So….here’s a thing.
Heather and I moved to Colorado on August 7th, 2015. I wasn’t thinking about storm chasing or anything of that nature when we got here. I assumed that the season was pretty much over, and we had a lot on our plate to get done.
On August 11th we went to go buy a bed. Our old mattress was a sad thing and we had gotten rid of it before moving. We had finally moved into the apartment after spending a couple of days in a hotel, and had been sleeping on air mattresses for the past few nights. This was unpleasant.
Heather and I are in the mattress store and had just decided on the mattress when some random guy comes in and says “Hey, I think a tornado is coming down out here!”
I was suddenly outside. Weird, I don’t remember going outside. Here’s what I saw (click images for larger versions):
Holy shit! It looks like it might actually touch down! The clouds above me barely appeared to be moving, so I couldn’t get a clear idea on what direction the storm was tracking. I fumbled with my phone to get into RadarScope so I could figure out where the hell it was going. (Did I get any screenshots or radar loops saved? Nooo.)
The funnel cloud is less than three miles from our current location. It’s less than five miles to our apartment. We are completely new to this area and were depending on Google Maps to get us everywhere, so I didn’t have my bearings on where exactly we were. What direction was I even looking towards right now?
The storm is coming right at us. Actually it’s heading SSW, but very slowly. It’s actually damn near stationary, but the funnel has just gone back into the cloud base and a new one has started to descend closer to us. That one is I estimated to be about a mile away.
More questions. Do I consider it a successful chase if our apartment complex gets hit? Will I ever hear the end of this from my family if it happens? Should we delay delivery on the bed?
Heather comes outside at this point and probably said something to me, but I wasn’t really paying attention. I think she said that we bought a bed, and she probably wants to know what we should do.
That’s simple; we chase! And by chase, I mean we head towards home, since it seems that the storm has decided to drop by.
By the time we got back in the car, the second funnel had already retreated back into the cloud base. We headed for home, and stopped in Cherry Creek State Park to sit and watch the storm come in. It proceeded to turn more to the SW and dumped a ton of hail onto the park. Another storm spun up to the east, so we watched that move away from us.
And that’s when I experienced the wonders of the Denver Convergence Vorticity Zone and the Denver Cyclone, though it would be about five months later before I realized it.
I should do more research before picking an apartment. We were just thrilled they took cats.