(1 June 2011)
* *  Mike Umscheid PHOTOGRAPHY & STORM CHASE BLOG   * *

About This Shoot
Date: 1 June 2011
Location: Southeast Colorado into adjacent Southwest Kansas from Lamar, CO to Syracuse, KS
Shoot Type: Storm Chase
Followed marginal storms that failed to organized into chaseable, photogenic storms around the Lamar, CO area. This was largely a bust until I came across a brilliantly colored sky at sunset complete with a full rainbow outside of Syracuse, KS

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1 June 2011

Mon, 6 Jun 2011 22:42:55 -0500
Chase account 1 June 2011 (Part 1) -- early frustration
Summary & Images (part 1)
My storm chasing target on June 1st was near the Colorado-Kansas
border. I set off for the Elkhart area initially, but when I arrived
at Rolla, I decided to head due west via county roads as storms
developing over the Raton Mesa were beginning to move northeast toward
southeastern Las Animas County and into western Baca County. I
figured that these storms would continue to roll off the mesas and
mature as they neared the Pritchett and eventually Springfield areas.
I finally arrived to Hwy 287 near Campo. The initial storms that
moved out of the mesas weakened, but there was new storm development
back farther southwest into the mesas again -- really too far for me
to try to intercept. To make matters worse, the storms were
organizing rapidly and not moving. They were still a good hour to
hour and a half intercept through the mesas to reach them. It was
either that or just try to be patient and let them come to me. Well,
as this was happening, severe storms were developing rapidly off to my
northwest. These storms were an easier intercept for me, so I decided
to head north for an intercept. As I approached Lamar, there was a
downtrend in strength occurring with these storms. I went west on a
county road about a mile or so and monitored one of the dying storms
to my northwest (image shown below). It didn't take long to realize
that this area of storms were toast. Frustrated, I went into Lamar
and stopped at the Wal-Mart to pick up a 8GB compact flash card since
I left two of my high storage cards at home (whoops!).

When I came out of the Wal-Mart, the storms to my south were
organizing into a decent cluster of severe storms as they were exiting
the mesas and heading into Baca County. Well, instead of going after
those, a new storm was rapidly forming back to the west of Lamar again
near La Junta. Obviously, this was a much easier intercept, and I
liked the fact it was more discrete than the storms farther south --
offering perhaps a better photography opportunity. Well, I went
west...and once again...upon my arrival the storm absolutely died a
horrible death. So now, I was really out of position to get back to
the south to intercept the now ongoing severe cluster in Baca County.
This was extremely frustrating. Every decision I was making seemed to
be the wrong one. I pretty much gave up at this point and started my
drive back to Dodge City empty-handed. (continued in Part 2...)
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

Thu, 2 Jun 2011 01:08:39 -0500
Dramatic sunset light and full, double rainbow behind a severe storm near Syracuse, KS on June 1, 2011
(click on thumbnail for pop-up of larger image)

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 21:07:25 -0500
9:05pm chase update: I am reminded again why I love storm chasing so much. That was one of the most dramatic sunset Ive ever seen. Winds 50-60mph. Double rainbow. Fascinating
This was east-souteast of Syracuse, KS by about 7 miles or so.. There
have been sustained 40mph winds here with gusts to 60 as that severe
storm decayed and is microbursting all over the place. Blowing dust
visby to less than 1/2 mile at times. Wow. I only hope my images
came out good of the double rainbow at sunset. That was spectacular.

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 20:02:15 -0500
757pm chase update: Some days i really hate this storm chasing hobby. today is yet another one. im heading home.

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 18:06:15 -0500
601pm update: well, on second thought, will stay up here... new storm forming rapidly behind this decaying stuff west of Lamar.

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 17:58:59 -0500
556pm update... heading back south where I came from near Springfield/Campo area. Storms down there are starting to get out of the terrain and are still holding together... this stuff is dead up here by Lamar

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 17:44:10 -0500
538pm cdt chase update: south of Lamar, CO watching a piece of crap storm to my west-northwest... hope it develops further..
It is frustrating that slow moving storms are thriving in scenic
terrain northwest of Clayton right over the mesas. I knew that was
going to be an area of nice storms, yet it wasn't my primary target,
and as such, I departed later from home. Another nice storm east of
Las Vegas, NM right where I thought as well. Yet I am here south of
Lamar a little west of my original target. There is 55 dewpoint
inflow air into the storm per springfield and lamar obs... Keep being
patient I guess.

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 14:50:28 -0500
245pm raton mesa is firing up convection E of trinidad CO. i am heading to baca county.

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 13:14:00 -0500
110pm chase update...heading sw toward boise city, ok... am favoring more the raton mesa region now. maybe go to campo.. i like campo.

Wed, 1 Jun 2011 11:13:50 -0500
Chase target for June 1 (as of 11:15am) -- Springfield, CO to Johnson, KS
Difficult forecast today. I don't think the moisture farther south is
all that terribly deep, considering the mix out of moisture to varying
degrees depending on your model flavor. That being said, even the
most mixed-out moisture solution would still favor a photogenic
high-based supercell on the high plains of eastern CO/northeastern
NM/western KS. There are two areas I am watching right now. One is a
north-south convergence line that seems to be holding on (so far)
right along the KS-CO border (SW winds at springfield co, kenton ok,
clayton nm vs. SSE winds at elkhart-johnson-syracuse, ks). If this
convergence line holds through mid afternoon, this will be a focus for
initiation. Otherwise, will have my eye farther west for terrain help
along the CO/NM border along the Raton ridge southern Las Animas
County. I will likely head to Johnson, KS in the next hour or two.