May 7, 2016: I was hoping for the much-vaunted Colorado magic to happen today, and indeed it did. I targeted the area with the best moisture (it doesn't take much at this altitude) and most backed winds, at least according to model forecasts. Lots of convection fired early and often, but I still hoped for a storm to get going in that area, and it finally did. By that point in the chase, I'd met up with Jason Persoff, and we witnessed a beautiful, dusty tornado from funnel to stovepipe.
Video of large, dusty tornado and more at Wray, Colorado, on May 7, 2016. For best quality, click on gear symbol at lower right of video and choose 1080HD. Video by Chris Kridler.
Click on the thumbnails to see a larger image.
South of Wray, Colorado, I took a photo of early storms over the fields. I would be coming this way again.
Anticipation! South of Akron, Colorado, I watched the bubbling clouds in the early afternoon.
I decided to pursue the more isolated convection coming north from south of Anton.
A quick stop to shoot a pretty building and the clouds.
I stayed ahead of one of the more dominant storms, but it didn't seem that organized.
It was pretty as it moved over the austere plains.
It formed a shelf feature, making me wonder if it was becoming outflow-dominant.
The pretty arcus cloud moves east.
Hail tinges the storm green, and the cooled air creates interesting features at the surface.
This storm rumbled and growled with thunder and hail.
About this time, Jason Persoff caught up with me.
Jason and I refueled in Wray. We noticed a tornado warning - but were shocked to see an actual tornado on the ground as we moved north of town! I barely caught it in the rope stage. But the show wasn't over.
New rotation formed at the south end of the storm (along with interesting features in the middle).
Here's one of those interesting features.
Clouds curled overhead as we watched the rotation to the south.
Dust under the base!
The dust became more concentrated under the rotation.
After much strong rotation, a funnel cloud formed.
The funnel was pretty as it became a tornado.
A graceful funnel reaches the ground.
An ethereal tube above the dust.
The tornado thickens.
Now the tube is fully connected to the dust below.
It quickly became a narrow tornado.
Such a pretty tornado!
The tornado kept growing. Rain creates texture in the photograph.
The dusty tornado gained in width.
More rain as the tornado gets bigger.
I used flash to capture the hail falling.
Wow, what a tube!
The tornado looks more serious now.
Bigger and closer.
A hint of green in the mesocyclone as the tornado churns.
The tornado at its widest.
A small funnel moved around the big one.
The tiny satellite funnel keeps circling the tornado.
The tornado started to weaken as the rain and hail became heavy in our location.
A very dusty tornado indeed.
As the mesocyclone shifted east, we got a look at the vault above.
Lightning spit out of the storm above the shelf.
A pretty display of mammatus clouds concluded the chase as Jason headed back to Denver and I moved on to Kansas.