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Eads Lamar Colorado Rainbow Tornado and Tornadoes 5/9/15



We started the day with a 10% tornado risk in eastern Colorado, and a 10% tornado risk in Texas that was later upgraded to 15% hatched.
 



Early in the morning we had to make a decision whether we were going to the northern target or the southern target.  Our camera man, Payton, drove up to Amarillo to meet us, and we hit the road hard to get to eastern Colorado in time.


Eventually we had a line of storms popping and our tornado watch.






Payton manning the turret!




We got to the storm after a great drive through beautiful landscape and a cu field.


 Right away a little clear slot was in view.



 Motion in this lowering was obvious and apparent to me right away.  I couldn't keep my eyes off of this area.


And soon enough after moving back down the road a bit, a funnel started to take shape, right along with a full rainbow low and close to the horizon.

 I absolutely couldn't believe what I was seeing!  This is the type of tornado one only can dream about... and I was witnessing it with my own two eyes.









 The funnel roped out and we hopped in the car to move and stay with it.  Soon, the storm reorganized and put down its next tornado as we were repositioning.








 We continued to move north after the large cone tornado lifted in order to stay in the shade of the storm for better contrast.  Mid drive I was noticing an anti-cyclonic funnel on the front of the horseshoe base.  As we stopped at our next stop, it started to put down our third tornado.

 Double funnel clouds!  It almost looks like they're holding hands or twirling a jump rope between them.




 After the third tornado roped out (beautifully!) We went to reposition again to stay with it.  At that time it put down our 4th, brief tornado.  So brief in fact that I only have a video still of it (from Skip,) below:

We decided to turn and head west to get back behind the tornado to get a front lit, super dramatic view.  As we approached the tornado, it was weakening and really starting to fall apart.  It was also moving quite slowly, so we decided to cross its path to get to the west of it.






Once we crossed, we stopped.  The tornado had completely dissolved/lifted and we now had a front row view into the belly of the storm where the tornado had been.  Unbelievable sight!  The image below was shot at 14mm (extreme wide angle.)  



You can see in the background there a big shelf cloud, which was gusting out and cutting off our tornado.  At this point the storm gusted out hard, and it was done producing tornadoes.  Rapidly the temperature dropped, and in less than half an hour, the temp was down to 43 degrees!

Easily in my top two favorite chases of all time, and ease-wise, probably my favorite chase.  I have dreamed about these tornadoes my entire life.  Though we didn't have the ideal road grid which would have gotten us closer to them, the tornadoes were amazing.  We were shooting out of the rain for the most part - overall stress free chase, simply being able to be out there, watch the tornadoes, and for the tornadoes to be happening in wild open country.  No damage to people, property or crops?  It was a real dream come true.


Definitely watch the video below - Skip has put together the most beautiful and fun video of what the chase was like for us.  Enjoy!!