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May 23 - Storms & Gustnadoes in Colorado

Hello from Liberal, Kansas!

We started the day in Goodland, KS and what a morning. It was a very cold, foggy and misty morning with temperatures in single digits (celsius)... Really, it was 6°C this morning. Based on the morning weather, we weren't overly optimistic on the day. We knew that for Sunday we needed to get south so our plan for today was to begin moving south through Colorado. Southern Colorado seemed to have the best chance of seeing storms but they were likely going to occur early.

We began by going back west into Colorado then south toward La Junta, CO. Some storms were firing in the area near La Junta, CO and we saw a funnel cloud report. As we got closer, in the town of Las Animas, CO there was a very evident, rotating wall cloud. It was extremely dusty as the storm sucked in all the dust around us. We kept with the storm but eventually it lost its energy and began to gust out.

A storm just south of our "dying" one began to show evidence of rotation but then, it too, lost its energy and gusted out. We kept up with the gust front and were treated to a good looking shelf cloud and several gustnadoes. Full disclosure: we have seen people posting they saw multiple tornadoes with these two storms today which is simply not true. We were with these storms the entire time and yes, there were several gustnadoes, but never once was there a tornado on the ground.

After keeping up with the gust front, we called it a day and headed east to Liberal, KS. This puts us in a good position to head south for tomorrow (Sunday). It will be a difficult forecast and if we need to venture south into southern Oklahoma or northern Texas, we're very worried about chasing. The entire area is flooded. Many roads, including major roads, are completely inundated with water. We will assess and venture that way but if it proves to be too dangerous, we will re-evaluate our chase stragety.

The Storm Prediction Center's thunderstorm risk for tomorrow (Sunday).

May 22 - Storms & Cold in Colorado

Hello from Goodland, Kansas!

We woke up in Amarillo, TX and decided to head for the eastern Colorado target. We headed north through the Oklahoma panhandle into Colorado. We stopped a couple of times along the way to assess ending up in Hugo, CO. From there we saw some storms starting to initiate to our west so we headed west along road 2W out of town to watch the storms.

To keep up with the one storms we worked our way back east into Hugo, CO then just north of town along road 31/109. Here we pulled over with a great vantage point up on a hill of storms to our east and west. We also had some friendly horses near by to pet. After watching both storms, we saw the storms near Burlington, CO were picking up steam and had some decent rotation. We repositioned east toward Seibert, CO then pulled over to watch the storms. Though we were treated to a beautiful rainbow, the storms had weakened and the one back to our west was strengthening!

Panorama of storm near Seibert, Colorado (May 22).

We headed back west toward Flagler, CO and pulled over to watch the storm. Though there was little rotation, the storm treated us to a beautiful mini-mothership supercell so we took timelapse photos and video of the storm for awhile. This storm started to fizzle and ones back to our east pulsed up again! New photos of the chase day added here.

We headed back east toward the storms but they started losing their punch as well. Luckily we had to head that direction anyway to get to our hotel for the night in Goodland, KS. Did I mentioned how cold it was today?! Wow... I don't think I've ever been that cold on a chase before. After grabbing a quick dinner in Burlington, CO, we headed for our hotel which was a short drive made long by pouring rain and fog!

Tomorrow looks like we may be in this area again or maybe a few hours south.

The Storm Prediction Center's thunderstorm risk for tomorrow (Saturday).

May 21 - Down Day

Hello from Amarillo, Texas (again)!

Not much to report today... We took a down day so we just lazed around the hotel all morning then in the afternoon a few of us went to see the new Mad Max movie. For dinner we ate at Coyote Bluff on recommendation from George Kourounis. It's a small burger joint in Amarillo, TX and was featured on Man vs. Food due to their "Burger from Hell". Anyway, neither of us had that... But the burgers were amazing!

Tomorrow we're very undecided about where to go. There are two possible targets: southern Texas and eastern Colorado. We will reassess the models later tonight and in the morning and make a decision.

The Storm Prediction Center's thunderstorm risk for tomorrow (Friday).

 

May 20 - Travel Day

Hello from Amarillo, Texas!

We started the day in a cold and dreary Childress, TX. We decided to not to chase way south near the Mexican border. We instead travelled northwest toward Amarillo, TX for the night where we went to The Big Texan Steak Ranch for some good food and celebratory tornado steaks. We haven't yet decided what we'll be doing tomorrow (May 21) so will reassess in the morning.

In the meantime, Brad wrote a forecast blog about what the rest of may is looking like. You can read that forecast discussion here: Looking Ahead for the Late May 2015 Storm Chase.

May 19 - Flooded Roads in Texas

Hello from Childress, Texas!

Frustrating chase day today. We started off in Midland, TX after spending the night in a great hotel. We began travelling north through Lubbock, TX toward Hale Center, TX. We met up with Bill Hark and Jason Persoff and took this awesome selfie:

Storm chaser selfie! Photo courtesy Dr. Jason Persoff.

After spending some time there, storms started to go up near the Amarillo, TX area. Both storms were looking healthy on radar so we headed for them. There were a couple of problems approaching the southern storm: 

  1. Road network wasn't that great
  2. What roads were available had a tendency to be flooded or in the process of flooding 

This area of Texas and along the Red River has received so much rain that many of the fields (crop and cattle fields) are essentially lakes now. The mosquitoes are awful due to all the standing water.

Here is an unbelievable video (from May 18) shot and edited by George Kourounis showing flash flooding mixed with hail and debris:

We finally got up to the storm and it had great structure. But to keep up with it, we had to jog south then east then north. We did so much on approach the storm had become completely wrapped in rain. The core was rapidly approaching the road we were on but the rotation was rapidly dropping off. If there was a tornado on the ground, no one could see it.

We made it to Memphis, TX and parked under an overhang to wait for the core. By the time it reached us, the core had diminished greatly and we were left with more rain.

Watching some other storms piddle around we decided to call it a night and head for Childress, TX. Again, the entire drive was avoiding water in the road. We pulled into the last open restaurant, had some dinner, and now we're in for the night. New photos added to the photo gallery here.

There were many tornado reports from Oklahoma and Texas Red River areas; not an area we were targeting today. That was where the warm front was setting up and we didn't anticipate isolated enough storms to produce tornadoes. 

Storm reports from today (May 19) via the Storm Prediction Center.

Tomorrow there's a risk for storms in southwest Texas but we're still unsure of whether or not we'll be chasing that or heading north to get into position for storms later this week. We will reassess in the morning.

The Storm Prediction Center's thunderstorm risk for tomorrow (Wednesday).