May 26, 2010. Aurora to the boonies north of Fort Morgan.

First, here is a link to some photos, several are below… Click here to view the slideshow.

Didn’t know if I was going to chase this day as I had a meeting until 3pm likely I’d be behind all day. After walking back from another building on campus through the sprinkling rain, I saw a couple of nice towers starting to form; one just east of us and one to the north. Got back to my desk and took a look at some of the maps and imagery. Did a little work and then decided to take a break and check out the storm from the 9th floor; I’ve been wanting to do that for a while.

While up there I saw some impressive lowerings on the east side of the updraft base; but they were pretty far away–I’d estimate west of DIA. Then I saw a small scud-like cloud form, on the ground, out of the center of the rain shaft dominating the whole west side of the storm.

No condensation tube that I could see, but definitely rotation/debris on the ground.

It was pretty far away; I’d guess 10 or miles? But the scud cloud started to rapidly rise from the ground. I then noticed a bunch of disturbances on the ground; a few were spinning. It reminded me of the water around a waterspout and I even asked the docs that stopped to look as well if there was a lake out there. I never saw a funnel or condensation tube but I’m going to chalk this one a very small rain-wrapped (for a while at least) tornado. It reminded me of the tornado I saw last year near Hoxie Kansas as both just appeared out of the rain and then dissapeared; although the Hoxie one definitely had more traditional structure. I put up some video (same zoom; from my cell phone) on facebook.

Some pictures of the chase:

Nice lowering as I'm catching the storm.

Nicer lowering as I'm catching the storm.

Yet even nicer lowering_S_ I have pretty much caught the storm.

Here is as much as my camera could capture.

This is looking very apparent rotation but definitly RFD winds.

It turns out Adam Boggs was directly next to this lowering and has some amazing footage of it. In his footage it didn’t appear to be rotating much either; we’ll call it a Scudnado. It was impressive structure though! Ended up hooking up with Adam on some random county road and we chased the rest of the day convoy style. This was a great chase and the storm had magnificent structure at times!

Wow, mothership take me home!

Just south of Fort Morgan, great structure.

Out north of Fort Morgan somewhere, gaining some great Structure.

Death of the storm

Then, some lightning from the cell further west by Keensburg.

More lightning.

What a great chase!

May 21, 2010. Bust!

Yep, the title says it all. I chatted with Adam Boggs the night before as it was looking like a very good day. We decided we’d head out and carpool and test out each of our systems. Adam brought his custom sofware and I used the Baron.

Headed to the Tornado Watch box and decided to continue to Kimball. Saw a radiosonde launched over I-80 just south of Kimball. Got some gas and headed just north of the city where we decided to hang out and watch the storms form. Looking up north we could see the convective beasts but we decided with storm direction we could easily end up in South Dakota and that wasn’t an option for our Friday commute home!

We photographed some “wave” clouds which was cool; but there was no convective “popcorn” anywhere to be seen other than the 2 storms way up north and west. We started to see a storm pop in Fort Morgan Colorado and started to get our hopes up. The air was ripe and the shear was great; we just needed initation as we were in what most people would call windy, great sunny weather! Moved to the south side of town for a better view of all directions. By the airport we watched the Colorado storm’s base get sheared off by the cap. At least it was a quick death. That was the extent of our structure; we ended up seeing no real new cumulous clouds form the rest of the day.

Hightlights was the forming cell that got clobbered. The many railcars on the I-80 train that had great graffiti–the art gallery came to us in Kimball, Nebraska one day! Great to get out with Adam and chase! Just wished for a cloud; not even a storm; just a cloud was our motto for most of the chase!

Biggest bust ever!

April Fools Claim May 15 2010

Went with my dad and my son to the CSMS April Fools claim today. Started off with snow on the ground. Drove around the area for a while looking for the proper Claim Posts; in searching through them we found a couple smokeys in the gravel of the road. Pretty cool and good eyes by Dad and Hutner. Did some pretty serious hills too; Hunter was questioning if the hills were drivable…I figured since there was a road then it was!

W started by looking around at other holes and piles. Right away found some small Amazonite crystals. My dad found a nice clear Fluorite; the first I’ve seen pulled from the ground! Found some nice smaller plates with white quartz and purple flourite cubes and cube-octo-hedronds? Cool shapes! Started to dig and got a descent hold but I still have no confidence in knowing what I’m looking for. I’ve had success at Devilshead when digging to look for larger rock at the root rock layer just under the surface. Also look for increased mica in the dirt/rock. I figured I needed to dig around that layer and taking from some of the other pits I guessed at a good depth to go to. I dug aligned with a nice vug that someone found, about 20-30 feet away along the hill. After a couple of hours, we all decided to walk around and given it was after a couple big snows and see if we could learn more and also check the dumps for leftovers.

Nice plate we found with Quartz & Fluorite

We had a great day, and garage door to pit it was about 2 hours from home. Nice! Devilshead is about 1 hour 15 minutes including the hike, so nice having a couple hot spots so close! We can’t wait for the July fieldtrip so we can peek at how the experts do it and hopefully have a higher probability of success!

Closeup of beautiful purple Fluorite

Another piece with some nice double terminated quartz.