Early June Storm Chases

Wow, what a week it has been. Three storm chases in one week will wear you down! It started out on June 2nd in central Colorado just South of Brush, CO. As I was traveling down Hwy 71 the storm was about to cross the highway, I saw lots of dust being kicked up and thought I may have a tornado, but I'm pretty sure what your seeing here is a gustnado. 



Driving further South was not an option as the storm was violently crossing the highway, since I was right in the path of a could be tornado I decided to head North where more storms were developing near Fort Morgan.


Another view of the gustnado on the way back North


The storm had lots of circulation producing very dramatic evil looking clouds but never did produce a tornado.

Shortly after this I met up with Jim Casteel and his wife, I led them North following a cell that looked very promising, we followed it all the way out to Holyoke, CO but the storm never produced anything interesting. Further South of I-70 several tornadoes were reported, oh well, next time. On our way home we stopped in Pawnee for sunset so Jim could try out my 14mm rokinon on his new fancy D800. The cactus in Pawnee are in full bloom and are absolutely incredible, many different colors of flowers.


Obligatory sunset...



Day 2. June 6th. Not the most exciting day to be chasing, everything looked promising but didn't materialize into much. I started in NE Colorado near Raymer, where there were storms developing, but I had my eye on Wyoming where there were massive storms blowing up all over the place.

Here's the cell I left behind

On my way to Wyoming I found a few abandoned homes that were photogenic along the way


As the sun set and my last hope of a decent storm fizzled out some nice clouds appeared  to brighten my day.

On my way back through Cheyenne the sky erupted with lightning, most of it was cloud to cloud and shrouded by rain so I didn't get many photographs. I did figure out I can use my small tripod inside the car so I don't have be exposed every time I shoot lightning (my family will be pleased to hear this).


Day 3. June 7th. Storm potential was quite high this day near Denver and several violent storms passed through later in the day, but I had another target in mind, Wyoming (again). I started a bit later than normal so my wonderful girlfriend Jenn could come along for what would be the best chase of the year so far. We missed the big tornado near Chugwater, WY but there were still many other storms picking up steam just North of Cheyenne. The first storm had very nice structure and lots of circulation, this was very close to producing a tornado.



Second cell of the day had more great structure, as we approached it closer the hail became very strong and the road system in this area was not the greatest so we backed out before we got into too much trouble.



We tried to get into position for more storms just East of here, but the road system again thwarted our efforts. We decided to make a bigger move and get way in front of the storms, we bailed southeast and intercepted the cell SE of Cheyenne near Carpenter, WY. The storm was producing extremely strong winds and hail and showing very strong velocity on the radar. The roads were sketchy yet again and left little opportunity for escape if things turned ugly. So we took longer route to the West of the storm down into Colorado.


Along the way there were some nice mammatus clouds as the sun was setting.


And some more very fast moving clouds


As we came into Colorado I was fortunate to find this abandoned house with the storm directly behind it, we setup here as the sun set


We had a great time and it turns out Jenn is the best navigator ever, she jumped right in and learned everything she could about identifying potential tornadoes on radar, she also has no fear. There were times I decided not to continue pursuit where she would have kept driving right into it! We balance each other out well, I keep us safe but she pushes me to go a little further than I would if I were alone.