Wavy Clouds and Friends

22 May 2014

After a lazy morning in our Burlington motel, we decided to head back to Denver for a hoped repeat of the previous day. However, one limiting factor was that the south-easterly / easterly upslope flow wouldn’t be as strong today, limiting the severe likelihood of any storms. For those that did manage to get going however, the magic of the Denver Cyclone effect could produce a couple of nice supercells for us to chase across the front range if we were lucky.

We headed west to Denver, stopping at Bennett for a sandwich and to watch a storm attempt to develop just in sight to our north. It was very unorganised and high based at this point, but it gave us some entertaining rumbles as it approached whilst we ate our sandwiches.

Looking behind us in the direction of Denver however, there was another storm developing and from what we could see, the base appeared very low to the ground. We were deliberating whether to make a play for this instead when it suddenly became tornado warned, which made the decision for us. So we continued heading west toward Denver.

I got a picture from the car as we drove toward it, but this was the best it was to look and after about 10 minutes the wall cloud lifted and the cell started to dissipate.

Boot Cloud

So, it was an about turn and our eyes were back on the first, which was starting to show signs of stronger convection. Rather than deciding to head back and position ourselves in front of it immediately, we stopped where we were, keeping an eye on the sky all around us for a good while to ensure there wasn’t anything else in the area that may be starting to fire, before deciding to commit to this one. We took a few photos whilst we waited.

Tim Cloud Bum

We could see on spotter network that a couple of good mates – Paul and Helen from the UK were watching the storm from the other side, so when we were sure this was going to be the show for the moment, we headed back east to get in front of it and hopefully bump into our friends.

In fact it was lucky we left when we did. Even leaving at this time, we still had to negotiate a small hail core driving east along the I70. We heard that other chasers who had tried to drive through the storm a little later were not as successful and that a combination of some larger hail and a gridlocked Interstate had stopped others getting through.

We found our friends and it was great to catch up. The storm at this point wasn’t moving anywhere, nor was it organising into anything more than a hail core surrounded by some wavy clouds. So we all pitched up and watched some lightning and wavy clouds together for a while, oh yeah, and a video clip of a tornado in Cambridgeshire, England just to wrap things up, before finally calling it a day about 7pm and starting the 7 hour journey south to set up for the next day on the Texas / New Mexico border.

Paul And Helen

SPC Day 1 Weather Outlook as at 06:00UTC (01:00 Central Time the night before)

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Thu May 2014

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Thu May 2014

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