It probably took a solid hour of convincing myself not to chase for me to say, “self, I do what I want, and I’m going chasing. Who cares if I forget what sleep feels like?” And it just so happened my friend Michael Pare was in agreement. He had spent the previous day near Ft. Morgan up on I-76. That had been majority fail territory.
I had to work until 4:30, but Mike was kind enough to pick me up right from the office (cue: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU). We headed east, with the hopes of picking up E-470 to I-70 to, you guessed it, the same darn area I had been the day before. Turns out when it looks like there might be a merge onto a highway, the map may in fact be lying and you may be greeted by an artfully crafted, useless overpass. We continued on mystery roads and County Line Rd. (which at this point was County Dotted Line/Farmer Bob’s driveway) east, then north up to 70. The entire time this storm once again sat and waited for me. Such courtesy here in the west!
From the moment we hit dirt roads the storm became angry but also became astoundingly picturesque. At one point we got out to take pictures and the wind was so intense that I almost blew over into the fence in front of me. The barbed wire fence. I turned around to get back into the jeep and was greeted by a beetle roughly the size of a springer spaniel. After that, I mostly stayed in the jeep.
At one point we stopped next to another chase vehicle, and I ran into my friends Steve Polley and Jesse Risley! We had about 13 seconds to chat before they were off, but at least I finally ran into some folks on the plains. They headed south, as did we.
We stopped at the perfect intersection for gawking and snapped photo after photo. At one point, Mike showed me how to actually use my fancy camera and I was so busy snapping pictures I was confused when he said “FUNNEL!” There were no frat boys to be seen, so I looked to where he was pointing. Sure enough, we caught a brief glimpse of the anticyclonic tornado that formed in front of a few lucky chasers, including my friend Shane from yesterday’s chase.
I’m making my tally 6.5 tornadoes because without others’ footage I wouldn’t have identified what I saw as anything more than a funnel. But still, two for two gorgeous storms in Colorado? I’ll be forever glad I decided to move out here.
Also, these were the best photos I’ve taken so far in my life. I uploaded several more to Flickr. This was also the first time I’ve seen the green glow of a hail core. That’s on Flickr, too.