Northern Burlington at Sunset

July 7, 2009 by
Filed under: Summary 

14 Jun 9
Eastern CO

SHORT: Saw high-based, outflow dominant storms from the distance in central Colorado, evaded eastward, waited for other storms to form but not long enough. Treated to wonderfully colored sunset at Burlington CO.

LONG:
Elke and I had a good breakfast at the Memories restaurant in Ft. Morgan (highly recommended), before dropping S toward Last Chance to await storm formation possibilities either on the CYS or Palmer Ridges. While sitting on a hilltop between Last Chance and LIC, we saw a very distant Cb explosion to the NNW, which I-Phone radar revealed to be a rapidly evolving supercell near Chugwater. That was out of reach, realistically, and so was the potential afternoon target along the boundary in SW KS.

We waited longer for Front Range and/or Palmer Ridge storms, dropping S to LIC for shade and better data access. While there, a tornado-warned line of storms quickly fired over the DEN metro area (producing that funnel near downtown and Coors Field). I was disinclined to run immediately after that activity, given its linear and likely high-based character.

We kept waiting at LIC for closer development, which did happen to our W and SW. Alas, it was linear too! Still no photos for the day yet…the activity was distant, but I already could see a shelf cloud emerging through some mild haze WNW-SE of us. I envisioned an unfriendly wall of outflow surging E across central and eastern CO, so we threw in the towel on active chasing for the day, perhaps a little too soon.

We arrived at ITR, got a nice and cheap motel room, and ate dinner at the slow and overpriced steakhouse there (not recommended!). We clung to hope for at least an interesting, shelfy sunset. Meanwhile a couple of brief supercells appeared near the tail end of the line before being munched by the meso-beta scale cold pool (these were the storms observed by BillR, MattC and MikeU).

Even the linear MCS appeared to weaken as it headed toward us, but we went to the N side of town to watch it roll past anyway. The sky was remarkably hazy for eastern CO, but once the gust front hit, the view cleared a good deal. A line-echo wave pattern (LEWP), with a brief and embedded supercell to our N, sent a rear-flank augmentation overhead just in time for the setting sun to shine through its precip curtains, opening up a brief bu dazzling splash of warm coloration in the rain curtains.

As the reds began to fade, the blues deepened in the nooks and crannies of the overhead shelf cloud’s turbulent underbelly, compelling a wide angle shot of the beautiful and unusual scene. It was a fantastic way to close out what had been a rather uninspiring storm day.

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