6/6/97 chases by Al Pietrycha


From: Albert Pietrycha (pietrych@RAP.UCAR.EDU)
Subject:      Home-Sweet-Home

Each season you spend countless hours forecasting, travel thousands
of miles, and sleep in substandard hotels with the hopes to maybe see
a tornado.

Well......

I was sitting at my girlfriend/chase partner, Elke's home in southeastern
Boulder County this afternoon.  A cell blew up right over us in response
to an outflow boundary sent out from a small convective line 10 miles to
our east.  The cell was growing quickly as it traveled to the northwest at
10 mph.  I thought nothing of it given that the DEN 12Z sounding was
showing a southeasterly flow of 20 knots at best from the sfc up though
200 mb and not progged to change during the day.  So, while ignoring
this cell and making lunch I hear on my scanner a report of a funnel.
The spotter was placing it roughly four miles to our northwest.
That was enough for me to get off my duff and take a second look.
Sure enough, there was a broad funnel under a small rain free base.

Within minutes the funnel elongated and shortly thereafter a debris
cloud was visible.  Still not believing what I was seeing the funnel
grew in girth and took on an L-shaped appearance.  The condensation
cloud descended to the ground as the vortex passed over Baseline
Reservoir, giving the tornado a 'clean' white look.  The tornado lasted
approximately 5 minutes as it traveled towards the southwest at 10 mph.
As the tornado roped out, rain began finally to wrap around it and the
event was over.

So you may be asking "How'd the video turn out?"  To that question
I must painfully say that my camcorder was sitting five miles away at
my apartment.  However, thanks to Elke s quick thinking, the moment
was salvaged:  she took lots of stills.

Al Pietrycha

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Albert Pietrycha                   
pietrych@ncar.ucar.edu
http://www.rap.ucar.edu/staff/pietrych/
My opinions only     I am not a storm chaser..I'm a storm connoisseur
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