast before it cut off our path west. We dropped south again on I-70 to the highway 24 exit at Limon. I considered taking highway 86 straight west but had concerns of not beating the core, thus opted for highway 24 which heads southwest giving me a little more "breathing" room. We had a great view of the leading edge structure on our way to Matheson were we dropped south on gravel road CR149 for more great views off to our west. We then cut west on Harrisville Road (another gravel road) hoping again to beat the core and get some great structure views and a look into the notch for a possible tornado. We were cutting it a bit close but I figured if the road was decent it was doable and it would be our only shot to get a great close up look at this HP monster. Fortunately we had an excellent gravel road to deal with!
A few miles east of Calhan we stopped to get a better look at some suspicious white funnels somewhat imbedded in the core that were reaching to ground level. We were just a tad west of the inflow notch based on 0.5 base reflectivity on GRLevel and were temporarily safe from the core that was mainly off to our NNE. Between 7:34 and 7:41MDT I photographed at least four of these events...what to me appeared to be forward flank tornadoes. At first we had great inflow which went calm momentarily and then switched to cool outflow. I had everyone huddled close to the vans ready for an expeditious departure if need be.
The main show started at 7:41MDT as a rotating white funnel dropped from the base about 1/2 mile to our northeast. The rotation persisted for several minutes within this highly contrasted white funnel as well as the collar cloud above. Now that I have viewed my video I can confirm this as a tornado since there was a large circulating area of dust evident below the funnel as well as at least one tiny condensation area at ground level. The following images were taken between 7:41 and 7:45MDT.
We then got blasted with strong outflow along with heavy rain and some small hail. We headed west through Calhan and then immediately dropped south to a high point to get a birds-eye view of this storm moving southward. The images below were looking east.
Our final film stop was another mile or two farther west looking back to our south at the back edge of convection as the supercell departed south from our location. Definitely a top 5 structure day for me and my best HP supercell to date! An incredible chase day for sure! Centennial, CO 429m
June 8, 2012: Fri - Day 42 - T5/D4 - Final - No Storms - Nebraska: A strong CAP was in place across a good portion of the Great Plains today with the only real shot of severe weather up in far northeastern Montana. We hung out at the Scottsbluff Monument until early evening and watched the few small cumulus that formed to our north slowly fade away. The only severe storms at sunset were 500 miles to our north near the Canadian border. But after yesterday's fantastic chase no one is complaining. We had a leisurely dinner in Scottsbluff and got into our motel while there was still some daylight left. I think that is the first time that has happened since I have been out here this season. Scottsbluff, NE 388m
June 9, 2012: Sat - Day 43 - T5/Departure - No Storms: We got the T5 group back to DEN by noontime and finished cleaning the vans by early afternoon. Although we only two active chase days on this four day tour they more than made up for the lack of storms on the other days! Brett invited Woody and I to his house for a steak dinner and I spent the rest of the day relaxing and not having to worry about anything. Tomorrow I will start my journey home and try to intercept a storm or two somewhere in the slight risk area in central or eastern Kansas. Castle Rock, CO 238m
June 10, 2012: Sun - Day 44 - Severe Storms: My plan was simple for today...head east towards home and attempt to catch a tail end storm or two somewhere in northeast KS ahead of the CF. By late afternoon a severe watch box was issued for northeast KS and northward and storms had already initiated farther north along the NE/IA border. All I had to do was monitor the towering Cu and watch radar trends for storms to fire to the south of this convection. By early evening a couple of decent looking storms on radar had developed to my north along the KS/NE border and I could just make out the towers of these storms to my north. I drifted north to monitor while keeping my eye on new towers developing to my west and southwest. An MCD was issued for the area to my north (within the watch box) that these ongoing storms would likely have the best potential for becoming severe. Suddenly one of these towers exploded with a huge overshooting top and the race was on...I notified Bill Reid and his crew as to what was going on as he was only 50 miles or so to my southwest at the time. I was able to intercept the tail end cell just south of Linn, KS and observed a couple of small clouds develop beneath a rain free base. I got closer and a ragged funnel cloud extended about a third of the way down just in front of a wet RFD. New convection was beginning to the south of this storm (to my west), but I wanted to stick with this storm as long as possible. The following stormy images were taken from various film stops along a gravel road network looking north at the original storm, the first one showing a large cone/bowl shaped lowering in front of a wet RFD.
The following images were taken looking west at a new cell developing to the south of my original target storm.
Lightning activity increased as the sun began to set, so my attention then turned from trying to capture storm structure to that of capturing a few CG's. I had to keep dropping south and east a bit to stay ahead of the rain and saw some amazing CG's against a colorful sky...most of course missing my camera's shutter. I did manage to capture a couple of keepers though and that alone made the day's effort worthwhile. Manhattan, KS. 550m appx
June 11, 2012: Mon - Day 45 - No Storms - Travel Day: Uneventful day traveling towards home. The slight risk of severe storms in eastern OK didn't pan out before nightfall, but a few severe storms did initiate south of the Red River mainly in north Texas...too far away to be of any concern for me. Springfield, OH 741m
June 12, 2012: Tue - Day 46 - No Storms - Travel Day: Finished the final 460 miles to home. Storms were building under the more unstable air in western Pennsylvania, but ongoing overcast skies and rain hampered storm development farther east. Bernville, PA 460m