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May 24, 2013:
Rotating severe storm from Colorado to Nebraska

May 24, 2013: I chased today with Greg Stephens, Dayna Vettese and Brad Rousseau. We started the day in Liberal, Kansas, and targeted northeast Colorado and the dryline as a trigger for storms. It took a while for them to get going, but we saw some extraordinary motion and lightning. Eventually, the main storm we followed was severe- and then tornado-warned. Share

A storm chase in northeastern Colorado and western Nebraska yields an amazing spinning updraft and hot lightning. Features time-lapse sequences of the swirl and rotation.

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.

    Our initial target was in the vicinity of Wray, Colorado, but we stopped in Burlington for a while before choosing to head north to that area, where storms were developing. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    We stopped at Idalia to take a quick look and decided to continue. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    Greg and Brad check out the storms. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    While the bases were high, they were showing promise. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    This tiny updraft sported an inflow tail. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    Now the storms were starting to get interesting. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    I loved the structure of this cloud base. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    Time to hit the road again . . . Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    More storms were developing around this one. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    We watched our little storm move to the north near Holyoke, Colorado. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    Meanwhile, a new updraft was forming almost over us, with a lot of motion. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    It started rotating strongly right over our heads! Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    This was a beautiful sight. We never saw a funnel out of this rotation. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    There it goes, a cloudy galaxy. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    The skinny updraft was barely visible above the swirl. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    More spinning updrafts clustered as we followed the tiny storm east. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    Brad, Dayna and Greg in front of another swirl. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    There were several shear funnels associated with these updrafts. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    As the sun lowered, the storm reorganized and gained strength, and lightning increased as we followed the storm into Nebraska. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    It started to get a nice structure and became severe-warned. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    Dayna shoots the storm. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    We saw dust under the storm and wondered if it was gusting out, but it was just getting started. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    My chase vehicle and the storm. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    The lightning became incredibly intense near Grant, Nebraska, as we followed it east. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    The grain silos at Grainton proved a great foreground for the intense lightning. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    While we sat here, a local man drove by and showed us his pickup truck, whose window had been smashed by the storm's baseball-size hail. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    This was one of the most active lightning storms I've seen. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    While the lightning was very active, there were few distinct cloud-to-ground bolts from our perspective. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com
    A crawler lights up the mammatus in the storm. Photo by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com


2013 reports and photos | blog | main gallery page

All photos copyright 2013 by Chris Kridler, ChrisKridler.com, SkyDiary.com