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May 21st, 2014

Bennett, CO HP Supercell


Another chase, another HP supercell. Seems to be the theme of 2014. Met up with Jeffrey Gonzalez and Nathan Luey in Omaha in the morning and headed west on I-80 targeting northeast Colorado. Stopped off in York to meet up with Brandon Hammons and continued west with a fairly full car. Jeff made great time on interstate and before too long, we were across the Colorado border.

A cumulus field was going up in northeast Colorado, but there were already storms forming just outside of Denver on radar. After a quick stop at the gas station, we decided to head southeast to the Bennett, CO storm which looked to be the main play of the day. Approached from the north and were eventually greeted with this view northeast of Bennett. Probably should have gotten a bit closer, but we sat back and enjoyed the view as the storm moved towards us.

The storm continued to cycle, forming disorganized wall clouds and trying to gain some structure. It had been "alive" for a couple hours by this point, so I didn't really expect to see anything spectacular. Usually the first couple times a storm really tries to spin it looks its best unless some other atmospheric dynamics are supposed to come into play later in the day. Not the case this time. The storm was supposed to move into better moisture as it tracked eastward, but given that it was already an HP storm... increased moisture really wouldn't lead to an appreciable change in structure.

Starting to look a little better now as we head back to the car and get ready to head south/east towards Byers, CO.

Panorama later in the storm's lifecycle now. Trying to become a little more surface-based, but largely in what looked to be a downtrending cycle.

Took a quick portrait with Brandon in it. Not the craziest chase by any means, but he's always a positive guy. Finally met up with Eric Anderson at this point, who had to leave a little later than us but caught up.

This is the one point where it really tried to wrap up and put something down.  Could have sworn we were about to have our tornado op... but somehow, it just didn't happen. Right as it was really starting to rotate like mad, the RFD pushed in and broke everything apart. It was really cool to see a meteorological phenomenon illustrated in such a textbook-like manner, but slightly annoying to essentially stop the storm in its tracks from producing.

Now we're back to being just a big HP mess. A line of storms fired to the south and things quickly became disorganized. Still had some decent rotation back in the rain... but really nothing to write home about.

This is where the storm met her end. You can see the huge amounts of dust being kicked up by its outflow winds. Still some cool colors and textures, but in terms of being an isolated tornadic supercell, her day was done.

Met up with Tyler and Elizabeth Burg in Paxton, NE for some dinner on the way home. Or at least we tried to, but despite the fact that we got there at essentially the same time (they were sat maybe 5 minutes before us) the kitchen was "closed" when we walked into Ole's Steakhouse. Ended up grabbing some food at the bar across the street and called it a day. Ate some Rocky Mountain oysters for the first time, so there's that. Long chase, but at least it was a fairly inexpensive one since we had plenty of people to split gas with.

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