Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Cap is breaking

DAY 10 JUNE 3, 2008

Today, Ron was sure we would be in for some rotating storms to our south. He had narrowed one area down (there were five potential areas for today). One of them was down in Missouri but that was too far of a drive, so the next reasonable option was to stick around eastern CO and western KS.

We got to sleep in today (Ron especially was pretty tired), so we left the motel at 11am MDT and headed into Burlington, CO to get some lunch at a Burger King. The cumulus field today was definitely better than the previous day, which had a 5C inversion. A trough was going to be moving in from the west, so we were expecting some pre frontal storms today, hopefully ones that would rotate.

After lunch, Felix wanted to film us along a dirt road outside of town by a field. That took about an hour, and we managed to get a nice tan. I continued to watch the cumulus field develop and some towers were going up to our west. We sat around for a bit more while Ron downloaded some models. The mobile internet connection on his laptop was giving him frustrations earlier. It always works when you don't need it, and it never works when you need it the most. Due to the time it took for Felix to film us, it set us back in time for catching up to any of the storms to our south.

We drove southward anyway and decided we go for ice cream in Lamar. Ron decided to go for a nap in Felix's car. A little bit later, Jack mentioned a tornado warning went up for the storm to our south, so he told Ron over the walky talkie. Ron came back to the van and we went after the storms to our south. We would skip Lamar and go slightly east into Kansas and head south. Storms were also going up just southeast of us, but appeared elevated. Hail shafts could be seen and a small hailbow formed off to the east. Ron looked to the west and said, "There!". A small wall cloud with a funnel cloud be seen off in the distance, but the funnel cloud eventually disapeared. The wall cloud was also losing its shape as we neared it, but Felix was getting excited nonetheless.

We crossed into Colorado. The storm still seemed to be high based and it was starting to weaken. Dang it, not again! We gave up on that storm and headed back east into Kansas. Back and forth, back and forth. Getting dizzy yet?

On the storm to our east, it looked like a wall cloud formed beside the precip core on the south side. And it was also weakening. Go figure. We filled up with gas in a small town back in Kansas and Felix and our group parted our ways. We saw a bit of mammatus from the storm off to the east. Well now it was time to travel back north again. Yeah I know, we just came from there. A developing bow echo was still going strong with a couple of rotation couplets that the Baron had picked up. We noted a bit of structure and banding on the storm once we neared it. It was all clear sky in behind, so when the sun set, the fields became really constrasted against the dark sky. It was a beautiful prairie scene! A partial rainbow formed to our right. We saw some scud rising and a wall cloud was trying to form. There were a few TVS markers on the storm and Ron mentioned that there were inbound and outbound winds. If it was going to produce a tornado, it would have made for a beautiful Kansas scene. Unfortunately the storm didn't really do much more and we called off the chase. As we were getting closer to the core, I attempted to get a long exposure of it with some lightning. It got very windy and tried to knock over my tripod. By the time I set up, it started to rain, so my attempt failed. We booked rooms in Oakely for the night.

All in all, it was nice to see something in the sky again. Today was going to be a good sign of things to come. Instability was in the air and today's convection helped break the cap a bit. Tomorrow and the next day looks to be much more interesting as the trough sets in from the west. Stay tuned.

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