Tuesday May 22 2018 proved less spectacular than previous May 22nd’s for the Hokie Stormchasers as that has historically been a tornado intercept day. However this year the date pretty much met our expectations. The setup didn’t hold a lot of promise for chaseable storms as most of the convective focus was very near and west of the Rocky Mountain front range.
Starting out from Ft. Morgan Colorado we drifted up to Sydney Nebraska in an attempt to hedge our bets to reach a couple of potential target areas. Sydney happens to be the headquarters of Cabelas and the area surrounding those headquarters has a nice park where we stopped for lunch and to watch for convection. Lunch for some of us involved a visit to the fanciest Subway restaurant I’ve ever eaten in. It’s located inside a two story log cabin and has a railroad caboose parked just outside.
During this stop a number of the crew also came away with Cabelas ballcaps from the headquarters store.
As things developed we chose to dive back south to intercept storms coming north – once again! – from the Denver area. Driving south and then west on state and rural routes we wound up on this cell.
The storm wasn’t anything spectacular but the views were…and yes, those are the Rocky Mountains in the background.
As this complex moved northward it also developed updrafts to the east, causing us to relocate several times to stay out of the precipitation. At this stop the main storm was even closer to the Rockies as trajectories were taking the action to the north-northwest.
We wound our way along more roads to keep an eye on the easternmost cells as they developed but nothing else of note occurred. We wound up punching through a weak precipitation core to get to a hotel in Greeley Colorado where we were greeted by an evening supercell that fired and passed just to our west.
Photos really didn’t do it justice as (a) it was too close to show structure, (b) the evening light was fading, and (c) the awesome lightning display was the best part.
Today we’ll likely target somewhere in the eastern WY / southwestern NE / northeastern CO area. That target will be refined in our morning meeting.