Wyoming Fizzlers

20 May 2014

It was nice to wake up in Colorado, our favourite state and know that storms were also forecast in the area so we didn’t have to drive too far. I think the adverts from last night that were squeezed in between the crappy sitcoms for 16” pizzas had subliminally affected us both as we woke up ravenous. We drove up the road and found a gas station where we grabbed some breakfast and leisurely perused the models.

The risk area covered north east Colorado and south east Wyoming. With further north looking the best option we chose to head toward Cheyenne in Wyoming. The route took us back the way we had driven with the storms the previous night. However, before reaching Wyoming, we noticed a few cells popping up on the border a little north and Scottsbluff once again looked a good intercept point, so we headed straight north, remaining temporarily in the Nebraska Panhandle.

From Scottsbluff we needed to go a little further north east which took us to Torrington in Wyoming. There we found a set of small little roads that took us right up to 2 of the developing cells, one nearer and one we could make out behind it. The road then turned south and back around to loop back to Torrington. It was like a storm viewing platform!

We stopped for a while near Torrington and Tim took a series of video for time lapsing, which he would later accidentally delete. It was very peaceful, if a little cold. I am not used to having to wear leggings out here, but the temperatures have been on average so much lower than previous years. The storms dipped in and out of being severe warned, but they gave us some good rumbles of thunder. We took a few photos and even saw a landspout form from the first cell in a field to the side of us.

My Fav Cell

Landspout

Then came the time for us to maybe choose which to follow, but it was still early and neither were pulling us with visual appeal, so we hedged our bets and managed to stick between them both. We continued like this all the way back to Scottsbluff, which was probably the point at which the storms were at their most powerful whilst remaining discrete and had the best features.

Scottsbluff Tim

To accompany this structure we even had the sirens going, off the back of a false tornado report. I think someone had misidentified a low part of the cloud base for a tornado, but it added to the scariness of the situation, which is always fun.

As both storms approached Scottsbluff on slightly different trajectories, it was time to leave. They were both big enough to have some quite large hail and we didn’t want to have to return a second car. We managed to find a rare road that headed south east (they are usually all gridded) and this allowed us to still track between the storms for a while. Unfortunately it was soon clear that both were starting to fizzle out, albeit in a rather beautiful way, giving some great photo opportunities, including a great view of a translucent sun through the rain and hail shafts.

End Of Night

 Weather Photo Lightning Sunset

They did however still have enough power to give us a bit of hail as we edged into a nearby town and under someone’s awning to let them pass over us. Then it was off to a nearby Walmart to get our heads down for tomorrow. As it turned out, we couldn’t get our heads down enough. The new escape had a restriction on how far you could recline the front seats which resulted in us having to sleep pretty much upright or as it turned out, not sleep very much at all. I think there’s another car change on the horizon!

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

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

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Tue May 2014

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