[There was a lot of looping around on this day. The order is Goodland –> St. Francis –> Wray –> Idalia –> towards St. Francis –> back down to Burlington –> back up through Wray to Sidney.]
[Note: this writeup is a day late since I didn’t get to my hotel last night until midnight.]
Started the day in Goodland, KS. Figured I might take on some SE WY magic that occurs from time to time so I drifted on northwest to Wray, CO. By that time however, the short range modeling honed in on NE CO, so I stayed put and adopted the wait and see strategy.
During this time, multiple storm chasers had converged on Wray (specifically the parking lot where I was sitting around), and I met Ian Livingston, Mark Ellinwood, James Hyde, and Jeff Frame. Really cool to put a face on those names you know online. Also saw a storm chase tour van. A lot of anticipation for a Marginal Risk (“See Text”) day, lol.
There were some elevated thundershowers ongoing in northeast CO and I wasn’t sure whether to go for those or wait for new development on the wind shift boundary in eastern CO. After all, the latter wasn’t guaranteed. Drifted south to Idalia where a few towers had gone up along the boundary:
Behind me, the anvil from the aforementioned elevated convection was encroaching upon us. I made a decision to sit in Idalia and see what the towers would do.
The initial towers came and went but about 30 minutes after the first photo I noticed one particular tower looked fairly robust, with decent vertical motion.
Within a few minutes the clump of towers behind it had also developed explosively:
The cap was breaking. The two cells together, in their infant stages.
By this time the right one (north of Burlington, CO) had a nice rain/hail shaft. But the backsheared anvil of the left one (near St. Francis, KS) enticed me more. The latter also had a better radar presentation. So I booked it on over to the KS cell.
Not surprisingly, I was greeted with a rain/hail shaft- rainbow combo. Those have been treating me well as of late.
After the rainbow had dissipated:
Now I had a choice: book it to St. Francis and down to Goodland again, braving a potential core punch, to get ahead of this cell; or, go back west and south towards Burlington to catch the other cell. The latter avoided the core punch and generally had better road options, so I took the Burlington option.
Good decision. A few minutes after deciding, the St. Francis cell seemed to choke a little, while the Burlington cell gained steam. A monster updraft greeted me:
The St. Francis cell was still going with even a lowering but it clearly did not have the updraft strength of the Burlington cell.
Additional views of the spectacular Burlington supercell (the former image with its St. Francis twin).
The cell continued south past Burlington and I followed it. Eventually I reached an overlook south of the town with cows and the storm behind it. Decided to try and take some CG shots, though I didn’t realize how early it still was:
Meh. Only shared it because I spent so much effort on that CG shot. After awhile the supercell, which hadn’t even been close to tornadic, had some type of attempt at a lowering.
Note the additional rain shaft on the right; it was merging with a cluster of storms to its south at this point.
I return to Burlington to get gas and was greeted with a magnificent sunset:
Afterwards, drove to Sidney, NE to stay overnight and position myself for the next day of storms.