May 7, 2014 Tornadoes
Initial Target:
Final Target(s):
Start:
End:
Tornadoes:
Severe Hail:
Severe Wind:
Features:
Miles:
Akron, CO
Akron to Holyoke, CO
2014-05-07 2:48 PM CDT
2014-05-07 11:02 PM CDT
5
0
0
tornadoes
401

Summary

Upslope setup over northeastern Colorado. Started near the Palmer divide in Washington county south of Akron where the cyclic tornado-producing cell of the day dropped its first tornado at my target. It went on to produce at least 5 tornadoes in total before going outflow-dominant near Paoli.

HINT: Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Video

Details

It had been a slow start to the season and I was happy to get out on my first chase of 2014 and my first chase in Colorado. Chasing the somewhat disorganized upslope storms via widely-spaced highways typical of the Colorado high plains requires a challenging new forecasting and navigation strategy and I was anxious to try out what I had learned.

 

I set up near the Palmer divide in Washington county south of Akron, CO for upslope supercells with the potential for tornadoes.

 

I was parked at my target for 25 minutes and watched as a storm with significant low-level rotation approached from the SSW. Just before it got to my position it dropped its first tornado at 4:04pm. It was a long, snaky rope that pulled up a dust plume near the ground.

 

The dust plume became visually detached from the parent mesocyclone but continued on the the east, churning up dirt as it went. The tornado vanished at 4:11pm and I watched and waited as the storm continued to exhibit low-level rotation and a funnel. It was only getting started.

 

At 4:14pm a second tornado formed; this time with a multi-vortex appearance near the ground. This tornado gusted out quickly and was gone by 4:16pm.

 

The meso passed overhead and I spun the car around to watch a 3rd tornado drop at 4:21pm. This one was wider and stronger and was picking up a lot of brown dirt.

 

Another tornado was in progress off to the side of the main vortex. I stopped and watched the main tornado accelerate directly toward my position. The tornado filled the air with lofted brown dirt and I had to close my window. A stampede of wind-driven tumbleweeds blasted across the road and the tornado gusted out by 4:29pm just before it got to my location.

 

I immediately noticed a 5th tornado had dropped to the northeast and the chase was on once again. At close approach the dust plume was so large it wouldn't fit in the frame of my wide-angle lens. The vortex was done by 4:37pm and the dust plume dissipated.

 

There was a storm chaser report of a final tornado near Haxtun at 5:25pm but I didn't see anything. After 5:30pm it looked like the show was done as the storm had lost any low-level rotation or inflow features.

All of the tornadoes touched down in open fields and produced no reported damage. They exhibited a highly-laminar vortex appearance typically seen with landspout tornadoes. But they appeared to be associated with persistent rotation in the parent storm so they were actually mesocyclone tornadoes.

Takeaways

  • Don't get so busy with multiple video cameras that you forget to take photos
 
 
 

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Chase Stats

2004-05-24 - 2017-06-12
Chases:
Busts*:
Tornadoes:
Severe Hail:
Severe Wind:
Active Hours*:
Miles:
99
35
35
7
6
817
41,205
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