May 22, 2021


Initial Target
Storm Intercepts
Julesburg, CO
3 miles SE of Sidney, NE 12:50 PM 5/22/2021
Burlington, CO 8:47 PM 5/22/2021
Julesburg, CO
0 mph
Updraft Base, Shelf Cloud, Whale's Mouth


Upslope chase in northeast Colorado. Chased developing storms before they congealeed in outflow dominant cluster near Julesburg, CO.

Crew and Equipment

Chase partners: Jennifer Brindley Ubl, Anton Seimon, Tracie Seimon, Hank Schyma. Equipment: Sony AX100, Samsung S9, Photography courtesy Jennifer Brindley Ubl shooting on a Nikon D4s.




Morning group forecast discussions:

" Anton: "Looking south this morning, the 12z soundings from Amarillo and Midland show a thick slab of moisture about 100 millibars thick gliding northward under a strong cap. This should yield higher CAPE values than we say yesterday. High terrain, heating and frontal convergence should work to break the cap in several nodes by mid-afternoon. The local Akron-Ogallala corridor offers strong directional turning at low levels and convergence along the retreating front should be a focus for initiation. This may be a formula for an intense cluster of storms, and there are some sandhill issues with few paved roads south of I-76 near the CO-NE border. The south side of the Palmer Divide may also produce multiple supercells today, but as of now, I can't find reason to head there versus our local option. I fully expect New Mexico to taunt us with a photogenic tornado today, but I’ll drink away my sorrows tonight if need be. "

Skip: "Frigid Turtles suspect we just fall in line with the hordes today a few miles south of here in Colorado. Strategies today should probably prioritize crowd control. If there's a second viable target then great, but it looks like the main show is storms tracking along the boundary to the south of here. So I guess we setup downstream as best we can so that we don't hop on the storm too early and then get stuck playing catch up in the conga line. I don't think these cells will be "pop and drop" today. Tornado conditions look maximized around 0z with a nice surge in both the low level jet and midlevel southwesterlies. So perhaps we're waiting closer to Julesberg rather than hopping right on it at initiation. I just hope they don't fire too early and then go outflow dominant/elevated early as can be the case in the CO High Plains."

Developing Storm
1 miles SW of Holyoke, CO
2:30 PM
We stayed local to the Sidney, NE area, missing initial tornadic activity to our southwest, before we went after new updrafts around Holyoke.

Intercept Mode
Holyoke, CO
2:35 PM
We tracked the developing storm into Julesburg.
It sported a decent base for awhile, but additional cells fired and an outflowy cluster developed instead of chaseable supercells.
Anton on the radio, realizing the road turns into pancake batter on a significant downslope: "Stop at the top of the hill!" He made it back up without issue.

Shelf Cloud
1 miles WSW of Julesburg, CO
3:53 PM
A honking shelf cloud was all we could pull out of the chase as the cells lined out, followed by a big Whale's Mouth gust front. We attempted another sketchy road for a few miles going after a TTail End Charlie, but realized the line was going to catch us before we could make it to pavement, so we turned around. We called the chase and headed to Burlington for the night.


We missed a pretty rope tornado not chasing the early activity, which stung, and the rest of the day was a dud. This was both a forecast bust for me, and a chase bust.

Lessons Learned

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