This was the real start of my chase-cation. There was a very marginal potential for severe storms and tornadoes were a virtual impossibility based on probabilities. It was a usual weird as could be high plains setup where by some miracle of the storm relative wind fields and near non existent moisture, the high plains would somehow produce storms which would grow in strength by evening and eventually everything would be pushed out by a cold front sinking south from Wyoming. Weird things happen above 1500 meters in elevation!
After spending the night in Denver we headed north towards Fort Lupton. Both parts of Wyoming and northeast Colorado looked great for storms. Near for Lupton I had to stop and take a photo of this mountain with a nice grass-hopper jack in the foreground.
After hanging out near Fort Lupton for a while I headed east to follow and watch one storm cell that was just fluff near Dearfield. The thing with these storms that roll off the mountains is that you never know exactly which one will become "the storm". Eitherway, it was still early and the mix of high based and low topped convection was not good!
By this point I decided to head north on I-25. These storms just west of Ft. Collins looked like they were trying to organize but still low topped and high based.
The radar was showing something interesting starting to come together in Wyoming with the storm tracking SSE at around 20 knots while the stuff in Colorado still looked mushy. The thing with chasing on the edge of the front range is that often the storms go up super dry and the radar can be very deceiving. Your eyes are the best tool since you'll often still be able to see more than whatever the radar can see.
On the way to Cheyenne there's a super flat wide open part of I-25 that's always windy where the elevation jumps to 1900 meters! On the way to this particular storm I was being buffeted like crazy, it was hard to stay in my lane!
Once in Cheyenne, the storm began to quickly look more and more organized as it moved into a deeper more moisture rich boundary layer.
The inflow base had that nice chiseled look where each little stub of cloud was condensing right at the lifting condensation level.
I quickly blasted south and east to get around Cheyenne and put myself back ahead of the storm. At this elevation to see a storm registering with reflecitivities so high means that hail is guaranteed. I think the largest stones at this time were around 1 inch.
After popping out from under the storm I was shocked to see it had transformed into a beautiful classic supercell. The storm was super low precipitation, I think dew points were like 40F and cape was only on the order of 1000 j/kg but there was enough directional shear relative to the storm motion to produce this supercell.
Considering conditions were marginal at best I don't think this is all that bad!
I stayed with the storm which was super easy given the 80 MPH speed limits. Unfortunately another storm had developed about 100 miles south in Colorado and outflow from that storm was quickly headed north.
The outflow from the stuff in Colorado killed my nice Wyoming supercell and I headed towards the Colorado storms.
The storm complex which look good on radar became a real mess by the time I got where I needed to be. The high terrain this far west is a blessing and a curse. It helps storms form without needing any of the usual 850mb parameters but at the same time dries out the atmosphere and limits moisture. In this case, as the storm complex moved east the atmosphere became deeper as the elevation dropped but the moisture did not increase with depth and the storm fell apart.
As the storms grew and died in a strange twist they generated their own local moisture fields and began to re-saturate the atmosphere.
Eventually another more organized storm complex formed and started to take root. Strangely enough the inflow was situated on the north side, but given the odd wind fields its no surprise.
This storm which began to exhibit some weak rotation was actually a -counter-clockwise rotating storm but had clockwise reversal of the features. Weird, I know!
Eventually everything became outflow dominated and the storm fell apart.
Near Logan Colorado the fields and road were coated with a covering of hail stones ranging from pea sized to nickle.
Lot's of hail.
The hail drifts at the side of the road were half a foot deep in places after rain had washed the hail aside.
This years chase vehicle! The top antenna is a cellular amp, K40 on the left is for the CB, middle antenna is a Diamond CR-8900 quad band (10, 6. 2 & 70) while the right antenna is a 5/8th 2m whip.