6/2/97 Colorado Chase by Matt Sellers



From: Matt Sellers 
Subject: 8-29-96 Chase

The Shortest Chase.....August 29, 1996

	It had been a great first year of chasing. It had all begun with the
two tornadoes on my first chase 5/30 near Akron, CO on my first long
chase. I was really sad to see the season end....but it turned out that
Mother Nature had one more good show left for me.
	I can't remember exactly what the prevailing pattern was that day,
except that it was a typical late August afternoon around my hometown of
Beulah, Colorado--a high of 82, low of 51. I wasn't paying much
attention to the weather that day, until I looked out my living-room
window to the north and saw a large, light-blue storm tower. It looked
really impressive, but at first I didn't think much of it. Finally, I
decided to head out for a look at the storm. Now, Beulah is situated in
a valley with 11,000-foot peaks to the west and smaller mountains to the
east, with a "hole" to the north. I turned out of my driveway, looked
north through the hole, and saw, quite to my amazement, a small,
well-defined funnel (consider that in the foothills tornadoes are
rare--especially this late in the season!). Like a flash I was out on
SH78 toward Pueblo. After 5 miles I was within view of the base. The
funnel had developed all the way to the ground. I called the Pueblo NWS
with my report. Five minutes later, at 5:05 pm, as I headed north on
Siloam Rd. the warning was issued. I probably should have stayed on 78,
to watch the tornado all the way to its dissipation; when I reached the
edge of the storm the tornado was gone without a trace. I drove back to
78 and met up with my father and little brother, who each had never seen
a tornado. I took my little brother along. At this time, a second severe
storm which had formed over the Wet Mountain Valley 15 miles to the west
was moving over the mountains. It lost strength as it reached the
eastern plains and never produced any tornadoes. We were in a good
position--just southwest of the rain-free base of the
southeastward-moving tornadic storm. We stayed with it, as it began to
get outflow-dominant. On Burnt Mill Rd., 10 miles east of Beulah, we
stopped. The storm then produced a beautiful white rope funnel--hard to
see against the white rain/hail shaft, but still quite a sight. It got
about halfway to the ground, then dissipated. After that, the storms
weakened as they moved out of Pueblo County. But they provided me with
one last thrill before the long 96-97 winter set in. In all, I only
drove about 60 miles on that chase, but was fortunate to see a rare
foothills tornado just 8 miles north of Beulah--the first tornado in
Pueblo County in three years. 

Matt Sellers



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