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High Plains Drifter

disclaimer:  "The meteorological views/forecast thinking expressed are those solely of the author of this blog
and do not necessarily represent those of official National Weather Service forecast products,
therefore read and enjoy at your own risk and edification!"

June 18, 2005

ChaseTrip Day 12: High Plains Dust Storm

Filed under: Chase Accounts,Chase Trip 2005,Storm Chasing — storm300 @ 8:03 pm

Wednesday the 15th marked the 2nd to last day of my chase vacation. Jay and I spent the past two days in the southern Rockies. We started Wednesday in Gunnison, CO heading east on 50… stopping at Monarch Pass for some excellent views via a ride up the gondola… well worth the $7.

We then headed east on Hwy 94 out of COS and noted some towers trying to go up on the Palmer Divide south and southeast of LIC. We drove to Kit Carson and realized, looking at the sky and radar (I tapped into WIFI, somehow, in BFE Kit Carson CO!)…that the "show" wasn’t going to materialize like we had hoped and the "cluster-F*" was fully materializing by 5pm. We did get one decent view ahead of one of the storms northwest of Kit Carson… but this was it before the gates of outflow dust HELL opened up.

The following couple of hours were the worst experience of convective dirt storms Jay and I had been on during a chase. Dry microbursts every direction, including numerous gustnadoes… there was no escape.

We went through the small town of Weskan, KS and noticed at least one foot diamater tree limbs/trunks snapped off. We then decided to stop in Sharon Springs to decide how to escape this dirt hell. After topping off the tank we found a nice hotel, believe it or not, in Sharon Springs with a next door old 50s style diner. Not 30 seconds after getting a Wifi connection to look at radar, the entire town of Sharon Springs became one dirty hurricane scene. Visib went to ZERO with dumpsters full of trash tossed around at the hotel and numerous other loose objects being thrown around. We estimated gusts at least 65 to 70 mph… but the dirt was the big issue. What a mess. Power went out in town as we sat in the parking lot in front of the diner. We decided enough was enough and we high-tailed it north 30 miles to GLD to end this messy convective dust storm. More dry microbursts were visible around GLD as we approached before the storms moved east. Yeesh!!

Tomorrow looks like far SW KS into the OK Panhandle? Nice and close to Dodge, hopefully, for my last chase day.

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