June 13th 2016 Colorado Supercells

Nov 29, 2016


Intercepted multiple supercells in eastern Colorado, including one that came close to producing but ultimately fell apart.


Tornadoes: 0
Hail: .50″
Wind: n/a

The Forecast:

Deepening surface low crossing the CO front range with sufficient moisture and shear in place to put upslope target in play. Questions about possible weak capping leading to too many storms existed, in addition to timing of shortwave cast enough uncertainty on the day to keep probabilities somewhat low, but still good considering upslope regime.

Detailed Account:

This was not an ideal setup for me, but after a lull in activity after the incredible May stretch, and seeing similar Colorado setups this year go just as big, I decided to take the bait. The fact traditional chase season would be winding down soon also called for me getting out for one last go. I left Chicago in the afternoon and made it to York, NE where I crashed for the night. Awaking in the morning I continued the drive, the target area was somewhat vast and upslope can be tricky without obvious boundaries to sniff out.

I had a laugh at the promotion this rest stop was giving their restrooms in Ogallala, NE.

Which ended up being…well…standard.

I pressed on, extreme southern CO near the NM border appeared to be the best target spot, but there was no way I would make it in time so I stuck with the original plan somewhere east of Denver. I decided to drop a little south of there where better moisture was located, making a brief stop for lunch in Limon where I ran into other chasers. By now a tornado producer was ongoing near the CO/NM border. Oh well, but storms were firing south of where we were that we had a play for.

Heading towards Pueblo, I sampled the first couple storms that went up, but they quickly became nothing. A better looking cell was going up south of there and I bailed to that. Arriving on the storm it began to show some classic supercell structure.
IMG_6843 IMG_6846

Roads were sparse and the storm was still in its infancy so I decided to pull over and watch it. Local chaser Max Olson happened upon my location and we watched the storm for a bit. A nice looking wall cloud began organizing with scud rapidly rising into the base. Excitement was growing.
IMG_6847 IMG_6849

I decided to move in a bit closer as the storm wasn’t moving very fast, and there were at least a couple “roads” that would bring me there. Unfortunately the storm was moving into worked over air and began weakening quickly. By the time I got in there I was greeted by only a shriveling updraft base as the storm rained itself out.

Observing radar, storms were going up all over, but nothing was sustaining itself. The day appeared to be over, and I didn’t feel like making anymore 2 hour long dashes for distant storms that would likely suffer the same fate. I called the chase at this point and began meandering my way towards home, going the same way I came. I passed the NWS office in Pueblo on my way back. Always cool to see a new NWS office.

The setting sun along with the sub-severe storms provided some nice scenes. I was the only car on the road for over an hour. My favorite kind of drives.

I made it as far as York, Nebraska before turning in for the night, ready for a nights rest before finishing the drive home. There is a chance for some local play in Illinois, so if I time it right I can make a gentleman’s detour on my way back.


Today was a bit of a let down, especially to make the drive all the way to eastern Colorado, but I am not surprised it turned out the way it did. The setup was never a slam dunk, but I wanted to try anyways given the time of year. The clock is beginning to tick on traditional chase season, and it was a good 2 weeks since I had last been out. The budget had plenty of time to recover and I got caught up on work back home. Plus when you can potentially get a second chase while driving home makes it easier to pull the trigger on sub-par setups.


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