Messy Fronts

27 May 2018

Today’s outlook was the best looking one for quite a few days. Although the overall picture was a complex one with no clear targets, there were decent ones, and choices to be made, and that’s a nice improvement on the previous few days (not that we had many choices to make other than to drive all the time thanks to me defacing her majesty’s passport she’d lent me - silly of her really). The main features of interest were a cold front and a dryline as some upper level impulses would hopefully provide support - though it wasn’t clear when and where.

We elected to stay fairly far northeast in Colorado and see how things would progress. We were not far from the area after our big drive back from Chicago. We headed for Holyoke in Colorado and it wasn’t long before a storm was firing nearby which we were quickly able to get into position on. Initially it showed some good signs - the updraft was rotating and growing, so we had some hope for it. Unfortunately as it propagated and some more cells developed in the area it became clear that there wasn’t enough shear in this area and that these storms weren’t going to amount to much. Meanwhile in Wyoming some epic supercells were firing over the mountains on the cold front and churning out tornadoes! This was out of our reach, but between this and the lack of shear here, it lead us to think the cold front / further west was the place to be. We cut our losses and headed west.

First Storm


The play paid off and as we approached a target cell it became tornado warned. We had good sight on it and, while it looked too high to produce, it was showing some excellent rotation and was trying to organise. Unfortunately with its height and so many different wind fields developing in the area it didn’t manage to fulfill its potential, however we had the opportunity to spend half an hour with a repeatedly tornado warned storm and will it to pull itself together. It did manage about 5 small funnel clouds at various stages - mostly non-mesocyclone ones, which were entertaining to watch for, but in the end the storm joined some of its siblings and headed off north as a rainy mess.

Nearly Nada

We headed north behind it and stopped in Sidney, NE, for the night where we were later treated to a second wave of storms which soothingly rattled the windows to help us nod off to sleep.


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

SPC 01:00UTC day 1 forecast for Sun May 2018

SPC Day 1 Weather Reports for the day.

SPC storm reports for Sun May 2018

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