Monday, June 25, 2012

6/24 - 11:55pm MDT - An Unexpectedly Great Chase Today!

I can't say that I fully expected to see a great storm today. With all the intense surface heating and warm air aloft coupled with weak upper-level winds, the odds were against us. The great thing is that a storm did indeed form in this environment and it took advantage of every ounce of energy it was given from what it looked like. This storm split into a couple parts at one point and these parts were battling each other out for a while before merging back into one mean storm. This storm did have a few radar scans of rotation and we could certainly see it from the ground for a few minutes as a brief rotating wall cloud formed. A fleeting finger-like funnel danged down for a moment at the peak of the rotation, but it was gone by the time we all pointed it out and raised our cameras to capture it. Something that stuck in the back of my mind is what I posted on the Storm Chasing Adventure Tours Facebook page last night in an update:
Looks like we may be heading north from Denver in the morning! A few storms may try to develop during the afternoon and evening tomorrow where South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming meet.
The intersection of South Dakota, Nebraska, and Wyoming is almost exactly where this storm formed today. Where the three white lines intersect to form a rotated "T" on the upper-right of the radar image to the left is where these state lines come together. My estimate of where we would end up was an educated guess based on data, but I really didn't expect it to come so incredibly close. The other thing about this storm is that it was the only severe storm west of the Mississippi River at the time we were chasing it during the late afternoon. Storms that developed to the south of us in Northeast Colorado just couldn't get strong because it was much too warm both at the surface and aloft.

Check out the video below to see the storm in action and then check out my Flickr or Facebook storm chasing albums for even more views of today's chase:

Tomorrow we'll be heading northward to the Dakotas or Wyoming. The Storm Prediction Center has a 5% risk for severe weather, but we'll be looking at all the data tomorrow morning to see how it all shapes up! Be sure to check back around noon tomorrow on the East Coast for a complete blog update with a discussion on where we're headed.

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