Tornado in Yuma, Colorado!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019 9:04 AM

Big chase day today. Started in Burlington, Colorado and headed northwest going through Merino, Colorado and over to Yuma and eventually ended up targeting a supercell near Imperial, Nebraska, then dropping back down to Goodland, Kansas, to sleep. (Maps out!) That’s right, folks—Colorado, Nebraska, and Kansas today. We saw some amazing storms in scenic places. Huge supercell storms that fill the entire sky horizon to horizon, rainbows so bright they look CGI, and thunderheads that pulse with lightning long after sunset.

And we saw a tornado. Not a photogenic twister, but a tornado. The debris cloud was kicking up on the ground, even though the funnel was nearly invisible. It got called in by a storm spotter nearby so it counts! 

I’m definitely gaining an appreciation for what it takes to chase these storms. By lunchtime a target needs to be picked. You can only travel so far so fast out here. The Purdue University team doesn’t go on dirt roads. Too dangerous—easy to get stuck in mud, likely to not be able to move fast enough to exit if necessary (read: ESCAPE). The team has to commit to what’s most likely to produce a tornado and hope for the best—or is it the worst? Then you have to factor in the storm’s movement as it develops. Everyone is continually monitoring radar and other meteorological data coming in. Oh, and someone else is driving, navigating county roads full of storm chasers pulling u-turns and hap-hazardly parked on sketchy road shoulders. Not to mention blinding rain, hail-coated roads, and cross winds that make you wonder if the tornado is overhead! It’s a bit exhausting.

Whew! Here’s some of what we saw and did. (Am trying to figure out how to do captions, sorry.)