Target Area: Springfield, Colorado
Chase Area: Springfield/Kim, Colorado
Observations: a thunderstorm, lightning, and the Rocky Mountains
Distance: 920 miles
Time: 19 hours
Chase Team: Jeff Makowski and myself
SPC Convective Outlook: Slight Risk (Click to see SPC products, data, and storm reports)
Chase Setup: A broad ridge was centered over the Rockies with a surface high pressure area over the Midwest in the wake of an advancing cold front. Weak upslope flow occurred over eastern Colorado where surface dewpoints were in the low to mid-50s. MLCAPE values were around 1000 J kg-1 over eastern Colorado. With the stronger flow primarily to the north, 0 to 6 km bulk shear was primarily less than 40 knots in southeast Colorado.
Chase Log: We left this day with marginal expectations; we knew that we wanted to position ourselves in northeastern Colorado or western Nebraska for the night, to allow us to chase eastern South Dakota or western Minnesota the next day, but figured we might have a shot at a storm in southeastern Colorado on the way north.
When driving the length of the Oklahoma Panhandle, we did notice some damage that was likely caused by tornadoes in the area the previous week.
When we arrived in Baca County, Colorado, we started to head westward towards a growing thunderstorm. We saw some lightning and a decent updraft base on the picturesque thunderstorm, but could not confirm if it was rotating. Near the tiny town of Kim, we abandoned the storm as the sun was starting to get low. We were able to get a nice view of the Rocky Mountains, though, as we saw the Sangre de Cristo range in the distance.
After we began to drive north again, we stopped to view the sun set behind a wind farm near Twin Buttes. We drove all the way up into western Nebraska that night, and arrived, exhausted, in North Platte after 3 am.
It was a good day, but unfortunately, a couple of days later, when trying to make more room on my camera's memory card, I accidentally deleted the wrong photos...including all photos from this day, some from the previous chase, and some from the next chase. Thus, this day's photo gallery is made up of a selection of Jeff's photos.