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Storm Chase 2010 wraps up – Chasers experience it all from sunsets to tornadoes

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010 10:55am MDT
The Memorial Day tornado in Baca County, Colorado near Campo was the highlight of a week of storm chasing but it wasn’t the only exciting thing to happen. (Tony Hake / ThorntonWeather.com)

The Memorial Day tornado in Baca County, Colorado near Campo was the highlight of a week of storm chasing but it wasn’t the only exciting thing to happen. (Tony Hake / ThorntonWeather.com)

We have said before that storm chasing is as much an art as a science and it can very much be feast or famine.  Both extremes were seen over the course of a week of storm chasing on the Great Plains by ThorntonWeather.com.

We hope our site visitors were checking out the Storm Chase 2010 Examiner where we were documenting our chase across America’s heartland.  With stories, photos and video, the entire incredible week has been described in detail.

Two ‘busted’ storm chase days started out the week – one with a round trip from Denver to Nebraska and another one-way to Amarillo, Texas.  Those certainly fulfilled the ‘famine’ part of storm chasing. 

The third day however brought a ‘feast’ in the form of a bounty of five tornadoes in one day.  Chasing storms in southeastern Colorado, ThorntonWeather.com witnessed the entire gamut of severe weather from drenching rain and damaging hail to gale force winds and of course tornadoes. 

The first tornado of that day near Pritchett, Colorado allowed chasers to witness the complete tornado genesis.  As massive amounts of air were sucked into a storm cell and the clouds swirled menacingly above, a small funnel cloud soon grew into a powerful tornado. 

Two other tornadoes and an incredible hail storm on the virtually barren ranchland followed.  The main event was yet to come however. 

About eight miles south of Campo, Colorado, a massive supercell seemed poised to generate a tornado.  Chasers waited anxiously as the sky grew darker on the plains.  A funnel cloud formed and was cheered on as it grew closer to the ground. 

Before long the tornado was on the ground moving at a leisurely 10 mph – its slow pace allowing for plenty of time to capture amazing photos and video of the event.  The Baca County tornado would draw national media attention and will possibly go down as the most picturesque of all twisters during the 2010 tornado season.

While the Memorial Day tornadoes would be the last seen during the week, they were not the last extraordinary weather event witnessed by the storm chasers. 

Storm Chase 2010 intercepted a flying saucer over western Kansas at the end of a very long chase day. (Tony Hake / ThorntonWeather.com)

Storm Chase 2010 intercepted a flying saucer over western Kansas at the end of a very long chase day. (Tony Hake / ThorntonWeather.com)

Two days after the southeastern Colorado tornadoes, chasers witnessed an extraordinary ‘mothership’ supercell near Goodland, Kansas.  The sight of the ‘flying saucer’ slowly moving across the Kansas wheat fields was extraordinary.

Central Nebraska proved to be the backdrop for another day of weather beauty.  Waiting patiently at a small town gas station, multiple super cells moved across the area and chasers were on the move.  From highways to dirt roads, the chasers saw the storms generate amazing shelf clouds and funnel clouds.

In the end, the group of storm chasers covered over 2,500 miles across five states.  They witnessed many funnel clouds and amazing storm structures and of course five tornadoes, two of which were at close range.  For many it was truly a once in a lifetime experience that allowed them to see Mother Nature’s fury up close and personal.   

Complete stories, photos and video from Storm Chase 2010:

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