May 23, 2015


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Limon, CO
Limon, CO 10:46 AM 5/23/2015
Garden City, KS 7:16 PM 5/23/2015
Limon, CO; La Junta, CO; Haswell, CO
0 mph
Wall Cloud, Updraft Base, Clear Slot, Gustnadoes


Upslope play in eastern CO. Shot initial elevated activity near Limon dropping south to La Junta to catch discrete tornado warned cells. Noted wall cloud and gustnadoes before cell gusted out. Intercepted unwarned supercell with RFD clear slot and bear's cage spiraling rain bands before line gusted with whale's mouth. Ended chase heading for Garden City, KS

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl, Mike Brown, Sean Casey, Justin Walker, Herb Stein. Equipment: Canon 60D, Canon t2i, Canon EFS 10-22, Canon EF 50mm, Sony HDR-xr500v.




May 23 was another shot at upslope supercells and hopefully a tornado in eastern Colorado chasing with the TIV and Doghouse crews. Brindley, the rest of the gang, and I found ourselves in Limon, Colorado looking at moderate instability with modest shear and westerlies aloft.

Morning Wait
1 miles WNW of Limon, CO
10:54 AM
We wound up waiting at a truck stop in Limon for much of the morning, having time to grab both breakfast and lunch. Allan Detrich stopped by to say hi. The next three photos are his.
Allan Detrich's dramatic shot of the TIV:
Allan with me and Brindley:
Tornado watch goes up for all of eastern Colorado
We shot some of the intial elevated storms near Limon just to get structure shots and dramatic skies for Sean's IMAX movie before dropping south to a Tail End Charlie supercell tracking between Las Animas and La Junta.
The supercell picks up a tornado warning as we approach from the north and come in behind the hook:
Brindley, ready for action, sporting her roller derby helmet. The Doghouse has a collection of helmets just in case. Mike Brown has a nice batting helmet, and I wound up with a bicycle helmet.
We had a visual on a not very ompressive looking wall cloud east of Las Animas. It looked kind of cold and scuddy.
It soon started to fan out into a big bowing gust front, not a good sign.
Running east on the highway between Las Animas and La Junta we watched from underneath the base with dozens of other chasers who were on the highway and also pulled off on the sides of the road. A couple of gustnadoes kicked up under the storm, and one was reported as a tornado, but we didn't see anything obviously supercellular or lasting a significant amount of time.
Gust front dust from outflow:
Looking northwest at the top of the gust front which had a big of inflow tail:
Gust front and updraft base over Las Animas:
As the line but down a big outflow boundary ahead of the updrafts we moved northeast to get downstream of several storms. We hit some flashing flooding under a bridge in Las Animas which I reported on Spotter Network.
Shelfy gust front from a line of storms north of Las Animas:
One of the cells embedded within the line developed a noticeable inflow notch and exhibited some supercellular characteristics including a rear flanking downdraft clear slot. Spiraling bear's cage rain bands wrapped around a lowering. This might have been a weak tornado or tornado precursor. The storm was not warned at the time, either with a tornado or severe warning, but the structure looked very intriguing. We wound up not counting this as a tornado as we couldn't confirm it from our position and didn't hear any other reports.

Shooting Suspicious Lowering

3:36 PM
Brindley shoots the suspicious lowering that was pictured above:
We spent the next hour getting shots of TIV in front of the storm complex, using a Doghouse as a shooting platform and chase vehicle. Sean rode in the back of Doghouse directing our position.
Moving east toward Eads to stay ahead of the line, we saw several gustnadoes, non-tornadic circulations in the outflow winds, spinning up under the gust front.
The line soon gusted out with a dramatic whale's mouth. We decided to call the chase and get toward the next day's target, stopping in Garden City, KS for dinner and lodging.
Sean Casey at the Time Out Sports Bar and Restaurant in Garden City where we also met up with fellow chaser Matt Cumberland over dinner and a few beers.


This was another upslope bust for us. Even though we got some supercell and structure shots, we needed a good tornado shot for the IMAX movie. We were on tornado warned supercells, but none of them cooperated, gusting out early probably due to insufficient shear.

Lessons Learned

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