Hunter and I went out today chasing in NE Colorado. We knew since the day before that we were going out; so we planned our day accordingly so we would get an early enough start which ended up really paying off. Our initial target was Bennett so we could chase anything that came off of the divide or foothills, or go south if necessary.
Our storm was the first of the day and we followed it; but it didn’t seem to organize and when I saw two other cells forming to the south I decided we’d do the “Tail-end Charlie”; which was coming out of Castle Rock. In case you don’t know about Tail-End Charlie; it is a chaser term to catch the southern most storm…usually this storm will be getting the most instable air and there won’t be any storms along the line (boundary) seeding cold air and rain into the inflow of downstream (northern) cells. This is important for the supercell to grow unimpeded by bad (cold) air being dumped into it from another storm.
Luckily all storms were moving NE and forming in basically a line; so all we had to do was head south and a bit east and wait for it. We started this new plan of attack around Prospect Valley and hit the towns of Hoyt, Shamrock, Woodrow, and finally ended the chase and turned around at Akron.
The storm went tornado warned just as we turned east out of Shamrock (don’t be fooled, Shamrock is a two/three building “town”, if you blinked, you missed it). We saw a small shear funnel in the inflow band that lasted less than a minute. I saw some rotation when we were at the windmill but no solid funnel formed. Finally, we both saw something “big” in the clouds but couldn’t tell if it was a funnel or not; so we chalked it up to a mystery. Finally, as we were calling off the chase south of Akron; we saw a small funnel as it was getting dark–we ran into the TIV and several other chasers filming in the dusk dust storm!
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On the way home we were treated to an amazing lightning show, again and again! We stopped twice off of I-76 and took some pictures and video; watching the lightning as it hit all around! Great CGs, anvil crawlers and just about all types you can imagine!
Hightlights (both Hunter & I combined):
0) The killer lightning on the drive home !!!
1) Dairy cows piggy-back riding other cows (???)
2) The turtle in the road
3) Shear funnel in an inflow band
4) Funnel and wall cloud at dusk
5) Wall clouds and great formations all day
6) Being right in front of the storm all day !!!