Monday, June 15, 2009

A Beautiful Meso! (June 11th, 09)

A Massive Hail Roar!

June 12th Storm Chase
Silver Lining Tours 

We were hoping for some Palmer magic which is common this time of year especially with the flow across Colorado.  The nice thing about chasing the Palmer is being able to sleep in a making your way out there in plenty of time for initiation when it is a back yard chase.  
On this day we didn't see anything remarkable because dew points were low by about five degrees for any lowering of cloud bases...but these storms would soon turn in to classic hailers in Colorado.  We core punched this storm three times and was fun as hell each time.  I was treated to a massive HAIL ROAR that I had never been witness to before.  Its is quite amazing when you can hear trillion of hail stone 30000ft above you colliding in to one other.  It can be awe striking and a little eerie in the same moment.   All in all today was a fun chase, but nothing extremely exciting.


Sunday, June 14, 2009

A Nice Funnel With A Whales Mouth

Stinger Inflow Bands (June 11th, 09)

A Mother Ship

June 11th Storm Chase
Silver Lining Tours

It is quite an eerie sound as tornado sirens sound except for those who are chasing them...then it becomes music to our ears.  Our chase started of near Limon Colorado were we got on a nice supercell with good structure and a solid core, but soon our attention moved elsewhere.  Storms were firing near Pueblo and we needed to get there fast.
The first storm we got on was beautiful liberty bell shape with a nice wall cloud, but remained kinda low key.  Our attention turned to the south where there was another supercell rapidly developing.  Worrying about the outflow choking off our first target we moved south to position our tour between the two storms.  
This was some treat, being right in the middle of two storms that had such amazing structure and both that could produce at any moment.  The southern cell became the more dominant cell and over took the one to the north.  We chased it for over five hours.  It maintained its mother ship appearance for so long.  The core had over 4 inch hail and had a beautiful whales mouth on it.  One time producing a nice white funnel, but would not produce a tornado for the large chaser convergence that overtook the storm.  
Soon to make our way back to Denver we decided to take a small dirt road back to highway 287 which became the worse move of the day.  The photogenic cell quickly closed in on us leaving us no place to go as the exit to 287 was closed.  Our running the core by seconds we went back to see what she left and man was it impressive.   Over golf ball size hail at one time was tennis ball size and a great shear funnel for kicks and grins.  As it rolled into the night near Oklahoma and Texas we made our way back, but not before fighting off the mass swarm of chasers at the local McDonald's.  


Monday, June 8, 2009

A Beautiful Beaver Tail!

4 States In One Day

Tour With Silver Lining Tours

June 7th, 2009

Turkeys must be a good omen! On the last two chases each time we have seen wild turkeys and each time very good chases! We traveled four states and 840 miles on day one of our tour. We targeted a lager supercell in Missouri near Oregon city. Great structure on the supercell that would hook like crazy. The upper level shear was great for this storm and rotation just as good, however it never seemed to have the lower level winds getting pulled into the storm to drop a tornado while we were watching. Traveling through the small town of Oregon City there was server damage by large large hail! We got to the town about a half hour after the hail had fallen and it was still the size of baseballs.

Despite the mass chaser convergence that was unbelievable, getting our keys locked in the van while it was running (thanks Roger for having a spare) and just not quite putting down a tornado...all in all was a good day.

Tomorrow it looks like we will be back in Colorado toward the Palmer Divide...


Saturday, June 6, 2009

Gone Chasin'

I have been looking forward to this day for a long while now. Tomorrow I leave town for a week long chase in the great plains with Silver Lining Tours. Our first target area is far east Nebraska into Iwoa with what looks to be a favorable set. Finally the Omega block has moved out. Stay tuned for pictures and videos as we look to intercept storms all across the great plains!!


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

June 1st, 2009 Chase

Storm Chase One

Season 2009

Chase Partner - Leader Michael Carlson


Welcome to the good life it says as one enters into the state of Nebraska…they do not lie.  I partially feel this way because the majority of my family is from Nebraska and I am a huge Cornhusker fan!  On the other hand June 1st proved to be the good life in Nebraska for none of those reasons.  I have loved weather all my life and love what Mother Nature can show us, with its devastating power and wrapped up in shear beauty.  This was only my second chase I had been a part of and I had a great tour guide to go with, Michael Carlson.  We were chasing a marginal set up off of boundaries that were coming off of a cold front that was pushing though.  Our target zone was McCook Nebraska, in south west portion of the state.  We sat and waited in McCook and watched Cu building to our North and our South anxiously waiting for the CAP to clear our and convection to take place and soon the decision came on witch to embark upon.  Our main goal for the day was to get on storms with large hail as the set up showed favorable for with high dew points and minimal shear in the upper atmosphere.  We decided to travel north toward rapidly shooting towers near North Platte.  Our first intercept was a cell indicating a small couplet and hail indices of 2.00”.  Driving North on I-80 was a joke cars everywhere as we drove though the down poor and hail to get in an angle to see this beast and we were in for a treat.  Once we got through the entire HP we saw a beautifully structured Meso.  The curvature of the inflow bands and the wall cloud were a site for me to see as I have only seen pictures from other chasers with this being only my second chase.  Sadly as fast as we flew to get to the storm she rained herself out just as fast. 

            Our next target was to drop a little south east and intercept a core for large hail.  The hail indictor was 2.00”.  We sat and waited when soon it came.  The largest hail that we got was about an inch in diameter with a few being up to a 1.25”.  The size was not the impressive part of this storm it was the longevity of the hail.  Michael and I sat there for a good 15 minutes getting pounded by hail and as we left the storm the was run off of hail and water coming towards us with roads glassy from marble size hail all over it and hail drifts an inch deep. 

            We noticed later that down south into Kansas just south of McCook was 3000J/Kg of CAPE!!  Driving down there was another beautiful to the West that we stopped as all it wanted to do was model for us behind the setting sun.  The structure was gorgeous with a teared wedding cake look to it and it sat there as we snapped photo after photo and Michael got a great time lapse of it in its glory.  While this Meso was modeling for us the A-Bomb that was going off in 3000 Joules of CAPE just behind us did not want to be out done.  We would turn around to shoot the Meso and turn around to look at the bomb at it would seem to have doubled in size.  We quickly jumped on this massive storm as the core on radar was unreal and soon chaos would ensue.  

A storm just to the south of us would become tornado warned with a dopplar indicated tornado.  Needles to say we hauled down to catch it and as we arrived the tornado warning was lifted and TVS (Tornado Vortex Signature) had just posted on the previous bomb that we had been watching.  We cruised back to that one in a lightning show, whose beauty could not be explained in words.  As we got to the storm the warning was once again lifted, but from the lighting of the Weather Gods we could see once again marvelous structure of yet another Meso.  This one looked to be vertically stacked almost two Mesocyclones one on top of the other.  We could see a wall cloud on the Meso, but we did not see any funnels or tornadoes from where we were from even though there was a tornado reported on this beast.  Soon we would get hit with the bow echo of these storms with numerous TVS reported on them, we flirted with the notion of checking them out up close, but figured the night time elements were to risqué and our day of epic chasing fulfilled our needs and more for the day so we headed back to I-70 to head home.  We traveled stretches of I-76, I-80 and I-70 nearly doing an entire loop and over seven hundred miles of roads covered and 15 hours on the road I believe well paid off.  Core punching a couple different storms seeing a-may-za-zing structure on three different Mesos, at times possible funnels and shear funnels 1.00” and a little bigger hail and amazing lightning.  I have Michael’s great forecasting and driving skills to thank for getting us into position for these storms and for making my second chase and first of 2009 a very memorable one.