Thursday, June 01, 2006

Eastern CO Haboob

MAY 31 DAY 5

Our target today was eastern Colorado. We left Amarillo just before 10 am, and headed north. On our way up, we saw lots of transverse rolls (low level horizontal vorticity), which was a pretty good sign for today’s setup. We also saw some ACCAS, and some vorticity in cumulus clouds. Around noon, we stopped at an Allsup’s in Dumas to fill up on gas, and have one of their famous burritos. There were lots of good signs of low level vorticity in the sky. We saw a pretty nice horseshoe vortex off to our east. The cumulus field was looking pretty nice. We continued north to Lamar, Colorado and ate some lunch at a pizza hut. As it got closer to 4 pm Mountain time, the Baron was showing a nice supercell over Limon. The storm was splitting and becoming a right mover. We continued northwest on I40. The supercell was headed right for us. The Baron was picking up strong shear on the storm, going at 103 mph (165 km/h). Closer to 5 pm, the shear had increased to 200 km/h. That was a pretty good sign. We could see a very dark sky off to the west. The sun beating down on the wheatfields made for a pretty nice contrast. As we neared the storm, we saw a brief funnel cloud forming just south of the main core. It dissipated, then scud started forming and rising to form a wall cloud. It was trying pretty hard, but it seemed it was lacking the low level moisture needed for the scud to form. We continued more west. The rain shafts made for a pretty nice picture. We pulled into a truck stop and took video of the strong outflow winds and rain curtains.

Afterwards, we went a little bit more south on a dirt road. We got out of the van and the cold outflow just hit us. Scott pointed out something white over the hill, so Ron and I went up on the hill. Cactus was poking into my legs. We reached the top and saw that the white thing was some scud that was trying to rotate. We decided to pull more west to get ahead of the storm before we got more into the rain core. At this point we were getting a bit disappointed. It appeared the storm was beginning to become outflow dominated. We saw lots of dust being kicked up in the fields. We also saw the odd dust devil form. At one point, zero visibility dust was crossing the interstate. We continued more eastwards and started to see parts of a beaver tail near the shelf cloud. Where the two met, there was a meso trying to get its act together. The rear flank downdraft started to punch through and it kicked up some more dust. By now, the storm was getting more organized. As we got more ahead of the storm, we saw the big shelf cloud. It was multi-tiered and just plain gorgeous. This thing was huge! There was tons of dust everywhere. We pulled off the interstate and grabbed some great images of a large wall cloud and the shelf cloud, with lots of “greenage” in behind. This thing was really trying to drop a tornado. The colours were pretty amazing. The outflow was also very strong. We continued to follow the storm eastward into Kansas before the rain core came to overtake us. It was starting to get dark out, so we called it a day. This was a very exciting storm chase!

We pulled into a gas station and met Steve Miller from Texas, and his friend. We stayed in Oakley, Kansas overnight.


  1. Sound like you are having a great time!! :D
    We had a storm here yesterday, and let me tell you, it was big (for here anyways). We had flash flooding and everything. Oh, and we even had a tornado warning. Yes, i did say warning. Around 3pm. There was a funnel cloud spotted on Westmount North (which is where Westmount turns into Northfield - so it's by Laurel Creek). Mom printed out the warning and is going to keep the newspaper. :)

    Oh, I don't think your tracking thing is working either. It still says:
    "Position of VE3IPE-9 --- 28.3 miles southeast of Woodward, OK --- Report received 1 days 16 hours 48 minutes 11 seconds ago "
    I do beleive you have moved since then ;) hehe
    Did you loos the connection or something??

  2. Hey Laura! Good to have met you! This was certainly a great storm and your account captures the experience quite well. You need to post some of your pics! :-)

    See ya next year!