Anytime, any place there is a storm to chase, that is where you'll find the Hunters of Thunder.

May 20th - Pueblo on Ice

4am D-day:
That last moment where you think through what you packed, whether you are really ready and psyching yourself up for a really really long day.

5:25am D-day:
Told off by the girl at check in that next time I should try to be a little earlier (John).

6:00am D-day:
Finally in the air bound for Brisbane.

Grumpy that those who having been tanning under the ridge managed to get some nice tornadoes in Kansas, and one lucky Slovenian pulled something out of his behind.

Departed for LAX

De ja vu on the whole sunrise thing? Arrived in LAX and forecast a target west of La Junta, Colorado where moisture upslope flow (the area is over a mile in altitude and the moist warm air is lifted by the orography to hopefully convection) combined with northwesterly mid level winds and moderately steep lapse rates (temperature rate of decrease with height) present a reasonable chance at some organized cells.

Say what..same time another flight? Is that like some sort of crazy impossibility to literally have been in two places at the same time? This time to Denver.

Finally out on the plains in the car at Denver.

Ok...that was seriously tiring, stressful...and that was just typing it after doing all of it. Anyway, I  realise you aren't all reading this just to hear about flights...more to the point
"Get on With It!"

So arriving late curtailed any possibilities of going for the TX panhandle, but thats ok because we really didn't want to have to drive miles and miles just on a hope and a prayer. Target was looking ok with dewpoints pushing into the low 40s (Farenheit), which is just enough to get some reasonable instability, but closes the door on getting anything really severe. Things took their time to form, and we finally got on to a nice but small LP storm south of Pueblo and northeast of Walsenburg, Colorado.

A weak LP near Walsenburg. Photo: Brad

The LP showed glimpses of strengthening, but ultimately didn't have the energy. Photo: Brad

The storm pushed and tried quite a few times to improve, but just didn't quite have enough juice to really set it going. Still it provided some nice photo opportunities and timelapse before melting into the ether. With the sun starting to set, we didn't have huge hopes, but noticed another storm to the NW of Pueblo that was starting to produce lightning.

The storm glows red over Pueblo. Photo: John

With Brad feeling a little under the weather, we decided to head towards Pueblo along state route 50 and position for some lightning. What followed was simply amazing...a return to the plains with a lightning show of epic proportions. Intially the cell was rather sporadic, but produced some really amazing CG combinations in the fading light.

A single frame, with 5 simultaneous CG strikes. Near Pueblo, CO. Photo: John
However, the storm then strengthened once more and began to produce some amazing rain foots and colouration, and thats when the CGfest started as the storm slowly moved over Pueblo.

A pair of bolts arc across the sky. Near Pueblo, CO. Photo: John

A rather spectacular bolt fills the frame. Near Pueblo, CO. Photo: Brad

About 30 or more of bolts of this quality were captured by us both, making it a very worthwhile start to the trip. Later we discovered the impact of the slow moving storm over Pueblo...hail drifts that required snow plows and some localised flash flooding! Hail maxed out at about an inch, but it was the half a foot to foot deep drifts that were most impressive.

Hail Drift. Pueblo, CO. Photo: John

Even more amazing....the hail drifts were still intact at 9:30am the next morning in temperatures around 20 degrees celsius! Anyway, Day 2 sees us in a slight risk located in northeastern New Mexico and the western Oklahoma and Texas panhandles, hoping for some photogenic supercell action. Keep tuned, 'like' us on facebook, we would love to hear from you.

No comments:

Post a Comment